What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger:
Advice for Trials from a student who’s been there, done that…

Strengths and weaknesses:

As you’re studying for Trials these holidays, it’s so important to identify any areas of weakness you feel you might have so that you can prioritise different tasks. Subject areas or types of questions that consistently come up as a challenge for you are something that deserve more of your time, and perhaps even some alternative strategies and approaches if your current study methods aren’t working. After the Trials, there is still time to use the feedback you receive to single out areas that need more attention. For example, I knew I found the Reading Task in Paper 1 harder than any other area of English so leading up to HSC I tried to give it a bit more attention than, say, my essays or creative – and it paid off! Even though these things might make you feel discouraged, be persistent in perfecting them. 

State of mind:

I sometimes found that your state of mind before and after the exam doesn’t get much attention. Your teachers are focused on exam content and techniques but for me my biggest challenge was overcoming anxiety, and if anything learning to be calm perhaps made the biggest difference when it came to my results. Around Trials, I started to learn my anxiety triggers – things that would set me off and make me feel nervous before exams. As a result, I had to develop my own calming mechanisms. These are not necessarily things others can teach you but it so beneficial to be able to enter the exam room in a more relaxed state. For example, I used to watch TV the night before and the morning of exams, have a leisurely breakfast, go get a coffee etc…a small routine but a great distraction. That’s not to say you can eliminate your nerves entirely. It’s natural to feel agitated in such a situation, but there are ways in which you can train yourself to absorb these nerves rather than fight them. This is also something you can discuss with any of the coaches or Jo when you’re in the office if you feel you need some coping strategies!

Don’t leave any stone unturned:

Make the extra effort to ask your teachers questions. I used to be a little intimidated by my Economics teacher but I made myself take all the questions I couldn’t answer to her and she’d go through them with me. As I thought, so many of them came up in my Trials and HSC and I was glad I hadn’t been satisfied to leave them blank. Try to collate all the things you can’t answer and take them to your teachers, or bring them into the office and get the coaches to help! In general, it is a really beneficial practice to push yourself to get all your questions answered.

Exam technique:

As Trials is the closest thing you’ll get to the HSC, it’s the best opportunity to perfect your exam technique. There are certain strategies you can develop beforehand because of course, Trials is important in itself – i.e. using the Mock Trials at the office to practice good time management skills. However, once you’ve finished your Trials it’s valuable to reflect whether your exam technique might have let you down at any time. Do you take too much time on multiple choice? Do you need a better balance in the time you spend on essays? Consider these questions so that you have a well-thought out strategy as you approach the real deal!

All of your work in the office these holidays has been fantastic and we are all so impressed with your efforts to really push yourself. We are looking forward to results in Trials that are going to make us proud!


Nechama Bass

Senior Coach