Students set for start of HSC exams

The HSC starts with English paper 1 this morning. Nearly 77,000 students will sit the exams in 2023. Luke Horton reports.

Students standing in two rows on steps. Students standing in two rows on steps.
Image: St Marys Senior High School has 443 students sitting the HSC in 2023, the largest number of any NSW public school. The school has eight sets of twins sitting their HSC - from left, on bottom step and then top step, are: Saihaj and Saahib Singh; Richel and Rachel (Thea) Espiritu; Priyasha and Priyansha Lal; Muhammed Nouman and Muhammed Shayyan Ahmed; Sophie and Cindy Myathit; Adiyat and Zariyat Hasan; Harshitha and Hrithik Anar; Praague and Sowedha Backstrom. Photo: St Marys Senior High School.

Just before 9.50am this morning, thousands of students will shuffle into testing centres across the state and country for the first of this year’s HSC written exams.

Kicking off with English paper 1, the exams will run for just over three weeks, concluding with Food Technology on Friday 3 November.

The Higher School Certificate is the most popular school credential in Australia, with 76,839 students studying one or more HSC courses in 2023.

Of those, 68,689 are on track to complete their HSC this year, with an additional 8,150 students studying at least one HSC course.

There are slightly more girls (39,861) sitting exams this year than boys (37,108), with most of the students based in the major cities (62,579).

NSW Department of Education Secretary, Murat Dizdar, recorded a video message of support for students ahead of HSC exams starting.

NSW Department of Education Secretary, Murat Dizdar, said the HSC was the culmination of 13 years of formal school education.

“I know that preparing for the HSC takes an enormous amount of time and effort and I hope that you’re rewarded for your perseverance,” he said in a recorded video message to students.

“It’s very important that you be kind to yourself during this period. Make sure you stay connected with your family and friends and take regular study breaks.

“We can only ask that you give every exam your best, but also remember that the results alone are not going to define you.”

The 2023 HSC timetable includes a total of 124 written exams.

The 10 subjects with the highest number of HSC candidates are: English (mandatory for all students), followed by Mathematics, Biology, Business Studies, Personal Development, Health and Physical Education, Studies of Religion, Modern History, Legal Studies, Chemistry, and Community and Family Studies.

Japanese is the most popular language course among HSC students in 2023.

More than a third of HSC students (28,414 or 37 per cent), are enrolled in a course with a performance or submitted work requirement, while over 19,000 students (or 25 per cent) are enrolled in at least one HSC Vocational Education and Training (VET) course.

In keeping with tradition, English papers 1 and 2 are set for days one and two of the exam period.

Week 2, starting Monday 16 October, has a definite maths and languages flavour, while Week 3 includes Biology, Chemistry, Business Studies, Industrial Technology and Studies of Religion.

The final week of exams starts with Personal Development, Health and Physical Education, with Community and Family Studies Geography, Design and Technology, Physics and Dance among the scheduled papers.

HSC results will be released via Students Online on Thursday 14 December.

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