Jeffrey Zheng (Hero Alumni, 99.95)

With the first block of exams coming up for Year 11s and half-yearlies approaching for Year 12s, we decided to investigate some of the most effective methods to performing well by talking to one of our very own Hero alumni – Jeffrey Zhang!

Achieving a 99.95 ATAR with a sweet state rank 2nd in Chemistry, Jeffrey shares some of his most useful tips towards tackling school and beyond.


With a pretty self-explanatory name, time blocking involves dividing your day into blocks of time (who would have guessed?), dedicated to a specific task. This exercise isn’t just to adhere to a schedule; rather it helps you plan your goals for the day (or days) to keep you on track – timewise and workwise.

For example, Jeffrey would create 2- or 3-hour blocks of time every few days dedicated to his studies.

“However, this is not 2-3 hours straight! Make sure to have 5 to 10-minute breaks every 30mins / 1hr to prevent your brain from running into a wall.”

But make sure your schedule doesn’t look like a wall of study! Schedule in time for sport, breaks and even the sneaky IG or TikTok scroll. While work and study is great, it is even more important to maintain a healthy work, study and life balance, especially through one of the most stressful schooling periods.


One of the least effective ways to study including taking notes – before you all start getting out the pitchforks, let me explain. As mentioned previously by our tutor, Michael, in our free Year 11 Kickstarter event, effective note taking is very different to just copying down a PowerPoint with pretty dot points and cursive headings. Not only that, sometimes notes aren’t even the right method of studying for you; this proves especially true for visual or more practical learners, rather than just rote learning and memorisation.

Instead, Jeffrey returns with his words of wisdom.

“Consider methods such as flash cards, explaining concepts out loud and quizzing your friends.”

These utilise exercising your own knowledge and being able to clearly elucidate your points, thus being able to test your knowledge and assess your weaknesses.


As all Extension 2 Math students do, Jeffrey uses a Math analogy to pass on his final piece of encouragement:

“My biggest advice is to think about your HSC score (almost anything you do really) as a linear function: X-axis as Time and the Y-axis as Results.”

For the rest of us, it’s clear there is a direct correlation between the amount of effective time spent studying and the results achieved. In a linear function, as we move along the X-axis, the Y-axis increases proportionally. You aren’t going to reach your full potential if you only cram in 2 hours of study the night before the HSC! And it’s clear that Jeffrey succeeded, not only because of his diligent work ethic and support from the Hero family, but because he knew how to study efficiently and effectively.

To learn more about study tips to ace your exams like Jeffrey did, check out the rest of our blog posts – as well as follow our Instagram at @hero_education to receive updates of our FREE events (just like the Year 11 Kickstarter) and helpful study tips from people like Jeffrey!

All our HSC mentors at Hero Education are here to teach you more than just syllabus content. Every week in class, we spend a small portion at the end of the lesson giving you tips and tricks to support you through your Year 11 & 12 journey. We pride ourselves in being able to provide you with opportunities, advice and mentorship that can’t be found anywhere else. Click the button below to check out how classes at Hero Education are run, and book your 2-week trial today. If we’re not Hero material, you pay zero!


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