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How to craft the ultimate HSC study plan with your teen

By Nikolina Koevska Kharoufeh |

When it comes to supporting your child during what can be a stressful and anxious time, their HSCs, it's important to focus on simplifying their approach to exams.

One way this can be done is by collaborating on a productive and effective study plan.

Alana Kalithrakas, director of A? Tutors and author of The 12 Pillars To Thriving In Year 12, knows all too well that planning plays a pivotal role in the world of HSC.

"A well-defined study plan can help steer your child in the right direction," she tells 9Honey Parenting.

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Photo of young brown hair Caucasian mother is helping her teen  daughter with her homework in front of laptop. They are looking away from the camera. Dark hair schoolgirl and mother together doing homework in home. Beautiful Hispanic girl and her young mother reading a book together or studying at home during the day.
Supporting your child through their HSC can be stressful. (Getty)

?Sharing insights from her handbook, and experience working with thousands of Year 12 students over the years, Alana is now passing down her top tips in putting together an effective study approach.

It's one that caters to your child's specific needs and strengths.

"A well-structured study plan not only enhances their learning but also teaches valuable time management and organisation skills."

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1. Understand your teen's goals and objectives

Before diving into putting together a study plan, it's important to have a clear understanding of your child's academic goals. What are they striving to achieve in each subject, as well as the overall HSC?

These objectives provide the foundation upon which you and your teen can then build the short-term objectives, and this the study plan.

Take the time to ask your child what they aim to achieve to better tailor the plan to their unique needs.?

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Close-up of agenda organize with color coding sticky notes for time management. Productive schedule for appointments and reminders. Hand holding a yellow highlighter marker. Organization and planning
Allowing time for rest is essential. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

2. Perform a time audit

Perform a time audit to assess your child's current study habits.

This is an effective way to evaluate how much time is really going towards study, and the distribution of each subject.

It will also be a great self-analysis for your teen, as they will have the opportunity to identify whether they are procrastinating, struggling with time management, or simply just distracted.

By understanding their strengths and weaknesses, you can work with them to set realistic and relevant goals that capitalize on their strengths while addressing their weaknesses.

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3. Set specific goals and ensure measurability

Setting specific goals is essential for providing clarity and focus.

Rather than having vague aspirations, work with your teen to articulate precisely what they want to achieve.

For example, instead of stating a goal like "get a better mark in Math" set a specific target such as "Complete 4 Math past papers and improve mark by 20 per cent."

Specific goals will help your child identify the necessary steps to achieve them and enable you to measure progress effectively.

Measurable goals will also allow you to gauge progress objectively and make informed decisions along the way.

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4. Creating a study schedule

A structured study schedule is the cornerstone of an effective study plan.

Work together with your teen to create a weekly schedule that allocates dedicated time for each subject or task. Be sure to factor in breaks to prevent burnout.

Here, you will need to encourage your teen to prioritise their study schedule based on the importance and exam date of the subjects and tasks.

They should ensure more focus is given to challenging subjects, and that the subjects with earlier exam dates are provided more study time in earlier weeks.

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Alana put together her handbook to ensure all students could prepare themselves for the HSC with ease.
Alana put together her handbook to ensure all students could prepare themselves for the HSC with ease. (Supplied)

Below are some of these helpful tips taken from The 12 Pillars To Thriving In Year 12, to ensure they do not burn out, and manage their time effectively:

  • Speak with your teen about the various study techniques that suit their learning style. These techniques may include summarizing notes, creating flashcards, mind mapping, practicing past exam papers, or my favourite - teaching someone else!

  • Realistic time limits should be set for each study session or task to encourage them to stay focused and prevent them from overworking on one subject while neglecting others.

  • Set up a study space that promotes healthy brain function. Studies have shown that to avoid fatigue and losing focus when learning one can set their screen height at or above eye level, light the room from above throughout the day and alternate sitting and standing at a 1:1 ratio.

  • Utilising well researched study habits are also helpful, including performing the physiological sigh (double nasal inhale followed by an exhale) to improve cognitive function. Another habit is increasing adrenaline immediately post learning which may involve going for a job after a study session, working as both a learning technique and a brain break. Another is ensuring your child is getting 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

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Students should be getting quality sleep each night to help support brain function.
Students should be getting quality sleep each night to help support brain function. (Getty)

Collaborating with your teen to produce the ultimate study plan can significantly enhance their academic success and better prepare them for the HSC.

Not only that, but it is an opportunity to teach them valuable life skills such as time management, organisation and goal setting.

By understanding their goals, providing guidance, and fostering a supportive environment, you can help your teen excel academically and prepare them for a bright future.

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