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HSC in 8 days.

Community Member

The HSC is in 8 days and I've never felt more overwhelmed in my whole life. Theres so much to get into that I don't even know how I can fit it in one post. Since the beginning of Y12, I've been slaving away at work, only to receive substandard results. Even subjects like English, which is my favourite subject I've barely managed above 50. Theres just so much stress built up - the hype over internals(all of which I've royally messed up) and now theres barely a week to the first hsc exam. Since I suffered from extreme procrastination pre-trials, i started studying about a month before the hsc but somehow I feel the time ran by too fast and now I still have an enormous amount of content to get through and this is leaving out past papers(i haven't even attempted a single one yet.) plus this, i have the feeling that I need to do well in the hsc and get atleast band 5s across all my subjects as these exams are my final "chance" to prove myself.  added to all this I'm also facing some health problems(my iron levels were shown too low) causing clumps of hair to fall out everyday. everyone else seems so calm and collected and no one is  freaking out as much as me and yet they all recieved good results in trials and probably will in the hsc too and i feel the pressured to live up to their standards as well. theres also the fact of nerves - i am feeling very anxious about the exams and if Ill get a mind blank in the middle of them. My memory is also very poor and I am panicking over how to fit the tomes of content into my brain. all this is causing me major stress and my feelings are almost always at a low point. i know people will say the hsc "isn't the all" and "your atar doesn't define you" but to me these are the final exams that i can leave my mark on and are so important to me, but just now I am running on crappy feelings and low motivation. if anyone can help with this, it will be greatly appreciated, thank you. 

ps i know people will tell me to look after my mental health, but i don't have "depression" or anything like that, just to confirm, im just majorly stressed out and want to give up on the hsc but also don't want to.

6 Replies 6


Hey feeling_blue006,

First of all: Welcome to the Forums!

Thank you for sharing so openly, that’s a really brave and proactive thing to do. It sounds like you’ve been going through a really difficult time with a lot going on, and it’s so important to be kind to yourself while you work through it. 

HSC/Exams can bring up some really tough feelings around needing to do well to "prove" ourselves and get the best possible results.  While we can put a lot of pressure on ourselves to achieve, it is important to trust that we are doing our best - especially with some health concerns happening too. Of course, this is easier said than done, but know that you are not alone in this feeling. 


Our lovely community members will be able to relate to some of the things you mention here and may be able to share some of the wisdoms that have helped them. We’re sure they’ll spot your thread and share their perspectives here soon. In the meantime, here’s some things you might like to look at: 


We hope you know that the Beyond Blue line is here for you on 1300 22 4636 (or on webchat).  Thanks again for sharing. We’re here to listen and offer support, and you never know how your story might help someone else. 


Kind regards, 

Sophie M 

Community Member

Dear feeling_blue006,

my guess is you are already into exams. I am wishing you the best. It is more than 40years since I sat my HSC and I still remember the terror. I developed a nervous cough that lasted all the weeks of the exams. It was so bad I had special medicine and everything, which did not help. And the exam Supervisors kept telling me I was disturbing the others and would have to leave. The stress was terrible. I think today the pressure it much worse and may not be of any benefit other than stressing you out.

Although it sounds flippant you can only do our best. So give it your all. Having a routine and sticking with it is really helpful for study. Be structured and take regular breaks to keep yourself fresh. Relaxation is a great help, as too much stress can affect your memory and recall. If you have any chamomile tea, get stuck into that because it can help with relaxation. When on breaks do something nice for yourself- a walk, a bath, enjoy a cup of tea, chat to a friend. This will help to 'reset your brain' by giving it a stress break. That is actually going to help with studying and retention. Get some exercise to balance up all the mental activity, hopefully with  a friend, and go to bed at a reasonable hour. Staying up late and cramming is only going to make you tired and under perform.

I was a terrible student but I passed. And I am sure you will too. I am a qualified professional despite my poor scholastic achievements. We are all so hard on ourselves.


Community Member

hi feeling_blue006, I know you have started your exams already but I thought I would send you this to hopefully show you that you're not alone. I'm one year out of school, I did my HSC last year. I was an overachiever when it came to academics, and academic validation and praise that I received from "doing well" at school fuelled so much of my happiness and confidence. But, come year 11 I was having panic attacks in the exam rooms because I was just so nervous and stressed. I put an increidble amount of pressure on myself to the point where I experienced hair loss too. School is so hard, year 12 is so hard and the HSC is so hard. I know you want to do well, I know that you think this is your last opportunity to make your mark but I'm telling you it isn't. By the time the HSC came around for me I was COMPLETELY burnt out, I did not stop all of year 12 to think about myself, how I was feeling. After the HSC was over, I crashed. I didn't even recognise myself in the mirror, I become depressed, anxious and even had a suicide attempt because for the first time in my life, I had a moment to think about how I was feeling. 

I am now in recovery and in university doing the degree I've always wanted, and was that a result on my HSC mark? No. Has ANYONE asked/talked about the HSC/what I got since graduating? NO. 

High school and the HSC is a blip in the grand scheme of your life. I know how big it feels and I know that you want to do well. But what does well even mean? Who cares if you can write as quickly as possible about The Crucible?! What does that prove? Nothing about your character or who you are. 

But I know that that is not the advice that you want to hear, so, in your exams, take a breath. Focus on only the paper in front of you and do the absolute best you can. If you blank and forget your essay, it's okay. You know what to do, you've been in class doing this for a whole year, just take a minute to read the question and put anything down on that paper that you can, write as much as you can, and then the 2 hours will be over and you can tick another one off your list. 

Even though I was feeling so unwell inside me, not one of my friends knew that. People made comments to me about how calm and relaxed I looked during the HSC (which was just so far from the truth), so even though you may think that no one else is absolutely freaking out, trust me, they are. 

Life is so great, the HSC is shit. Get through the next few weeks and then put it behind you, because this is NOT going to be the mark that you make in the world, it isn't even a scratch. 

Good luck for the rest of your exams, you're almost there xxx

Hi snazzypretzel5, 

Thank you so much for your kind words. I've started my HSC as you've surmised and am about halfway through with it, and although I don't feel as overwhelmed as before, I'm still terribly stressed for the remaining of my exams, but I'll keep your advice in mind, take breaks and do my best 🙂

Hi Spags_, thank you so much for your valuable advice. As you mentioned, I'm halfway through my HSC and you're right, it feels so satisfying to tick off an exam after it's done. It's heartening to hear advice from someone who's also gone through the HSC recently and I'll do as you say and just do my best and try not to worry so much about them. At this point I'm just waiting for the next two weeks to fly by!

Hey feeling_blue006,


Go you! You can only do your best, which, despite the cookie cutter idea of this, is true. But doing your best does not mean running yourself into the ground or burning yourself out. In an earlier post Spags has hit the nail on the head- you will suffer this year, and then it's over and done.


I hope that all your hard work reaps the rewards you want. If you are wanting to go onto tertiary study this can feel like a make or break, but there are many ways to get into tertiary study.


Keep being kind to yourself and caring for yourself. I hope you have some big plans for when the exams are complete (like sleeping for a few days straight!?)