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How to Achieve 100 in Mathematics

If you told me before I started year 12 that I would get the score I did in HSC Mathematics, I’d most likely smirk, ask you what comedic university you learnt to crack jokes from, pat you on the back and ask you to sit down. To contemplate that reality was not only far from my reach, but something that I now understand is useless to think about. Although goal setting is great, it isn’t just about contemplating the thought of getting a perfect score in a subject within the seemingly alternate world of your mind, but also actualising it through applying yourself and placing your efforts in the right place to produce the right results. So here it is, exactly what I did to score the 100:

Sandra Goria

Mathematics Tutor, Stepping Stones Education 2016
State-Rank for Advanced Mathematics



1. Learn Using The Right Methods

“Build your mathematical understandings on the right foundations”

It is very, very easy to get through your mathematics education through memorising formulas and memorising a method to get to an answer. In short, this method sets you up for failure (or more correctly, prevents you from reaching your full potential with mathematics). Mathematics is a logical subject which is underpinned by understanding and application. 

If you can’t explain why you are doing a certain step or using a formula that you haven’t derived, then that means that you don’t understand exactly what you are doing.

Instead, this mindless learning of mathematics is pretty much futile when you’re given a question that is slightly changed from the one you have memorised the method of. So, the take home message here is that you should try to, to the greatest possible extent, understand what you are doing.

Re-learn concepts that you didn’t understand fully in primary school and early high school. Did I do this? Hells to the yeah. Was it a tad embarrassing that I was on khan academy re-learning what an absolute value was? Damn straight. Do I regret doing that? I think you guys could answer that for me. Why am I doing all of this though?


 2. Learn Ahead

As a keen beaver, I tried to always stay ahead of the pace of my class, so that class time was purely for refinement. This may sound a bit excessive (which I’d agree that it very well may be in most cases), but during the Christmas ‘break’ before Year 12 began, I made an effort to finish learning the whole Mathematics course using a free online resource (thanks WooTube). I used it in conjunction with Khan Academy to have the whole course completed before delving into the hectic year ahead. I recommend these online resources to absolutely every single person, they’re incredible.

Check out Eddie Woo’s channel here


3. Refine!

It goes without saying, past papers are a must. I used the excel past HSC paper textbook which organised every past HSC question since 2001 into its topics. We all know that the HSC likes to repeat styles of questions, so if you complete all of the relevant questions once you’ve finished off a topic, then you’re seriously on your way to success.


4. Always Ask Questions!

This one applies to not just Mathematics, but every single subject you do. Don’t ever be afraid of asking questions if you don’t understand something. Don’t be afraid of looking ‘dumb’ or unintelligent. As my Ancient History teacher (who potentially heard it off someone else) once said to my class

“The only stupid question is the question not


I would ask questions like there was no tomorrow if I didn’t understand something, using my teachers around me to the greatest possible capacity that I could.

The last thing I’d like to share is that to every single one of you who are reading this and hoping to score well; firstly, you are capable of doing it, and remember that ‘whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re probably right.’ (Henry Ford) Secondly, the only thing that stands in your way is the amount of effort that you’re prepared to put in to achieve your goal. So go out there and show ‘em what you’re made of.


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