Whenever someone asks me for last minute exam advice, I always say: sleep well.
Many students think that it is beneficial to sleep less on the nights before exams to cram in as much information as possible. But this logic is simply wrong. Many students have shown that lack of sleep leads to poor focus, more careless errors and an inability to recall important information. Sleep itself is essential for your brain to learn.
But it isn't just the night before exams that you should sleep well. Consistently throughout your HSC year, you should be getting adequate sleep every night. Many sources say different things, but 8 - 10 hours per night is generally accepted for a teenager. When I was in my HSC year, I would sleep at 9:30pm and wake up at 6:30am.
A lack of sleep also leads to weight gain, mood swings and a deterioration in social skills. In the long term, it can lead to issues such as high blood pressure, depression and other mood disorders.
So the best thing that you can do for your HSC today is to get enough sleep tonight. You may not feel refreshed the first night you sleep enough, but this is your body adjusting to a new sleeping pattern. If you keep it up, eventually you will wake up feeling refreshed everyday. You will be able to focus and learn in class, so you won't have to cram it later. It means you'll have more time later to do the things you want to do, and breeze through your exams without stress.
Gary Liang is the founder and director of Keystone Education. He achieved an ATAR of 99.95 in 2012 and 5 state ranks in Mathematics, Mathematics Ext 1, Mathematics Ext 2, Chemistry and Economics. He is now studying Economics and Science (Advanced Mathematics) at the UNSW Australia, where he is the recipient of four scholarships.