As our list of past papers dry up, as we get back our early entry results or our internal ranks, it can become incredibly difficult to study. Not because you have a lack of time in these final weeks, but because you have no clue how to go about it. Either you have covered the required content 50 times, or you have only just started revising for the first time after trials have ended. This blog post is going to cover both these scenarios, and hopefully give you a roadmap of how to tackle the HSC in these final few weeks.
The formula for both scenarios is quite similar. They are both on extreme ends of the preparedness scale – one is where you at least think you are fully prepared, or you have barely prepared at all. But it is important to remember that you will always have room to improve and get final few marks – just because you have covered and memorized all your Biology content does not mean that you can start to take the back seat in your Biology study. Instead, you should take this as an opportunity to truly do your best. Your internal marks do not matter as much as you think they do – whether they were good or bad, it is these final exams that will either make or break how far you have come along.
The strategy for both in Biology involves going through as many past papers as you can. This does not mean that you will have to sit down and go through 3-hour tests over 50 times or more, it just means going through their questions and critically – their answers.
Rather than writing down your answers as you would normally, formulate a couple of key points in your head and then check the answer. This forces some sort of ‘active recall’ into this otherwise mindless but efficient technique of going through past papers incredibly quickly. The only catch of this tactic is forcing yourself to formulate the answers in your head, as you naturally tend to passively absorb the answers instead of thinking where you went wrong. If you have the time, it is a lot more useful to write proper answers (not just dot points, full answers especially for long response questions), this technique will help you cover an incredibly large amount of the past papers that are out there available for you.
While doing this, include on a separate piece of paper every single keyword that you did not think of in your ‘mental exercise’ or any topic that you found particularly difficult. Even if you forget to revise this A4 sheet of paper that you have, the act of writing it down will force these topics into your subconscious and will come up passively during your exam to prevent you from doing the same mistake.
This technique has helped numerous students (including myself) in the past, so it is worth a shot whether you are fully or not-so-adequately prepared.
And Good luck in your final few days!