It’s the night before your HSC exam — what do you do? How do you best prepare? You might be surprised to hear that studying actually isn’t the best idea!
Studying the night before can potentially be the worst possible thing you can do.
Now, you’re probably wondering, ‘Why?’ Powering through the night before, learning everything you don’t yet know and staying up late is going to help, right?
It actually has the opposite effect! The fact is, if you don’t know it the night before the HSC exam, you probably won’t remember it during the actual exam.
So what’s the most effective way to prepare for your HSC exams the night before? Keep reading to find out!
Tip #1: Have a Pre-Exam Ritual
Put yourself in the mindset of a major athlete or a sports star — they’ll typically follow pre-game rituals. It’s how they physically and mentally prepare themselves before a game and you want to do the exact same thing before your exam!
Now, your pre-exam ritual shouldn’t be going through all of your notes and realising there’s actually a few more points you need to go over because you don’t know that content. That’s actually going to create more stress for you!
If you’re so focussed on learning what you don’t yet know before the night of a HSC exam, that’s all you’re going to remember because your brain is going to zoom in on the negative.
Instead, you should focus on the content that you’re already familiar with, go over that content once, so you can review what you should already know.
You’re going to put pen to paper and just write down the main ideas as you go through your notes.
Why use pen and paper?
This process is very powerful because our memories are context dependent.
When we remember something in a certain context or environment, when we’re in a similar context environment, it creates a trigger.
So if you’re studying with pen and paper, handwriting the night before, you’re going to be doing the same thing in the exam the next day, so it’s going to help jog your memory because of our context dependency.
Tip #2: Get Someone To Quiz You and Teach Them
Give your study notes to a parent, a sibling or friend and get them to quiz you and then teach them!
By doing so, you’ll be exercising your memory muscles and you’ll be exposed to studying in different contexts. Essentially, when you enter the exam, you’ll be able to recall much more because you aren’t just relying on the muscle memory that comes from writing!
Now, if you’re able to teach someone what you know, that’s also another great way of recalling what you know.
When you teach someone else, you’ll be able to get some last minute feedback on what you know and therefore tighten any gaps before the exam the next day!
It also helps to boost your confidence so you can walk into the exam room knowing that you’re able to recall what you’ve learnt.
Tip #3: Stop Studying at 9pm!
Pulling an all-nighter is not going to help you the next morning in the exam room!
As we’ve mentioned before, if you haven’t learnt it by now, you most likely won’t remember it during the exam, so you don’t want to put that unnecessary stress on yourself.
It will be much more beneficial to just call it a night and get some decent sleep so you’re able to recall what you do know in the exam.
Why should you put your pen down at 9pm?
Something else to keep in mind is that it actually takes some time to wind down.
Your mind takes a bit of time to switch off! That’s why 9pm is a good time to leave those study notes on your bedside table and get some good quality sleep — it’s really important!
We recommend doing a more passive activity like watching your favourite TV show or reading your favourite book, as it’ll help your brain switch off and you can actually go to sleep much quicker.
And that’s it!
Those are the 3 simple tips we’ve got for you on what to do the night before HSC exams to get good results! To recap: have a pre-exam ritual, get someone to quiz you and teach them and stop studying at 9pm.
You’ve got this — good luck!
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Tanna Nankivell is a Senior Content Writer at Art of Smart Education and is currently in Germany completing a year of study for her double degree in Communications (Journalism) and Bachelor of Arts (International Studies). She has had articles published on Central News – the UTS Journalism Lab and wrote a feature piece for Time Out Sydney during her internship. Tanna has a love for travel and the great outdoors, you’ll either find her on the snowfields or in the ocean, teaching aqua aerobics or creating short films.