Eddie Wood smiling in front of a whiteboard

Eddie Woo's study tips for year 12 and the HSC during coronavirus

28 April 2020
How to study at home effectively
While HSC students are poised to make a gradual return to classrooms over the coming weeks, studies will continue to be disrupted this year. We asked one of the country's best teachers to share his advice on how to learn and study at home.

Will year 12 need to be repeated? Will I be disadvantaged heading into university?

The short answer is no.

Although the details surrounding year 12 assessments are still being ironed out, you won’t be disadvantaged when applying for University.

“These are truly unprecedented circumstances: it’s natural to feel uncertain when you can’t get all the concrete details," he says. "But education policy makers, schools and universities are paying close attention to the situation, as it develops, and are making sure year 12 students will be looked after.”

No matter how the rest of this year unfolds, you’ll be able to graduate year 12 and won’t be disadvantaged when it comes to applying for university.
Eddie Woo, Education Ambassador, University of Sydney.

Should I be studying for six hours a day at home? More? Less?

With most year 12 students used to spending six hours a day at school, Eddie says maintaining a similar routine is important and six hours should be used as a rough guide while studying at home.

“But," he’s quick to add, “you should definitely not be staring at a screen for six hours, continuously, throughout the day... unless you want to make your eyes very sore and really mess with your ability to sleep at night!"

Break the day up and be sure to spend the time you would usually have at recess and lunch with family members. Everyone’s study routine will be different – and that’s a good thing – but, however you organise your day, it’s vital to have the right mindset.

"You could spend 6 or 7 or 8 hours a day “studying”, but if it’s not focused and varied… then not much learning is going to happen."

What’s the best way to run a group study session while self-distancing?

The key to effective group study is structure.

While students are unable to physically be in the same space, Eddie believes it’s important to make a realistic plan as a group – and stick to it.

“You want to make sure the time you spend together doesn’t devolve into a random chat about whatever fun video you just watched. Have that random chat, but assign a specific time to it.”

“Schedule a half hour chat. Make it short and punchy, because if you have lots of time available, you’ll fluff around and you won’t use it efficiently."

How do I know that what I'm learning by myself is correct?

If you’re feeling uncertain about anything, the big tip is: reach out.

“The only dumb question is the one that isn’t asked”, says Eddie. “While you don’t get to see your teachers in person right now, you can still fire off a question to them by email.”

With thousands of other students studying under similar conditions, Eddie says peer groups are a valuable resource while studying remotely. He encourages those in the final year to phone a friend or jump online and join the dozens of active study groups on social media, where other HSC students can give you a hand with the concepts your learning.

What online learning tools do you recommend?

It depends on what you're studying and what you want to do.

For maths specifically, Eddie recommends Desmos for graphing functions, and other sites like Mathigon and Brilliant.org which have “fantastic visual modules and interesting problems to explore a variety of concepts”.

Great general go-to tools for getting organised include Google Docs and Google Drive – allowing files to accessed and shared from anywhere on any device.

Eddie also encourages students to explore the hundreds of learning videos available online through platforms like YouTube’s Learn@Home hub. (We recommend checking out Eddie's excellent classes via his own official channel, WooTube).

Eddie Woo is a proud graduate of the University of Sydney (BEd, Secondary:Math) as well as its Education Ambassador.

Are you a HSC student? Got more questions?

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Every week during NSW Term 2 we will be holding a series of online events covering everything you need to know: from HSC study tips, course information and how to apply, to pathways, scholarships and live chats with our students. Visit our events for prospective students page here.

Best group study session

Eddie says assign a timekeeper roster and follow this basic structure:

First five minutes: catch up with each other, get it out of your system.


10 minutes: someone presents on a specific topic the group is studying.


10 minutes: the group asks questions they’ve each prepared in advance, to see if the person presenting knows their stuff.


5 minutes: wrap up and confirm the time and topic of the next group chat.