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  • Writer's pictureAnqi Teng

A Crammer's Guide to HSC English Success

Netflix binge sessions are all fun and games until you realise that procrastination is THE cause of one’s demise, especially with doomsday fast approaching (for the 2020 cohort, 20th of October is D-day!)

So here the countdown for HSC has officially begun! One month or so remaining and then it’s GAME DAY. Guess that means it’s time to stop panicking and get cramming. Of course, cramming is never the right way to study but we aren't here to judge today. We are simply here to share 5 ways to cram for English like a pro:

1. ***TIMED*** practice makes perfect

When solving practice papers, make sure you do so under strict exam conditions. So, store away all your notes, arrange your black pens on a tidy table, get a bottle of water ready, set a watch/timer in front of you and most importantly lock your phone in a separate room and chuck away the key. Lastly, kindly ask your family members to not disturb you for the next hour (or just kick them out 😝). Now you’re all set to sit the exam HSC style. Repeat this process with all the past practice papers you attempt because this will kill most, if not all your nerves during exam day. So, go ahead and print out some past practice papers (advice: hard copies make it easier to focus as there’s a less chance of your device buzzing off). Make sure you send your practice through to your teachers and tutors as well.

Nice locations to check out for study sessions:

· University libraries (Western Sydney Library, University of New South Wales library etc.)

· Council Libraries (Parramatta Library, Blacktown Library, City Library)

· Parks (Parramatta Riverside, Ollie Web Reserve, Parramatta Park)

* Note: Due to Covid19, circumstances may be different. As these are public spaces you may be asked to maintain 1.5 metres and the operating hours may vary. Please do your own research before trekking out *

2. Resource Hoarder

Collect exemplar pieces of work from different sources (teachers, tutors, former HSC graduates that performed well in the subject and internet websites: AceHSC- and ATAR Notes- ). Collate all the essays, creative writings and discursive then use them as a reference guide for your own work. Pay close attention to the structure, the analysis and derive inspiration from them for your personal writing (but don't under any circumstances plagarise). Adapt the existing paragraphs for different questions and include your own ideas into it, to create an ultimate masterpiece. Learn from previous students who have a good grasp of the content and know what they are talking about and follow in their footsteps.

3. Post-Its Can Save Your (Cramming) Life

Tis’ the season to flex your stationeries. A great life hack is to colour code post-it notes based on the different modules and write quotes based on themes/characters in your respective texts. This way you can stick them anywhere you please. Perhaps on your mirror so you can memorise them when getting ready or on your bedside wall so you’re able to glance and recite them before snoozing off. This strategy automatically gets you thinking about your quotes and memorising them in hindsight without having to panic seconds before heading into the exam hall.

4. Study Notes Playlist

Spotify playlists are cool and all but when it’s exam season they are a big no-go. Instead you can create audio recordings (not cringeworthy, I promise) of you reading out your quotes, techniques and chunks of analysis aloud for essay preparations. Additionally, recite creative stories or practice discursive conversations with yourself and listen to the recordings when going out for a quick workout or even a Maccas run. Pay close attention to sentence structures so that when you’re on ground writing, you can improve your expression. After the first 5 minutes where you want to dig a hole in the ground and hide there because your voice sounds so weird, you'll be revising at 10x the efficiency of reading your essay silently.

5. SLEEP, eat, study & repeat

This one is a no-brainer, yet we still forget the most important recipe to cramming efficiently- sleep. As fancy as pulling all-nighters sound, they in fact do more harm than good. Yes, it’s essential to cram until the information is etched into our memory but getting the full eight hours of sleep (believe me, amidst the HSC nightmare some sweet dreams are energising) and just as important to actually be able to retain the massive load of information taken in by our brain. In the long-term you’ll thank yourself for not looking like a sleep deprived zombie in your graduation and formal pictures.

Cramming does not work if you don't sleep because your brain literally is not given time to store the information. Sometimes when you feel like you can't memorise anything, a good night's sleep will surprise you with its efficacy.

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