HSC exam tips, for the lead up to exams

Use these tips in the run up to the HSC exams. Just like a marathon, the work you put into the preparation and training is what will ultimately give you the most rewards.

Tip 1 # Study plan

A study timetable means that all your subjects are revised and you spend enough time on the subjects that really need attention. Your study plan will work best if it’s a bit fluid as there will always be things beyond your control. It’s OK if you don’t cover everything you want in one session. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

Don’t forget to include time for for self-care and positive activities to give you a break such as exercise, mindfulness, sport, music and relaxation in your timetable

Make sure you have priorities and key goals you want to achieve each study session. Flow charts and diagrams will help you visualise your study areas.

Find a study plan template online if you need too, or make one from timetables you already use.

Study groups are a great way of getting support and learning new things.

Tip # 2 Practise your exam technique

It’s great to know your subject but it’s also important to train for the actual exam.

Use old exam papers and practise. This gives you vital training in how to formulate your answers and work with the exam format. You should also use a timer and practise writing your answers with your favourite black pen within a set time. This is critical for when you find yourself in the exam room on the day.

Visit NESA to download past HSC exam papers. You’ll also find the guidelines used by markers, plus sample answers with markers’ feedback.

Tip #3: Reach out to teachers

Niggling doubts in your mind about where you’re going and how you’re studying? Don't be afraid to ask questions in class or check in with your teachers. Show teachers your notes and where you’ve been focusing your studies, so you can get their feedback.

It’s a good idea to get your teachers’ support right up until the actual exam day. They are the experts on the curriculum and the way exams will be assessed. So if you’re confused about what’s needed for an assessment or how best to direct your studies, it’s always better to ask.

You can reach out to teachers by sending them an email, making a time to meet with them, approaching them directly or through online platforms or whatever way you feel comfortable.

Tip #4 - Practise and learn from your mistakes

It doesn’t matter if you don’t always do well in your assessments. What matters is how you learn from mistakes you made and how you apply it to doing things in a slightly different way, just like if you were riding a wave, a skateboard or swinging a racket. Keep practising over and over, identify your weaknesses and figure out how to improve them. Think of assessment as the practice run for the HSC. The HSC is about showing you understand the concepts and preparation. Ultimately doing the work will get you through.

Tip #5: Look after yourself

Both your mental and physical health are really important. Make sure you do plenty of exercise, which will make you feel good about yourself and also fire up your brain cells.

Exercise doesn’t have to be a sport. Just going for a long walk and listening to music will really help. So will eating healthily and drinking lots of water. Use music to help calm you and alleviate stress. You may want to check out meditation or yoga or other calming techniques, like stretching.

Talk to friends or families or any staff that support student well being at your school such as a school counsellor/ school psychologist or teachers you're comfortable with, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious or isolated. You can also reach out and talk to someone – available online or phone 24/7.

We're wishing all Year 12 students the best of luck for their final exams!

Related posts


  • Exam time
  • Study tips and tricks


  • Mental health
  • Physical activity
  • Wellbeing

Business Unit:

  • Communication and Engagement
Return to top of page Back to top