6 study tips for HSC success

20 Sep 2022


Study smarter, not harder. Give yourself the best shot at HSC success with our 6 study tips.

Studying for HSC can seem daunting, but with the right study plan, success is achievable for every student.

There is no one key to doing well in the HSC. Everyone will have their own goals and plans for once high school finishes, and the best way to get there is to be prepared. So take a deep breath and read on for our best study tips for HSC success.


Don’t do trial papers last minute. You’ve got the whole year to prepare, so do it from the beginning.”
Nav Phokela

1. Stick to the plan

Attempting the HSC without a solid plan is like traveling without a map. Sure, you might get there, but you’ll be going the long way and it definitely won’t be easy.

A study plan is a calendar of what you need to study. It can be long-term, but it’s best used as a regular, weekly rundown of what you need to focus on and when. The stress of a heavy workload is made significantly worse if you don’t get a good structure in place, so you should sit down and figure out what you need to study and how much time you need each day to do it.

Study plans might look like a physical calendar or poster on your wall (visualising your workload is always helpful), but there’s no shortage of apps – try Todait or Egender. And remember, if you need help figuring out a good study plan, talk to your teacher or tutor – that’s what they’re there for!

 2. Take notes

It doesn’t matter which subject you’re studying, it pays to take notes. A University of Tokyo study reaffirms what we know to be true; physically writing something down helps improve retention in memory.

Once you’ve covered a topic in class, write down a summary of at least dot points. Not only will it help you better remember the topic covered, it’ll put you ahead when it comes to revising later in the year.

Bonus tip: once you’ve written your topic notes, keep them organised. There is a lot of material to cover across the HSC, and you don’t want to be sifting through disorganised notes when it comes to exam revision time. Whether it’s digital or physical – keep those notes organised.

 3. Break things up (don’t overwork yourself!)

Studying is definitely important, but you can’t do it all the time. We’ve covered the idea of burnout in depth in a previous blog, but it’s worth reiterating: a heavy study load can easily lead to symptoms like anxiety and depression if not balanced well.

HSC is important, but it doesn’t mean that studying should dominate your whole life. How you structure your study – as we spoke about in point 1 – should include time set aside for other activities. If you play sports, keep playing through HSC. Even simple activities like taking a walk, listening to music or socialising with friends can refresh a study-weary mind. Remember, balance is the key

4. Find a study buddy or study in a group

Studying can seem especially tough when undertaken in isolation. While it can be great to find some peace and study solo, many students can benefit from the camaraderie of studying with a friend or a dedicated study group.

Consider, for instance, how you study. Even with an abundance of notes (if you followed our advice at point 2), it can be easy to misunderstand something or not remember the details clearly. Leaning on the advice of a fellow student or having a good discussion with others can be a great way to make sure you really understand the material. Plus, studying with others is great for morale. Everyone working together and encouraging each other can make a heavy revision schedule a breeze.

5. Practice with past exam papers

If you really want to know which questions the examiners are asking, you need to look to the past. There’s certainly no guarantee that questions will be repeated from year to year (that’s wishful thinking!) but by attempting past papers, you’ll learn the style of question being asked, the type of answer required, and get a good sense of the topics that are likely to come up on the exam.

When using past papers, it’s best to attempt them under exam conditions. This means no notes (unless it’s an open book exam), no phone, no talking, and within a set time limit. Once you’ve completed the test, grade yourself (or get your teacher or tutor to grade you) and use this to inform further study.

And, as our tutor Nav Phokela says: start using practice exam papers early. “Don’t do trial papers last minute. You’ve got the whole year to prepare, so do it from the beginning.”

6. Use a tutor

Here’s something you may not already know: tutoring can be beneficial for any student. It’s certainly not true that tutoring is only for students struggling with coursework – even the brightest students can find it helpful. The benefits of working with a tutor are personal attention and immediate feedback, which can be hard to find in busy classrooms. When studying, tutors can tailor specific plans that will focus on areas of difficulty or the complete syllabus. Tutors can also be used across a whole school year, or just for exam revision. How you use a tutor is up to you – but it really does help. 

At Accel iQ, our HSC tuition program is run by a group of highly experienced tutors with extensive professional and academic knowledge. We run programs of Physics, Chemistry and Maths tuition that can help set students on the road to success.


Want to learn more about our Physics, Chemistry and Maths tuition programs? Get in touch with our team today to learn more about how HSC tuition can help set students up for exam success.