How to be ready for exam time: Our Top 7 Study Tips

Everyone has a different way of studying.

Some get up early, some stay up late, some do it by reading, some do it by listening. Some even say that coffee is critical (tip: it’s not).

No matter what you do, the most important thing is to find the best way for you to study, understand and retain information. Then you just need to practice.


Here’s our Top 7 Study Tips that’ll get you ready for your high school exams, HSC, and beyond.


1. Routine, routine, routine.

Yep, that’s right, find your best way of doing things and stick to it.

If it’s half an hour when you get home from school and then some exercise, followed by another hour and a half in the evening, then do it. If it’s getting up at 5.30am and studying for 2 hours, then do it. Just make a routine out of it so that your body (and your mind) gets used to it, rather than studying randomly.


2. One thing at a time.

We all think that we’re secretly multi-tasking gurus and that a smartphone, tablet, laptop, music and social media going all at once makes us ‘awesome’.

But in reality, it doesn’t. Countless university studies show that we’re far less effective when we’re doing more than one thing at a time. So turn off social, put your phone in a drawer and focus.


3. Know the Syllabus.

Sure, that sounds incredibly boring but hey, the secrets to getting good marks are all right there.

If you understand the syllabus and the expectations for each subject, then it’s a lot easier for you to focus on studying the right things, rather than just studying everything in the subject textbook. Syllabus = important stuff, Textbooks = everything stuff. Got it?


4. Become a note-taking ninja.

If you’re not already an avid note-taker, then it’s time to become one.

After checking out the syllabus and getting clear on what’s important, the next step is to make notes in a dedicated study folder. Keep it with you in all study periods so that you can refer to it and add new notes as you come across them. It’s a great idea to highlight the important ones. Then, before your exams, you can go back through it and know that you’re reading EVERYTHING you need to know at once.


5. Keep yourself healthy.

“Yes Mum” we hear you say. But it’s true.

Staying up late and then drinking heaps of energy drinks and coffee isn’t the way to succeed, no matter how ‘cool’ it might seem. You need to get back to basics. Sleep (8-10 hours a night). Drink 2L of water a day (at least). EXERCISE (yeah!). And lastly, eat good food my young Padawan.


6. Get some goals.

It’s hard to stay motivated when you’re putting yourself through a non-stop schedule of school, study and sleep.

So by having something to look forward to, a reward if you like, it’s heaps easier to stay on track through the months ahead. For some, it’s the school formal or Schoolies Week (stay safe, ok?). And for others, it’s a gap-year exploring far off countries with just a backpack. Whatever it is for you, make sure it’s something that you really want and can keep focused on.


7. Lots of little makes lots.

Ok, that didn’t make much sense. But here’s what we mean: a little each day adds up to a whole heap at the end. If you don’t study every day, the little study periods you haven’t done will add to a LOT you haven’t done. If you do study a little each day, it’ll add up to a LOT that you HAVE DONE. Which option do you want?


All in all – HSC or end of year exams DO mean a lot for your future. But they’re not the ‘be-all and end-all’.

Plenty of famous and amazing people who’ve greatly succeeded in life totally sucked at school and especially at exams. And even if you do fail, you can always go and do it again. So just chill, focus, and do the best you can.

But if you can ‘kick-ass’ at this the first time around by following the tips above, you’ll be really thankful you did.

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