The Higher School Certificate (HSC) is the credential awarded to secondary school students who successfully complete senior high school level studies (Years 11 and 12 or equivalent) in New South Wales, Australia. It is currently developed and managed by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA). It was first introduced in 1967, with the last major revision coming into effect in 2019.
A major HSC Syllabus reform was executed in 2019. The “new” syllabus involved the addition of “Science Extension” and “Investigating Science” as new courses. These courses were made available to students that commenced teaching in October 2018 for the cohort of 2019. The course “Senior Science” was discontinued as of October 2018. The reformed syllabus involved changes that are a move towards compulsory English, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Investigating Science and Extension Science in the future.
Students who achieve excellent results of over 90 in 10 units of study in the HSC are awarded the Premier’s Award by the New South Wales government. The most outstanding of these students may also be awarded the Australian Student Prize by the Commonwealth government. The T G Room award of the Mathematical Association of New South Wales is given to the student with the best score in the highest-level HSC mathematics examination.
To be eligible for the award of the HSC a student must have satisfied the requirements in at least twelve preliminary level units, and at least ten HSC level units, with the additional requirements that:
- at least two must be English units;
- at least six units must be Board-developed courses;
- at least three courses are of two unit or greater value.
- at least four subjects have been completed.
- no more than seven units of science are studied. This was changed from six units in 2019 with the addition of the Science Extension subject.
Further restrictions may apply in certain subject areas.
Note that these requirements are for the award of the HSC. Further requirements regarding study patterns apply if the student wishes to apply for a separate Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) based on their HSC performance.
HSC results may also be used to calculate the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR). Similar ranking processes used previously were called the UAI (Universities Admission Index) and the TER (Tertiary Entrance Rank). The ATAR is a separate ranking calculated by another body, the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC), and is used for determining university entrance. Since 1998 the university entrance rank has been issued separately from the HSC results in order to distinguish the two.
Did you know? The Sydney Harbour Bridge is the widest long-span bridge and tallest steel arch bridge in the world, and the 5th longest spanning-arch bridge according to Guinness World Records. Sydney’s postcode is 2000, the same number as the year it hosted the Olympics. After phasing out the Australian 1 and 2-cent coins in 1991, the coins were melted down and used in the Sydney 2000 Olympics as Bronze Medals.