How to Survive the HSC
with Kaz Amos

“Time flies while you’re having fun!” said no HSC student ever.

This week marks the 20-week countdown until the HSC exams begin in NSW and although it may feel overwhelming for students and their families, there are a number of ways that we can all help ourselves to make it through times like these.

Almost half of all Year 12 students report suffering high levels of anxiety or depression during this end of school event. The pressure can be felt by students, their families, and teachers as well. Keeping up with an intense workload, pushing for higher grades and meeting high expectations can leave students feeling like they are being squeezed from all sides, leaving them vulnerable to explosions or implosions, with the fallout landing on those close to them.

At The Hummingbird Centre, we are often asked by parents and students “what can we do to prevent explosions and implosions, so that we can all feel safe and make it through the Higher [Stress] School Certificate?

Here are 7 ways that we can help ourselves to help each other.

  1. Make sleep your best friend. Hang out with your bestie 7-9 hours each night, in an environment that is dark and cosy and listen when your bestie calls (usually with a yawn) to remind you that it’s time to hang out.
  2. Try High Intensity Interval Training (HITT) for study. Set a timer for 20 minutes, study, then give yourself 10 minutes of mindlessness, and repeat, simply using the timer on your phone. If you want to time your study intervals and have a purpose, try the app Forest. Your study time is recorded and converted into real trees being planted on Earth.
  3. Learn Out Loud. Teaching what you are learning and talking about it with others is one of the fastest ways to integrate information from the page to the brain. Find a study buddy, record yourself, listen to the information in an audiobook, watch a YouTube on the topic.
  4. Turn your distraction into a reward. If you are constantly avoiding study while standing in front of the fridge, scrolling through social media, or watching all of Netflix, then try rewarding yourself with your favourite distraction when you’ve completed 3 rounds of HIIT for study.
  5. Feed and water your brain. Like all biological material, our brain needs nutrients and H2O to survive and thrive. Feed your brain with just enough caffeine to feel alert early in the day, blueberries to help your brain cells communicate, fatty fish to improve your memory networks and yes kids, eat your veggies. They have lots of vitamins and mineral to help you on your way.
  6. Move your body. Walk it out, swim around, in the surf and on the turf – when we move we can digest stress through our bodies, while strengthening our muscles, bones and brains.
  7. Stress can be OK – Just like Goldilocks found out, there is a ‘Just right’ to stress. Too little stress can leave you bored and uninterested. Too much stress can leave you feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. But in the right doses, a bit of stress (also called eustress) can help you show up, switch on and feel engaged.

Rest assured the next 20 weeks will not make you or break you. With healthy management strategies, you can make it through the HSC and know the best is yet to come.

Page Last Updated: 24 May 2022