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HSC: Former students give tips for class of 2017 after a year in the 'real world'

HSC students reflect on their exams
These five former HSC students feel the exams, whilst stressful, instilled a strong work ethic in them for the future.

ABC News: Mazoe Ford

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Five Sydney students, who sat the HSC in 2016, have shared their experience of life after exams and what it's like in the "real world".

This time last year, the ABC spoke to the same group of students — who all achieved excellent results — about their experiences and expectations.

Here are their tips for current students, with the benefit of 12 months' life experience since completing their exams.

Charbel Elaro

Charbel Elaro standing in front of a waterfall at Milford Sound, New Zealand.
Former HSC student Charbel Elaro treated himself to a holiday in New Zealand after his exams.

Supplied: Charbel Elaro

Charbel is now studying architecture at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

"My advice would be to just simply endure it and stick it out, because it will end," he said.

"For me, I had booked a holiday to New Zealand, and that allowed me to keep persisting through all the extremely boring nights where I'd be studying at home, wishing I was out doing something fun.

"Whilst you are in the moment, the HSC feels like a lifetime, although in hindsight it's all a blur.

"So just do your best so you can really enjoy the massive break that comes after, not having any regrets on giving up during the HSC."

Gregory Loukaitis

Gregory and Christopher Loukaitis standing next to bronze bull sculpture.
Gregory (left) and Christopher Loukaitis travelled after completing the HSC and before starting their university courses.

Supplied: Gregory Loukaitis

Gregory is studying a Bachelor of Commerce/Laws at the University of Sydney and working part-time as a paralegal with a commercial law firm.

"I think the HSC did prepare me for life outside high school," he said.

"However, the HSC can at times pressure students into memorising content and syllabus points rather than understanding what is being learnt.

"So I do think this can be a problem considering university study is very much about critical thinking and developing your own viewpoints."

Olivia Michaela Klianis

Former HSC student Olivia Klianis sitting at a desk with pen in hand studying.
Chiropractic student Olivia Klianis says the HSC gave her skills in time management and working under pressure.

Supplied: Olivia Klianis

Olivia has been studying Chiropractic Science at Macquarie University.

"The HSC prepared me to an adequate extent, especially in terms of developing time management skills and working under pressure," she said.

"These particular skills became very rewarding in the application of my university life.

"Now in university, I am definitely nowhere near as stressed as I was with the HSC."

Christopher Loukaitis

Christopher Loukaitis standing next to the OWEEK sign at University of NSW.
Christopher Loukaitis travelled after the HSC and is now studying construction and property management at UNSW.

Supplied: Christopher Loukaitis

After completing the HSC, Christopher travelled to America and also spent time with family and friends celebrating. He is now studying a Bachelor of Construction and Property Management at UNSW.

"I felt the HSC did instil in me a level of diligence and passion for hard work," he said.

"However the HSC does not define you nor does it prepare you for life outside of school.

Georgia Stillianesis

Georgia Stillianesis holding document standing next to W sculpture at Western Sydney University.
Georgia Stillianesis says the HSC instilled a strong work ethic which she puts to good use at Western Sydney University.

Supplied: Georgia Stillianesis

Georgia is studying physiotherapy at Western Sydney University.

"The HSC for me was not a tool to test my intellectual ability but instead a measure of my work ethic," she said.

"The real world is not like school where you have teachers telling you what to do, instead it is a self-driven environment that requires hard work and for that reason the HSC is a perfect means of instilling such work ethic.

"This period of your life is a difficult and stressful one and it is important not to block out your family.

"Get them to help test you on your notes, or simply distract you from the overwhelming thought of exams."