Maximising Your HSC Advanced Maths Marks and Not Your Hours of Study

Dymocks Maths Tutor Larissa, takes us through her top 3 tips on studying smarter, not harder for your Maths Advanced Preliminary and HSC exams.

Have you ever wondered why some students perform better than other students in HSC Advanced Maths with the same amount of study time? The answer to this question is not as puzzling as you may think.

Turns out it’s not about “how long” these students spend studying, but rather a consideration of “how” these students study. Students who get more out of their study often follow three guiding principles:

  1.  Consistency
  2.  Efficiency
  3.  Thoughtfulness

No. 1 – Consistency

Students who perform best in HSC Advanced Maths are students who are consistent with the time allocation and effort they put in with their study. These students often commit themselves to study for a workable time period each day (say, 1 hour) and continue this habit throughout the year, rather than neglecting study for their other subjects and cramming maths non-stop for 2 weeks (or even days) out from an exam.

Consistent study throughout the year gives these students adequate time to revise, practise their skills and to seek clarification on areas of uncertainty as needed.

No. 2 – Efficiency

Students who are efficient with their study spend their time wisely by focusing on areas of weakness rather than areas they are already confident in. Knowing what your areas of weaknesses are and focusing on them involves looking over marks you have received for previous assessments and class topic tests, then identifying the topics (or areas within a topic) that you lost the most marks in.

More efficient studiers complete questions that range in difficulty. For example, if you are working through an exercise in your textbook and you are finding the questions to be quite easy, stop doing that exercise and find some more challenging questions for that topic. HSC past papers are fantastic tools to use to find some more difficult questions. Use them well!!

No. 3 – Thoughtfulness

Students who are thoughtful with their study make a conscious effort to think about how the concepts learnt in HSC Advanced Maths apply to the process used to solve a question. That is, they think about “why” the concepts learnt allow a process to work rather than only thinking about a sequence of steps that describe “how” the process works.

Making a conscious habit within your study to think about “why” a process works, helps when it comes to tackling challenging questions in an exam situation. This is because you are less likely to be “thrown off” by a question in an unfamiliar style, as you can often distil the question down to the relevant concepts you need to apply to solve it.

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