A Consolidated HSC Study Guide for Years 11 and 12

At Ace HSC Tuition, we believe it really is a matter of “each to their own” when it comes to finding the right study technique to maximise learning in a short space of time without it going in one ear and out the other.

Many experts have praised classic techniques for studying, while others have even praised exercise and lifestyle adjustments to improve the quality of study. Thanks to new technologies, there are now apps and online tools to help you manage your studies effectively. So let’s review some techniques to help you maximise your learning.

Memory Retention

Rote or repetition learning is a classic way to study and is highly recommended by experts. This is because scientists have determined that the human brain is designed to remember in sets of 3, the smallest grouping required to create a pattern. It can be very beneficial to repeat newly learned information either by saying it out loud or writing it down three times.

Another technique is known as the memory palace or “method of loci”, an Ancient Greek technique of associating and storing learned information with a sense of place or location to be recalled later, when needed.

Scientists have also determined that exercise and regular physical activity can boost your mental abilities. They advocate daily yoga and cardio exercise as a means to stimulate the nervous system and “wake you up”. Others advocate short bursts of exercise right before study sit-downs to increase the heart rate, such as squats, star jumps and jogging on the spot.

There is also research proving the effectiveness of reading while exercising and listening to audio information for those who can multitask. It achieves peak physical and mental fitness combined.

Organisation and Time Management:

If you are an “organised chaos” type, visual organisation cues work great, such as vivid post-it notes, multi-colored highlighters and stickers. You can break each of your topics into coloured sections to help you focus on the topics and stay engaged.

For “tidy-minded” students, to-do lists and organised and structured filing systems work great. Setting up a routine daily schedule to study can ease anxiety and keep you on track and aware of your progress.

When it comes to class time with your teachers, decide whether listening or making notes is the best way to learn the subject. We don’t always learn when we write it down, as hearing, comprehending and writing are not linked skills. A good tip is to mark on your pages which parts you understand and which you don’t. Ask the tutor or teacher if it’s not clear. Sometimes the simplest solution is actually the answer; it can save you from a meltdown later.

Self-Testing Methods

Some experts recommend creating your own quiz to test yourself later. A good practise when you finish a specific topic is to create your own questions. Most textbooks will have sample questions at the end of the chapter and you can also test yourself with the practise exam questions. But where is the fun in that?

Retrieval practise is another style of self-testing, but this technique involves another person asking you questions. If you have a study group or partner, see if you can quiz each other and improve your answer recall technique.

Modern Study Tools

Here are some great modern study tools to help you study.

Websites: Academic HSC subject Database
HSC Ninja: Compilation of HSC Practise Questions
Pascal Press: Free Past Exams Database
Nova: Science Video Database
RMIT University Learning Lab:  HSC Video topic database
Study Stack: Flash Card Programme
Study Gizmo: Study Timetable Maker
Stay Focused: Focus Chrome Extension Tool
Pomodoro: Time Management Tool
LifeAt: Task Management Website


Quizlet: Make your own study test
Easy Study:  Homework and Class Assessment Tracker
Maths Alarm Clock: Problem Solver Alarm Clock
Self Control (Mac) and Cold Turkey (Windows): Social Media Blocker App
Flat Tomato: Pomodoro Study Method App
Forest App: Time Management Tool
Sworkit: Exercise and Study Combination App
Wunderlist: Task Organiser and List Maker App
Intelequity: Maths Problem forum
Anki: Intelligent flash cards App / Website

Think you need a HSC Tutor?

ACE HSC Tuition offers tutoring programmes near you for both Year 11 and Year 12 HSC topics, in line with the latest syllabus. Call ACE HSC Tuition at (02) 9874 7045, email us, or make an enquiry about finding tutors near you.

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