10 Tips for HSC Exam Preparation

Jun 6, 2023

The HSC exams are the most important tests a NSW student will take during their schooling career, and proper preparation is crucial for success.

Here are ten tips to help you prepare effectively for your HSC exams:

Start early

It goes without saying that you shouldn’t wait until the last minute to start studying however sometimes this is easier said than done. In Year 12, students have many competing interests – from sport to music, jobs, learning to drive, 18th birthdays, dating, and so much more! Rather than these being good excuses for being underprepared, they are even more reason to begin preparing for your HSC exams several weeks or months in advance to give yourself enough time to cover all the material.

Create a study schedule

Develop a study schedule that covers all the topics you need to know for your exams. Break down your study sessions into manageable chunks, and keep track of your progress. At HSC CoWorks we love planning! Every HSC Student has the same number of hours to prepare for their exams. It is the student who is most effective with their time management and study schedule that will achieve their full potential.

Practice questions

Regularly practice answering past exam questions. This will help you become more familiar with the format of the exam and give you a sense of the types of questions you can expect.

Practice exams

Take practice exams under exam conditions to simulate the real exam experience. This will help you build stamina and test-taking skills. Remember that exam conditions means exam conditions! Put your notes away, set the timer and hand write your responses.

Get feedback

At HSC CoWorks students can submit their practice exams and responses to experienced HSC Markers for feedback. Otherwise, ask your teachers and use this feedback to identify areas where you need to improve and adjust your study plan accordingly.

Answer the question

This is one of the biggest mistakes students make when sitting an exam. Rather than reading and answering the question, you rush to write down everything you know about the topic! Make sure you understand what the question is asking before you begin answering. Read the instructions carefully and underline key phrases or words. 

Time management

Manage your time effectively during the exam. Allocate a set amount of time for each question and stick to it. Don’t spend too much time on any one question, and make sure you leave enough time to review your answers before submitting. 


Maintain a positive mindset throughout the exam period. Stay focused and calm, and don’t let stress or anxiety get the best of you. If you are prone to feeling overwhelmed ahead of exams, using these tips to stay organised and be prepared will help immensely.

Stay healthy

Get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, and eat a healthy diet. Taking care of your physical health will help you stay focused and alert during the exam period.

Celebrate your achievements. Learn from your mistakes.

After each exam, take time to celebrate your achievements. Recognise the hard work and effort you’ve put in, and use this positivity to propel you forward through the rest of your exams. If you don’t achieve the result you were hoping for in your assessment task or trial exam, use the exam paper and feedback to understand where you went wrong and adapt your study schedule and approach for your final HSC exam preparation.

By following these ten tips, you’ll be well on your way to achieving success in your HSC exams. Remember to stay focused, stay positive, and give it your best effort!

Watch Head Performance Coach Jesse Gardiner’s video below on how to overcome HSC exam room stress and anxiety.