“The HSC Trials”. A phrase synonymous with the business end of the HSC. For the majority of you this set of important exams will be beginning over the next couple of weeks.

Despite the slightly anxious and perhaps even fatigued faces I have been seeing at CoWorks recently, you should all be excited for what lies ahead.

In short, the Trials can be an opportunity for redemption, a chance to further move up the schooling ranks or even solidify your dominance. On the other hand, they also have the potential to become the realization of your downfall.

The difficulty of these next few weeks leading up to Trials are entirely up to your own discretion. They can be consistent revision and exam preparation or spiral into hellish cramming, sleepless nights and the need for one too many coffees.

So, without further ado, here are my 5 golden tips to staying sane, happy and confident throughout these next few weeks:

  1. Take care of your body:

In short, a healthy body makes a healthy mind. No matter how prepared you are, if you happen to be sick during your Trials, you will not be able to perform to the best of your abilities. Doing the small things like staying hydrated, eating healthy and sleeping 8 hours a day can give your brain the chance to function optimally and even assist with your memory retention. Also doing some exercise everyday, even if just for 30 minutes, releases endorphins (or happy hormones as I like to call them) which really helps deal with stress.

  1. Study NOW rather than later:

As Jesse and the rest of the team have been constantly emphasizing throughout the last few weeks, “the key to success is being highly effective and productive with the limited time that you have”. If you are able to create and stick to a thought-out study timetable, there should be no reason why I should see any of you pulling an all-nighter before your first English Exam.

Like I said before, it’s up to you, these next few weeks can honestly be quite bearable, if you just stay consistent and do the work day by day.

  1. Take plenty of breaks in between your study routine:

“I’m going to study for the whole day today”. I’m sure all of you have started a day with this intention and ended up just burning out after the first hour and then watching YouTube videos for the rest of the day.

Studies have shown that your ability to concentrate falls dramatically after the first 50 minutes, and so giving your brain regular breaks gives you the chance to stay focused for longer during the day.

One very good method is the Pornodoro Technique. Its principle is simple. You work for a short period (usually 25 minutes) without distraction and take a break (usually 5 minutes) after that period is done. Anything that distracts you is attended to in that break, where you can also get up and move around.

  1. Stick to your own plan:

Trust in yourself and believe in your own study plan. Remember you have all been in school for almost 12 years now, so you know what studying methods work best for you. Worrying too much about how other people are going about their work will just make you more anxious.

  1. Don’t forget, you’re not alone:

The Trials are meant to be tough, in fact many people actually say that they are harder than the HSC exams, because you are essentially doing the same exams but in a shorter period of time. So remember, you are all going through this together. If you are feeling really tired and burnt out, don’t forget so are your friends. So stick together, support each other, and we at HSC CoWorks will also do our best to push you all through this next couple of weeks.

The truth is, by the first day of your Trial Exams, your marks will all have already been largely pre-determined, based upon the work you are doing now and over the next few weeks. Every extra past paper you do, essay you write or second you spend preparing, is really just an extra mark you are guaranteeing come Trial time. So work hard now, and you will get the marks you deserve later.

“Ultimately, there are more important things in life than exams. Ironically, you might just need to do well in your exams in order to achieve those things.”