Maths: what your child will learn during their HSC

As students get ready for work, university and adult life, their skills and understanding of maths need to be extended. It’s important for you and your child to understand what streams and pathways contribute to studying HSC maths.

This information is subject to change as the NSW Government reforms the curriculum from Kindergarten to Year 12 so every student is prepared and ready for their future. Learn more about the NSW Curriculum reform.

Whether your child plans to become an architect or psychologist, enter a trade such as plumbing or hairdressing or pursue work as a sales assistant, maths skills will enhance their career success.

The mathematical skills your teen will learn in their senior years will help them make sense of the world and to flourish in their future life.

Years 11 and 12

The maths syllabus in Years 11 and 12 (stage 6) helps develop 21st century knowledge and abilities by offering your child opportunities to:

  • Question, reason, reflect and communicate.
  • Build further knowledge, skills and understanding.
  • Communicate mathematical knowledge precisely and concisely
  • Make maths connections, think creatively and critically.
  • Embrace problem solving and challenges, including applying maths to different situations.
  • Use mathematical modelling to solve problems related to future and present needs.
  • Understand the importance of maths in life and the world beyond school.
  • Use appropriate technology to support their maths-based activities.
  • Develop an understanding of skills in maths for further HSC study pathways.
  • Increase mathematical knowledge to help enter the workforce or undertake workplace training or further study.

Flexible learning

Across all subjects, teachers have the flexibility to make decisions about the sequence and emphasis given to content to suit the school’s resources and the individual needs, interests and abilities of the students.

HSC subject strands

In Years 11 and 12, your child may be able to choose from six courses of study which are counted towards their HSC:

  1. Mathematics Standard 1
  2. Mathematics Standard 2
  3. Mathematics Advanced
  4. Mathematics Extension 1
  5. Mathematics Extension 2
  6. Mathematics Life Skills.

HSC maths subjects

The subject choices your child makes in year 11 can allow them to study maths as a stand alone subject or set up pathways that enable them to qualify for advanced and extension elective maths courses. Here's an overview of the HSC maths options, their content and how they contribute to HSC maths pathways:

Mathematics Standard 1 and 2

These two subjects offer your child the chance to further develop their knowledge, understanding and skills in maths. Through solving problems related to present and future needs your child improves their ability to clearly communicate about maths applications and strategies.

In year 11: All students can study the Mathematics standard course.

In year 12: As part of their HSC pathway, your child can elect to study several maths strands:

  • Mathematics Standard 1: (Category B)
    This offers an optional HSC exam.
    Units: 2
  • Mathematics Standard 2: (Category A)
    This includes an HSC exam.
    Units: 2

Content: Mathematics Standard 1 and 2

  • Algebra
  • Measurement
  • Financial mathematics
  • Statistical analysis
  • Networks (Year 12 only).

Mathematics Advanced

Mathematics Advanced offers your child the chance to further develop their knowledge, understanding and skills in maths. With a focus on calculus, your child will learn how to apply maths to expand their view of the world and investigate order, patterns, generality and uncertainty.

This subject consists of two strands that are pathways to HSC Extension Maths:

  • Mathematics Advanced Year 11
    Units: 2
  • Mathematics Advanced Year 12
    Units: 2

Content – Mathematics Advanced

  • Calculus
  • Functions
  • Statistical analysis
  • Trigonometric functions
  • Exponential and logarithmic functions (Year 11 only)
  • Financial mathematics (Year 12 only).

This subject helps your child extend and develop their maths problem solving and operations skills to apply them to practical and real-life situations. Students also study areas such as earning and spending and how to apply maths knowledge to a range of financial decisions, such as calculating interest repayments on a loan. The life skills course enhances your child’s access to further education, training and employment and helps them better navigate modern society.

Content – Mathematics Life Skills

  • Number and modelling (Algebra)
  • Measurement
  • Financial mathematics
  • Statistics and probability
  • Plans, maps and networks.

Mathematics Extension 1

This is one of the highest-level maths subjects on offer in Year 11 and 12. Your teen can only take Mathematics Extension 1 if they are already studying Mathematics Advanced,

  • Mathematics Extension 1
    Units: 3
    The content and depth of information is designed for students who have shown a mastery of the skills of Stage 5 Maths and want to extend their maths skills further.

Content – Mathematics Extension 1

  • Calculus
  • Combinatorics
  • Functions
  • Trigonometric functions.

Mathematics Extension 2

This is the highest level of study on offer, and is only available in Year 12. Students can only opt to take Mathematics Extension 2 if they are currently studying Mathematics Extension 1.

  • Mathematics Extension 2
    Units: 4

This is the highest-level HSC maths course and is designed for students who have a special interest in mathematics and an aptitude in the subject.

Content – Mathematics Extension 2

  • Calculus
  • Complex numbers
  • Mechanics
  • Proof
  • Vectors.

Meeting every child’s needs

The high school syllabus takes an inclusive approach to ensure the learning needs of every student are addressed, including children with:

  • A physical or intellectual disability
  • Other special needs
  • Cultural and Linguistic Diversity (CALD), where English is the child’s second language
  • No special needs.

Teachers and parents in partnership

If you have any questions or concerns relating to your child’s maths learning, talk to their teacher.


  • Teaching and learning


  • Learning
  • Maths

Business Unit:

  • Communication and Engagement
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