BlogMathematicsDerek’s Top 5 Tips for Drastically Improving Your Marks in HSC Advanced Maths

Derek’s Top 5 Tips for Drastically Improving Your Marks in HSC Advanced Maths

It’s no secret that Maths is a tough subject. Understanding the nitty gritty details of complex and abstract concepts is difficult in itself, but having to apply these concepts to questions that you may not have ever seen before is a whole new ball game!

But, no matter how tricky, Maths is definitely doable with hard work and effort! Like many HSC subjects, Maths Advanced, which is the topic of our article today, is definitely a ‘reap what you sow’ type of course where the amount of work you put in helps you reach whatever goal you may have.

Art of Smart student, Derek, was able to drastically improve his Maths Advanced marks from a 50% in his first Year 11 task, to a Band 5 result in his HSC Maths exam – a 27% improvement!

So, what are you waiting for? Keep scrolling for some amazing tips and tricks on how to bounce back from a disappointing Maths result and smash HSC Maths Advanced! 

Tip 1: Take a step back and understand where you went wrong 
Tip 2: Effectively double down on your mistakes and reflect often!
Tip 3: Doing a variety of practice papers in untimed and timed conditions
Tip 4: Celebrate the small wins and be patient with yourself!
Tip 5: Be consistent 

Tip 1: Take a step back and understand where you went wrong 

Receiving a not so great mark for a senior Maths exam can be deflating and difficult to deal with. You may enter a space where you feel as though you are not good enough to complete the subject, that you aren’t able to understand the difficult concepts that may come up, and that you just don’t want to do Maths anymore.

These are all natural feelings that may pop up, but it is of utmost importance to ‘take a step back and reflect’ as Derek mentioned. 

If you’ve received a disappointing Maths mark even though you felt like you prepared for it in the best way possible, it’s a good idea to take a deep breath, recollect yourself and take a look at the mistakes you made. Evaluate whether your mistakes were because you didn’t understand a concept properly, whether it was a silly mistake, or whether you hadn’t prepared yourself for difficult question types enough.

This evaluation will help you determine the course of action you will take after this point!

“When I came home from getting the result, I think the most important thing I did was to take a step back and just sort of analyse everything I did [before sitting the exam] – what did I do, and what didn’t I do?” Derek reflected. 

Derek mentioned that some of the thoughts that crossed his mind during these moments of reflection were “maybe I didn’t do enough, maybe I should’ve tried some more difficult questions, maybe I should’ve asked for extra help in class” which helped him identify areas that he could have improved on, and that he worked on developing leading up to his future exams. 

Feel like you need some help figuring out where you’ve gone wrong? Get the right support with our Penrith Maths tutors!

Tip 2: Effectively double down on your mistakes and reflect often!

For every single mistake that you get in your Maths exams and practice papers, it is of utmost importance that you take note of them, and really understand how to solve them! Reflecting upon the reasons why you have made these mistakes and taking effective action in these specific weak areas will help you drastically improve.

To add to that, it is super important to do questions that are out of your comfort zone, that are difficult, and are under the topics that you are weak in. By doing this, you are not only using your time effectively by working on areas that need improvement but ensuring that you understand each and every syllabus dot point that could come up in your Maths papers!

Derek mentioned, “After that 54 in my exam, I really knuckled down on the questions that I didn’t do well in.”

Looking for someone to guide you through your Maths mistakes? Check out our top rated Sydney Maths tutors!

Tip 3: Doing a variety of practice papers in untimed and timed conditions

Similar to all of your HSC subjects, doing practice papers is probably the best way to study once you know all of your content! Starting your papers off untimed and moving to timed conditions really helps simulate an exam environment and allows you to remember content better as you will be using your knowledge from memory to apply to different question types.

Maths is all about exposing yourself to different types of questions and gaining experience in knowing what to do when you come across an unfamiliar question! Doing many practice papers will help you gain this experience.

Ensure your HSC Advanced Maths Study Notes are effective by checking out our guide here!

Tip 4: Celebrate the small wins and be patient with yourself!

This is something that most students forget to do, but is so important in order to maintain your motivation to study and continue working hard! Every time you make an improvement in anything, whether this be your marks, concentration, or your study effectiveness – commend yourself for it.

Give yourself a little reward and acknowledge how hard you worked, the effort you put in and devise how you will continue to move forward with the same, or more motivation than you currently have. This helps you complete your HSC year sustainably and in a manner where you are not worn out by the end – remember that your HSC year is a marathon, not a sprint!

“In my second exam I got around a 60, which wasn’t a massive improvement, but I reassured myself, saying that 54 wasn’t me, that the 54 doesn’t define me, that I can exceed my own expectations,” Derek said.

Tip 5: Be consistent 

This tip flows on quite nicely from the last. To emphasise, your HSC year is a marathon, not a sprint!

Consistency is often key to getting good marks overall, and in any subject! Even if you complete one hour of work everyday for three subjects, the consistent practice that you get in by working on a subject everyday ensures that you are not falling behind in anything and that you are always exercising and improving the skills that you have in that particular subject.  

“From the get-go, I knew that Maths needed consistency. Maths was the only subject that I worked on every single day,” Derek said. 

Looking for some extra help with HSC Advanced Mathematics?

We pride ourselves on our inspirational HSC Advanced Mathematics coaches and mentors!

We offer tutoring and mentoring for Years K-12 in a variety of subjects, with personalised lessons conducted one-on-one in your home or at one of our state of the art campuses in Hornsby or the Hills!

Looking to improve like Derek? We have Maths tutors around Sydney, including holistic tutors in Hurstville. We also have fantastic tutors based in Hoxton Park.

To find out more and get started with an inspirational tutor and mentor get in touch today!

Give us a ring on 1300 267 888, email us at [email protected] or check us out on TikTok!


Yasmin Hasan is a current first year psychology student at UNSW. She loves making art, playing piano or reading in her spare time. She graduated from high school in 2021 so her memories of her own high school experience are still quite fresh. She would love to use her own experiences to help other students build their confidence and improve in their academics!

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