So you’ve started the HSC. You’ve had months of preparation to get to this point. It might be one of the largest and most challenging events that has happened in your life so far.
But don’t be overwhelmed. Embrace it. It’s going to challenge you and push you, but truthfully, your character will be better for walking through this process. The HSC might be daunting, but it is something that each and every one of you can achieve.
To help you walk through this season, I’ve put together a few tips I’ve learnt on my own journey. See if you can keep these six things in mind:
1 – Remember That Stress is OK
There is something called the “bell-curve” of stress, where too little is not good, too much is not good either, and the ideal amount is in the middle. There is a certain amount of stress that is actually valuable to you in an exam.
This HSC exam season is like a little microcosm of life. In life, we can’t plan for everything, but we can do our best to be prepared for what life might through at us. We don’t have all the answers, and there’s bound to be a question that stumps us. Don’t let that derail you; life gives us hurdles to test our character. Trust in the preparation you’ve done, and push into that stress. You’ll be a stronger person because of it.
2 – Have a Healthy Routine and Sleep Pattern
Secondly, figure out a good routine for the exam period. Sleep is essential in this equation, and there are countless studies that show roughly around 8 hours sleep is what you should be getting. Plan your days so you can get regular, quality, unbroken REM sleep. Create a routine that allows you to unwind, rest and recuperate. Setting good habits now will carry into your university and work days too.
3 – Get Some Exercise
Exercise is good! Shifting your mental headspace into physical activity is really important. With exams underway, your schedule has shifted and your usual exercise probably isn’t happening. Remember to get up and get moving; sometimes a good run or workout is the exact thing needed to solve a problem. Better exercise means better rest. It also means a clearer headspace for exam preparation.
4 – Practice the Whole Exam Routine
Prepare like you would execute. In other words, have study and practice sessions where you go through the same routine you’ll go through in the actual exam. Use the same pencil case, pens and equipment that you would use in an exam. If you have a playlist that settles your heart before you begin, listen to that before you start doing your practice exams, not during; you can’t listen to music in the exam room! Have a routine to help get you into the full exam headspace.
5 – Give Yourself a Rest Day
All work and no play makes you a curmudgeon (Google it!). Seriously, there is a reason why Jesus has a Sabbath for everybody! That includes you. Have a cheat day built into your schedule where you can decompress and rest. It’s good to take a moment and breathe, do something fun, and re-energize yourself. You’ll work better knowing that a restful day is coming up in your plans.
6 – Spend Time With God
Finally if you don’t prepare, no amount of prayer is going to create a miraculous moment where God gives you all the information you need to make sense of the exams. You’ve got to work! Commit to the process of preparation and study, pray regularly and do not neglect your time with God. We will all hit hurdles but God is aware of those as well. Don’t anticipate a supernatural moment where God is going to show up and give you all the answers. It doesn’t happen! Intsead prepare and bring God in on the process. Those quiet times talking to God are great moments when you can bring the challenge of the HSC before God and He can guide your steps.
You’ve got this team! Go Get it!