Back to the blog

Summer study guide

By Simon Hennessy on 18 December 2020NSWblogStudy tips

I know what you’re thinking. “Summer” and “study” are two words that should not have anything to do with one another. However, like it or not, the new term is approaching rapidly. When it arrives, having a little preparation under your belt can be the difference between a successful year and a difficult one.

Here are a few suggestions on how to make sure that, when you do step back into school, you’re ready to hit the ground running.

Know the syllabus

First things first - before you do any study, know what you’re studying. The syllabuses for all your subjects will be available online, so checking those out is your first port of call.

Once there, the wordy layout can seem quite dense and daunting. A good way to get around this is to extract the key info from the syllabuses into a format tailored for you. This will essentially amount to the content you will have to work through, as well as the key assessment details and dates.

Once you’ve mapped out all of this essential info from the syllabus, you’ll have a clear idea of exactly what you need to do in terms of study for the year ahead. Basically, you’ll feel like you’re already on track without having to do all that much - every student’s dream scenario.

Wrap up Term 4

One thing you never want to learn the hard way, once the HSC rolls around, is just how hard it is to revisit the content from Term 4 the year before. By that stage, it can all seem like a very distant memory, so consolidating the material covered in Term 4 now is hugely beneficial down the road.

So, what does this look like? For starters, preparing notes on the content you covered across all subjects during Term 4. This will make both reinforce the knowledge in your mind and make it more approachable when the time comes to revise.

Secondly, this means going back over your assessment results and feedback in order to identify your weak points. Figuring those out now will give you ample time to turn those weaknesses into strengths in time for your exams.

Major works

For students doing major works, get ready for them to be a major annoyance throughout the year ahead. A constant background task that keeps getting pushed back by more urgent priorities, until trials are coming up and your major work needs to be handed in and you’ve done nothing and you’re panicking. Unless …

… Yep, you guessed it, unless you start now. Whatever the subject or project, use this time to do your preliminary research, make key decisions about what you’ll work on, and create a timeline of targets to hit building to the hand-in date. This will not actually take too much time, but having these key choices and structures in place turns what can be a hugely stressful part of the next year into a rewarding, successful experience.

Read your English texts

If by this stage you have already identified your prescribed texts and chosen your related texts, nice job. If not, getting that identifying and that choosing done is the first order of business. Either way, the next order of business is reading them.

This one might be the task that feels the most like work, and for those who hate reading, I’m sure this is not an appealing prospect. But you have plenty of time left until school starts. Breaking up the reading you need to get done into manageable chunks, one day at a time, will make it seem like so much less of a chore. By the time you get back to school, you’ll be familiar with your texts and ready to write about them without feeling like you’ve done any work at all.


There’s no need to know right now exactly what you’re going to be doing on every single day of the coming year. There are a million and one things that are going to cause your plans and priorities to change as you make your way through the year.

But there’s no denying the value of having plans in place early. Ask yourself some key questions: what subjects are going to require the most attention this year? What weaknesses do I need to focus on? Where do I want to be in terms of exam prep at each key stage throughout the year?

Take the answers from these questions and use them to begin making a plan tailored to your needs for the coming year. Even if it’s just a rough outline, getting some planning done now gives you the structures you will need to withstand whatever this year throws at you.


To enjoy the time left in the holidays, and not spend it all on preparation for the next term. But also remember to spend some of the time left preparing for the next term. Best of luck!

Try Atomi for free and receive regular updates from our blog.

Learn More