BlogMathematicsHow James Went From a Band 2 to a Band 6 in HSC Maths Advanced

How James Went From a Band 2 to a Band 6 in HSC Maths Advanced

Like most students, James went into his senior year with a few goals in mind — whether that’s an ATAR goal, a course they want to get into or a goal for a specific subject like HSC Maths Advanced.

But, James’ marks from his Term 1 Maths Advanced set him reeling and in panic mode!

Let’s hear James’ tips on how he went from receiving a 56% in one of his HSC Maths Advanced exams to turning that around — and even getting an offer for his dream degree in Medicine!

Let’s get started!

Tip #1: Ask For Help 
Tip #2: Complete Difficult Questions 
Tip #3: Practise Under Time Pressure 
Tip #4: Make Your Practice More Difficult Than the Actual Exam

Tip #1: Ask For Help 

Receiving a low mark for a Year 12 assessment task can be an upsetting and stressful experience, especially if you have a set of goals that you’re hoping to achieve.

This was exactly the case with James who received a 56% in his Term 1 HSC Maths Advanced exam.

The mark was much lower than he had expected and left James deflated. His goal of getting into Medicine and seemed to slip through his hands.

Despite this, James remembered to stay calm and decided that it was time to ask for some help!

Ready to do what it takes to score a Band 6 in Maths? Read our complete guide to acing HSC Maths here!

“Having someone to bounce my questions off and really sort of solidify the foundations was helpful,” James tells us.

James got his very own Sydney Maths tutor from Art of Smart who guided him through the rest of his HSC Maths Advanced journey. This ensured he got support every step of the way so he could perform at his best!

Reflecting on the work James and his tutor did together, he says “each week Clement would give me a few questions he’d get from a few past papers…and show me the mistakes that I made in my working.”

Are your Advanced Maths study notes worthy of a Band 6 result? Find out here!

Tip #2: Complete Difficult Questions 

Students often stick to completing questions they’re confident in – the easier ones at the beginning of homework exercises or at the beginning of exams.

But, the only way to improve is to challenge yourself.

This means sitting down and working on some difficult questions until you have some idea on how to solve them or at least start off the process.

This was something James started doing to get his marks back on track.

James’ Advice: Look for difficult HSC Maths Advanced questions to complete. For example, the last 10 questions in homework exercises or questions found at the end of practice papers!

By completing a range of difficult questions, James realised that “the whole logical problem solving aspect to it [maths], knowing that it has to be something that we’ve already learnt, it’s just about putting the pieces together in a different order.”

“I was making sure that I was doing the last questions, those last ten [homework exercises],” he says, running us through his study routine, “and then I would try to find something to follow that up, like in a past paper.”

Looking for HSC Maths past papers to work through? Check out our master list here!

Tip #3: Practise Under Time Pressure 

Once you’re comfortable with all your content and have completed a bunch of difficult questions, it’s super important to complete individual questions and whole practice papers under timed conditions.

By doing this, you prepare and get used to the stress and pressure of the real exam. This will allow you to remain calm and perform to your full potential come exam time!

James used this technique, completing a variety of part papers under full timed conditions and separate questions within a time limit (approx. 2 min per mark).

Learn how Cassandra Turned HSC Maths into One of Her Strongest Subjects here!

One of James’ activity during his tutoring sessions was completing a set of 60 HSC multiple-choice questions in 60 minutes.

This allowed him to be exposed to a variety of question types and ways of thinking about different questions, but an added time pressure allowing James to practice for completion with speed and accuracy.

“It’s really about making sure that when you do a question you do it right the first time rather than having to set it aside and go back to it later,” James says.

Extra activity: Pick out a question that is worth 4 marks and put a timer on for 6 minutes (two minutes less than you might have in an exam!) and see how you go whilst completing it!

Tip #4: Make Your Practice More Difficult Than the Actual Exam

As you might have noticed with these tips, every activity that turns your mark around will be a little bit more difficult than the actual HSC itself might be. This is definitely not a coincidence!

Making your practice and study a little bit more difficult for yourself helps prepare you better for your HSC exams — by the end, you will be ready for a variety of tough, time consuming questions.

This can seem a little counterintuitive, it’s been tried and tested!

James ended up with an external HSC score of an amazing 93%, an amazing increase from his lowest score of 56% and to top it all off, he received an offer for Medicine at a university in Adelaide!

Want to know what it’s like studying Medicine at USYD? Check out Asanka’s and Aimee’s story here!

And that’s all! 

By challenging himself, working hard and getting some help from Art of Smart Education, James was able to turn his marks around and reach his goal of getting into medicine — and you can do it too! No goal is too big, as long as you have a little grit, determination and quality study!

Want to know the top tips for Trials and HSC Prep? Tune into Maitreyi’s advice here!

And that’s it — acing Maths Advanced has never been easier! 

Check out more of our HSC resources here:

Looking for some extra help with studying HSC Maths Advanced?

We pride ourselves on our inspirational coaches and mentors!

We offer tutoring and mentoring for Years K-12 in a variety of subjects, with personalised lessons conducted one-on-one at one of our state of the art campuses in Hornsby or the Hills! Our tutors also travel to support students their homes in Chatswood and Sutherland Shire, provide targeted tutoring lessons in Burwood, engaging Maths tutoring in Kellyville, as well as all across NSW!

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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