Study day to help central west students tackle HSC Mathematics

More than 70 students from ten schools across the Central West descended on Cowra High School last Thursday to sharpen their skills during a HSC Mathematics Study Day. 

Now in its second year, the day was designed to get students thinking about study techniques throughout the HSC year. 

Cowra High School maths teacher Steve Howard, who co-organised the day, said it was great to see more students participating this year, with six schools and 50 students attending in 2016. 

“We’ve got schools from basically around the Central West, Gilgandra down to Cowra,” Mr Howard said. 

“We’ve got Boorowa coming up, they are coming for the first time, Grenfell, Orange, Dubbo, quite a few little schools. 

“It went down very well last year which is why it’s gotten bigger this year here.”

He said students get taught a wide variety of skills for studying and revision and the day also features workshops across all three HSC Mathematics courses – Mathematics, Extension 1 and Extension 2 

“Basically the idea of today is to get them thinking about how they can best prepare themselves for the HSC, so how they can increase their marks but also how they can think mathematically better so when they go off to uni, which most of the will do, they can handle whatever comes their way that much better,” he said. 

“We cover a mass of things from how to work harder, motivation, study skills, exam technique, how to actually do the paper itself, so we do that for two hours.”

Working with Parkes High School teacher Helen Vere, Mr Howard said he wanted to enable students to build up their skills throughout the year rather than cramming before the HSC. 

“It’s very common to have these sort of study days towards the end of the HSC course… but a lot of the actual study skills need to be applied over a much longer period time,” he said. 

“They don't tell the kids how to actually build up their mathematical intelligence during the year. It’s very much like training for a sporting event, if you want to build a muscle, you gotta keep using it over a long period of time and that’s no different with the brain.”

He said the different focus of the day means students may develop skills that they may not learn anywhere else. 

“There are some quite unique ideas here that they don’t come across elsewhere,” Mr Howard said.