Southern Cross School of Distance Education logo

Southern Cross School of Distance Education

Southern Cross School of Distance Education

Providing quality distance education since 1995

Leading up to the exam

In the weeks and days leading up to exams, besides studying and revising, below are some tips that you should also be aware of:

Exam details

Know when your exam is and the venue where you will sit it. Do you know how to get there? Check the public transport schedule, make sure you know the route to drive and how long it will take you 

Exam format

Become familiar with the exam format. How long does it go for? Do you have reading time? If so, how much? What will you do during this time? How many questions do you need to answer and what type of questions will they be?

  • One way to become familiar with the exam format is by looking at past HSC exam papers on the NESA website. 
  • Another way is to view the toolkits for individual subjects through the HSC Hub website.

Exam approach

Make a plan for how you will approach the exam. For example, think about which sections you will complete first and last


Prepare the equipment that you are allowed to take into the exam, such as a water bottle, pens, pencils, ruler, highlighters, calculator, etc.

Be aware of items that you are not allowed to take into the exam, such as your phone or smartwatch. What will you do with these items during your exam? Leave them in your car, leave them at home?

Exam procedures

What are the procedures within the exam room? What can you do and what are you not allowed to do?

  • For more information about attending your HSC exams, including specific equipment lists for individual subjects, what do to if you are late or have an illness or misadventure, as well as what you can and cannot do during the exam, please view the Term 4 Section of the Rules and Procedures Guide.
  • As a Stage 6 student, you should be familiar with the NESA HSC Rules and Procedures Guide for students

Outdoor exercise

Spend some time outside in the sun on the day before your exam and do some exercise – go for a long walk, swim or do some exercise that you enjoy. This will help to manage your stress and also to get a better nights sleep.


The night before your exam, drink plenty of water and eat a nutritious dinner. You must be well hydrated and feed your brain with plenty of fresh foods. Avoid caffeine (in drinks such as coffee and energy drinks) and alcohol in the late afternoon and evening.


Before going to bed, avoid all screens and do something that you enjoy to wind down – meditate, take a bath, do something mindful or listen to music

Get a good night’s sleep, between 8 – 10 hours is recommended. Being tired will make it harder for you to concentrate during the exam. Additionally, memory and learning are consolidated during sleep, so you need to be at your best.


Remember to set your alarm

For more information on what to do the night before your exam, check out the article by Murdock University.