The HSC Trials and HSC Exams ALWAYS come immediately after school holidays. Bummer.

And when you think of school holidays, you probably immediately think… SLEEPING IN! 

But with HSC Trials and Exams on the other side of the holidays, this could be the worst thing you do!


In this video and post, Rowan from #AOSTV shares a simple strategy you can use structure your school holidays study time prior to HSC Trials and HSC Exams so that you boost your productivity, reduce procrastination, and stay healthy so you don’t burn out!

Rowan shares:

1. Why sleeping in is the worst thing you can do
2. How your willpower works and why it will fail on you
3. A killer strategy you can use to structure your study time and get LOTS done!

Here’s how to structure your study time during school holidays!

1. Why You Should Never Sleep In

I know you want to sleep in during your holidays.

But let’s take a look at what typically happens when you do…

Let’s say you sleep in until midday. You then have some breakfast or lunch, and then start doing a bit of study in the afternoon. But then you tell yourself you’ve got lots of time, so you chill out and watch some Netflix.

Suddenly it’s dinner and you haven’t done any study.

You start feeling overwhelmed and start doing cram study after dinner late into the night. You go to sleep late, and then wake up EVEN later the next day.

Rinse and repeat.

Sound familiar?

This is why you SHOULD NOT sleep in during your school holidays as it creates a cycle which means you end up getting more and more tired, you get less done, and you feel stressed and overwhelmed!

2. How Your Willpower Works and Why it Will Fail

Every time you make a decision you are using your willpower.

And it’s like a fuel tank. The more decisions you make, the less fuel in the tank.

So it’s the reason why most people BREAK their diets later on in the day. They’ve spent the whole day avoiding those tempting delicious foods, and they’ve used up ALL their willpower fuel.

And then they get to dinner and they feel like dessert… And they’ve got nothing left in the tank to resist.

The same thing applies for your study. If you don’t have a plan of attack already in place for exactly when you will be studying each day, you need to use your willpower fuel tank to make decisions every day.

To study, or not to study right now? That is the question…

And invariably, you’ll use up all your willpower fuel VERY quickly.

What happens then?

Epic procrastination.

That’s why YOU need to have a plan in advance for each day during the holidays of exactly when you will be studying. This will mean you don’t need to use your willpower fuel to make decisions, and you will procrastinate less!

2. Killer Study Plan Strategy: Why You Should Pretend You Are Still at School

The best thing you can do (but you’re going to hate this advice…) is to PRETEND you are still at school.

That’s right.

Pretend you are still at school during your school holidays.

What do we mean?

Start studying each day when the school bell rings in the morning for your first period.

Take a break at recess and lunch.

Finish studying when the final bell rings for the last period.

Why does this work?

Firstly, this is a habit and structure you’ve had in your life for over 5 years. So it’s an embedded habit. Rather than needing to build an ENTIRE new habit for your school holidays, it means you can simply take advantage of an existing habit.

Secondly, you end up studying for 5-6 hours per day (depending on how long your school day is) which is a solid amount of study. This also shouldn’t be difficult to achieve because you do this EVERY day at school.

After 3pm-ish when your final bell rings, you’ve also got the rest of the day to DO WHATEVER YOU WANT! So every afternoon and night you get to chill out, relax and have fun. So you also stay sane and healthier this way, while getting lots done!

Finally, because you’ve got a system in place for when you will study, you don’t need to use your willpower fuel to make any decisions about when to study. This also means you procrastinate less.


So, here’s your action:

Get our your school timetable, and identify when school starts, and what time your break times are. Right these down on a big piece of paper and stick it on your wall in front of where you study. Use this each day to structure your study.

Recap: How to Structure You Study Time in the Holidays before HSC Trials & Exams

To recap what we’ve learned today:

#1 Never sleep in during the holidays before HSC Trials and Exams. You will end up studying later into the night, and wake up even later the next day. You will feel like you are not getting study done, but also feel like you are not relaxing and you will burn-out!

#2 Have a study plan in advance for each day so you don’t need to use your willpower fuel to make decisions. Every time you need to make a decision about whether to study or not, you are depleting your willpower fuel, which will make you more likely to procrastinate.

#3 Recreate your school day during your school holidays. Pretend you are still at school and start studying when the morning bell rings, have a break at recess and lunch, and finish studying when the final bell goes! This way you get 5-6 hours of study done EVERY day without having to make any decisions (that deplete your willpower) and you can relax and have fun from 3pmish onwards every day!

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Isabella Hanley loves science. She loves science so much she’s making it her career. While completing her Bachelor of Medical Science she is also a Coach and Digital Content Manager at Art of Smart. She is super passionate about sharing her knowledge on surviving the HSC since completing the HSC herself in 2014. In her downtime she enjoys Netflix binging like a pro, singing in the shower and hanging out with her awesome rescue dog, Ruby.