How Does Math Literature Contribute To The Success Of Students The HSC Mindset

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The HSC Mindset

We are now in Term 4 of 2009. This means that all Year 11s have just moved into Year 12 and are in the first term of their HSC. Now for the real deal: all school assessments count towards your internal rank. Your assignments and exams at school will affect your ATAR, and your HSC final exams are less than a year away.

It’s time to get into the right mindset to get the ATAR you want.

How to set goals

Goal setting is an effective motivational tool that can help you stay focused and on track for success in your HSC. Staying focused and motivated throughout the 2 years from the start of Year 11 plays an important role in your eventual success in achieving the ATAR you need for your ideal university course. Staying focused and motivated is also the biggest challenge students face. This is where effective goal setting can help.

There are many books written on this subject, but what you need to learn is to know break big goals in small actionable tasks. For example, let’s say your final HSC goal is to get the ATAR you need for your dream university course. This is a very common goal, shared by all HSC students who are enthusiastic and dedicated to their studies.

Break big goals into small ones

So how would you go about breaking that goal down into smaller, actionable tasks?

First, commit to breaking the habit of procrastination. Accept that for great things to happen, there must be a commensurately large amount of work that needs to be done, on your part. Think of it as a “law of conservation of effort and rewards,” or the old adage, “you reap what you sow.” To get a high ATAR, you have to study, there’s no two ways about it. Do all schoolwork (and tutoring!) and ask questions until you fully understand all concepts before moving on.

Now, since it is a fact that you need to work and study hard, you need to figure out what you can do every day to achieve your goal. The second step is to figure out what is a sustainable amount of studying that you can do each day. Commit to this amount, every day, for as long as you can. Draw up a schedule in which to divide your study time between your subjects. Spend more time on your weaker subjects; this approach will generally maximize your overall grade (due to diminishing returns to excellence in each individual subject). Make a schedule, commit to it and STICK to it.

The third and final step is to START TODAY. Remember, there is no longer any reason for you to procrastinate because you have accepted the fact that hard work is necessary for great rewards.

Keep the small goals realistic The thing to remember about setting smaller goals is to keep them realistic and achievable. For example, let’s say your goal is to do well on an upcoming math exam and you need to master integration and polynomials before the exam. Then what you can do is divide the content and exercises you will need to do into daily portions and do those portions every day. Keep the amount achievable, but don’t be lazy. Do as much as you can and then take a break.

reward yourself Rewarding yourself is an important part of the whole process. It is wrong to believe that HSC success comes from total sacrifice of social life and leisure time for the entire two years.

Although setting goals is important, so is reinforce the achievement of objectives with proportional rewards. Decide for yourself before starting each goal what the reward for the goal is. For example, you might have a goal of getting 90% on your upcoming Physics exam. You may think that this is particularly difficult for you, as Physics is one of your weakest subjects. So you might decide that if you achieve that goal, you’ll go out for a day or two, or have a party, or buy yourself something nice. However, it is also important that your activity is something that involves movement. Since studying requires you to be at home/school/library, it’s not a good idea to spend your breaks doing something at home like playing computer games all day.

Study Smart, Study Hard Have you heard some people tell you to “study smarter, not harder”? This is one of the most dangerous things to believe because it puts students in the wrong mindset. Yes, there are ways to study smarter as it comes from understanding how the HSC works, how the HSC scale works, what percentile is required for a given aggregate grade etc. Plus, there are definitely huge benefits to learning effective study habits. such as how to set schedules, set goals (which this article teaches!) and how to maximize the use of your resources (teachers, books, etc.). However, that does NOT mean you shouldn’t work as hard as you can. Instead, every time you hear someone say “study smarter, not harder”, you should respond with “why not do both?”.

“Study Smart AND Study Hard” – That’s how to get a 99.95.

Things you can do to study smarter:

  • Find out about how the HSC works, such as the HSC scale, how the ATAR is calculated, what marks are required for your required ATAR, etc.
  • Get the most out of your teachers in school and tutoring
  • Use quality textbooks for your subjects. Sometimes notes from previous students/friends etc., even from school teachers, are not as comprehensive as the textbook.
  • Study with friends as dedicated as you

Things you can do to study more:

  • Stop procrastinating – start today!
  • Make a schedule, stick to it
  • Set small, realistic goals that are part of your larger goals

Final thoughts

The key to HSC success is not how ‘naturally bright’ you are. It’s also not what school you go to (although having great teachers helps a lot, you can always find great tutoring teachers). The most important thing is consistency in hard work.

Nothing worthwhile comes easily. Half the effort does not produce half the results, it produces no results at all. Work, continued work and hard work, is the only way to achieve results that last.“-Hamilton Holt

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