How Hugh Improved by 23% in HSC English and Earned Bonus Points for University

🏅 Band 5 Result for HSC English Advanced

Hugh earned an incredible 83% result after turning his marks around by 23% over a short period of time!

🥸 Mastered Sophisticated Thesis Development

Hugh learned how to stand out with academic research techniques that added depth to the ideas in his essays.

🎓 Entry to B. Engineering/B. Commerce at USYD

By improving his English marks, Hugh scored several bonus points that earned him an offer into his dream course at university!

Orange curve
Yellow curve

The Challenge

When Hugh walked into his first Year 12 English assessment and got 60%, he realised that it was going to take a lot of work to improve. English was his worst subject and he had failed several assessments in Year 11. In the exam room, Hugh had quickly run out of time and felt unprepared to write on the spot. Because Hugh had a goal for university, he needed to make sure that his English marks didn’t ruin his ATAR and decided to get in touch with Art of Smart!

I remember walking into that assessment and it just being a total nightmare. Time ran short so fast. I think I got to write two paragraphs and an introduction. I ended up pulling a 12/20, which as far as I was concerned wasn’t that bad in the scheme of things. But it was pretty devastating trying to lift myself from that.

Key Problems

😴 Hugh had little motivation to study for English because he disliked the subject and couldn’t pinpoint his weak areas on his own

⏳ Hugh struggled with exam stress and often ran out of time when writing his responses

🧠 Hugh didn’t know how to come up with a sophisticated interpretation of his texts that had unique insight

Our Approach

Hugh began working with Art of Smart tutor Ian and attending Skills Classes to turn his marks around. Ian first helped Hugh form a Term Plan so that he could engage with his texts without having to cram the week before an assessment. The first two weeks of the term were dedicated to reading the text, then Hugh would collect evidence in TEE tables.

After that, Hugh was also encouraged to start reading academic articles that provided sophisticated analysis and taught him how to develop his theses. To prepare for his trial exams and HSC, Hugh scaffolded essay plans for five practise questions per module. 


  • Thesis development 
  • Deeper engagement with texts
  • Collecting literary analysis
  • Exam preparation


  • Reading academic articles 
  • Term planning
  • TEE tables
  • Scaffolded essay plans 

Reading Academic Articles 

Term Planning

TEE Tables 

Scaffolded Essay Plans 

The Result

Hugh’s work with tutor Ian built his marks up by 23% so that he could score an incredible 83% result for HSC English. Because he got a Band 5, Hugh was able to earn bonus points towards his ATAR under the Academic Excellence Scheme at the University of Sydney. Those bonus points got him over the line for his dream course in Engineering and Commerce! 


Increase in English marks


Final HSC English result 




Average student improvement in understanding and skills 

With Art of Smart, Hugh saw a 23% improvement in HSC English Advanced

Ian was great in the sense that he kind of knew what it took to get a top mark in English. He was able to show me what it required to articulate well in an essay. There’s a certain style they want you to write that’s kind of hard to grab, especially if you haven’t been doing it for most of your high school life. So I would say that Ian was a great support base to show me what I had to be doing and how I had to be writing.

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