There are three points about the structure of the Higher School Certificate (HSC) that you need to considered:
- The NSW Educational Standards Authority (NESA) divides the two years of Senior Schooling into PRELIMINARY (generally meaning Year 11) and Higher School Certificate (generally meaning Year 12). Students must have satisfactorily completed the Preliminary course in a subject before they can attempt the HSC component of a course. The HSC courses commence in Term 4 of Year 11
- All courses offered for the Higher School Certificate have a unit value of either 1 or 2 units. Each Unit involves class time of about 120 hours and has a value of 50 marks in the HSC. Since most courses are 2 units it means that these will take 240 hours (four periods per week) to complete and be marked out of 100.
- Extension study is available in a number of subjects and theses courses build upon the content of the 2 unit course. These extension courses are of 1 Unit value. In the Preliminary Year (Year 11) extension courses are available in English and Mathematics. Continuing and additional extension courses are available in these subjects in the HSC year. Extension courses may also be available in the HSC year in History, Music, Languages and some VET courses. Students need to be high achievers in these courses if they intend to seek approval to study extension courses
If a student wishes to be awarded the HSC they must have satisfactorily completed the Preliminary and HSC courses in the required pattern of study - this means students have:
- followed the course developed or endorsed by the Board of Studies
- applied themselves with diligence and sustained effort to the set tasks and experiences provided in the courses by the College
- achieved some or all of the course outcomes.
Both the Preliminary course and the HSC course must include at least:
- 6 units from Board Developed Courses including at least 2 units of a Board Developed Course in English (not English Studies)
- three courses of 2 units of value or greater
- four subjects, including English
- a maximum of 6 units of Science courses
If a student wishes to receive a Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) he / she must:
- study a minimum of 10 Board Developed units in the HSC course
- count no more than 2 units of Category B courses in their best 10 units