BlogStudyHow to Study a Subject You Hate: A 95+ ATAR Scorers Guide

How to Study a Subject You Hate: A 95+ ATAR Scorers Guide

Do you have to study a subject you absolutely HATE for your HSC?

Well, meet Hanna, she’s an exceptional HSC English tutor and our Coach of the Month for October 2019 due to her awesome work with students!


In Year 11 and 12, Hanna took General Maths. She wasn’t very good at it, and she didn’t really enjoy it either.

However, she managed to work out some great strategies to make the year more bearable and ace the HSC with an ATAR of 97.10

So let’s jump in and find out Hanna’s 4 essential tips for students who want to study a subject they hate for Years 11 and 12!

Tip #1: Assess Why You’re Taking the Subject

Are you yet to pick your HSC subjects?

Look, if you’re choosing to study a subject you hate, it’s very likely that you’re only doing it to make up your 10 units!

You’re already taking all the subjects you like and you need one more… but it’s slim pickings. 

However, if you’re taking the subject for other reasons, it’s a whole different ball game.

Hanna didn’t NEED to take General Maths, but she did it anyway because she believes Maths skills are necessary for everyday life and she didn’t want to fall behind in Year 12!


There’s a number of reasons why you might have to study a subject you hate: Maybe your parents are making you? Perhaps it’s a pre-requisite for your desired degree?

If this is the case, there’s something you can do to ensure that it doesn’t bring down your ATAR …

Tip #2: Make it a ‘Backup’ Subject

Hanna’s goal for General Maths was to get a Band 6.

Now, she knew that potentially, this wouldn’t be the mark she achieved. But she still really wanted to do it.

As a solution to this problem, Hanna decided to take 12 Units for her HSC.

This meant that she had a backup.

The thing is, if you take 12 Units, NESA will only count the 10 units that you did best in for your HSC mark!

This makes studying a subject you dislike or aren’t very good at far less risky!

However, be warned, Hanna highlights that if you’re going to do this you need to be prepared to take on the workload and get your timetable prepared early!

Tip #3: Prioritise Your Workload

A massive problem that students make when studying is that they stick to what they’re good at.

Hanna LOVED subjects like English and Modern.

She was also really good at them. While she would have liked to just only study these subjects every time she sat down, she identified something:

“You need to focus on your weaknesses”

If you want to do well in a subject you hate, prioritise it within all of your study sessions.

You’re going to have to dedicate far more time to it. What’s the point of focusing on the things you already know?

If you ignore a subject you dislike, you’re just going to keep falling behind. So, while it may be painful, you need to put your weaknesses first!

You can find out more about prioritising your workload in this article:

Why you Shouldn’t Study for What’s Urgent First

Tip #4: Get help

Hanna couldn’t have gotten through General Maths in Year 12 alone.

Whatever subject it is that you hate, you shouldn’t tackle it by yourself.


Hanna was really lucky in Year 12. She sat next to a friend in General Maths that had recently dropped down from Advanced. This was a lot of help!

It’s easy to struggle in a large, crowded class. Especially when you have to study a subject you hate!

This is why you should look for a buddy or classmate that you can team up with and work through certain areas of the subject together.

The best way to learn is to teach someone else. By sticking together, you can work to fill the gaps in each other’s knowledge!

If you want to work with friends during the HSC, check out this article:

4 Tips for Making a Group Study Session Work

Getting aid from a tutor is also a great way to help you study a subject you hate.

Hanna had a Maths tutor throughout Year 12. This made going through past papers and questions so much more productive. It also helped her get her Standard Maths results closer to the standard of her stronger subjects.

At the end of the day, getting good marks in a subject you hate is definitely doable!

You just need to be realistic. You need to work harder and you don’t have to do it all alone.

Want to work with a tutor like Hanna?

Hanna is our Coach of the Month after being nominated by students and parents!

One student said:  “Hanna was such a knowledgeable tutor, a positive role model, and mentor throughout 2019. Highly recommend Art of Smart and Hanna.”

Another parent said: “We have seen such an improvement over a short period of time! Highly

We pride ourselves on our many inspirational mentors and tutors just like Hanna who can help support you during the HSC.

With small groups classes, or personalised lessons conducted one-on-one in your home or at our state of the art campus in Hornsby, we can find the perfect tutor for you regardless of where you live!

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 Facebook!

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