TINY choices, such as writing with a black pen rather than blue, can make a difference in HSC exams.

Mika Roddick, who has marked English HSC exams for 20 years, has offered her top tips for students to do well in their end of high-school exams.

Pitfalls to avoid included managing time poorly and writing prepared responses without reading exam questions properly.

 

Black ink stands out in scanned copies of papers.
Black ink stands out in scanned copies of papers.

For English exams, be sure to take two or three minutes to map out an essay plan first before diving in and starting to write.

Keeping handwriting neat was very important, and even technical choices such as the ink colour could give students an edge because markers get scanned copies of papers.

"Use black pen - because it scans better than blue pen - it makes it clearer, and anything that makes it easier to read is really good," she said.

Stretching before an exam could help students relax and write legibly.

"Handwriting it is important so we can read the ­response, but every effort is made to decipher it."

 

Heavier ink can help writing stand out in the marking process. Picture: ThinkStock
Heavier ink can help writing stand out in the marking process. Picture: ThinkStock

 

Some in-the-know students are already making plans to take advantage of Ms Roddick's tips.

This year's dux of Sydney Girls High, Chloe Beydoun, 17, said she would use a pen with a heavier ink for exams because it would be scanned more legibly for those in the marking centre.

Because the exam papers shrink slightly when they are scanned, she also plans on writing in a slightly larger script than normal and ­keeping well away from the margins.

She also plans on draw­ing scientific diagrams slightly larger than she normally would.

Chloe said she turns off her phone while studying so she is not distracted and ­believes getting enough sleep would give her an edge.

She said eight hours' sleep a night was normal for her, while she thought her peers averaged only five hours a night.

The first HSC exam is ­English and it starts on Thursday.

 

Matildas players (from left) Taylor Ray, Rachel Lowe and Tori Tumeth will be doing HSC tests while playing in Beirut. Picture: Tracey Nearmy/The Daily Telegraph
Matildas players (from left) Taylor Ray, Rachel Lowe and Tori Tumeth will be doing HSC tests while playing in Beirut. Picture: Tracey Nearmy/The Daily Telegraph

 

SOCCER STARS EYE HSC GOALS

THE HSC can be stressful enough, but doing them jet-lagged in Beirut after playing a gruelling game of soccer will push these Young Matildas to their limits.

The trio have raced through the HSC course because they have been training and playing competitive football across the globe.

Rachel Lowe, Taylor Ray and Tori Tumeth, all 17, will sit their English exams in Australia but will travel to the Middle East to sit the rest of their tests at an international school in Beirut.

Taylor and Rachel will sit a biology exam just hours after a game. "That's going to be a little bit stressful," Taylor said.

She said it was reassuring to have teammates going through the same experience.

Students across the state start their exams on Thursday.



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