Are you nervous about your HSC English Advanced Exams? You should be, because it can impact your life.
Do you have a solid plan for your HSC Exams? You should have one, especially when thousands of students are competing.
So let’s make a plan!
Have you ever seen a baby learning to walk? Did they stand up, walk to the kitchen, and make themselves a ham sandwich the first time they tried to stand up? No! They did not. The first time that you sit down to write this essay within a time limit you will . . . fail. Now, you’ve written essays before, they were a part of “practice”. So, maybe, you’re already going to do just fine, but maybe you’re not. There is one way that can guarantee that you will do better: practice.
- More and More Practice!
I’m not kidding. Babies have to practice walking before they can walk, and the most skilled people on the planet spend more time practicing than they do performing. Professional athletes practice, and practice, and practice. That isn’t a fluke. The best practices for an athlete are special drills and simulations of game-time environments. The best practices for you are special drills and simulations of test-time environments. Do it in a similar chair and room to what you will be tested in if you can. Do it with the same time constraint. Do it with someone watching you. If you want to be the best you have to do what the best do, and that’s practice.
- Have a strategy.
What are the odds that a sports team or an army is going to win if they start without a plan and a strategy? Probably right around zero. You also must have a strategy. Know what you’re going to do first, know what you’re going to do second, know what you’re going to do last. Go in with a strategy. Practice your strategy. Adapt your strategy if you need to, but have a strategy.
- Know the rules.
Do you think that someone who doesn’t know the rules in chess could beat someone that does know the rules? No, that will not happen. You cannot win if you don’t know the rules. Look up the rules and know what to expect. And, that leads us to the next thing.
5. Do your research.
It isn’t hard. Go to the website and look up everything that you need to know. http://www.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/hsc_exams/
How does the grading work? They tell you. What are the times? They tell you. How much is this section worth? They tell you. Use that to your advantage and know what to expect.
- Look up definitions.
When you’re doing your research you’re going to encounter things that you don’t know, or you don’t fully understand, or things that you think you feel you understand but actually you don’t, or all three. When you’re looking through last years’ HSC English Advanced exams papers, because you’re doing your research in preparation for your practice, you may encounter something like this.
“An exploration of intertextual connections reveals the relationship between context and key values.”
Here is the link to the exam paper: http://educationstandards.nsw.edu.au/wps/wcm/connect/da55b41d-d2cb-4ea5-b257-543f483122c3/2016-hsc-english-adv-p2.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE-da55b41d-d2cb-4ea5-b257-543f483122c3-lHPDFVU
Now, if you fully understand the meaning of every word within this specific context, great, but if you don’t you need to look them up. This will pay off in dividends.
Yes, this is real, and it’s very important. There are studies that state that ‘your scores will fall an average of 30 percent if you don’t have adequate sleep the night before’. That’s fine. All you need to know is that if you don’t sleep enough the night before you will do poorly. No sleep = bad score. The solution is pretty simple, sleep. Maybe you have trouble sleeping the night before a big test. Well, find something that works for you. Work out hard that day and you might sleep well. Read before bed and you might sleep well. Go to bed two hours early and that might work. Find what works for you, just make sure you get enough sleep.
- When you’re stuck, adapt.
You’ve written essays before, you’ve even done HSC English Advanced Exams before, but you still might get stuck, and you should be mentally prepared for that. What do you do? What can you do? You adapt. What I mean is that you adapt something you’ve said before. Take some other point that you’ve made in some other essay at some other time and adapt it to this situation. Press on, keep going.
- Don’t cram – do warm-up.
Cramming works, sometimes, kind of. Preparation works better. Athletes don’t just walk onto the field and start playing, they would pull a muscle. Instead, they warm-up. You should too. You have to find what works for you, but the brain and muscles are a little different. It may be best for you to warm-up the day before. Take some of those practice questions and just write a quick essay the day before, just to refresh, just to warm-up.
- Stay calm and carry on.
Panic! That’s the best way to make good things bad and bad things worse. Find a way to stay calm. Meditate, or just breathe, or go to your happy place, or imagine swimming in a pool of delicious butterscotch pudding; whatever works for you.
Sure, the HSC English Advanced Exams are important. It’s natural and normal to be a little nervous about them. Use that energy – ‘nervous energy’ to push yourself to better scores. You’re worrying about the HSC English Advanced Exams? Good! Take that time to research, take that time to practice. Make yourself better and you won’t regret it.