Students praise teachers for exam prep

Gymea Technology High School’s class of 2023 give their verdict on the first HSC English exams. Pascal Adolphe reports.

Four students standing side-by-side. Four students standing side-by-side.
Image: Smiles all round from Gymea Technology High School HSC students, from left, Maxwell Streeter, Meghan Hollingsworth, Jessica McQuilty and Kalan Richardson.

Jessica McQuilty thought her first HSC English exam was “surprisingly fun” and one she “surprisingly enjoyed” doing.

What isn’t surprising is that Jessica has her heart set on becoming an English teacher.

While others in her 2023 HSC cohort at Gymea Technology High School thought the exam was “a challenge” there were “no curve balls” and, most importantly, they all felt well prepared thanks to their “lovely teachers”.

The Gymea cohort were among the 68,689 students who will complete their HSC exams with the first English paper being one of 124 exams that will run over the next three weeks.

The first day English papers were English Advanced, English Standard, English Studies and English EAL/D.

Gymea Tech HSC candidate Maxwell Streeter said “our lovely teachers” had helped students prepare well for the exam by giving the students “as many practice resources as we need”.

“I think the last year has made us really appreciate out teachers astronomically,” Maxwell said.

“You use the skills that you’ve picked up in class to tackle anything they give you really. I don’t think anyone can start the HSC without being nervous but there is a confidence that comes with being prepared.

“Going into the exams and being prepared, it was almost eerie how familiar it felt at first. Then there’s the first hurdle of actually having to apply what you know. Once you overcome that, the rest of the exam gets a lot easier.”

Jessica couldn’t praise her English teachers highly enough for the enormous effort they had put in providing the resources students needed to be exam ready.

“It felt almost like I’d seen it [the exam] before which is weird, just with the amount of practice I’ve done,” she said.

Maxwell said COVID had been another surprising blessing in disguise for learning.

“COVID’s been interesting,” he said. “It’s been a huge disruption, but it’s also made us crack down and get into gear and start doing the hard work to get good results.

“Some of the systems they put in with COVID, we’ve kept because they were so effective.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Early Learning, Prue Car, acknowledged the teachers who had supported HSC students in reaching this milestone.

“They have inspired, educated and nurtured a love for learning,” she said.

“My message to the HSC Class of 2023 is to relax, reflect on all that you have learnt and know, and enter every exam room with the confidence that you are ready for this.

“Balance your exam and study schedule with regular downtime, connect with friends and family and get plenty of sleep.”

Department of Education Secretary, Murat Dizdar, also gave a “shout out to our public school teachers who had provided incredible support to our HSC students”.

“Your commitment has been extraordinary,” he said.

“I also encourage the Class of 2023 to be kind to yourselves and make sure you stay connected with your family and friends and take regular study breaks”.

“Looking after your mental health is so important, particularly during the HSC. Don’t be afraid to reach out for professional support if you need it.

“Give every exam your best but also remember that the results are not the be all and end all. The skills and resilience you’ve developed throughout your schooling will serve you well for the journey ahead.”

NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Chief Executive Officer, Paul Martin said the HSC was a major operation and one that relied on the support of schools, teachers and exam staff.

“Over the next 18 days we will have completed 400,000 exams,” he said.

“Thank you to the school communities, including NSW principals, teachers and school staff who have supported HSC students throughout the year and today as they commence their written exams.

“Congratulations to the families who have supported their young people through their education careers. This is an exciting day for many.”

HSC exams run over the next 18 days and end with the Food Technology exam on November 3.

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