Video tips transcipts
Transcripts of Stay Healthy HSC video tips.
Staying Calm During an Exam
During my HSC, I opened my English paper to find a question that I wasn't prepared for. And threw me. This actually happens. It sounds really scary. But it doesn't have to be. There are plenty of techniques you can use to keep yourself together when things don't go as planned.
I called these my panic contingencies. When employing a panic contingency. You first take a deep breath or a few next you acknowledge that things haven't gone to plan and you take a second to recalibrate trying to push through the panic can make you even more stressed, which doesn't help in an exam setting. Instead of focusing on that question, flick through the paper
until you find something that you studied and recognise that circuit breaker might be all you need to get your mojo back. Come back to the question that tripped you up once you're feeling more confident. And above all, remind yourself that you did work for this, you can do it and keep the exam in perspective.
One way or another, you're going to get through this.
First Thing to do in an Exam
Exams can be overwhelming, stressful, and sometimes you put more pressure on yourself than you should. To make exam life a little easier, there are a couple of things you can do as soon as you receive your exam paper. Take a breath and relax. Try to clear your mind of any anxiety or lingering doubt. You're about to ace this!
After your adjudicators permission, utilise your reading time wisely. Read the exam front to back and let your brain start formulating answers as you go. Give yourself a moment to plan how you'll use your allocated time. Hopefully you already have some idea of how you're going to break down the exam, but after the reading time is finished, I'm sure those plans will be set in concrete.
As you pick up your pen, spend some time underlining or highlighting key words or phrases in any questions with tricky wording, so they don't trip you up later in the exam. It's up to you what order you want to tackle the questions. Some students get the easy stuff out of the way first, while others prefer to start at the beginning and go all the way through to the end. There's no right or wrong way, but remember to answer all the questions.
You've got this.
The 12th and 13th of October, your first exams of the HSC. English. Everyone has to do them and it's important to start your exam period off on the right foot. For these exams, it might feel like the easiest thing to do is memorise an entire essay. The trouble you might run into is a question that doesn't necessarily suit your answer. You're better off memorising a scaffold for your essay or having a few responses up your sleeve and tailoring those answers to the question.
Remember, your thesis statement is your umbrella argument and your topic sentences build off that. If you're starting to run out of time and haven't finished your essay, your best bet is to write a strong conclusion, instead of scrambling to build out what's left of your body paragraphs.
Finish strong and back up your arguments. Trust in your preparation, and enjoy the process. It will all be over soon.
The Importance of Sleep
Sleep. Something everyone needs, but can sometimes be hard to come by. There is a direct correlation between sleep and memory retention. Essentially, the better you sleep the better you'll remember stuff. Unfortunately, pulling an all-nighter before your exam is probably not going to help you memorise an entire syllabus. Your brain does its best housekeeping when you're asleep.
Tidying and organising your short and long term memory, moving things around to keep relevant information front of mind. It can't do that if you don't get enough sleep. Sleep is also super important for your mental health. Wouldn't it be wild if you woke up every morning feeling energised and refreshed for the day ahead? It all starts with a good sleep.
So give yourself time to settle in for the night. Put your phone to one side on do not disturb and try to maintain a regular sleep schedule. Happy studying.
Run Your Own Race
It's really easy to look at other students and feel like you're way behind or completely unprepared for the exams you've got coming up. In reality, everyone learns and studies and copes with the HSC differently. There isn't a right way. Comparing ourselves to others really isn't fair. We often compare our worst habits with the best in others or what they present. We just don't talk about the afternoon naps or the Netflix bingeing.
You don't gain anything from the habit of comparison either. But you do have a lot to lose. But as with other habits, this mindset can be changed. The first step in doing so is to be aware that it's happening. To acknowledge the damage it might be doing to your self-esteem. Nobody is perfect. And so it's important to celebrate your wins, no matter how small. And if you're still in the habit of comparing. Try comparing yourself to you. But 12 months ago. Today, you're about to finish school. You're working hard. And with one final push, you'll be finished for good. And that's pretty awesome.
Looking After Yourself and Others
Almost everyone is going to feel stressed at some point in the HSC. There's a lot to do and not much time to do it in. Taking care of yourself and your mental health now is more important than ever.
It's important to check in with yourself, and if you're feeling OK, perhaps try checking in with others. If they choose to share, you don't need to fix their problems or be an expert. Often people just want a non-judgmental listening ear to have a rant to. Asking about someone's mental health can feel awkward and even invasive. The simple question of ‘How are you?’ ‘Are you OK?’ During the stressful and sometimes isolating period could help a friend or peer far more than you realise. However, you may not be in the place to help others if you're feeling the stress and pressure yourself.
If you're concerned about a friend, you can always let somebody else know, like a teacher. And if somebody's safety is at risk, never hesitate to call triple zero. Other services like a GP, calling Lifeline, Kids Helpline or ReachOut.com can be really helpful too.
Time management, doing everything you need to do in a time frame that allows you to be on top of your game without added stress. The HSC can be hectic and it's important to be able to prioritise your goals, and a lot of that comes down to time management. And time management is relevant to your study, your exams and your life after school.
You've got a stack of syllabi you need to get through. So start small and work your way up. Get the simple stuff out of the way and break down larger assignments into more manageable sections. Try prioritising one thing at a time. By doing this, you'll end up working smarter, not harder, and getting more done in less time. Time blocking is a useful tool for that. You could try breaking down your study days into one or two hour blocks or order your day so you do similar tasks consecutively. Or, even find a theme to your study and use that as a way to structure your day.
When it comes to your exams, it's worth taking a minute to break down how long to give each section. Depending on how comfortable you are with each subject. With good time management, you'll have already done a bunch of previous exam papers, and have a really good idea of what your time requirements are.
General Study Tips
At this stage, you probably have a really good idea of the study techniques that work for you and the ones that don't. There's no one size fits all approach to studying. Here are three tips that might make studying a little bit easier for you.
Figure out where you're most productive. Do you work best in your bedroom at a desk? or is it easier for you to be in your living room or even at the library? Whatever feels the most comfortable for you is probably where you should do most of your study. But it might be worth mixing it up now and again to keep things interesting. Plan your schedule. Break down your study days bit by bit before you start. This helps you get into a study mindset and gives you a list you can tick off as you go.
It's also important to know when you're most productive because that's the time you should be focusing most on the work that needs extra attention. If you know you're more productive in the morning and you find extension maths extra challenging, that's the time to study maths.
Consistency really is the name of the game here. Try as much as you can to stick to a study schedule that works for you in a place that works for you at times that work for you.
Procrastination: that thing you do when you don't want to do that thing.
Procrastination isn't always about being lazy or having poor time management. Sometimes it's a coping mechanism. The HSC can be hard and it's normal to want to avoid things that stress you out.
To keep yourself productive through times of procrastination chip away at big tasks by breaking them down into bite-sized chunks. Then reward yourself for getting through your to-do lists. Make sure you take a break if you're feeling overwhelmed. Try to avoid falling down the ‘what if’ rabbit hole stressing about hypothetical scenarios.
Stay present and remember why you're doing what you're doing in the first place. Above all, be kind to yourself. No one is productive 24/7 and there are resources out there to help you if you start feeling overwhelmed. Do what works for you and don't be afraid to reach out.
Study With Friends
After two years of lockdowns, learning from home and a stack of isolation, it's possible the last thing you want to do is sit in your room alone for hours studying for your final exams. There's a perception that studying has to be a solo exercise, but in reality, studying with your friends might actually be beneficial.
It's not only your final grades, but for your well-being. Studying in a group breaks you out of isolation and reminds you that you're not going through this alone. In a group, you can share your study resources, fill gaps in your knowledge, and keep everyone on track and accountable. Everyone learns differently, and having compatible study buddies makes life easier.
Most importantly, when you're seeing your friends during periods of stress, you can spend time encouraging and motivating each other to cross the finish line. You're all in this together and together you can get through it.
Two Exams in one Day
Sometimes your HSC timetable will schedule two exams in the same day. As stressful as that sounds, a little planning can help.
Before your exam be prepared. Know what time each exam starts and where each exam is. There's no guarantee that they'll be in the same room. So make sure that you know where you're going. Once you finish your first exam, find a spot to re-energise. Have to think ahead of time about what might help during this break. It might be useful for you to have a look at your notes, or maybe you want to put all that to the back of your mind.
It's important to realise that your friends and peers might also be in the same boat. You might be able to spend the break with them. Try not to get into a deep discussion on that first exam though, it will just distract you from what's coming up. What's done is done and talking about it might even end up stressing you out more.
If you're not feeling social, find a quiet spot and try to relax. Drink some water, have some food and get to your next exam ahead of time.
And hey, the faster you get through all of your exams, the sooner the HSC is all over.