Expert Tips on How to Excel in Years 11 and 12

Approaching years 11 and 12 can be a daunting prospect but surprisingly, most people prefer senior study to their junior years. Aside from English, students have chosen every subject they want to study which makes for a very liberating experience. So while senior students may need to study more, at least it's a lot more fun and passion is the key to success! Here are some tips by recent year 12 graduate, Anita, that will guide you to success during your final years of high school.


Establish personal goals that will enable you to have meaningful reasons to keep studying and working hard for the entire year.  Some people make “inspiration boards” and stick it up on the wall in their study home. An inspiration board can be whatever you make it – visual images or quotes to help motivate you. Put up things like your dream course, post-HSC plans, inspiring quotes or even your favourite celebrity! Your goals can be based on individual subjects, weekly achievements, ATAR results, university marks and more.  Just make sure those goals are goals you really want to achieve not those of your parents or friends.



If following a study timetable is not working for you, then try a day-by-day, to-do list, where you list all things you must complete and those that are optional each day. These tasks can be related to both school work and other commitments. Keep your list reasonable—you can only do so much in a day—and avoid procrastination by making little deals with yourself. For instance, allow yourself to surf the web for 10 minutes after 45-60 minutes of high-octane studying.


If you get distracted and feel as though you want to give up do this. Rehydrate your brain with some stretching and cold water, and visualise yourself at the end of the HSC year, achieving all the goals you want, and having no regrets. Smack your desired ATAR on the wall-and whenever you feel yourself tiring, have a 5 minute break and look at that number. Remind yourself  if you want that ATAR, you will just have to keep working hard and keep studying. That being said sometimes you are just too tired and a nap is a better recourse.


Take a 5-10 minute break for each hour of study, and during that time, either re-hydrate yourself or relax. Then plan what you will achieve in the next hour.


As you study write down any questions you find hard or don’t understand especially in subjects where consistency is key, like mathematics. Accumulate these questions until you get to a certain amount and then ask your teacher or friends for help. You could even try to solve the problems yourself.


Attempt practice papers and past year 11 and 12 exam questions on the topic you are studying. Doing practice papers is the best way you can prepare for assessment tasks and tests as they sometimes ask very similar questions and all questions are based on the syllabus.


Don’t try to get too much done during the week. Use the extra time afforded on the weekends to get some hard core study done and plan for the week ahead.


The most important element of studying efficiently is to listen in class! Pay attention to what the teacher has  to say, because if you understand the content in class, you don't have to waste  time trying to re-learn the concepts yourself at home.


Two common causes of burn out are irregular sleeping patterns and stress. Make sure you sleep and rest well so you are alert in your study. Take care to  eat healthy food and exercise and make sure that you are getting enough downtime. It is important to study but it is also important to hang out with your friends and see the light of day.