This week we interview Blake Pearson – McMahon House Prefect to share his knowledge and advice on preparation towards the HSC:
1) What study strategies work best for you? Why are these the most effective?
Personally, I seek to do as many past paper questions as possible, seeking to familiarise myself with the content I have learnt and ensuring I remember it, but also able to synthesise what I have learnt into succinct responses. I find this to be most effective due to the fact that past paper questions fully prepares me for the finer details of an exam situation, such as time management, active recall and writing as fast and efficiently as possible.
I feel that a fixed routine has helped me immensely when it comes to study. Establishing a fixed study routine allows for each subject to be adequately addressed, and it incentivises study. Personally, when following a routine I tend to follow it strictly, allowing for a balance between the various aspects of life and subjects is created. Also, it is important that a fixed study routine is realistic and that there are breaks, making it easier to follow.
2) What study methods/ Strategies don’t work well for you?
Everyone’s study preferences are different, but for me, reading over notes is slightly ineffective, unless directly before an exam/assignment. In the weeks leading up to my assessment I try to have my study notes completed, allowing for me to complete as many past paper questions as possible, a method I find much more applicable and effective. I would not recommend reading over notes as a primary technique, but instead one that will complement other study practices, such as past paper questions.
3) What do you find most challenging in managing your HSC studies?
There are plenty of barriers and it is a highly subjective topic, but for me, ensuring a sufficient balance between school, sport and social life has been one of the main challenges, as well as managing the various distractions that are present when I am trying to study.
4) Any additional study strategies that you wish to share?
- Syllabus summaries- Completing syllabus summaries and memorising the syllabus/rubric is important as that is where all of the content questioned on comes from. A syllabus summary can help map out content, and knowing what information to include when questions regarding specific syllabus topics are asked. Completing these early will help to avoid procrastination as many past paper questions as possible can be completed.
- Use a Pomodoro timer- A Pomodoro timer helps structure study, guaranteeing 30 minutes of work and 5 minutes of a break. I find this method to be highly effective in avoiding burnout, maintaining engagement and ensuring my brain stays fresh and isn’t overwhelmed by excessive amounts of content from prolonged periods of study.
Assistant Pastoral Care Coordinator