Despite their role in ruining your life during year 12, the board of studies actually want you to succeed and so have been kind enough to provide a fairly thorough reference sheet that can be found over here.
By now you should’ve seen the reference sheet in your trials and you may or may not have had a plan to utilise it to its fullest extent.
The first thing you should do is familiarise yourself with what is and what isn’t on the reference sheet. The worst thing to do is to blindly go into your HSC maths exam thinking that every formula you need to know is on that sheet. Doing so is just plain stupidity, so do your due diligence and actually look at the sheet before your exam.
Remember to note down the topics and formulas that aren’t on the sheet. Also note if there are any variations between the formula you’ve learnt and the equivalent formula on the sheet (you may find changes in notation or rearranging variables etc)
Once you’ve created a list of all the changes and omissions on the reference sheet, start memorising the formulas that are missing from the sheet and that you want on the sheet. This step is incredibly important as you’ll use this knowledge later on. Ideally, you should know 99% of formula by now and you should be able to skip this step.
Now with the preparation at home all done, we can now consider using the reference sheet in an exam. During reading time, you should be categorising each question into its specific topic. Then once reading time is done, match the questions to its relevant section on the reference sheet.
Pro tip: if you are a 2 Unit maths student or in a 2 Unit Exam, then make sure you rip out or cross out the 3 Unit portion of the reference sheet. By doing so you reduce the chances of getting confused by strange/irrelevant formula during the exam.
Now that you’ve matched each question to its relevant section on the reference sheet, when you reach a given question all you have to do is flick over to the relevant section in your reference sheet and then you’ll have the appropriate formula at hand to attempt the question
If the question uses formula not on the reference sheet, then you should probably write down the formula on the back of the sheet before you have any chance of forgetting it during the exam.
This method may seem a little unfamiliar and confusing at first, but by spending the first couple of minutes in the exam marking and organising everything, you’ll save yourself so much time later in the exam when you’re pressed for time and less likely to think clearly.
In order to get used to this method, I urge you to use it every time you do a past paper which you should be doing fairly regularly now coming into the last couple of weeks before your HSC exams.