Advice from HSC Achievers: Meet Isobel

Ms Jenny Pollock | Deputy, Academic Strategy | 7 April 2024

In my last two articles, I have explained that at the Week 5 Senior School Assembly, we had invited three students who undertook last year’s HSC Exams to offer advice to future HSC students. Below is the advice provided by our third student.

Isabel McG was in Year 11 in 2023. Her academic load included the compacted course of Studies of Religion, which involved undertaking the Preliminary and HSC courses in one year. This meant that she was actually carrying a load of 13 units for Year 11. Isabel achieved the top HSC Exam mark in our School for Studies of Religion with a mark of 47 out of 50 marks.


I asked Isabel how she thought doing an HSC course and exam in Year 11 had better prepared her for Year 12 this year. She responded :

“Doing an accelerated HSC course has given me a great advantage in being able to understand the workload required for an HSC Course and, further, what the protocols are for the actual HSC. It allowed me to understand how much time I would have to put in outside school hours, not just on the homework but also on note-taking so that I was best prepared for the final exam. Doing SOR last year has further enabled me to complete a unit, giving me more time this year to focus on my other units while having one out of the way”.

I then asked Isabel what advice she would give to other Year 11 accelerants doing an HSC course this year. Isabel’s response was:

“While you are completing an HSC course, it is still important that you don’t neglect your other subjects as they are just as important. With that said, with the HSC course, it is important that you are keeping up with your notes and practice questions, and when it gets close to the final exam, this really is your main priority. You would have already completed your Year 11 Preliminary Exams in September, so there is a time period after this up until the HSC Exam in October when you can largely just focus on this HSC course. Although you may become overwhelmed with the workload, it really is just a taster on how Year 12 will play out, so stick at it.”

Finally, I asked Isabel which LEARNING@STLUKE'S Learning Framework strategies proved to be particularly useful for her in preparing for all her HSC assessments and the HSC exam. Isabel’s response was:

"Collaboration played a major role for all of us in the class. This included sharing notes and essay plans, having group discussions and testing each other. The HSC really does become a group effort. Studying together really helped me to maintain motivation through being encouraged by my classmates, and further, it allowed me to look at ideas in a different way, so that I could achieve my best.
Managing distractions similarly played an important role as many of my friends weren’t completing an HSC course. I had to keep this in mind when planning to go out with them, and setting periods of time where I was to just focus on SOR so I could manage distractions to learn effectively and achieve my best.”