The Year 12 Countdown: 5 Tips to Prepare for your HSC Trials

If you’re aiming to make a serious effort to gain the highest possible ATAR score, you know then how important the HSC Trials are in the lead up to your final exams. The HSC Trials are the last round of assessments that make up your in-school assessment marks.

To avoid stress in the days and weeks leading up to your HSC Trials, your preparation should be well underway. At this point in time, you have less than four months to finish and understand content and prepare to sit an exam up to three hours long.

The best course of action is to study slowly and consistently to lay down a solid foundation of knowledge, rather than cram information that you think will earn you easy marks. If you’re ready for the trials, you’ll be ready for the HSC.

5 Tips to get you HSC Trial Ready

Tip #1: Create a visual month-by-month calendar of assessments

  • Clear the view in front of your study space, make some room on your walls or noticeboards, and be free from distractions.
  • Draw up or print out some monthly calendar sheets. Download some free ones here to print.
  • Mark down every assessment or exam you have along with their percentage weighting. Colour-code by subjects or weightings.

By doing this, you’re not only mapping out your year, but you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment when you mark each of them off as you complete them.

Writing it all out for yourself also means that nothing will catch you by surprise and you can plan ahead, long before receiving your assessment notification.

Tip #2: Create a realistic study timetable

You need to get into a consistent study routine in order to see the benefits. To develop successful study habits, you need to make sure your schedule is realistic and that you’re more than capable of getting through most of it.

A study timetable means that you’re keeping up-to-date with the topics you’re studying in class, staying on top of homework and assessments, and gradually increasingly your knowledge base.

To learn how to create your own study timetable, see our blog post here.

Tip #3: Know and read the curriculum for each subject

It’s important to remember that if it’s in the syllabus, you can be assessed on it – regardless of whether or not your school teacher has covered it in class. To counter this, get into the habit of checking the topics your teacher has covered against the curriculum, for each subject.

If you find anything missing, make sure you actually chase up the information! This is the best method there is to close the gaps in your knowledge for each subject, and minimise the chance of seeing a question that will catch you by surprise.

Tip #4: Set some goals – both short term and long term

Having something to aim at is a proven way to stay motivated and be clear on what you want to achieve. While you want your goals to be realistic, you don’t want them to be so easy to achieve that you don’t feel challenged and engaged. Your goals need to stretch you. Make your goals measurable, so that you are held accountable, and also so you can celebrate each win.

Example Short-Term Goals: I will achieve a minimum of 80% of assigned hours from my study timetable.

Example Short to Mid-Term Goals: Before the next term starts, I will have finished all my study notes for each subject.

Example Mid-Long Term Goals: I will have every single essay written, drafted, checked and practiced one week before the Trials.

Example Long-term Goals: I will achieve an ATAR of minimum 80.

Tip #5: Look after yourself

Take cues from professional athletes with long-term goals in mind where consistency is key. If you want to perform at your peak, you need to help your body and brain get you there, day by day, a little at a time.

  • Stay hydrated with at least eight glasses of water a day.
  • Exercise at least twice a week to clear your mind and keep your heart healthy.
  • Keep a check on your food intake – focus on protein, fatty acids from fish and nuts, vegetables, fruit. Keep sugar to a minimum.
  • Don’t pull all-nighters! It’s a guaranteed way to get lower marks, make careless mistakes, and generally feel lethargic and sick. If you prioritise at least eight hours sleep a night, your memory will improve, you’ll be more focused, you’ll feel better and you will deal with stress more effectively.

Summary: Quality over Quantity

Whether you’re thinking on starting university, a trade or working after your HSC exams, having a schedule for the year means learning to be more efficient, handle a myriad of tasks and better prepare yourself for life.

If you just study hard, sporadically or cram, you’ll end up frustrated and burned out before the end of the year.

Set your goals, focus on learning the curriculum, develop your strengths and aim to improve the gaps in your knowledge.

To Study Or Not To Study? That Is The Question!

High School Studying

The HSC Trials can be counted as mere weeks away. For most of your subjects, the Trials are the last exam for which you can hopefully improve your assessment rankings. This will inadvertently affect the mark that contributes towards the calculation of your ATAR. With this is mind, now is the most critical time to be studying and preparing for the Trials. In our observation of students over the last 25 years, those who were better prepared for the Trials performed remarkably better in their ATARs than those who were not.

How to study for your HSC Trials this holiday

1. Prepare a study timetable. Cover all the subjects evenly. You should be aiming for about 9 hours of study a day. Break them up into three-hour blocks separated by one-hour rest breaks. By the end of the week, there should be at least 24 hours. Do this for both weeks.

2. Prepare a study timetable for the exam period. What and how will you study for those days between your Trials exam? Plan it! Don’t waste that time.

3. Commit to it and Study! Wake up and follow your timetable. Commit to it and if you have trouble following it, share it with someone who will hold you accountable to it. Put it up on the fridge and let everyone know what you’re doing and when.

How to study during the HSC Trials exam period

You really should only be revising your notes the night before the exam. There’s no point burning the midnight oil and making yourself too tired for the next day. If you have days in between, follow the three-hour blocks and keeping working towards all your subjects.

Practice! Revise! Survive!

After the Trials exams

Once you have sat your last Trials exam, it’s time to de-stress and relax. Give yourself at least a week, if possible two weeks, off before you look at revising for the HSC exams. Ideally, 6 – 7 weeks should be sufficient for HSC revision. These last weeks are also the time of year to enjoy the formalities of the remainder of your high school days. The bulk of your study should have been long done before.

In conclusion

It’s all about the Trials. Everything else needs to come in second place. Remember thirteen years of your academic life has accumulated to these final weeks.

In essence, if you’re not putting in the maximum effort into your Trial studies, you are not studying for your HSC.

After these exams, you’ll have plenty of time to ease off and enjoy your final school year festivities. If you need help creating your study timetable or need study help, feel free to contact your tutors. We’re here to answer your questions – even out of the classroom. We wish you all the best Year 12, and good luck!

Why you shouldn’t be worried about the NAPLAN

Assessment-Testing | Rockdale Coaching College

Ever since NAPLAN’s inception in 2008, a rise of panic from students, teachers and parents alike all start to compound at the beginning of Term 2. Many young students find themselves filled with anxiety while parents and teachers attempt to cram in the crucial ‘basic skills’ requirements. What is it about this examination period that causes so much stress?

What is the NAPLAN?

The NAPLAN is a series of assessment examinations that attempt to take a “snapshot” of a student’s academic performance. The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is an annual assessment for all students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. There are four tests done over a series of three days including Language conventions, Writing, Reading Comprehension and Numeracy.

Why all the pressure and where is it coming from?

Where there are reports and points of comparisons – not just across classrooms but nationwide – it can easily become a point of contention for schools and students alike. Students feel pressure to perform well even when they know it’s only meant to measure the current year’s overall performance. There have been concerns raised to us tutors about the nerves students have felt, especially amongst primary school students. The formality and announcement reminders add to reinforce the idea to students of the tests’ importance. The NAPLAN is used along with other criteria to rank schools on the MySchool website, adding an extra burden on teachers from schools looking to boost their performance rankings. Teachers have been in the past judged harshly on their teaching abilities, with little look at the students’ abilities, the school resources and even the area’s socioeconomics.

Why you shouldn’t panic about the NAPLAN

Keep Calm It's Only NAPLAN | Rockdale Coaching College

Here are some things to think about and also to remind your child of on these assessment days.

1. It is NOT the ‘be all and end all’ of a child’s knowledge. The NAPLAN is not a comprehensive study and examiner of your child’s knowledge and capabilities. It doesn’t test their musical, listening, sporting or oral skills. It cannot tell you if your child is artistically bright or a great scientific learner. It covers only the basics in a small window of knowledge.

2. Less focus on you – more focus on the school. Remind kids it’s a helpful tool to see how schools are doing and what areas they can work on. It eases personal pressure off students if they understand how the tests are useful and helpful tools – as opposed to being something that judges them.

3. The results don’t determine anything. As it takes several months to compile the results, the learning that is gained from the early days of the school year isn’t taken into account. The results for most parents and teachers just provide a good snapshot of a moment. The results do not stop you from changing maths groups and reading groups. It doesn’t determine your high school offerings. It is simply a tool of comparative measure – across schools, states and year groups. It shouldn’t change anything in a student’s schooling life. Practice will help calm a student as it helps them become familiar with the format and examination process but if they do not know those basic skills by the time they sit the test, they are not going to learn it in the last days beforehand. Just let it be. Practice only for familiarity’s sake.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to speak to your tutors. You can contact our Primary School Coordinator Jennyfer directly on 0422 342 261.