You have quite a long time till school starts again for you. If you use this time wisely, you can accelerate yourself far beyond the level other students at your school may be at! You may only have one shot at the HSC so why not?
To maintain a good study-life balance and utilise your time best during the upcoming holidays it is really important to plan your time out so you don't end up lazing around all day and regretting it afterwards (which is really easy to do!). Creating a holiday study timetable can be very helpful. However, it is really important not to jam it all up with a tonne of studying, as you probably will just end up not following it. You also really need to customise it to make sure it fits in with your life and that you will actually be able to follow it.
Don't forget to write in the small things, such as allocating time to find the required material
Remember to write every little thing down on your timetable. If you don't, you'll risk letting these small things ruining your schedule and may make your timetable very hard to follow.
For instance, remember to allocate time for you to search for past papers or books you may require, otherwise this may eat into your studying time instead. Even worse, you may start using the fact you don't have the required material ready as an excuse to procrastinate.
You need breaks and honestly, don't be afraid to leave ones that are one or two hours long for free time because chances are, you are going to procrastinate and not follow your timetable if you don't; your brain can't continuously work at a high level for a long time unless you have rest periods in between. Additionally, random events may pop up and by having these larger sized breaks, it'll make it easier for you to cope with these things and still be able to keep on top of your timetable.
It is important to be very detailed in your timetable about what you will be doing in order to prevent you from procrastinating. Simply writing "do Biology" or "do English" may lead you into the situation where you will be unprepared to study when the time comes as you haven't planned what to do and you may start procrastinating again as you may not know how to start studying. Instead, by writing, for instance, "find questions and print out at least two past Modern History half yearly papers" or something similar, you have naturally planned ahead what you have to do and have given yourself a goal to achieve during that time. As such, it prevents you from doing other things before you have finished the task you were supposed to do.
Don't push yourself to start doing too many past papers too early
Doing past exam papers are of course very helpful. However, I have seen many student timetables (plus my own, yes I've made this mistake) that are wayyy too ambitious, where they would plan to do many timed closed book past papers each day everyday before they even truly understand the content. Firstly, even doing one past paper each day for many days in a row can be very tiring and very hard to keep up. Secondly, if you start doing past papers before you even know the content well enough, you may just end up procrastinating during the exam as you don't really know the content well enough. Instead, by doing the exams open book, you may be able to learn the content while practising exam style questions at the same time.
However, remember, these are just some of my experiences; you know yourself best and if you're able to stay concentrated for a long time and learn better by doing many past papers early on then good on you!
Don’t plan too far ahead
Life always throws you things that you would never have thought of, whether it’s a meet up with friends or something else. Hence, it may be better if you don't plan your holiday timetable too early. Additionally, if it is a long holiday, it’s probably better not to create a timetable that lasts for more than two weeks. Alternatively, why not create one week timetables instead just a few days before each week as you probably would have a better grasp of any events that may take place by then. (Remember to put "plan next week's timetable" in your timetables as well then if you plan to use this idea!)
Of course, never forget, it is still the holidays so don't feel bad if you want to spend some time enjoying life and just resting!
Jack Zheng | N° 31