How to Step Up From Year 11 and Ace HSC Economics

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Have you ever screwed up an important assessment? Perhaps, it was even your very first assessment for HSC Economics.

It can seem pretty devastating because well, it’s the HSC and you want to do well! Now, you can step up from Year 11 and turn those results around to ace your HSC. 

Meet Patrick, he’s living proof that it is possible! After scoring 70% in his first HSC Economics assessment, he was pretty devastated. In the next assessment, he scored 60%, so he knew something had to change!

After realising a change needed to happen, he managed to turn his results around and ended up with an overall HSC Economics mark of 86%. 

So, how did he get there? What did he change? Well, let’s take a closer look! 

The Leap from Year 11 to Year 12
Recognising the Approach Needed to Change
How did Patrick change his approach to studying for HSC Economics?

The Leap from Year 11 to Year 12 

Like for most subjects in Year 11, Economics is quite theory heavy in order to prepare you for Year 12 so you’re able to apply all of the knowledge. 

Patrick told us that Year 12 Economics is more about “how you use this theory to explain real life events that occur in Australia and the world”.

So, you have to not only know the theory but be able to apply it to different situations and make sense of it!

That’s where Patrick had trouble and it’s actually quite a common challenge. It can be a bit of a wake-up call because once you go from Year 11 to Year 12 — it’s not just about recalling the theory but actually the application of that theory. 

Recognising the Approach Needed to Change

I feel like my approach to Year 11 Economics just didn’t suit the one for Year 12 Economics,” Patrick said. 

He told us that his approach of further building on his theoretical knowledge from Year 11 Economics just “backfired”. 

Patrick knew something needed to change because he had been regularly scoring 85% in Year 11 but that wasn’t the case with his first two HSC assessments. 

His first HSC Economics assessment was an essay where he scored 70%The second one was multiple choice and short answers where he scored 60%.

“With the Year 12 Economics course, every time they ask you questions, they want you to back it up with real life events and while I could explain all the theory, it was just like, what do I say for this?” Patrick explained. 

So, that meant that Patrick lost a fair few marks here and there — and well, they all added up. 

Now, that’s quite a big difference in marks considering Patrick had been doing really well in Year 11

“At the moment, I was just like, maybe I shouldn’t continue with this course, maybe I just drop it, because it was my worst at that point,” he said. 

But he didn’t give up, he realised he needed to change his approach and that’s what he did! 

How did Patrick change his approach to studying for HSC Economics?

“I feel like if you want to change your approach to something, you need to gain a new perspective of it,” Patrick said.

These are the tips Patrick followed in order to turn his results around and do better in Year 12!

Tip 1: Get some help!

His parents encouraged him to join our Economics class here at Art of Smart led by our CEO, Rowan Kunz.

“My tutor made me realise that theory is important, but it’s sort of useless if you don’t have the real life events to back it up,” he said.

Now, Patrick was writing study notes and doing practice essays — all the foundational coursework. But he added some important things to his strategy which helped improve his results. 

“The real turning point was more like in an exam, how do I get this down on paper, so that it pretty much looks nice to a marker?” he said. 

Patrick told us that Rowan really helped with all of that. From how to structure an essay to short answer questions to practice papers and exam techniques!

Tip #2: Go through your feedback

So, you’ve done a practice paper, your tutor looks through it and gives you feedback.

Make sure you actually go through that feedback because that’s how you’ll improve! And that’s exactly what Patrick did.

“Every time there’s something to improve and with my practice essays, there’s some that have been marked like four or five times, and they’re still not perfect,” Patrick said. 

The tutor provided a feedback loop to help Patrick improve every time he wrote an essay or answered a short question. 

Sometimes that meant going through Patrick’s responses line by line so he could see how to integrate the real world examples and structure his writing in a clear and concise way. 

“Getting that foundation is important as always, but being able to use that foundation is like another part of the course in Economics,” Patrick said. 

So make sure you write your study notes and have a really good understanding of all the theories and find some real-word examples you can integrate into your responses. 

We recommend that the best way to study for HSC Economics is to practise with short answer questions, essays and get feedback. Be sure to actually look over that feedback and integrate it into your next response!

Tip #3: Integrate real-world examples into your response

Integrating real-world examples which relate to the different theories in Economics is an important part of writing a great response. 

Patrick compiled a resource bank of real life events and statistics that he could remember for the exam. So, he looked for interesting articles in the news cycle and looked at websites like Business Insider and Trading Economics. 

There’s also the Reserve Bank of Australia and Australian Bureau of Statistics where you’ll be able to find a ton of data! 

Scrolling through the news and searching for any real-world examples and data became a daily habit for Patrick. 

Make sure your real life events actually relate, like in a way that your marker can see clearly,” Patrick said. Otherwise, you won’t be seeing the results you want!  

So, there needs to be a really clear link between the theory and how it plays out in the real-world. That’s how you’ll get those good marks!

And that’s it! 

By joining an Art of Smart Education Economics class, Patrick was able to work with his tutor, Rowan to learn how to step up from Year 11 and ace HSC Economics. So, Patrick saw a 16% improvement in his HSC Economics marks — now, that’s a great improvement! 

Looking for some extra help with HSC Economics?

We pride ourselves on our inspirational HSC Economics coaches and mentors!

We offer tutoring and mentoring for Years K-12 in a variety of subjects, with personalised lessons conducted one-on-one in your home or at one of our state of the art campuses in Hornsby or the Hills!

To find out more and get started with an inspirational tutor and mentor get in touch today! 

Give us a ring on 1300 267 888, email us at [email protected] or check us out on Facebook!


Tanna Nankivell is a Senior Content Writer at Art of Smart Education and is currently in Germany completing a year of study for her double degree in Communications (Journalism) and Bachelor of Arts (International Studies). She has had articles published on Central News – the UTS Journalism Lab and wrote a feature piece for Time Out Sydney during her internship. Tanna has a love for travel and the great outdoors, you’ll either find her on the snowfields or in the ocean, teaching aqua aerobics or creating short films. 



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