Your HSC year is a battlefield. You get past one obstacle, and there’s another two or three waiting for you!
It’s easy to be overwhelmed, but if you stick to a disciplined, consistent approach to study, you’ll be able to conquer all of your HSC assessments.
It’s important to do your best in each of your assessments during the HSC, as assignments and exams are the only tool you have to secure yourself a high rank and achieve the ATAR you want.
In saying that, if you don’t perform as well as you’d like in an HSC assessment, it’s not the end of the world. The good thing about having a number of assignments, exams and works in each subject is if you fall down in one assessment, the others can pick you up.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to approach assessments in your HSC year, and beyond:
- Know Your Task
Before even starting an assessment, learn what you need to know about it. If you’re given an essay question, make sure you know exactly what the question is asking you. If you’re preparing for an in-class test, know which topics you’re expected to know. If you’re not sure, let your teacher know – that’s what they’re there for.
- Know Your Content
Next, research and learn the topics and content that you might need to know or could include in your work. HSC assessments are used to get you to learn content for your final HSC examination in a manner different to classroom teaching. If you just do the bare minimum in this step, you’re making more work for yourself in the future. Be thorough.
- Make a Plan
Now, structure how you’re going to approach your assessment. If you’re working on an extended response question, map out what each of your paragraphs are going to discuss, including the evidences you’re going to use to support your arguments. If studying for a practical examination, write down the topics you could be assessed on, and the knowledge you’re supposed to have for each.
This step is vital, as a plan:
- let’s you know exactly the amount of work this assessment will require
- let’s you know exactly what content you’ll need to master
4. Flesh Your Plan Out
Once you’ve made a plan, you can add flesh to bone. You’ve already written the points or evidence you want to use per paragraph in an essay, or content you need to memorise for a test. Time to get to work and finish your first draft.
- Give Yourself Time
Try to get your assessments prepared a few days before they’re due. This gives your brain time to process the content you’ve learned, and cool down from the heat of completing an assessment. After a day or two, look at the work you’ve done again and assess it with fresher eyes. You’ll be surprised at how much you can improve your assessment’s quality just by giving it a few days rest.
- Use Exemplars
Now, and only now, that you’ve given your assignment your best shot, see how what you’ve done compares to the work of top performing students. Is there anything you can see to help improve the quality of your work? It’s important to only use exemplars after you’ve had a decent attempt at your assessment first, as skipping to the answers before you’ve finished your work limits your learning process.
If you are looking for quality exemplars, don’t forget that our HSC4ME app contains hundreds of exemplar tasks and responses!
Good luck with your assessments! And remember, your teachers are there to help you get the highest marks you can, so don’t be scared to ask them for help or if they would mind looking at a draft for you.