Crunch Time – How to Successfully Ace Your Year 12 Exams – Our Guide

June 30, 2020

When you think of pre-university exams, two ones come to mind–the HSC and the IB. Acing the HSC, IB or both prove that a student is capable of continuing on to higher education, and can keep up with the rigours of academic life.

This is what many parents want–that their children are able to get high scores in these two tests. But because they are administered so close to each other, people get intimidated and often forego studying one in favour of the other. However, it is quite possible to prepare for both. Below are four do’s and don’ts when studying for the HSC and the IB exams.

Do: Develop a study plan

Scheduling when and where you will study helps you take on the workload of reviewing for two sets of exams. Spend a little time at the start of the week to block off chunks of your time for each test. Some topics overlap; something to consider when planning.

Ideally, two hours per exam should be enough daily; it does not seem like much, but if you plan way ahead of time you can get all of your studying done within four hours a day. Your study plan should also contain mini-milestones, so you can track your progress in each subject and work as efficiently as possible.

Don’t: Study just anywhere

Humans attach meanings to places. Your bed is a place for rest, your family couch is where you play videogames, your locker is where you keep valuables, and so on. The same principle applies to study spaces.

When you plan for studying, you should choose a space that is neutral in your mind. Working on your bed makes you unproductive because you associate your bed with sleep. Find a space that you can use exclusively for studying, like the library, a tutorial centre, or a coworking space.

Do: Stay consistent

As much as possible, stick with your plan. It may be tempting to skip past sections you think you already know, but you remember things better through repetition. Match your timetable with your tasks, and don’t stay too long with one topic. If you do, you will not get around to studying everything you have to.

Divide your topics into smaller sections. For example, take questions in biology by section, instead of by chapter. This lets you focus better, which helps in retention.

Do: See errors as lessons

Take your cue from sports coaches; review the ‘tapes’ of your performance and take a closer look at what your errors are and how you committed them. Focusing on mistakes is not a good practice for your life, but in test-taking, it is one of the most effective strategies for course correction.

Knowing how you went wrong in computing for an item or in analyzing a text helps you identify techniques that would mitigate that. Errors can teach us much more than we think they could, so start paying attention to them.

Do: Ask for help

When you are overwhelmed by preparations, it is always good to ask for help. Seek the services of an exam tutor, or ask a more knowledgeable friend to see you through the preparations. When you are taking a difficult exam, it is easy to feel helpless. Knowing that someone has your back makes you confident, and lessens test anxiety.


The difference between a student who passes the big exams and a student who fails them often boils down to one thing; preparation. The more prepared you are for the HSC and IB, the less scared you would be. Of course, it would not hurt to seek help in the areas of most concern; getting English tutoring, biology tutoring or chemistry tutoring is perfectly fine.

If you are looking for help in preparing for the HSC and IB exams, Get in touch with us today. We are a tutoring centre in Penrith and we help students prepare for their toughest assessments.