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‘New year, new me!’ The New Year’s resolution of every HSC student

By Danielle Barakat on 6 December 2018NSWblogStudy tipsHSCAssessments

Every year, year 12 students set out on a new journey to find themselves, to forget all the previous years and start the year fresh, after all: new year, new me, right? The figure a new year is the perfect time to mature and move out of the mindset that 'nothing counts,' promising themselves that they'll start things earlier and be more organised. And whilst some people manage to follow these promises, most of us have poor self-control when it comes to self-improvement and decide that it's easier to fall back into the same patterns that they've always known.

So to help you stick to your New Year's resolutions this time, we are going to walk you through some of our best options that will slowly help the transition:

#1. Write notes throughout the year

We all envy that one student who is always able to keep their notes up to date no matter what. It's time that we all started doing this because it saves you so much time. Imagine being two weeks out from exams and having nothing to do but memorise and practice.

The best way to make this dream a reality is to make your notes based off the structure of the syllabus because as you go through the dot points in class you'll be able to summarise each point as best as you can and add these summaries into your notes. Before you know it, you'll have summaries under each heading and by the time exams roll around you won't have to worry about having to think back to that one class 5 weeks ago just to complete your notes. If you're unsure how to write your notes properly, be sure to have a look at this article I wrote earlier.

Writing your notes is important because:

  1. It helps to cement the content in your mind early on. If you spend time learn ing the content in class, then going over it at home to re-write it and create notes in your own words then you've already seen the content at least 3 times before actually going into the exam. This will save you from sitting down to study and realising you have never seen certain chunks of the syllabus.
  2. Notes are never fully complete. They are an always evolving thing and by writing your notes consistently throughout the year it gives you a chance to keep going back to condense them so they don't end up being 150 pages of irrelevant information. The more consistently you write notes, the better you become at it, which essentially means they become more effective.

#2. Start assignments ASAP

Do not leave things to the last minute. Now we aren't telling you to set unrealistic expectations of finishing assignments weeks before they're due, but what we are saying is give them some thought as soon as you get them. Allow yourself time when you get an assignment to develop a plan in your head - that way when you actually do come to write it, you're not starting from absolute scratch. There are a few reasons why this is a good idea.

Firstly, the day you get the assignment is likely to be the day that your teacher has gone over it in class. This means it'll be fresh in your head and what you have to do will all make sense then and there. Secondly, the later you leave it, the more daunting it gets and thirdly is you start it sooner rather than later, chances are it's harder to walk away from it which means you're less likely to forget about it and you'll actually leave yourself enough time at the end for proofreading and editing (such a useful step to assignment writing).

#3. Use your teachers

Your teachers are there for a reason, and whether or not you like to admit it they do know what they're doing. So use your teachers as much as you can. Now that you're a mature year 12 student (😹) it's time to snap out of the ‘us against them’ mentality and actually start getting along with your teachers. They are the ones marking 3/4 of your assessments this year so it’s best to get their advice and opinion on the work you are doing.

So, make a plan to have a better relationship with your teachers. Use their knowledge and experience to make improvements in your own work and don’t be afraid to talk to them. If you’re having trouble with a certain idea or topic, they’re always there and willing to help out and the sooner you get on top of the stuff you don’t understand, the better it is for you in the long run.

#4. Exercise

Now there is always a big debate around whether you should be playing sport or exercising during year 12, and whilst it is a very busy year and there is a lot going on, your health is as important as ever. You should try and find something you can do to relieve some of the stress and pressure you’re going to feel over the next year, and my recommendation is to find something physical. Whether it be going for a walk, a run, a swim or heading down to the park to kick a ball around with your mates, just make sure you’re getting out of your study cave and embracing the great outdoors (or the indoors if a gym is more your thing). Exercise releases endorphins and endorphins make you happy... In the words of Legally Blonde:

Legally-blonde---happy-people-don-t-shoot-their-hunbands-GIF

See, it’s a win-win really!

#5. Give yourself some 'me' time

I know this sounds a little corny but it’s super important. A lot of students will feel some form of anxiety or depression in the next year so it’s really important that you take some time out of your busy schooling schedule for some ‘me’ time. There’s a couple of things you can do here to make sure you’re looking after yourself:

  1. Sleeping pattern: It’s really important throughout year 12 to have a good sleeping routine in place. That means go to sleep around the same time every night and try to get around 8hrs of sleep/night. Not only will this improve your mood, but it will also improve your concentration and memory. Of course, there are going to be those nights where an assignment might keep you up a little later than you expected but try as hard as you can to be organised enough so this doesn't happen too often.
  2. Meditate: If you’re finding that you are having trouble sleeping or winding down and that your mind is always on and thinking about school, or equations, or essay quotes or that you are constantly feeling stressed then I would recommend getting around some meditation. It’s especially useful to help you perform better in exams by training you to be calm and focused. I would recommend downloading a couple of apps, one of them is called Headspace and the other is called Calm. Try them both out and stick with whichever one works for you. You only need 5-10 minutes a day to really make a difference.
  3. Social life: Do not give this one up. You may be hearing from a lot of different people advice about how to balance your social life with studying, and whilst we think it’s super important to study we also think it’s important to have a few social events to look forward to. Getting out of the house and not thinking about school for a few hours is good for your mental health and it’ll keep you sane and will allow you to keep your anxiety levels down.

Remember

These are only small changes, but they will help you achieve your dreams of becoming the ideal year 12 student. As much as it’s going to be difficult to stick to them, these habits will ensure a successful and seemingly stress-free year 12 experience so push through this summer break and get your routine going asap, after all, it only takes 21 days to create a habit. #science

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