Tomorrow, the entire Year 12 cohort of New South Wales, including myself, will receive their HSC results and their ATAR. For some, this day holds no significance as they have already moved on to full-time work or other studies such as trade. For others, this day holds some importance as they have already been accepted into university but still hope for a positive ATAR. And for the rest, including myself, this day is significant as it could determine what they will be studying come March next year.

For those unaware, the HSC is the last year of schooling in New South Wales, Australia, and the ATAR is a rank provided to all students, which is used to determine admissions into each university.

The HSC year is tough and draining. There is a high expectation placed upon students, and often learning must be carried out independently. I found the HSC year incredibly challenging but also extremely rewarding. A sense of community is built within each school as students assist and help each other through a stressful period.

The biggest challenge I found was the need for consistency. To be 100% focused on every class, do work every night and spend weekends studying was very difficult, and I cannot say I succeeded in doing this. I had periods where I had to stop. Breathe. Take some time to relax. There is no way that I could have made it through Year 12 if I didn’t give myself some time to stop doing work and take a break.

The HSC and ATAR are funny systems. Everyone keeps talking about why they need to be changed and how they don’t adequately represent the real world, but we were stuck with them. NESA has tried to change the syllabi to stop students merely memorising information, however; this is still the basis of the HSC. If I learnt one skill from the HSC, it was how to remember information. I’m still not sure how impactful this skill will be in my life?

However, the HSC year taught me many valuable skills beyond academics. I learnt skills of organisation, communication, leadership, service, relationships and other character virtues. The year allowed me to push my boundaries, try new things and grow in courage. The opportunities provided to me were endless and I attempted to try everything I could. It was in this process that I truly grew as a person and I would encourage all people to just have a go. To step out of your comfort zone as you never know where it will lead to.

Another issue with the HSC is that it is still hand-written. For years schools have transitioned to using devices in almost all classrooms, but I fear they jumped the gun. The HSC is still hand-written, and if it isn’t changed to digital soon, I am concerned for current Year 7 students who will have to write thousands of words in just a few hours, with limited hand-writing skills and practise.

I am overwhelming glad that the HSC period is over, and I look forward to what lies ahead, not just for me but also for the other students entering into a new stage of life.

Tomorrow I will find out what I will be doing in March 2020. Am I nervous? Definitely. However, what it won’t tell me, is what I’ll be doing from April 2020 and the rest of my life.

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3 thoughts on “My Thoughts on the HSC and ATAR

  1. I feel like you may have undersold the range of skills you learned by doing the HSC this year Simeon. The ability to manage both workload and personal expectations, time management, resilience and perseverance, interpersonal skills needed to effectively ‘manage’ teachers and peers, how to cope gracefully with both success and disappointment, how to establish and support a point of view, etc. And that doesn’t even consider what you may have picked up through the experience of leadership. Yes, the HSC content, assessments and results are of fleeting significance, but the personal growth and development this year has wrought in you is priceless. Regardless of Bands and ATARs, I suspect you’ll press on quite well . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment! I could guess who this is but I’ll leave it for now haha. Yes, the HSC journey has been filled with many skills and I have definitely grown. My points were more directly focused upon the final exams but I may enter in some more thoughts to create a more full picture. Thank you 🙂


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