For weeks Wollongong City Library’s reference section has been crammed with year 12 students making the most of the quiet, study-friendly environment ahead of Monday’s first Higher School Certificate exam.
As their three-week study break came to an end, most students said they felt a mixture of pressure, ambivalence, panic and relief that exams were finally in sight.
St Mary Star of the Sea College student Gemma Boscaro said she was nervous but trying to stay relaxed as exams approached.
‘‘I’ve just been going through all my notes and making them into simple, smaller chunks of information that are easy to remember,’’ she said.
‘‘And at this point I’m only studying about three to four hours a day so I’m not overloading myself.’’
Tihia Zissimopoulos, also from St Mary’s College, said she was worried about panicking during her first exam.
‘‘I get a bit stressed on the morning of exams and you can be prepared, but then once you get in there it can be hard to concentrate because you panic,’’ she said.
Holy Spirit College student Anthony Burazer said he was methodically studying one subject each day and wasn’t too stressed, but his friend, Keira High School’s Sinan Dilber, admitted to having a few sleepless nights.
‘‘I had a real insomniac night last night, just because I’ve had a lot to think about,’’ Sinan said.
More than 7300 Illawarra and South Coast students will sit this year’s exams, joining 73,397 NSW students who are enrolled in the Higher School Certificate this year.
English is the only compulsory HSC subject, with mathematics, biology, business studies and studies of religion rounding out the top five. The first exams are standard and advanced English on Monday and the last will be visual arts on November 8.