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25 HSC related questions you’re dying to know the answers to (Part 2)

By Danielle Barakat on 1 November 2018NSWblogHSC

Let's continue answering the 25 most frequently asked questions from a year 12 student:

13. Should I keep my notes from year 11?

It’s a good idea to keep them! They’re a good resource to have because in some subjects you’ll be building on content that you (should) already know. For example in Maths or Business Studies.

14. Should year 11 exams determine if I should drop or pick up subjects in year 12?

Not really. Year 11 exam results give you a good indication of the subjects you found harder and the ones you maybe didn’t prepare enough for. If you’re sitting on 13 or 14 units and want to drop down to 11 or 12, then yes starting with the subjects you’re not doing that well in is a good start.

In terms of picking up subjects in year 12, like Extension English or History your teacher would probably be the best person to ask for advice on that. It’s a matter of just doing your research and working out what’s right for you.

15. Is year 12 content harder than year 11 content?

Honestly, the more overwhelming part of year 12 is the pressure and intensity that you maybe haven’t experienced before. The difference between the difficulty of the actual content is going to vary across subjects. For example, in a subject like Ext 1 Maths, the content is going to be a little more tricky but for subjects like Modern History or Business Studies, the difficulty of the content is pretty similar to year 11.

Either way, year 12 isn’t that much harder and trust me, it is 100% manageable.

16. If I did well in year 11 should I change the way I study for year 12?

I wouldn’t keep everything 100% the same because there will aspects of year 12 that are slightly different to that of year 11 and so your study habits should slightly change accordingly. If you did well in year 11, you’re clearly on the right path and probably have some solid habits and study methods locked in so well done. The thing you need to keep your eye on in year 12 a bit more than year 11 are your ranks… so just make sure that these habits are going to keep your rank high in your subjects. This probably means you need to step it up a bit in year 12, but don’t go crazy. You don’t want to burn out before Trials.

17. How many hours of studying should I be doing per week?

When it comes to studying, you shouldn’t be measuring your progress in hours. You could study for 3 hours and be really productive or 10 hours and get nothing done. So what I like to judge my studying on is how much I have to do and make sure I am actually ticking things off my to-do list. For example, if I know that I need to get 3 essays and a past paper done today, it could take me 3 hours or it could take 10 hours. It doesn’t matter, as long as I get done what I said I’m going to get done. A productive day of ticking things off your to-do list is much more effective than being able to say ‘yea I studied for 10 hours today’ when really you learnt nothing.

18. Is it too risky dropping down to 10 units?

This is not recommended but also isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Yes 10 units will free up your timetable a lot and you’ll have fewer subjects to worry about, but this also doesn’t give you anything to fall back on. We recommend 11-12 units, that way you have a couple of extra units up your sleeve just in case you bomb out in one subject that maybe you didn’t expect to.

19. Is it better to do individual or group study?

This is a personal preference, but there are pros and cons to both. If you’re the kind of person that gets distracted easily and just needs to be locked in their room in order to concentrate I would highly recommend staying away from a group study environment. But if you like bouncing ideas of others and working collaboratively, then go for it.

Group study can be great for having someone explain concepts to you or working on really hard questions together. But if you are going to do group study you have to make sure you’re doing it right. Here are my tips: keep your study group small, assign a leader who will keep you on track, make a plan and stick to it, show up prepared, schedule a time period and try and stay on topic.

20. Should I be taking subjects that are prerequisites for uni degrees I may want to do?

At the end of the day, even if you think you know what you want to do at uni you may end up graduating only to realise you’ve had a complete change of heart (like I did), so I wouldn’t be too caught up on picking subjects for uni.

Sure if you know you want to do something science-based, why not pick 2U maths and Chemistry to start you off. It will be extremely helpful, yes! But just because you didn’t study the subject at school, doesn’t mean you won’t get into a uni degree. There are always bridging courses you can do to catch up - so don’t stress. It’s more important to pick the subjects you enjoy and that you’re good at. You can worry about uni later.

21. At what point should I think about uni and picking my preferences?

Uni preferences will be on everyone's mind in year 12, but don’t let picking your preferences overshadow studying for year 12. Uni preferences are due at the end of August, to start thinking about it after trials. You have until after you get your ATAR to change your preferences anyway so don’t worry too much about this. It is good to have them in early just so you don’t have to pay any extra fees though.

22. Is travelling during year 12 a good idea?

This all depends on when, where and how long. I wouldn’t recommend travelling anytime after March…  I mean you could if you’re organised but also why risk it. Just wait until November when you have many months to do anything you like.

I mean travelling in the summer holidays over Christmas isn’t a big deal, you just need to make sure you stay on top of whatever holiday homework or studying you have to do. And try not to miss any of the term. It won’t kill you missing a few days of term 1, but also why waste precious class time. It’s so valuable in year 12 so try and make the most of it.

23. How many hours of sleep should I be getting before an exam?

Ever heard the saying ‘nothing good happens after 2 am’ (yes, from How I Met Your Mother)? Well, the same thing applies to studying. I recommend a solid 8 hours of sleep before an exam. You don’t want to accidentally misread the question because your eyes are slowly closing mid-exam...

24. Is playing a sport in year 12 a good idea?

Yes, why not. If playing a sport is what you’ve always done then no need to give up that habit. But again this is a personal preference. If you physically cannot fit in your studying, then it might be a good idea to cut back on how many hours are being dedicated to that sport but at the same time you don’t want to give up all forms of physical activity in year 12. So you be the judge here.

25. Should I have a specific exercise plan during year 12?

Not necessarily. It’s definitely a good idea to get in some exercise or physical activity in year 12 because that'll keep you sane, healthy and it’s a good way to let off some steam during the more stressful times of the year. But don’t make a strict plan and become obsessed with sticking to it, because things will come up in year 12 that are out of your control and sometimes you will have to adjust. For example, say your computer crashes the night before your English essay is due… you don’t want to kill yourself trying to wake up for your 6 am run the next day when you’ve been up till 2 am trying to re-write your essay.

So just be flexible, but definitely try and fit in some sort of physical activity at least a couple of times a week.

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