Prepare for tests and exams

In school, tests can help teachers better understand areas that require more attention. They can also show areas where students have talents that can be nurtured. Teacher feedback from exams can identify topics and skills that need additional study.

The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) is regularly updating its advice about the Higher School Certificate (HSC) as the coronavirus outbreak unfolds. Schools are well placed to provide advice to parents and students about changes to the HSC in 2020. You may also access NESA’s Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice page directly.

Exam preparation

When a test or exam is approaching, students who do regular study aren’t as stressed as those who cram at the last minute.

Regular study activities may change as an exam approaches.

To prepare

  • Make summaries of the topics to be assessed.
  • Learn the meaning of key words used in exam questions.
  • Practise the types of questions that will be in the test or exam.
  • Complete sample tests under examination conditions.

Contact the year adviser if your child is having trouble with time management or getting organised. Some things that may help are a study timetable or, for more independent and motivated students, a study bank.

For more help preparing for exams see past HSC exam papers.

How you can help

The best thing you can do to help your child through exam periods is to support them in getting organised in the months and weeks leading up to it. Prepare for exam time by encouraging:

  • a healthy diet
  • drinking lots of water
  • limiting caffeine
  • getting enough sleep
  • daily exercise and relaxation time
  • following a regular study timetable that covers all topics and/or subjects
  • positivity about exam performance
  • organisation of equipment needed, for example, several black pens, spare batteries for the calculator and so on – don’t leave this until the night before
  • familiarisation with the format of each exam.

Some students can have a meltdown on the day of a test or exam. Prepared students who know what to expect in the exam are less likely to be as stressed as those who cram the night before. To prepare, students should:

  • make summaries of the topics being assessed
  • learn the meanings of key words used in exam questions
  • practise the types of questions that will be in the test or exam
  • complete sample tests under examination conditions.

If your child experiences stress around test or exam time, speak to your school counselling service.

More information

Visit our HSC help section for advice on how you can help your child during this trying but rewarding period.


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