How to Improve in HSC Trials by Evaluating Your Mistakes

Are you simply rereading your notes, highlighting your textbook, or are you...

Rishabh Jain

Rishabh Jain

Head of HSC Chemistry

Question: I always feel like no matter how much hard work I put in I will never academically do well. As if I just have a predetermined threshold, like for Trials I studied so so so hard and I still didn’t get good results, and I feel like this has happened for all of my internal assessments . And I’m sick of it and now I just have no motivation to study for HSC cause what’s the point - I won’t do well anyways? This is a really bad attitude to have and I’m aware of it, but I’m just tired of working really really hard and not seeing any results.

Rishabh Jain (Head of Product & Head of Chemistry)

I was thinking about your question recently while watching a series of videos by a Stanford psychology lecturer talking about study strategies. He said that “a lot of students come to me asking why they got poor marks, and when we sit down to analyse their study techniques, we realise they were doing very ineffective things that had little merit.”

1. Evaluate each mistake you’ve made in your internal exams

  • Didn’t read the question properly? —> What changes do you need to make to how you read/think about questions

  • Didn’t understand the content?

  • Lost most marks in a few topics? —> Focus your attention on them.

  • Lost most marks across all topics? —> Find out how you need to change your study strategy.

  • Keep making the same mistakes? —> Drill those questions until you get them perfect, and have them front of mind when you do papers.

2. Reflect on the effectiveness of your study strategies

  • Assess the effectiveness of each one: did it work for you, why or why not?
  • What changes do you need to make?
  • Are you just doing passive, ineffective study (rereading notes, highlighting etc.) or active, effective study (drilling questions, making connections, explaining to someone else, flowcharts, active recall etc.)

There is no reason that your hard work will always lead to poor marks. Each of us have the ability to improve and achieve something amazing.

If you’ve been working really hard and didn’t get the results you wanted, it’s a strong indication that you need to re-assess how you approach your study. See this as an amazing opportunity to reflect and improve ❤

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