As the HSC is looming for many young students, it is vital to look at the study regime and habits of your teenagers.  While schools work hard to prepare students for these rigorous exams, students are often lost in the whirlwind of studying for five or more subjects, maintaining their social lives, planning for their “after exams” holiday while worrying about gaining the necessary marks for their chosen careers.  Although many HSC students are considered independent, some timely advice does assist to keep them focused and organised.

Firstly, a realistic study timetable is essential.  This will be a long range timetable that starts from now until the end of the examination period.  It should include ample time to study for each subject and take into consideration the student’s examination timetable. At this stage, it is not a good idea to study for the first exam only, but to revise and refine summaries for each subject area, practise necessary quotes to gain higher grades and to go over all the information you have been given by teachers in preparation for the final exams.

Next, a sensible diet that is low in sugars assists students to avoid the sugar highs and lows that can be prevalent at this time.  Their diet should be consistently healthy so they are mentally alert. Sugar can also impede quality sleeping patterns and create further anxiety.  A balanced diet that consists of three healthy meals a day and two high quality snacks in between assists to provide the necessary energy and nutrition for the difficult weeks ahead.

Balance with other activities is also necessary for HSC success. It would be unfair to expect an HSC student to study without adequate breaks and recreation. At this stage, study should be a priority, but short outings with friends and family or time out to watch a movie are important to quell nerves and anxiety.  Your HSC child will benefit from this opportunity to remain connected to other aspects of their world and will consequently be more motivated to study.

Avoidance of conflict with your HSC child should be maintained.  The HSC is not only the most stressful time in the lives of many young people to date, but also reminds parents that they have very little control over the outcome. If you feel your HSC child requires some guidance, be positive and productive in your approach. It is not uncommon for students to give up if they feel parental pressure and unrealistic expectations.

Adjustments at home may be necessary to help your child get through this stressful time. Make sure a study area is provided where few interruptions are likely.  Remind other family members that they need to be more thoughtful and to perhaps carry some extra chores for a short period of time.

HSC students also need to be reminded that the outcome of these exams is not the only means to an end in terms of their careers. They need to be reminded that they are valued and that no matter what the outcome, you will be proud of their efforts.