HSC Survival Guide

by | Sep 9, 2019 | Blog, General Physio

By Jessica Bank

Need some extra tools to keep in your exam survival kit. We are here to help!

It is getting to the pointy end of the year with HSC exams soon upon us. Remember not to forget about your own health and wellbeing during this stressful time.  As physiotherapists we start to see an increase of year 12’s suffering from neck pain, headaches and low back pain that can impact your ability to study or sit the exams.

Prevention is better the cure, so here are some tips to help get you through those long hours of studying ahead.

Stay motivated

It is natural to loose motivation and become unfocused during some point in your studies. To help keep yourself on track to achieving your goals write down some internal and external motivators. By writing this down it helps to remind yourself of the bigger picture.

A good example of this is:

External motivators:

  • High marks
  • Parent teach expectations
  • University entry marks
  • Doing better than others in your school

Internal Motivators

  • Interest in a subject
  • Wanting to improve your knowledge
  • Desire to give yourself more opportunities in the future
  • Seeking knowledge


A common enemy of motivation is Anxiety.

A little anxiety can energise your study program, but when it becomes overwhelming and self-doubt sets in anxiety decreases your motivation and can cause physical effects.

It is important to seek help and support if your anxiety or frustrations cause you a level of discomfort. This can come from your family and friends or from LifeLine Australia. LifeLine Australia proveds 24-hour confidential telephone support to anyone within Australia. You can talk to them about any problem big or small.

Call Lifeline Australia on  13 11 14 or visit lifeline.org.au


7 Healthy Study Habits

Remember the habits you make now will not only impact your HSC, but your future studies to.

  1. Don’t eat meals while studying
    • Preparing your own meal and eating it can be a simple way to relax your brain
  1. Eat meals with others when possible
    • This gives you time to socialise and talk about topics other than the HSC
  1. Go to bed early the night before the exam
    • Allow yourself the time to complete your normal morning activities
  1. Quality not quantity
    • Set obtainable goals before each study session
    • Stop to rest once your study goals have been reached
  1. Eat and drink well
    • Try to drink at least 1.5L of water a day. Remember that the brain needs to be hydrated to perform at its best and drinking soft drink or coffee lead to dehydration.
  1. Allow for social and personal time
  2. Exercise
    • Exercise is not only good for your overall health, but it also boosts your mental well-being
    • It helps to keep you calm during exams and to feel more energized
    • Try taking small, regular breaks such as a 15 minute walk


Top Tips from Past Students

  • Reframe your thinking– There is no point in putting huge expectations on yourself, just knuckle down and do what you can
  • Speak to someone– Have someone to help believe that you can get through it. Seek out support from teachers, parents or a support organisation to build a good network.
  • Find your stress busters– Whether it is having a cup of tea, letting some steam off at the gym, doing guided meditation or taking a yoga class find something to keep you calm.
  • Don’t let worry get in the way– achieve something each day, no matter how small adds up. Be proud of everything bit you get done
  • Make a plan– Plan time to exercise and socialise. Divide the rest into chunks of study that you can handle with mapped out rests or walks
  • Study in a group– Go somewhere like a Library with friends, but study individually without talking. It’s great to be around friends with a common task
  • Believe in yourself– The HSC will come and go and you can’t change that. You can change your attitude towards it and how you prepare


Good luck to everyone approaching their year 12 final exams and remember that we are always here to help!


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