The HSC is a stressful time. It’s a difficult task to balance class, assessments, exams and studying alongside extra-curricular and social activities. Nevertheless, time management during the HSC is something you must learn to do.

Like it or not, you need to know how to effectively manage your time and stay organised during your HSC.

If you lose control of your time and commitments, you run the risk of spending too much time on the unimportant stuff and not enough on the real stuff!

Luckily for you, we’ve created a 4 step plan to mastering time management during the HSC!

So, let’s dive in!

Step 1: Plan it Out!
Step 2: Make a Study Schedule
Step 3: Learn to Prioritise
Step 4: Master the Art of the To Do List

Step 1: Plan it Out!

The first step in time management involves actually knowing what is going to be taking up your time. This means finding out what key dates are coming up and making a note of them.

Whether you note them down in a diary or on your iPhone calendar doesn’t matter, but make sure you have them somewhere!

I recommend you get a yearly or monthly wall calendar and put it up where you can see it everyday. Get creative with it and make sure the important dates stand out!

To make your life that little bit easier, I’ve compiled some of the key dates for HSC students in 2019. But make sure you add in your internal assessment due dates, any major-work related due dates and performance dates!

Friday 12 April, 2019Last date to apply for disability provisions for the 2018 HSC examinations (via Schools Online)
Tuesday 30 April, 2019Personalised HSC Exam timetable released via Students Online
Thursday 17 October, 2019HSC written examinations commence
Monday 11 November, 2019HSC written examinations conclude & HSC Assessment Ranks released online (via Students Online)

Tuesday 17 December, 2019HSC results released

Step 2: Make a Study Schedule

Now you know what key dates are awaiting you this year, it’s time to move from the macro to the micro with a study schedule.

This is great for time management as it will allow you to actually allocate your time each week and work towards important tasks like assessment due dates or exams in manageable chunks.

The key to a weekly schedule is to be as detailed as you can be. It’s your HSC year, and this is the time to make every hour count!

Schedule in the hours that you’re at school, extra-curricular activities or part time work as well as your study time.

To make your own study schedule, here’s a template you can download and use! Simply print it out and write in your weekly schedule!

Step 3: Learn to Prioritise

During your HSC year, you are always going to have conflicting interests.

It is vital that you learn how to prioritise your tasks so that you can focus on your most important tasks immediately, and leave the less important tasks for another time.

Eisenhower Matrix

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable” –  Dwight Eisenhower

While I was studying for my HSC, and even now as a university student, I found using the Eisenhower Matrix was the most helpful tool to decide what to do now and what to schedule for later! The Eisenhower Matrix helps to prioritise tasks by urgency and importance.

Of course, what is important and urgent to some, many not be urgent or important to you!

So, below I’ve summarised what kinds of tasks may go into which category to give you a guide when creating your own matrix.

Obviously, things like assessment tasks that have definite due dates are going to be urgent and important, and things like watching Netflix and Facebook are not so important or urgent.

UrgentNot Urgent
ImportantDeadlines, important problems and crises
e.g. assessments, exam studying
Tasks that require ongoing management, including self improvement and long term goals
e.g. 'resume builders', passion projects
Not ImportantTasks that are mostly time wasters, and can be set aside or delegated
e.g. phone calls, errands
Tasks that you can ignore or limit time spent on them
e.g. Facebook, watching Netflix

Step 4: Master the Art of the To Do List

I think one of the most important skills I developed during the HSC was making good to-do lists.

I prefer making a to-do list at night, as it gives me time to reflect on what I’ve accomplished during the day and what I need to focus on tomorrow.

I find that to-do lists are a really simple way to motivate and reward yourself. There is nothing better than looking at your completed to-do list at the end of the day!

I suggest you use your Eisenhower Matrix to decide which items should land on your to-do list.

Now, I prefer to write out my lists with pen and paper like Patrick, but there are so many apps out there that you can use to make a digital to do list, like Wunderlist or Any.Do.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what you use to manage your time, the important thing is that it works for you!

Looking for some extra help with your HSC studies?

We pride ourselves on our inspirational mentors and tutors 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 help 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!

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.