Meet our Year 12 2020 Scholar, Jason who comes from Knox Grammar School in Sydney’s North Shore.
Attending our Talent 100 Chatswood Campus for HSC Chemistry and Physics, Jason tells us about his Year 12 2020 experience, as well as some tips and tricks for future Year 12 students.
Name: Jason Lin
High School: Knox Grammar School
HSC State Rank: 1st in Mathematics Extension 1
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi, my name is Jason and I’m a passionate student who graduated from the Class of 2020.
For my HSC, I sat the subjects Mathematics Extension 2, Mathematics Extension 1, English Advanced, Physics and Chemistry. My dream is to study Medicine at University, and my hobbies include playing piano.
Overall, how do you think you went in the 2020 HSC?
I think I did quite well in my HSC.
The most worrying subject, Advanced English, went smoothly because it was an easy paper that started off the exam block strong, and there were no worries with Mathematics Advanced at all.
However, both Physics and Chemistry were set at an extremely high standard and though I believed by personal performance wasn’t as good as it could have been, compared to the state, I think I performed extremely well in the tests.
Were the HSC exams what you expected?
Absolutely not! The Advanced English HSC Exam was set at a much easier standard that I had expected as well as Mathematics Extension 2, while Physics and Chemistry were set at a much harder standard than I had expected. Mathematics Extension 1 was reasonable and one of the only tests which matched my pre-existing assumptions.
Was there anything you wish you did differently?
In hindsight, more preparation for the sciences was definitely warranted seeing as they were very difficult this year. Additionally, there is always more to be done for English and areas to improve on in your essay writing, however this was all unprecedented and realistically, I am unsure whether those would actually help improve my marks.
What was your favourite HSC subject at school?
My favourite subject at school would definitely have to be Chemistry, because of a combination of a supportive teacher at school, and also a really supportive Mentor at Talent 100 Chatswood. I enjoyed the subject because I like my Sciences, and I also enjoy the content that Chemistry provided. In addition, I enjoyed studying the applications of Chemistry to our society, which was really relevant – and I thought that was really great.
Which HSC subject did you struggle with the most?
On the other hand, my least favourite subjects at school would have to be Advanced English.
Initially I hated it – I despised it because it was such a subjective subject, however my mindset changed after I saw one of my peers at school receive full marks (100 out of 100) for the Trial HSC Paper. This means that he had five perfect essays, and that completely changed my mindset on Advanced English as a subject. That was something that he did, that allowed him to get five top-scoring essays in a row, which I thought was amazing. Then, between the Trial Exams and the 2020 HSC, I would write out my essays over and over, memorise a tonne of quotes and that definitely helped me prepare for the English HSC exam.
Can you describe the teaching style of our Talent Mentors?
From my experience, the two Mentors (they were Chris Skellern and Marcus Pannu), which have taught me both share similar characteristics in our teaching. Though lessons were highly regimented through the structure of the workbooks, they were always open to answer questions and diverge from topics to explain other concepts that were more difficult, or needed further clarification. It was also very student-led, where compromises were made to cover work from previous lessons or for further clarification of future concepts that perhaps would be coming in a test as well. I thought this style of teaching was extremely beneficial in a tuition setting.
Both of my Mentors had excellent teaching styles which made studying at Talent really enjoyable. Lessons were highly structured and organised, but my Mentors were more than willing to diverge from the class plan in order to answer questions, and to clarify certain concepts that were really difficult. This means they would either go back to particular topics that were especially difficult (and they were happy to clarify that), and also they would move forward in case we had Trial HSC Examinations or tests coming up, where they would go through content which was more relevant to that.
How have our Mentors influenced your experience at Talent?
My Physics Mentor, Marcus, was an extremely supportive and knowledgeable teacher who was very passionate and caring of his students. I recall apart from generically teaching, he would individually go around to groups of students and make sure that they understood the the concepts being taught (especially in Module 6 – Electromagnetism). He would also provide many useful analogies and draw upon his own experiences as an HSC student in order to benefit our own Year 12 journey, and also to clarify many difficult concepts which I found especially useful.
Ultimately, my experience at Talent was a product of supportive and knowledgeable tutors, especially Marcus, who would regularly go above and beyond classroom requirements to ensure we perform to the best of our ability.
Can you tell us a little bit about your favourite class at Talent?
My favourite class at Talent would have to be Physics, both because of how much I enjoy the subject itself, combined with the fantastic teacher I had for the course. The resources especially were structured in a way that was easy to understand, as well as including many extension components that were not explicitly in the syllabus, but were good to mention in responses to show and convey your depth of understanding. Both the theory as well as exam technique and how to respond to questions were highly sophisticated, combined with the plethora of quizzes and exams that were provided.
It was because of this Talent class which allowed me to perform extremely well in school at Physics, making it one of my best subjects for my HSC.
How do you think the Talent 100 Scholarship program added value to your HSC?
Talent’s Scholarship program exposed me to a wide range of extra resources, exams, questions and teaching styles which has added tremendous value to my HSC. It has also introduced me to an extremely positive and hardworking community of students and teachers, as well as access to a very productive and efficient studying environment which I have effectively utilised.
Studying as a Scholar at Talent provided a quiet and productive environment to get work done effectively and efficiently. Though the COVID situation thwarted many of those plans, the classes themselves were also extremely helpful to clear up many questions that had arisen during the week. Especially during the online learning section, I found it very hard to focus during school classes, and I was really grateful for the weekend classes and Q&A tutorials which could go through the concepts that were covered at school.
What are some study strategies that helped you thrive in Year 12?
One of the best study strategies that I can recommend – that helped me significantly through my Year 12 journey was just listening in class.
I really value the importance of listening in class because I would see a lot of my friends, and they would be grinding and studying really hard a few days before the exam. However, I barely had to do that because I would just listen in class! I think the strategy is to pay a lot of attention in your daily lessons, take notes during class, then revise straight after class and also one week later. That makes sure that it stays within your long term memory, so right before the exam you know all your content and all you have to do is revise the specifics or the nitty gritty details.
Given the chance, what would you do differently in 2020?
I think a lot classes went online and onto at-home learning, and I think this was particularly detrimental. If I were to approach my studies in a different way, it would definitely involve paying more attention to the online classes. Inevitably you’re going to fall behind because there are so many distractions at home, but make sure you keep up with your notes, and catch-up on all the work at a later date – and don’t fall behind!
What’s your best piece of advice for future Year 12 students?
In general, I think my biggest piece of advice would be to don’t undervalue the importance of taking notes and always pay attention in class. This is so important because it avoids so many unnecessary nights of stress and last-minute preparation before exams – because you already know all your content from constant revision and paying attention in class.
Can you share some Band 6 tips on acing Year 12 Mathematics?
Keep an open mind.
This is an exam technique where in an exam you might see a lot of questions where the exam is not immediately obvious, and you might be stuck on it for a really long time. I like to tell people that you need to keep an open mind and think of all the possibilities, and all the ways that you can solve the problem, rather than just tunnel-visioning on one specific way to solve the problem. By opening your mind, you can find out all the possibilities and that might make you solve the problem.
What were your first impressions of Talent 100 Chatswood?
My first impressions of Talent were nothing but positive. The Student Services team at Chatswood were warm and friendly, and very welcoming. It was designed in such a way which helped me stay focused on my work, and the Mentors and Tutors were easily accessible so I could ask questions.
It also allowed for collaboration with my peers or classmates very easily which assisted greatly with my studies. The accessibility of rooms and classrooms with desk and whiteboards could also allow me to brainstorm my thoughts and further foster this sense of collaboration which I believe is extremely important for HSC success. It was also a very large location, and classrooms were vibrant and colourful. The seats and the positions of all the tutorial rooms really make Talent a good place for quiet study.
How do classes at Talent differ from those at school?
I would describe the classes at Talent as very interactive and relaxed, because there was a lot of engagement with the Mentors and they would be very engaged with the students as well. Whereas at school it was very regimented and they have to cover certain material by a particular time. At Talent, it was very flexible and it was up to the pace of the Mentor to teach what we needed to learn.
How did Talent add value to Year 12 and your overall HSC experience?
The community which Talent 100 has built as well as the extra resources and clarification of concepts from tutors added enormous value to my HSC experience, and significantly benefitted my Year 12 journey. Especially in uncertain times within the pandemic, both online and the gradual transition back to in-class learning was smooth, which made tutoring a beneficial extension of school and less of a chore.
How would you describe your overall experience at Talent 100?
Talent is a very tight-kit community with extremely supportive and knowledgable Mentors.
Learn more about Jason’s Year 12 journey and Scholarship with Talent by clicking on the video below: