WHILE one semester in 2012 has already finished for schools, the hard part is only just beginning for students in year 12.
The trial exams will continue sporadically around the state until September, then on October 15, the written HSC exams begin.
Kellyville High School student Sandra Matar said there had been a few tough moments already this year.
"I would say I've had a couple of meltdowns already, but that's because I put so much pressure on myself," she said.
"But I just have to put that in the back of my mind and think that it's almost over.
"Then it's three months holiday.
"On the outside I'm looking calm but on the inside I'm freaking out."
Matar spends around five to six hours studying each night — that also includes homework and assignments.
But she said a mixture of study and life outside study was important for year 12 students.
"Most days I go for a run or go to the gym to try and clear my head," she said.
"I also get together with friends outside of school to chill-out after a hard week."
She offered some other advice for students also in their final year of high school:
"Make a schedule for yourself, like a study planner.
"You have to plan, otherwise you won't end up doing anything. A good diet and a healthy amount of sleep will also help.
"Don't have too many social commitments, but you do need time to relax."
Practical exams also begin on August 2 and finish on September 15.
James Montero of Successful Students offered advice to deal with study stress:
¦Break down any big tasks and break them down again if necessary;
¦Develop your plan to prepare for the HSC and ask your friends and family to help stick with it;
¦Take control and accept that feeling a little stressed is normal;
¦Identify your triggers and develop ways to avoid them, and identify what works and doesn’t work for you.