Before we introduce the daily rituals, let’s just do a quick recap of the number of hours a typical HSC student’s day:

  • 9 hours for sleep 
  • 7 hours for school
  • 1 hour for travel time
  • 3 hours study/school work/assessments/daily rituals
  • 4 hours for eating, relaxing, school sport commitments

3 x Daily rituals for HSC success  – Are you doing them?

Daily Ritual #1

Engagement with your HSC Vision / Goals
On the climb to the top of Mount Everest I feel it is safe to say that when the going gets tough for climbers, the thing that keeps them going is some kind of reminder of all the benefits of achieving the summit.For HSC students, it is inevitable that students will experience sections of their HSC campaign which feel overwhelming and all too much however some kind of daily reminder of the benefits awaiting at the top of Mount HSC will reduce the frequency of days spent with a problem or drama focus.


Option 1 – Build a vision board (visual representation of your HSC and life goals). Have some fun with it and get excited about the  opportunities that await.

Option 2 – Write your HSC goals out on a piece of scrap paper every time you sit down to work/study as this will always prime you with a stronger focus for that particular study session.

Option 3 – Carry a small pocket notebook around with you and every time you have a spare 5 minutes (eg  – on the bus to school) revisit and re-write your goals.

Recommended investment of time: Less than 5 minutes daily

Daily Ritual #2

Daily revision of key concepts, definitions, quotes and formulas
Your brain is a connection machine however for the connections to be formed an investment of time and energy must be undertaken to ensure these connections are well travelled and ready for you to easily recall under time pressure in the exam room.  If the connections formed around a topic are weak, it will be difficult to perform at ones true potential in the exam room.
Recommended investment of time:
45 minutes daily


Option 1 – Create flashcards and have a family member test you or test yourself by writing out your quotes/definitions under exam conditions.
Option 2 – Create a topic mindmap master copy and write out mindmap under exam conditions until you know it perfectly  (around 5 x through per topic should be enough initially and then once or twice a week going forward). (A3 size paper is ideal for this exercise).
Option 3 – Syllabus write outs are a popular option where you are simply memorising the syllabus.
Special note on your daily revision exercises – This daily ritual is all about stretching and testing yourself to be able to recall this content quickly in the exam room. If you can’t recall the key concepts easily outside of the exam room don’t expect you will be able to recall them with time pressure thrown in.

The act of simply creating ‘notes’ which are very pretty and comprehensive but haven’t been hardwired to your brain is simply not enough.

Daily Ritual #3

Regular practice with exam style questions/sections of exams
Once the content has been hardwired it’s time to strengthen these brain connections by applying them to challenging exam style questions which will create even more of the connections students will need to perform to their true potential in the exam room. Getting expert feedback is crucial here however students own self evaluation and identification of areas for improvement will allow them to take full responsibility for the results they are generating.

“Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation”

Recommended investment of time: At least 45 minutes daily


Option 1 – Access past HSC exams on the NSW Education Standards Authority website
Option 2 – Access the 1000’s of past HSC exam questions on the HSC CoWorks portal separated by topics including a sample answer and marker comments.
Option 3 – Attempt practice exam questions the HSC CoWorks portal and submit for expert feedback and marking. (Please note that all multiple choice are automatically marked)

Special note on regular practice of exam style questions

The only way these daily rituals will work is if they are undertaken daily (or at a minimum 5 days per week). Consistency of effort will always beat a sudden burst of effort just before the exam.

Also, the closer a student is to the Trial Exams (August) and the final HSC exams (October) the more of these exam style tasks a student needs to be undertaking. Simulating the exam room is essential to being prepared for the actual exam room. Students should be building up to being able to complete an essay within 40 minutes under exam conditions and full exams within the time limit (90 mins through to 180 minutes) under exam conditions.

“Nothing worth having comes easy”

While there is more to conquering Mount HSC than simply completing these three daily rituals, they do form the foundation for that special moment when a student can say when it’s all over ‘I gave the HSC 100% effort and I’m proud of that’.