How to Get a High ATAR: 34 Pro Tips for Studying Smarter (2023)

Universities use the ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) to select students for degree courses. It is a numerical score between 0 and 99.95, and is calculated based on your exam and SAC results.

It's no secret that getting a high ATAR score can open up a world of opportunity. But with the pressure of school, extracurricular activities and social life, how can you be sure you're studying well and have a better chance of achieving your goal?

We've put together a list of 34 proven tips to help you study smarter and get the dream score you've been looking for.


  • study tricks
  • Exam review techniques.
  • you motivate
  • Organization 101
  • ineffective learning

study tricks

1. Understand concepts instead of memorizing

One of the biggest mistakes students make is thinking they have to memorize everything. This is not the case: if you understand the concepts, you can apply them to any question that comes your way. So make sure you take the time to understand the material, not just memorize it.

While it may be necessary to memorize facts for certain humanities subjects, your first attempt should be to try to understand the underlying theme or 'big idea'. If you can do this, the information will be much easier to remember and can be applied to different questions on a test.

2. Control your pace and space it out

Grade 11 and 12 is not a sprint, it's a marathon. It's important to pace yourself to ensure you don't burn out too soon. That means studying regularly throughout the year and not trying to cram everything in at the last minute.

Searchshows that 'spaced review' is more effective than trying to pack your bags the night before or even extended study sessions at the library. Long periods of study lead to a lack of concentration and therefore a lack of retention.

We recommend studying small amounts, but regularly. Spread your studio out over several short periods of time and over several days and weeks. This will help embed the information in your memory and make it easier to remember when test time comes around.

3. Stay one step ahead of the crowd

As your school moves quickly through the curriculum, it can be easy to fall behind. You should aim to always be one step ahead of your class. This way, you'll understand the material better and be less likely to get lost.

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Rather than waiting for your professor to explain the next topic, you should read on and dive in on your own. Even if the material seems unfamiliar, try to summarize key points and even answer a few questions. That way, when you're covered in class, you can solidify your understanding instead of trying to learn from scratch.

4. Review material frequently

Constantly review the material you covered in class. Regardless of the active recall method you use, be sure to regularly review your class materials and notes. This will help move you from your short-term memory to your long-term memory.

Ebbinghaus's forgetting curve shows us that students will quickly lose memory of learned knowledge in a matter of days or weeks unless the information is consciously reviewed.

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And don't just focus on the things that are easy for you: make sure you're also challenging yourself on the things that are most challenging for you. This is where many students go wrong: they only review things they know well instead of pushing themselves and trying to improve their weakest areas.

5. Interlacing practice

Interleaving is a study techniquewhere you switch between different subjects or topics. So instead of focusing on one topic at a time, I mixed things up and worked on several different topics in each study session.

This well-known strategy is the first step to academic success. So why is it so effective? This forces your brain to constantly change gears and adapt to new material. This process helps with memory retention and can also help you better understand how different concepts are related.

6. Make use of technology

There are now many apps and online resources that can help you with your studies. Some of them are designed to help you summarize information, others provide background papers, practice questions, and some allow you tocreate flash cards.

Find the tools that work best for you and use them to help you study more efficiently. Whatever tools you choose, make sure you are using them actively and not just passively reading the material. Technology is only effective if you use it to interact with content in a meaningful way.

7. Seek help from an expert tutor

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If you really want to improve your VCE study scores or HSC qualifications then look no further than private tutoring. The best way to improve your understanding of the material and your exam technique is to work with an expert tutor who can tailor lessons to your individual needs.

At Math Minds, ourVCE tutoringThe program is more than just reviewing materials and practical work. Our academic support includes simplifying difficult concepts, helping you stay motivated, and promoting a deep understanding of the math curriculum.

Tuition is a fantastic way to realize your true academic potential. It's an absolute no-brainer for anyone looking for a support network, access to high-quality resources, and an ATAR of 90+.

8. Focus on Active Study, Not Just Reading

Active study means more than simply rereading your book, highlighting or underlining the text. it comes toengage with the material,testing your understanding and trying to apply what you learn.

There are many different ways to make your studio more active:

  • Take notes by hand instead of typing them on a laptop. This will help you process the information as you type it.

  • Try explaining the concepts to someone else. It could be a friend or a family member. If you can't explain it clearly then you don't really understand it.

  • Create mind maps or concept maps to visualize information and see how different concepts are related.

  • For non-technical subjects (e.g. English, ancient history, psychology), learn to explain, contrast and analyze main ideas.

  • For technical subjects (Math and Science), solve the problems and explain the steps and WHY they work, rather than a regurgitation of a process.

Exam review techniques.

9. Start Early: Make a Test Block Schedule

The key to effective exam review is to start early. Don't leave it to the last minute, you'll just end up feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

(Video) The 9 BEST Scientific Study Tips

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Start by creating a test review schedule that outlines when you will study, which subjects, and for how long. Be sure to allow for regular breaks and try to stick to a routine as much as possible.

Sometimes it helps to start with your favorite topic first. This is a great way to get into the swing of things and build momentum. You can use that positive energy to help fuel the rest of your review.

10. Short Bursts of High Intensity (Pomodoro Technique)

One of the best ways to revise is to break your study sessions into short, manageable blocks of time. This technique, known aspomodoro Technique,can help you stay focused and avoid burnout.

That's how it works:

You work for 25 minutes and then take a five minute break. After four rounds (i.e. two hours of studying), a longer break (15 to 30 minutes) is taken. There are many apps that will help you apply this technique.

11. Use mnemonics

Mnemonics are memory devices that help you remember information more easily. There are many different types, but the most common are creating an acronym or using a rhyme.

here are some examples:

My dear Aunt Sally (for the order of operations in math: multiplication, division, addition, subtraction). OR Every good boy deserves fudge (for notes in a treble clef: E, G, B, D, F)

Creating your own mnemonics can be really effective, especially if you can customize them however you learn best.

12. Flashcards

Flashcards are a great way to review important information and test your knowledge before the final exam. You may remember using them in elementary school for things like spelling tests and multiplication tables.

To use them effectively, make sure you:

  • Create a deck for each topic or subject area.

  • Include key concepts, definitions, formulas, etc. on one side of the card and the answer on the other side.

  • Challenge yourself regularly and shuffle the deck so you don't always start with the ones that are easiest for you.

  • Use a larger deck of 20 instead of 4 smaller decks of 5.

Try different proofreading methods for creating and using your flashcards until you find one that works best for you. Some people prefer using apps like Quizlet, while others prefer the more traditional pen and paper method.

13. Practice with previous work

You can't just sit down and do some pre-tests or SACs the night before the actual test and expect to get good results. You need to build up your stamina for the exam by taking regular practice tests under timed conditions. If you want to feel extremely prepared, gain more confidence, and improve your time management, this is the way to do it.

The more practice papers you can complete and correct before the actual exam, the better. Separate them properly to allow for some revision between attempts and to track your progress. Each test not only exposes you to potential exam style questions, but also gives you the opportunity to try out different exam techniques.

Due to poor planning, most students fail to complete all of the previous year's work before final exams. Don't let it be you!

In order to have enough time to pass, say, 20 previous end-of-year exams, your ultimate goal should be to finish the school curriculum by the start of the fourth quarter. start on the curriculum from day one, work hard and study efficiently in the first 3 quarters.

14. The Feynman technique

Feynman techniqueIt's a great way to learn and memorize information. It's named after Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman and is based on the idea that if you can't explain something simply, you don't really understand it.

That's how it works:

  • Choose a subject you want to learn about

  • Write down everything you already know about it.

  • Identify gaps in your knowledge.

  • Do some research to fill in the gaps

  • Teach someone else what you've learned (preferably using simple, easy terms)

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The process of teaching someone else forces you to really understand the material on a deep level and commit it to memory. It also helps to identify any areas that are still fuzzy in your mind.

15. Mind Map

Mind maps are a great way to visually organize information and see connections between different concepts. They are also very useful for memory recovery.

To create a mind map, you start with a central idea or theme in the middle of a blank page, and then branch out from there, adding new ideas and information as you go.

First create a mind map with all the content you need to remember and then try to recreate the same memory map. This technique is especially useful for visual learners.

(Video) How I Got A 98.50 ATAR - ATAR Tips and Studying Tips

There are no hard and fast rules for creating mind maps, so feel free to experiment until you find the method that works best for you. Some students prefer to use pencil and paper, while others use mind mapping software like MindMeister or FreeMind.

you motivate

16. Visualize yourself starting

Procrastination is a common enemy when it comes to studying, but there are some simple techniques you can use to stay on track.

One of the best ways to overcome procrastination isVisualize yourself starting a task.It can be as simple as picking up your laptop and opening your books. This simple yet powerful method tricks your brain into thinking you've already started studying, making it more likely that you actually do.

It can also be daunting trying to study for hours, but if you break your study goal down into smaller, more manageable chunks, it will seem a lot less daunting. You'd be amazed at what you can do when you focus your attention on that first small step.

17. Set SMART goals

Your goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART).

For example, setting a goal to "study harder" isn't SMART because it isn't specific or measurable. A better goal would be "complete 30 short-answer legal study questions in one hour each day."

Make sure your goals are achievable and realistic, otherwise you'll get frustrated and demotivated. And they need to be relevant to your long-term goal of getting a good ATAR score.

Finally, each goal should have a time frame associated with it so you can track your progress.

18. Study with your friends

One of the best ways to stay motivated and on track with your studies is to find a study partner or join a study group who are taking the same VCE or HSC courses as you are.

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Not only will you be accountable for your actions, but you'll also have someone to share ideas with and help you when you're stuck. Just be sure to choose friends who are serious about your studies and won't distract you from your goals.

You can also join an online study group or forum where you can ask questions, get advice, and share resources with other students.

19. Reward

During your senior year, you want to celebrate your successes, no matter how small. When you hit a milestone or achieve one of your goals, pat yourself on the back and reward yourself with something you enjoy.

It doesn't have to be something big or expensive; It could be as simple as watching an episode of your favorite TV show or taking a break to play Elden Ring. The key is to take the time to celebrate your accomplishments.

20. Exercise in study sessions

Exercise is a great way toincrease your energy levelsand improve your focus. Just make sure you don't overdo it, as too much exercise can have the opposite effect.

How to Get a High ATAR: 34 Pro Tips for Studying Smarter (7) How to Get a High ATAR: 34 Pro Tips for Studying Smarter (8)

A moderate amount of exercise is the key to success. A good rule of thumb is to do 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as walking or cycling, 4 to 5 times a week.

Exercise before or after studying:

You can also try some brain training exercises like crosswords and Sudoku to improve your cognitive function.

21. Find meaning in content

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The most effective way to stay motivated and focused when studying is to find meaning in the content. When you're doing your work, think about how it will help you in your future career or how it can be applied to real-life situations.

Not only will this make the material more interesting, but it will also help you retain information better.

It can also help to connect with a mentor who is already working in the field you are interested in. It can give you insight into what you are studying and how it is relevant to the real world.

Improve your health and well-being

22. Get a good night's sleep

Self-care is vital for students on their journey to a high ATAR. One of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health is to get a good night's sleep.

A recent studyhe actually found that better sleep habits lead to better grades. However, that doesn't mean getting a good night's sleep before an exam. It's all about building consistency in the nights before you do most of your studying.

Seven to eight hours of sleep every night is just what the doctor ordered. Don't underestimate the power of sleep as a way to rejuvenate the human brain and body. A good night's sleep will help you to:

  • Be more alert and focused during the day.

  • Think more clearly and creatively

  • make better decisions

    (Video) WHAT I DID TO GET A 99.5 ATAR | My Study Tips!

  • be more productive

  • relieve stress

  • Deal with change more effectively

23. Make time for your hobbies

Balance is everything. That means making time for your hobbies and interests. When you're studying, it can be easy to become so focused on your work that you forget about the things you enjoy doing in your free time outside of school.

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But if you spend some time each week doing something you love, it will help you relax and de-stress. This will improve your focus and concentration when studying, as well as your overall mental health.

24. Schedule relaxation and eat healthy foods

From taking a break to watch Netflix or taking a walk in the park, be sure to carve out time to relax in your day so you don't get overwhelmed with studying. Make sure you take the time to enjoy! This includes socializing and partying.

You should take the time to relax, unwind, and "unplug" so that you can return to your studies feeling refreshed and ready to focus.

Plus, what you eat has a direct impact on your energy levels, focus, and overall health. Therefore, it is essentialfeed your body with healthy foodIt will give you the nutrients you need to function at your best.

25. Develop strategies to deal with stress

Stressful times are a normal part of those few years, but they can become a problem if not managed effectively. In fact, not all stress is bad. some amountsjust push it to the optimal alert level, behavioral and cognitive performance.

However, too much pressure can have a negative impact on your health, both physical and mental. That's why you need to develop some stress coping techniques to deal with situations in a healthy way.

Some useful tips include:

  • deep breathing exercises

  • Meditation, Yoga or Stretching

  • Spend time in nature

  • Listening to music

  • Draw or write in a journal

  • Talk to someone you trust about what's going on for you.

26. Surround yourself with positivity

Elevate your company and surround yourself with positive people. These are the ones who will support you, encourage you and help you achieve your goals. They will also be there for you when the going gets tough and they will celebrate your successes with you. So choose wisely who you spend your time with.

Positivity is contagious, so being in a positive environment will help you improve your outlook on life. This can lead to greater happiness, motivation and success.

Some ways to surround yourself with positivity include:

  • Spend time with family and friends who make you feel good.

  • do things that make you happy

  • practicing gratitude

  • helping others

  • smiling and laughing more

  • Listen and read positive affirmations

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27. Focus on being the best version of you

Stop comparing yourself to others and focus on being the best version of yourself. It means accepting yourself for who you are, valuing your own opinion and setting your own standards.

Remember, you are unique and there is no one like you in the world. So focus on honing your own skills and talents and achieving your best. If you're serious about an ATAR 99, this is the way to go.

Organization 101

28. Choose themes you like

Many students think that to get an ATAR 99 they must choose subjects that will be extended. But this is not always the best approach.VCE scaleshould not be a primary factor in your topic selection process.

You are more likely to do better in subjects that you love and are passionate about. If you're not interested in the subject, it will be difficult to stay motivated and focused, especially when the going gets tough.


29. Optimize your environment

Setting the stage for success starts with creating an optimal learning environment. That means having a dedicated study space that is comfortable, well-lit, and free of distractions.

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Manage noise levels and remove any sources of procrastination like TV, social media or your bed! Creating a structure and routine will also help optimize your learning space.

Some students really do require a little background noise or music, so experiment, find what works best for you, and adjust your space accordingly.

30. Create a study schedule

One of the best ways to stay on top of your studies is to create a study schedule. This will help you organize your time, set priorities, and make sure you're covering all the content you need. You will need to form at least 2-3 study blocks per night with subjects assigned to each block.

Your schedule should be realistic and take into account other commitments such as work, dinner, family time, or extracurricular activities. Remember, he's there as a guide. Keep it flexible and allow for some "maneuvering" should problems arise.

We suggest printing out a few copies and posting them, one in your room and one on your refrigerator. This will keep you accountable and your parents informed (and out of your mind).

31. Set rules for yourself

When it comes to studying, some students prefer complete freedom, while others do better with established rules and boundaries. If you're the latter, it might be helpful to set some ground rules for yourself. This may involve setting a study start and end time, limiting social media use, or prohibiting phone calls during study periods.

These rules must be realistic and achievable. They should also be specific enough that you can measure your progress. For example, a rule like 'I'll only check my phone during breaks' is much more effective than 'I won't use my phone during study'. Another great rule of thumb can be 'I will always finish my essay 2 days before the deadline'.

32. Divide the material into pieces

One of the best strategies for studying effectively is to break material down into smaller, more manageable chunks. This will make it easier to retain information and identify patterns or connections.

A good technique is to create a summary sheet for each topic. This will force you to engage with the material and identify key points. Once you have a good understanding of the main ideas, you can start filling in the details.

33. Enjoy your vacation

During your vacation, you will have to plan a different schedule to meet your goals for the coming year. It's important that you don't get lazy on vacation, or you'll regret it when you get the results.

It's the perfect time to catch up on any content you missed during the school term or to consolidate what you've already learned. You can also use the holidays to move forward, starting next year's content.

34. Make and get good grades

If you can organize your thoughts clearly on paper, you have a much better chance of understanding and remembering the material.

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Try using a variety of study techniques tokeep your notes interesting,such as mind maps, markers, flowcharts or diagrams. And don't forget to add your personal touch: write in your own voice and use colors and bullet points to make your notes stand out. The key is to make sure your notes are concise, clear and focus on the most important information.

Some students feel that because their professors have provided notes, they don't have to write anything themselves. But this is a big mistake! Your notes should be a guide, not a substitute for your own. Be sure to write your own to engage with the material on a deeper level and promote better retention.

Ineffective learning techniques.

Many students use time-consuming methods that give a false sense of experience. They work hard before an exam, but don't focus their efforts on long-term learning.

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Here are some things to avoid:

How do I increase my ATAR?

If your goal is a high ATAR, you'll have to work hard. But, as you can see, it's not just about studying. There are other things you can do to ensure you maximize your score.

To join the desired course, you must meet the ATAR requirements. No matter what you're looking for – a 99+ ATAR or an 85 – these tips will help you get there.

Remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution and what works for one student may not work for another. Find a study method that suits your learning style and stick with it.

Your success does not depend on what you study, but on how you study. Whether that means sticking to a schedule, developing good test-reviewing habits, or maintaining your physical and mental health, make sure you use your time effectively.

Achieving a high ATAR is possible with the right attitude and approach. Believe in yourself, stay positive throughout the process, and seek help when you need it. Most importantly, don't forget to enjoy the ride!

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