HSC grades are the zenith point of secondary studies and a pathway to a college education. After 12 gruelling years at school, the journey ends with HSC marks for students of New South Wales. The pressure is off the roof as students are worried about their HSC and ATAR scores. Students need to attain a specific level of knowledge and skills to excel at all the components of HSC. Here’s a detailed guide to understanding and easily interpreting the HSC results.


What Is HSC?

HSC provides a comprehensive picture of students’ performance in year 12. While ATAR uses these scores comparatively, HSC solely focuses on students’ academic performance in each subject and its units. The result is averaged from assessment marks and examination scores.


Even though years 11 and 12 are counted as HSC years, its process begins as early as year 10. Students are tasked to opt for different courses for their HSC year. In addition, they need to complete the HSC: All My Own Work program before entering the preliminary year 11. In the final two years, they need to complete 12 units of preliminary courses and 10 units of HSC courses to qualify. The HSC units must include the following:

  • 6 Units of Board Developed courses
  • 2 Units of Board Developed English
  • 3 HSC Board Developed/Endorsed Courses
  • 4 Subjects

How Are the HSC Marks Calculated?

HSC scores are evaluated and assigned by the New South Wales Education Standards Authority. It uses a 50–50 combination of internal assessment and final examination marks of each course. NESA provides a set of raw exam marks and aligned assessment scores based on the student’s academic achievement. The obtained raw scores are then moderated. To calculate the final results, they are aligned to an achievement scale.


Furthermore, the HSC score is used by the UAC to determine the student’s ATAR. UAC scales down the HSC marks of all subjects (except for the students with the highest scores or extremely difficult subjects). Scaled results are aggregated to assign a rank and a percentile. In the end, the percentiles are curtailed to the nearest 0.5 to calculate the final ATAR between 0.00 to 99.95.


Examination Marks

NESA sets the HSC question papers and conducts and scores the final exams. This portion contributes to 50% of the total HSC results NSW. The Education Board releases the official notification as well as the timetable for exams across the state. While most courses have written exams, some subjects include performance or some practical component. For instance, reciting tests for a foreign language. Once all the exams are conducted, NESA sends the answer sheets to be checked. All the papers are marked by thousands of experienced teachers appointed by NESA. Students’ performance is assessed objectively against a set standard through a process called judging. The scored raw mark is compared to this standard, irrespective of the marks scored by other students at the same, higher or lower level.


Assessment Marks

The assessment score is based on a student’s achievement in tasks performed at school. These tests are of a wide variety. They can range from written or oral exams, assignments, projects, or fieldwork. They measure students’ applied knowledge and practical skills in terms that cannot be examined in external exams. The school assessment marks for each course are submitted to the NESA. To equate the performance of students across different courses and schools, NESA follows a process of moderation. The mean of a student’s internal assessment is adjusted to the mean of examination scores achieved in the respective cohort. In essence, the top, average and bottom assessment marks are adjusted to the top, average, and bottom exam marks.


Performance Bands

With students’ overall marks in hand, NESA now aligns their scores with the defined standard. Scores are divided into ranges, and each range corresponds to a band. This band signifies the typical performance of the student for each course. The band is based on the course’s basic content, concepts and principles. Thus, it signifies students’ understanding and expertise of the subject. There are 6 HSC bands, where Band 1 corresponds to a 0.49 score and the other bands range from 50 to 59, 60 to 69, and so on. Band 6 indicates the highest level of performance in the 90–100 range. Band 1 means the student didn’t accomplish enough course outcomes to qualify. Band 4, ranging from 70 to 79, shows average performance across different courses.


Things to Keep in Mind to Ace HSC Exams

  • The first step to excelling at any task is to acknowledge its key basics, requirement and purpose. Students should study the guide modules provided by NESA to gain an in-depth understanding of the HSC process.
  • Students should set a goal for the specific score in each course to achieve the corresponding performance band.
  • There is no difference in evaluation criteria for private or public schools.
  • One must be aware of the two-unit courses with 6 performance bands and the extension courses with 4 bands.
  • Students should keep a check on their Students Online account to keep a track of personal information at HSC.
  • Students should strategise the year ahead with a proper study plan, space, and resources to achieve the desired scores in the 12th exam.
  • Students should tweak their studying patterns according to the weightage of different HSC scores. For example, writing full-length practice exams for finals preparation.
  • The purpose of moderated marks is to enhance the positive influence of students on each other. Thus, rather than competing, classmates should study together and encourage their peers.
  • The examination scores are used to moderate the assessment marks. Thus, students should not neglect the significance of board exams, since they can make or break their final HSC result.
  • Students shouldn’t hesitate to ask for extra help to bag the perfect HSC band. Parents can hire a tutor to amp up their preparation and monitor their progress.

Since HSC years can be a stressful time for students and parents alike, it’s crucial to form a comprehensive preparation strategy. One must account for all the components of HSC while studying. Parents can make the process easier for their children with the help of a mentor. You can find the perfect tutor to help your child ace the HSC exam at EzyMathTutoring!