During Year 12 and particularly in the lead-up to final exams, one of the most helpful things you can do for your teen is to help them with their HSC study plan.
The HSC is a rigorous and challenging program that requires students to study and prepare for their exams well in advance.
It’s common for students to struggle with an HSC study routine, so your support with making an HSC study plan will be vital.
Here’s your step-by-step guide on how to make a study plan with your teenager to support them with their HSC preparation.
Creating HSC goals
The first step in creating an effective HSC study plan is to help your teen set achievable goals. Encourage them to think about what they want to achieve in the HSC and what grades they want, as well as what they want to do after high school.
Based on this, help them create a list of achievable HSC goals. Goals should be SMART - specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. If they’re vague and unachievable or not challenging enough, your teen may get discouraged and lose motivation.
How to help make a study plan
Once your teen has set their HSC goals, the next step is to create a study schedule. The study schedule should be tailored to their individual needs and should take into account their daily routine.
Encourage your teen to make a list of all their subjects and allocate study time for each subject. It's important to make sure that your teen has enough time to study each subject in depth and that they don't neglect any subject. Have them put aside extra time for subjects they struggle with.
It works best if they break down their study sessions into smaller chunks, so they don't feel overwhelmed. For example, they could study for 30 minutes or an hour and then take a break. This will help them to stay focused during the time they actually are studying.
Identifying learning styles
Every student has a unique learning style and it's important to identify your teen’s learning style. Some students are visual learners, while others are auditory learners. Some students learn best by reading, while others learn by doing.
Work with your teen to determine their learning style, then help them tailor their study plan to suit their style. For example, if your teen is a visual learner, you can help them create visual aids such as diagrams, mind maps or flashcards, and stick them up all over the house. If your child is an auditory learner, you can encourage them to record their notes and listen to them while they study or walk around the block.
Distractions can be a major obstacle to effective studying. Your teen will probably find it easier to stick to their HSC study plan if they turn off their phone, find a quiet place to sit and have everything they need close to hand.
You can help by creating a study-friendly environment with a comfortable chair, a desk and good lighting – and nothing that can distract them from study. Their bedroom may not be the best place for your child to study, as there are plenty of things to distract them – including their bed. Plus, you don’t want to create a strong association between their bedroom and studying as that can affect sleep.
4 Hot HSC study tips for your teen
During the time your teen is studying, these tips will help with their HSC preparation.
Encourage your teen to deep dive into their topics, rather than just taking a surface-level approach. For instance, they can engage in active learning techniques such as conducting in-depth research, participating in discussions and debates, seeking out additional resources like scholarly articles or documentaries, or even experimenting with practical applications of the concepts they’re studying. In doing so, they’ll gain a deeper understanding of the subject matter and enhance their ability to handle unexpected questions come exam time.
Revise content multiple times
Revision of information should be a daily habit as repetition is indeed key to retention. Rote learning techniques, such as flashcards, repetition and recitation, mnemonics and drill exercises, can be used to reinforce memorisation. For example, creating flashcards with key facts or using mnemonic devices to associate with specific information can increase your teenager’s chances of remembering important details. These techniques can be particularly useful when learning mathematical equations, scientific formulas and historical dates. By repeatedly reviewing and reciting the information, it becomes ingrained in your teen’s memory, allowing for effortless retrieval during exams.
One of the best ways for students to retain and understand content in their HSC preparation is to teach other people. They can work with classmates to teach each other or tell you all about what they’re learning over dinner – make sure you ask lots of questions to really stretch their comprehension.
Focus on weaknesses
It’s tempting to focus on topics we’re confident in as that’s easier and more enjoyable, but make sure your teen is also tackling the subject areas they’re struggling with. They should be allocating extra time and effort to those areas as part of their HSC study routine to help them keep up.
Helping your teen with an HSC study routine is one of the smartest ways you can get involved in their HSC preparation.