October 6, 2017 HSC marking

How to start Year 12 the right way

First up a huge round of applause for making it this far.

12 years of schooling has lead you up to this point and you really do deserve a pat on the back.

Year 12 is going to be huge. There will be triumphs and setbacks and there’s a good chance you will want to throw in the towel at some point.

But, it is also your opportunity to show the people who care about you what you are really capable of.

One of the things you will notice about year 12 is that it hits you in waves. You’ll be coasting along thinking life is awesome, then in one week you’ll receive 18 assessment task notifications and suddenly the sun won’t shine as bright.

Here are 5 things you should do now to ensure the year ahead runs as smooth as possible:

1. Get a diary bro.

A real paper diary, an app on your phone, your calendar on your computer – it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you use it.

You need to be the master of your time. You can’t depend on other people to keep you accountable when it comes to time management. Use your diary like a rule book – create tasks and reminders and stick to them like they are life or death.

2. Ensure you’ve covered any holes in preliminary content

Many subjects like maths and sciences build on year 11 content, and if you aren’t on top of it you are going to get left behind.

This week, revise those subjects – look over your yearly exam and make sure any grey areas become clear ASAP.

3. Work out your best focus hours.

We are not all the same. Whilst we are all required to be at school between 9 and 3, that doesn’t mean they are our most productive hours of the day.

I’ve learnt over the years that my personal best focus hours are between 10pm and 2am. This is for a number of reasons – wife and kids are in bed, the house is quiet and I can’t really communicate with other people – so it is where the magic happens.

You make not be able to stay up so late, but still try to identify the best hours for you. Maybe you work best early in the morning, or right after school, or after dinner. If you can nail this sweet spot, you will find you are far more productive in those hours than at any other time – and one hour of study during this time is more effective than 4 hours at another time.

4. Identify your biggest time wasters.

Using that diary from point 1, track your time this week. In particular, pay attention to time spent on things that don’t move you towards your goal. Facebook, Netflix, Xbox – these things need to be viewed as a luxury in year 12 and not an everyday thing.

You may not need to cut them out now, but at least when things start getting busy, you’ll know how to find a few extra hours in each day.

5. Write your goal down.

Few things motivate you like having a goal that you see every day.

Take some time to work out what you want the year ahead to look like. Come up with a goal – is it dux of your school? A certain ATAR? A postion in a class?

Write it in your diary (see point 1) so you can see it every day. Once you’ve written down the goal, work backwards to work out what you need to do to make it happen.

Your goal might be to come first in English – so working backwards from this might mean getting 20/20 in every assessment task. Make notes on how you can make this happen and continue moving backwards.

Having a visible goal will make year 12 so much easier.


Year 12 is going to be huge, but I know you can master it. Keep going and make it count!

Nic Rothquel

Founder, HSCmarking.com.au

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