HSC Business Studies Strategies from First in the State

Adam Ma and Tim Yang promoting 2019 HSC Edition at UNSW in October 2019

My Business Studies Journey

Contrary to what many may believe, my HSC Business studies journey began with a dramatic error rather than success! I had dropped sixteen ranks from year eleven after the first year twelve Business internal assessment task. Initially, the shock significantly demotivated me from studying Business. My mind was full of self-resentment and anxiety. I kept asking myself, “how was I going to get to Band 6 for Business Studies this year?” You see, my school’s ranking was and is still quite average compared to other schools overall in NSW. This meant I had to score very high in internal rankings to even have a chance at achieving an aggregate Band 6 Mark for business studies. The long story short, my chances for recovering my internal ranks were slim to none, and so was my chance in getting that Band 6. This realisation was made worse because in the previous year’s Business cohort, no one had achieved Band 6! I needed at least a Band 6 for Business to get a high enough ATAR to get into the course I desired. What was I going to do now?

Tips I value the most for effective learning

If you feel like you are, or will be, in the situation that I was in, you need to ensure you have a ‘growth mindset.’ “What is a growth mindset? And Why should I get this mindset?” you may ask. Well, if you have a ‘growth mindset’ you will strive towards continuous improvement, and believe that you can get better, and constantly evaluate yourself to see which areas you can improve on. This mindset is crucial in getting closer to full marks in the HSC. You need to understand every single syllabus dot point inside and out, and be able to write concise and coherent business reports, and be able to analyse hypothetical situations adeptly. The most valuable feature of having this mindset is that it makes you resilient to failure. You will begin to see that every mistake you made and corrected is one step closer to your success. This resilience towards making errors was what helped me get out of that dreadful situation, and for that reason, you should also adopt a ‘growth mindset.’

Tips specific to Business Studies

1. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE Business Studies (BS)

If you think that Business Studies contains just general knowledge, and that memorising the syllabus is enough to guarantee you a Band 6 in the HSC, you are WRONG! Teachers can ‘smell’ that attitude from just looking at the executive summary in your reports, and from looking at the first sentence of your short answer questions, and they will punish you. Therefore, ensure you understand the details of the Syllabus as well.


If you do not use case studies you will NOT get a Band 6! Section IV of the HSC business studies exam require you write an essay, or business report based on one topic of the syllabus that is supported by real-life examples/case studies. For example, you can use Qantas as a case study to support your arguments to an operations question such as: “Evaluate: the effectiveness of operations strategies can help a business respond to its external influences.”


Each syllabus dot point should not be considered in Isolation. Many dot points are related. For example, you can link dot points by showing how a business functions’ strategies improve its processes, and/or also helps the function achieve its strategic role.



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Catch Up With Top Achievers

Catch Up With Top Achievers

Catch Up With Top Achievers is a student-led high school study guide publisher in Sydney, Australia.