Top HSC Exam tips from Dr. Stephen Fogwill at UTS

These are Dr. Fogwill’s top tips. He’s been an advisor to writing HSC Physics papers as well as a senior marker for many years.

Plus an all round lovely guy, willing to share his expertise with people.

  • all science students are expected to know what the gradient of a line means
  • students tended to draw trend lines incorrectly
  • students need to be prepared to answer questions on all parts of the syllabus, including the contextual outlines
  • the big mark questions are the ones that make the most difference, students need to practice how to do them
  • exam strategy: first look through and find pictures, then read through 7 mark questions, then read through the options. Finally go back and answer the multiple choice questions. It’s good to have a strategy
  • draw diagrams where possible
  • check the batteries of your calculators
  • where the paper says “do not write”, definitely do not write in that section – it will not be marked
  • in Physics and Earth, students should use the formula sheet and data sheet as a summary. Prepare your notes around it so that when you look at it in the exam it actually has more meaning because you’ve associated various sections of the course with the data provided to you
  • when considering safety in a scientific investigation make sure you look at safety specific to that investigation rather than simply wear safety glasses and have covered shoes
  • for each mandatory prac students should be able to do “VARS” which is validity, accuracy, reliability and safety as well as being able to describe the prac and general trends that were observed
  • teachers job to train students to do really good brief summary notes
  • when finished writing an answer go back and check that you’ve answered each part of the question
  • his website is