There's life after Year 12
Australian media personalities and politicians reflect on their experiences during Year 12 and offer their tips about dealing with stress to students preparing for their final exams. For help visit ReachOut.com
Parents of HSC students often feel just as anxious about the exams as their children, with a new support service aimed at supporting mums and dads to be launched as 70,000 pupils prepare to sit the first test on Thursday.
Mental health group ReachOut has extended its online resources on studying and managing HSC-related pressure to parents.
"Don't be more stressed than your teenager," ReachOut chief executive Jono Nicholas said.
"Stay positive and remind them that they have other pathways to get the course they want."
The best thing parents can do is find practical ways to help their children get through the four-week exam period.
"Do things like making sure they have enough energy with healthy meals, or driving them to exams," he said.
Mosman High School year 12 student Roxy Sauerman said her mum Claire has been a source of emotional support as well as taking her to regular yoga classes, which have helped her relax in the lead-up to exams.
"I think the best thing you can do as parents is provide them with a supportive home environment," Claire Sauerman said.
"To pressurise them as a parent is is only going to make it worse. They put enough pressure on themselves.
"When Roxy needs to go somewhere I've been able to take her, whether that be a party or yoga.
"I think that sound balance is really important, otherwise you burn out."
It was her mum's advice to "step back from it for a while" that helped Roxy get through particularly stressful periods.
"The worst time, I just wasn't getting this text and I chucked my book on the floor and said 'I'm dropping out of school, I can't do it'," Roxy said.
"I ended up going to my cousin's house for a while, and I just had a big epiphany while I was there and came back and understood it."
Ms Sauerman, who has already gone through the HSC process with her two older children, said she has seen pressure surrounding the exam grow in recent years.
"I remember doing the HSC in 1981, and it wasn't nearly as pressurised as it is today," she said
"There was no stress or pressure to get a high mark. It wasn't even spoken about.
"I think it's become really intense and a sort of global exam, it's just how the world works."
Roxy is planning to take a gap year after the HSC, a decision that is welcomed by her mother.
"Young people are often pushed into going to uni or TAFE, but there's plenty of time to figure out what you want to do," Ms Sauerman said.
Throughout the exam period, both students and parents should remember to maintain a balanced life, according to Mr Nicholas.
"What we shouldn't do is pretend nothing else happens during exams, so keep exercising and socialise, while still getting big blocks of study in," he said.
"What's different about this generation is that they have a minimum of 50 years of work ahead, which is terrifying.
"During that time, they'll have many different career breaks, so don't worry about what you're career path is in the first four or five years.
"What we think is important at 18 is not what we think is important in the first semester of uni."