Ever wondered how to get a good ATAR? Here we share how to get a good ATAR – the power of using aromatherapy, study techniques which separate the best students and what to do on exam day. The best thing is you can get a high ATAR with low scaling subjects if you put our scientifically proven study tips to good use.
Table of contents
Preparing for your exams
Do exam-style questions. That is first and foremost. You should have done 6 times the number of questions you will be asked in your exam. It goes without saying, these questions are only useful for you if you mark them as well. In all standardised tests, the marks students get is directly correlated with the number of exam questions they did prior to the test. That’s why here at Edzion we focus so much on giving you the most exposure to exam style questions.
Exercise and studying
Exercise is important for maintaining physical health, but it can also have benefits for cognitive function and academic performance. Regular physical activity has been shown to improve brain function, including increased cardiovascular fitness, improved Executive function, and increased concentration and attention. It can also reduce stress and improve mood, which can be beneficial for academic performance. In addition, exercise can improve sleep quality, which is important for overall health and can also help with academic performance. Overall, incorporating regular exercise into your routine can have a number of benefits for both physical and cognitive health, and may improve academic performance.
Our aromatherapy study hack
Back when I was in year 11, when my ambition was to live in a pyramid and have a helicopter, I knew I needed to do well at school. Doing well in school means you get into a good uni and make friends who lift you up to higher standards. Doing well in school means you gain more opportunities, doors which were otherwise closed to you before become open. But my grades were slipping and I knew I had to do something and do it quickly. That’s when I started to sit in a different spot in my house. At first I thought the drastic improvement was due to my new seat. Then the candle that was being burnt near me while I studied ran out and my exam luck also seemed to. Then it hit me. It was the scent that was lifting my marks. Fortunately now I have excelled and graduated school and in one of the best uni’s, I have realised how impractical a pyramid is to live in but my new found enjoyment of enhanced focus and memory has stuck with me.
A well known phenomena in neuroscience is the influence of aromatic compounds on the mind – enhancing cognition, memory retention and recall. This is because the olfactory nerves are activated by aromatic compounds such as those found in essential oils. These signals travel directly to the amygdala, a region in the brain responsible for memories and emotions. But here’s the cool thing. The amygdala is next door to the hippocampus, which is one of the most active parts of the brain, especially when you are studying. This means using aromatherapy while studying will further activate the amygdala, allowing you to learn more in less time.
But there is an extra layer to this. I used my medicinal chemistry background to formulate an essential oils mix. Through studying while using this 100% natural essential oil formulation, i was able to build association between my essential oils and the content I was studying. So before my exam I applied some of the essential oils to this bracelet – it contains a porous bead capable of retaining the aromatic compounds.
Another reason this method works so well is the connection between emotions and memory. Think back to your happiest memory. Shut your eyes and just see what you saw. Smell what you smelt. Now imagine you could bring this richness of experience and clarity of mind to your studies. Research tells us you can. And the link between smells creating emotions which then act to anchor our memories is become more and more evident.
If you want to do better, it is going to take time and effort. But you can work smarter not harder.
And here is something people don’t get. The top students don’t study any harder than anyone else. Sure we might do a couple more hours but everyone is studying – even when they tell you they are not. Most people just aren’t optimising their study.
The bottom line is you need a way to enhance your study if you want to enhance your results. Improving your study sessions with aromatherapy will work. Because it has worked for me. It has worked for my students. So I’m confident it will work for you.
Answering the question
Many people find objective-response (multiple-choice) questions hard to get right but easy to answer. Some of the hardest questions in the exam are hiding in the multiple choice section. The time you save in responding to the questions should be made up in thinking about the answers. Beware of the distractors – these are the incorrect answers. They can be incorrect because they don’t answer the questions despite being true statements. If you are stuck between two potential answers, reread the question, often they are both correct. Often if the potential answer is too certain it is likely wrong – language like never and always should raise red flags for you.
Fortunately, the more practice you put in, the better you will get. We give you access on Edzion to stacks of interactive quizzes to save you time in marking. Additionally, we will explain why the answer is correct or incorrect and how to think about it in the future.
- Underline the verb and analyse the question
After analyzing the question, link it to the specific module and hopefully you know more specifically, which concept in that module. If the question is divided into parts, read through the parts and look for the clues – there can be cross module questions. Also watch out for the multipart questions as these can require you to think across modules. If you have the freedom to choose the format in your question choose the form of response that you feel most comfortable with. For example, some ideas are better expressed in charts, flowcharts, diagrams, or writing. Fpr multimark large questions this is especially important – expressing advanced or multiple ideas at the same time can be challenging.
- Make the most of knowing the mark value
When you go back in time through previous standardised tests, mark values of each question were not given to the students. Now days you almost always know the mark values. This gives you a rough estimate of the number of points expected from you, roughly one idea for every mark. Response and response length are also indicated in the number of words or space given for you to respond. If it’s worth 6 points, make sure you provide at least 6 key points, or 1 point with a series of arguments, additional explanations,
reason or objection.
- Read through your answers
It is important to read the answers to the short-answer questions to make sure you are correct. You have clearly communicated your understanding and addressed the question’s requirements. Make sure any assumptions you made are stated and they are your consideration clear. If you don’t have time, it’s important to answer the questions very concisely. Even if you don’t know what the question is, think again. Try to always think about the modules and link together important ideas.
- Always attempt every question
It is important to try all problems. Remember, they don’t use negative marking, this means you will not lose points by guessing or recording wrong answer. However, long, confusing, or
contradictory answers contain what is called an internal contradiction. These can render satisfying answers meaningless and therefore even if you say something that is correct you will get no marks. For example, answering the question, What is the day like? With the day is good or bad today.
Remember, a clear and concise answer is always preferable. Even if you run out of time
Just jotting down the key points, tables, or graphs can help you communicate or get a partial marking.
- Don’t miss the pot of gold to pick up a penny
Avoid sticking to one question to get it perfect if it means skipping some questions
other. Question grade values serve as a guide for prioritising attempts
Please listen when you don’t have time. If you don’t, you’re doing yourself a great disservice
Please always give a crack to the problems of 6 points or more, missing these because you spent too long on a 3 marker is pointless.
- Show your working
Oftentimes if you make a mistake in your answer but get the steps of working out you will get close to full marks for that question. But this is only if you show all your working. Especially in the HSC, this is critical if you want a high ATAR.
Common mistakes preventing you from a high ATAR
Typically, examiners prepare reports after exams, these are to reveal strengths and areas to improve. I personally would study these reports and when I saw the questions which had come up in previous years, I knew what mistakes my peers would make.
In general, it has the following advantages:
- More precise and academic use of terminology especially established in the curriculum
- Improved figure graphics and labeling accuracy
- Avoid answers that are too long, too detailed, or use vague terms
- Correct interpretation of question, e.g. list or give explanation instead of explanations
- No explanation
- Answer in specific terms, not in general terms
- Make sure all parts of a multipart question are attempted
- You know all those procedures and practical activities you did in class – you should be able to explain these clearly
It goes without saying, complete all assignments and assessment tasks fully to reach your full potential. Not only will they count towards your final grade, they will also help prepare you for the exams that count the most.
Practice filling out exam-like questions and getting feedback as much as possible
You probably can. This is the perfect book for you! Make sure you have completed, understood and repeated the curriculum. You can write the procedure or rate the method.
Please do not give up! Chances are if you find a question difficult, most other students will too. Even students who get high ATARs will struggle from time to time. Your marks are compared to how others go – this is why getting a low mark but a great rank is still awesome. Try all problems and provide short and clear answer.
Use the periodic table and the datasheet provided to support your calculations. When you get stuck, look at you datasheets, chances are they will jog your memory. If there is an associated formula, perform and display the replacement and display the units.
Please do not round the calculations, use the calculator’s memory, and only once you have the final result, round it. When you are rounding give the correct number of significant digits.
Check the final answer for meaningful calculations. Plan to manage your time wisely. If objective responses are your strength, you can start with this, but don’t spend more than the recommended time on them.
Strategies for coping with exams, the best way to beat stress is to be well prepared. Do this with mock exams and trust the results will follow. Finally, reread the questions and answers you wrote. Please make sure you have said what you wanted.
On exam day
- Get a good sleep the night before
- Have a substantial but not heavy meal before the exam
- Drinking plenty of water on the days leading up to the exam
- Dress for the weather and take a jumper incase it gets cold
- Avoid stressors before the exam
Can I get a high ATAR with low ranking subjects?
If you want to get a high ATAR, you will need to put in time and effort. But we can give you the questions so you just need to answer the question and trust the results will follow. But there are a couple tricks you can do to make sure this happens.
I saw a student, studying what one would traditionally consider low ranking subjects, maximise their ATAR through a technique called maximising study time. After trials they saw what subjects they were weakest in and only studied those. That is because the HSC rewards being good across 10 units of study more then being great at 2 units and ok at 8 units of study.
Go to edzion.com for more free resources