Many HSC students tend to follow the same methods as their peers in terms of studying. The usual writing and rewriting you notes multiple times in order to memorise them or attempting past papers open book etc. However, many of these methods are fairly ineffective and inefficient. As such here are 3 rules you need to break to succeed in the HSC.
1. Studying for as long as you can every day.
As I’ve written about over here you shouldn’t measure how long you should study every day. Instead you should focus on how much effort you put in and how much you’ve gotten done every day. However, there are still loopholes with this method that can lead to procrastination or ineffective time management.
As a result, in order to maximise your output and minimise your study time, then you should make use of the Pomodoro technique of working. The Pomodoro technique is incredibly simple to use and incredibly effective. All you have to do is work for 25 minutes at close to 100% productivity and then take 5 minutes off. By having such a high intensity approach to studying you’ll be able to get more things done in a shorter amount of time.
But my teachers always tell me to treat study in 1 hour blocks??
Unfortunately, due to the advent of modern television shows, our attention spans have been tuned to focus on things at near max intensity for around 30 minutes. The Pomodoro technique exploits this weakness and turns it into a strength when it utilises a 25 minute on and 5 minute off schedule to structure your studying.
Combine the Pomodoro technique as well shifting your mindset from studying X hours to getting Y amount of things done as quickly as possible and you’ll be able to reach higher levels of success than before.
2. Writing and rewriting your notes is essential to success
Another common myth to studying for the HSC is to write and continually rewrite your notes. Unfortunately, this is an incredibly inefficient process to studying due to the amount of time it takes to write out the ‘perfect’ set of notes and to rewrite these notes multiple times.
Instead, you should write a very rough set of notes that only you can understand. Use short hand and abbreviations to save time. Once you’ve done this as quickly as possible jump straight into attempting past papers in exam conditions.
By attempting past papers in exam conditions you’re conditioning your mind and body to taking exams. At the end of the day understanding the content is all well and good but you are going to be marked on how you perform under strenuous exam conditions and as such you should be preparing for that rather than writing notes that take up way too much time to the amount of marks they’ll get you in the HSC.
3. Giving up extracurricular activities
A popular opinion shared among teachers, parents and students is that anything other than studying during your HSC year is a waste of your time as you could be studying instead. However, what these people fail to notice is that the majority of high achievers in the HSC do have some sort of extracurricular profile. They may focus on community service or sport, but the commonality is that they don’t spend all their time studying.
The myth here can be reduced to the fact that students don’t have enough time to study and so anything distracting them or taking them away from study is a waste of time. However, if you do use the Pomodoro technique from before you’ll be able to manage your time so well that you have time to do not one, but a few extracurricular activities.
Moreover, Extracurricular activities will enhance your resumes and provide you valuable experiences that you can use when applying for scholarships or internships. Good marks can get you into university but extracurricular activities can take you further into professional development and ultimately fulfilling your goals.