Year 12 Survival Guide - Setting Goals


Most students have a vague idea of the goals they want to achieve for the year, whether that be ‘getting a good ATAR’ or ‘getting into a good uni for the course they want’. However, if your goals aren’t specific or you have no idea how you’re going to achieve them, then it’s likely that you never will.

There are 3 main types of goals:

1.     Long-term goals: The BIG goals you want to achieve by the end of the year

2.    Mid-term goals: Goals you want to achieve by the end of the term

3.    Short-term goals: Tasks you need to complete in the coming days/weeks

This post will help you change your ‘vague’ goals into achievable long, mid and short term goals!


Step 1: Work out your goal ATAR

So let’s start with your BIG goals for the year. These big goals often include achieving a certain ATAR or getting into a particular course at a particular uni. If you don’t know exactly what you want to study in uni just yet, don’t stress! A rough idea is fine :)  

Say for example, you think you’re thinking of doing a commerce degree at UNSW, the first thing you need to check is what the ATAR cut off is. In 2018, you had to achieve an ATAR of 96.5 or higher to be accepted. This means your goal ATAR would be 96.

Check out the UAC website, for a full list of university courses and cut-off ATAR to help you work out your goal ATAR. 

Step 2: Work out your goal HSC subject marks

Next, work out what mark or band is needed in each of your subjects to achieve your goal ATAR. You can do this by using an online ‘ATAR calculator’ – simply plug in your goal ATAR that you worked out above and then select the subjects you’re sitting for the HSC. It’s important to remember that achieving these marks WILL NOT guarantee your goal ATAR – the ATAR calculator is simply an estimation based off past results and is not 100% accurate.    



Now that you’ve worked out your long-term goals, you’ll want to figure out how to achieve them. This is where mid and short-term goals come in. Students usually have a general idea of how they’re going to improve throughout the HSC, like ‘studying more’ or ‘getting into a good routine’. But you now know that to set optimal goals, you need to make these goals more specific!

For example, a student’s long-term goal may be getting a 96 in 2 Unit Maths, however they’re currently averaging 85%. This student’s mid-term goals could include:

·      Getting 88% in the term 1 exam

·      92% in the term 2 exam, and then

·      96% in the term 3 exam.

By setting these mid-term goals, this student has worked out what mark they need each term to steadily improve so they can get that 96 in the HSC.

Short-term goals detail how you can achieve your mid-term goals. Some examples of short-term goals could include:

·      Finishing your school homework every night

·      Studying for 6 hours every weekend

·      Updating your subject notes after school each day

·      Doing revision questions for each maths topic once a fortnight


And there you have it – now you know how to set long-term, mid-term and short-term goals to achieve HSC success! Whilst this may seem daunting at the start of year 12, know that by planning ahead and organising your goals, you’re one step closer to achieving them.

Rachel SiuComment