Standard, Advanced and Extension Maths: HSC Exam Strategies

In your HSC maths exams, be time weary, but don't rush! Don't spend copious amounts of time on any one question, come back to it later on and look at it with a fresh mind and you will probably notice something you didn't before.

Questions near the start of the paper ARE WORTH THE SAME MARKS as questions towards the end that usually take significantly more time. Best to devote time to easier questions than rush them and lose marks on harder ones at the back that are designed for the top tier students.

YOU DO NOT NEED TO HAVE THE CORRECT ANSWER TO GET MARKS. Show all working. Start working towards what you think might get the answer, even if you're doubting it. You can get so many easy marks by doing parts of a question, even if you're clueless as to how to find the answer. Especially for harder questions, you can score the easiest of marks by finding bits and pieces required for the answer (even by writing down and substituting into a relevant formula!).

Your errors carry! If you can't get the first part, you can still get full marks in the second. You can even make up an answer to the one before it and use that for your next solution. As long as you clearly explain what you've done and how you've calculated it you can get full marks!

After working out the answer, look back at the question and MAKE SURE that you have found exactly what the question is asking and given it in the correct form.

Also check that your answer MAKES SENSE logically (eg if you calculate the length of a table to be 0.3 cm or a bag costs $1300293 then you might want to double check your answer).

If you have time to spare, substitute answers back into questions to check them, or better yet, REDO questions without looking at your answer. If you get the same answer twice, then things are looking good!

Complete about 3/4 of the multiple choice questions (or complete them until they get too difficult/time consuming), move on to the rest of the paper, and do the rest of the multiple choice at the end. This is an easy way to get in the exam spirit, save time, and if you do run out at the end they're a lot easier to guess.

Use ‘process of elimination’ for multiple choice questions.. Increases your probability of getting it right!

Obviously study is important, but it’s even easier to process and understand things as you do them in class, so it doesn’t all catch up on you in exam season. Make sure you’re doing your work consistently throughout the term so that you aren’t in for any surprises come exam preparation.

The best way to study pre-exam is by doing past papers specific from your school with the same topics in them. These will have been written by the same people, and at the same difficulty as the one you’re going to sit.

Take it easy! It's quite a long exam and stressing, over thinking and second checking your way through it won't do any favours! Have a good night’s sleep leading up to it. You've done well to get 'till here, and it's won’t be long until exams are over!!


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