Even if you screw up one assessment early on during the HSC, it’s never too late to turn your marks around — especially your HSC Chemistry marks.
In this video, Maddy talks about how she went from a mark of 30% to a final mark of 70%. Not only did she improve her overall mark by 40%, she was accepted into her dream university course!
Keen to find out how Maddy managed to improve? Let’s dive in!
Chemistry at the Beginning of Year 12
Maddy felt “pretty deflated” when she received her first HSC Chemistry mark of 30% back. It made her realise that Chemistry is a lot harder in senior years of study than in junior years.
While it was difficult for her to get over how low her mark was sitting at, she had really great support from her Chemistry teacher who motivated her. There were definitely moments when Maddy felt like she just wanted to quit studying the subject at a HSC level, especially since some of her friends dropped the subject too.
Maddy’s Final HSC Chemistry Mark
Maddy received a result in the 70% range, improving her mark by 40% since her first assessment! With this result, Maddy was accepted into Macquarie University to complete a Bachelor of Game Design and Development.
To get into this course, she applied through Macquarie University’s Early Entry Scheme which she says helped her worry less about her ATAR. Talking about her range of extracurriculars both in and outside of school, such as robotics, pride club and science club, really allowed her application to stand out!
If you really want your application to be distinct, you should put things that are related to the course your would like to complete, while simultaneously showing off your other interests. The more diverse your activities are, the more your application will make a difference.
Find out more about how to make your early entry applications stand out here!
Five Tips to Improve Your HSC Chemistry Marks
Tip #1: Consider Tutoring
Maddy knew that she needed to put more work into her chemistry study. She had a talk with her parents about the possibility of getting tutoring to help her along with understanding the course.
So, she started tutoring with Art Of Smart at the beginning of Year 12 and worked with Adrian — Art of Smart’s Head of Science. Within the small tutor class, Maddy was able to have the time to study, be exposed to complex ideas and past HSC questions, ask questions, and work with her fellow peers studying chemistry.
Having a passionate teacher like Adrian really helped Maddy to increase her overall score.
Tip #2: Review Past Content & Read Ahead
To get a better grasp on concepts that would be taught in class, Maddy would review past lessons and even read ahead in the textbook. This meant that she knew what to expect and could come prepared with questions she wanted to ask to clarify concepts.
Beginning her HSC year with a low mark really motivated her to work harder and increase her overall results, so she was really encouraged to stay disciplined.
Tip #3: Adapting Study Notes to Suit You
Maddy was writing study notes for chemistry “on the odd occasion,” but she didn’t let it take up too much of her time. Writing notes would stress Maddy out a bit too much.
What she did instead was to write down anything that she didn’t understand from class when she got home from school to consolidate her understanding. Although practice papers were hard to come by due to the change in the HSC syllabus from 2018 to 2019, Maddy was still practicing her application of Chemistry through reading through her Chemistry textbook and asking her teacher for help with any concepts she didn’t understand.
Tip #4: Discussing Concepts with Peers and Teachers
In preparation for the Trials and HSC exams, Maddy found it best to study with her peers, engaging in discussions around class content to help her understanding of Chemistry. She also found it helpful trying to teach concepts to her peers to enhance her overall ability to apply her knowledge of the subject in exams.
In particular, if Maddy didn’t understand something from the lesson, she would straight away ask her peers or teacher for help to immediately consolidate her content understanding. Maddy was extremely lucky to have supportive peers and teachers to help her achieve her best in chemistry — she was never afraid to ask them for help.
Tip #5: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Maddy’s biggest advice for improving results in Chemistry is to not be afraid of asking for help, whether this be from a teacher, peer, or parents/guardians. The HSC is a long journey — it’s almost impossible to do it alone.
Maddy’s story in achieving not only a 40% increase in her HSC Chemistry mark but also receiving early entry into her dream university course is an incredibly empowering and motivating story. If you do need support, make sure you get your support team around you to help you through the HSC.
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Grace Mitchell hopes to one day stand in front of a Year 12 Modern History class teaching the history of the Soviet Union, or have an insightful discussion with a Year 10 English class on race relations in To Kill a Mockingbird. Either way, Grace is beginning her teaching journey studying a Bachelor of Education (Secondary: Humanities and Social Sciences)/Bachelor of Arts at Sydney University. Grace loves to learn new things, write short stories and opinion pieces, read, and play contemporary Australian compositions on the clarinet. When she is not learning – if that is possible – Grace loves to sit and watch the sun set.