For young adults doing the HSC, 2020 might seem daunting. So much information to absorb, with so little time!
To help our clients and readers, we’ve been talking to recent HSC graduates and their parents about useful tips to cope and thrive. Here are our top 8 to date: all free and easy to implement in a couple of hours!
1. Make up a single “HSC Master Folder”: Get a lever arch file and label it: “HSC Master Folder”. Put coloured tabs in it – one for each subject you are studying.
2. Assign a coloured tab to each subject: For example, you might assign blue to Advanced English and orange to Mathematics. Use the colours to sort out all your notes/materials. For instance, keep all your English notes in blue folders, and your Maths notes in orange folders.
3. To understand HSC assignment and exam questions so you can answer them properly, learn (and review) the key exam words that appear frequently in HSC exams across multiple subjects.
Need a list of words to learn? Here you go:
|Account||Account for: state reasons for, report on.
Give an account of: narrate a series of events or transactions
|Analyse||Identify components and the relationship between them; draw out and relate implications|
|Apply||Use, utilise, employ in a particular situation|
|Appreciate||Make a judgement about the value of|
|Assess||Make a judgement of value, quality, outcomes, results or size|
|Calculate||Ascertain/determine from given facts, figures or information|
|Clarify||Make clear or plain|
|Classify||Arrange or include in classes/categories|
|Compare||Show how things are similar or different|
|Construct||Make; build; put together items or arguments|
|Contrast||Show how things are different or opposite|
|Critically (analyse/evaluate)||Add a degree or level of accuracy depth, knowledge and understanding, logic, questioning, reflection and quality to (analyse/evaluate)|
|Define||State meaning and identify essential qualities|
|Demonstrate||Show by example|
|Describe||Provide characteristics and features|
|Discuss||Identify issues and provide points for and/or against|
|Distinguish||Recognise or note/indicate as being distinct or different from; to note differences between|
|Evaluate||Make a judgement based on criteria; determine the value of|
|Explain||Relate cause and effect; make the relationships between things evident; provide why and/or how|
|Extract||Choose relevant and/or appropriate details|
|Extrapolate||Infer from what is known|
|Identify||Recognise and name|
|Interpret||Draw meaning from|
|Investigate||Plan, inquire into and draw conclusions about|
|Justify||Support an argument or conclusion|
|Outline||Sketch in general terms; indicate the main features of|
|Predict||Suggest what may happen based on available information|
|Propose||Put forward (for example a point of view, idea, argument, suggestion) for consideration or action|
|Recall||Present remembered ideas, facts or experiences|
|Recommend||Provide reasons in favour|
|Recount||Retell a series of events|
|Summarise||Express, concisely, the relevant details|
|Synthesise||Putting together various elements to make a whole|
Source: NSW Education Standards Authority, A Glossary of Key Words
Most of these words are verbs and so-called “Tier-2” academic words – words that crop up across different subjects. Knowing these words is a huge help when reading school texts and answering essay and exam questions for most subjects.
4. Spend an hour (or two) learning about effective study techniques so you don’t waste time learning inefficiently:
(a) Read our article about free effective study techniques.
(b) Watch this short (8 minutes) YouTube video for 6 research-backed ways to study better.
(c) Go to the terrific Learning Scientists website for more details on each of these 6 strategies (including free downloads).
5. Download a copy of the syllabus for each subject you are studying. For students in New South Wales, you can download each syllabus from NESA here.
6. For each syllabus you’ve downloaded, print the content and objectives/outcomes sections and put them in your HSC Master Folder. These tell you what you are expected to know for assignments and the exam.
7. Download and print the most recent available past exam papers for each subject you are studying, then put them behind the syllabus in your HSC Master Folder. (As we note here, doing practice exam papers is one of the best, evidence-based ways to improve your learning (and exam results)). It’s also a great way for you to practice remembering things under time constraints. You can access past NSW HSC exam papers from NESA here.
8. Most importantly, stay healthy – exercise, sleep and eat well, and keep things in perspective.
We hope you find these tips useful. As 2020 rolls on, we plan to add more tips.
- Exam and essay verbs you need to know in high school: “Explain”
- Exam and essay verbs you need to know in high school: “Analyse”
- Exam and essay verbs you need to know in high school: “Evaluate”
- Exam and essay verbs you need to know in high school: “Identify”
- Exam and essay verbs you need to know in high school: “Discuss”
- Exam and essay verbs you need to know in high school: “Outline”
- Exam and essay verbs you need to know in high school: “Assess”
- Exam and essay verbs you need to know in high school: “Describe”
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- Back-to-school study skill: 3 steps to remember any 10 things in order
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Hi there, I’m David Kinnane.
Principal Speech Pathologist, Banter Speech & Language
Our talented team of certified practising speech pathologists provide unhurried, personalised and evidence-based speech pathology care to children and adults in the Inner West of Sydney and beyond, both in our clinic and via telehealth.