HSC help

The NSW Higher School Certificate (HSC) is an important milestone in your child's life as it signals the formal revision and completion of their secondary education. As it's an important event, we know you and your child will be looking for advice and information to help manage expectations and any anxieties.

The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) is regularly updating its advice about the Higher School Certificate (HSC) as the coronavirus outbreak unfolds. Schools are well placed to provide advice to parents and students about changes to the HSC in 2020. You may also access NESA’s Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice page directly.

What is included in the HSC?

The HSC evaluates the information your child has gained across all their subjects from Year 11 onwards and builds on their general knowledge from throughout their school life. The HSC is a marathon, not a sprint.

Understanding the results

It is difficult to predict what mark your child will receive, but all results provide a pathway into future work and study. If your child is planning on doing tertiary study, it’s important to remember that the the HSC is just one avenue, and your school careers adviser will have spoken with your child about the many options available to them.

You and your child should be proud of the work, effort and achievements you have shared throughout their schooling.

It’s also important to remember that students who have not yet met the HSC minimum standards to receive their certificate still have further opportunities after the HSC.

HSC minimum standards

From 2020, NSW students must show they have met minimum standards in reading, writing and numeracy to receive their HSC certificate. Literacy and numeracy skills will be an online assessment for students in Years 10, 11 and 12.

Students who haven’t met the standards before the HSC can still receive their results and Record of School Achievement (RoSA), just not the HSC certificate. They are also able to sit the minimum standard tests after the HSC to be eligible for their certificate.

Special provisions are available for students with disability. Contact your child's school for more information.

To learn more, visit the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA):

HSC resources

  • HSC papers and marking guidelines from previous years to better understand what type of questions are on the test and how your answers are marked.
  • HSC Study Guide 2023 produced by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) and the Sydney Morning Herald is an excellent resource for all students and parents.
  • Exam advice and resources for students from NESA will help your child know what to expect in the exam and what students can and can't take into the exam room.
  • HSC stories from Reachout.com includes students who have been through the HSC talking about their experience and offering helpful tips.


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