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Study Tips For Year 11 and 12 – Tips from a 95 ATAR student

Study Tips For Year 11 and 12

Ash who achieved an Atar of 95.3 has shared her Study tips for year 11 and 12 with us. Read Ash’s story to see how she managed to get an ATAR of 95.3 and also the things that Ash learned after graduated High School.

In January 2016, I was an undergraduate medicine hopeful who was determined to dedicate all of her time to study. I had read all the HSC articles I could get my hands on, attended countless lectures on studying and had designed a 24+ hours a week study timetable ready for action. I was convinced that my workload would be defined by my ATAR, and my ATAR define me. Over the year, I discerned what kind of impact this had on my self-worth, my anxiety and my mental health in general – ultimately coming to the present conclusion that everyone and anyone should avoid this mindset.

My name is Ash, and I graduated in 2016 with an ATAR of 95.3, five Band 6s and one Band 5 with a score of 89. I was in the top 3 of each of my classes with one distance education subject that I started about 2 months late. I had the highest accumulative rank of my year in assessment marks. But it has only been now, with the time I have post-HSC and pre-Uni, that I finally understand my rights and my wrongs during my last year of school. With positive mental health in mind, ­­I can safely say my summarized advice would be motivation, balance, honesty and a solid method.


Motivation is the driving factor. It is SO important. I would recommend taking some time to really find something that makes you want to study. For me, it consisted of empowering quotes and images in a place where I could regularly see them. My pin-board, background, even my bathroom mirror. It’s something that takes time, but it’s worth it.


I denied the concept of balance in my HSC life, thinking that I would get that 99 and an unreal UMAT score if I just knuckled down hard enough. But in reality, it IS impossible to spend every waking moment of your day studying, so make sure you have a regular outlet. It was something I kind of neglected, which was DEFINITELY not healthy. It leads to procrastination. Don’t deny yourself that time to just be yourself, because if you’re like me, you need to know that you CAN exist outside of the HSC.


Know yourself and be honest when it comes to a­­ctual study time. We’ve all sat down and thought, ‘I didn’t study today, but I’ll just do MORE tomorrow.’ And the cycle continues. Personally, I knew that I didn’t concentrate when I came home from school, so I would sometimes squeeze in some work at lunchtime to make up for it. I also get fidgety and distracted after about 45 minutes of work, so my routine was 45:15 of study:break. Try checking out the Pomodoro technique if you’re not sure what works for you. You’ll find that if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll feel more accomplished and it’ll help with motivation- because success is addictive.


Find a study method and an effective timetable that works (and one you’ll stick to). Be organized with what, how and when you’ll study – in that order. I cannot recommend highly enough the free TSFX lectures, which provide an exam study timetable and the BEST studying method ever. I organized my subjects around these tips, and it allowed me to know my content inside and out.

I’m just about to start studying Pre-Medicine and a Diploma of Languages at UTS – and whilst it’s not living up to what my January 2016 self expected, I could not be happier. Because I know I knew my content, I did my best and I did what I loved. At the end of the day, the HSC, whether it means anything to you or not, is a big part of your life at this point. Most importantly is to try your best and do what you enjoy, because it is an experience which can shape who you are. But it does not define you.

If you want to share your ATAR story and advice with us, please feel free to contact us.

Other resources and Study Tips for year 11 and 12:

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