What to Know—HSC Tips for Tackling Questions

March 28, 2021

There are three types of questions in the written HSC exams: multiple-choice, short answer and extended responses. You must be familiar with them because they are vital sections of the exams. Here, we will help you with how you can approach them well: 

Multiple Choice

Many students think this is easier because of the several choices presented to them. Every student has about 90 seconds to answer each multiple-choice question, so there’s no need to rush. Here are tips to help you get the right answers: 

  • Read and understand the question. 
  • Try to answer the question in your head first without looking at the choices. 
  • Always read all the choices even if you think you are confident you know the right answer. 
  • If you’re not sure what the answer is, take your best educated guess. 
  • Never hand your paper with a blank for a specific question. 
  • If you need to calculate, do that first before you look for the right answer. 
  • Always use a black pen to fill the bubble. 
  • Change your answer by putting a cross through the bubble and fill in the new bubble. 

Short Answer Questions

Short answer questions are a different ball game:

  • The mark for each question is usually allocated on the exam paper. It is important to write just enough so that you attain full marks but do not spend too much time on one question.
  • Look for keywords when reading the questions. 

Extended-Response Questions

This type of question is designed to examine significant topics in courses. It will test students whether they can put together a coherent answer to a question that examines how much they understand course topics. Also, make sure you check the recommended time for the question and try not to spend a lot of time on one question alone. 

  • Take time to understand the question. As much as possible, underline or highlight significant words. 
  • Don’t create a pre-prepared response on the topic. 
  • Familiarise yourself with the keywords in the BOSTES glossary. 
  • Always plan your response before you write it down.

Another great tip to ace your HSC exams is to practice on old exam papers because it will help you better approach the questions. Since some of the questions there will likely appear on your HSC exams, you’ll know what to expect.


Tackling these short-answer questions in the HSC can be challenging for a lot of students. With these tips, you will be able to approach the questions much better. In turn, these will give you higher chances to pass the exams. Moreover, practising on old exam papers will also help you answer these questions, making you feel more confident on exam day. 

Do you need more help studying for the HSC? Get high school tutoring in Penrith! Contact us here at Young Growth Academy so we can give you the guidance you need to ace your exams.