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.
According to The Good Schools Guide, there are four different types of courses (or subjects) that students can choose from to make up their HSC:
- Board Developed Courses: Students can choose from a large range of Board Developed Courses, which are examined by the Board of Studies and contribute towards a student’s ATAR.
- Board Endorsed Courses: These courses have been developed by schools, universities and TAFE institutes. They count towards a student’s HSC, but they are not examined and do not contribute towards an ATAR calculation.
- Life Skills Courses: These courses have been designed for students with special education needs. While they do count towards the HSC (provided that the student still meets general HSC eligibility), they do not contribute to the calculation of the ATAR.
- Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses: VET courses can be studied through school, TAFE NSW or other Registered Training Organisations. There are various types of VET courses, including Board Developed VET Curriculum Frameworks and VET Board Endorsed Courses — some of which involve mandatory work placement. VET courses contribute towards the HSC, and some Board Developed Courses can contribute to the calculation of the ATAR if students choose to sit the optional HSC exams. See the VET in New South Wales section for more information.
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.
Did you know? A major HSC Syllabus reform was executed in 2019. The “new” syllabus involved the addition of “Science Extension” and “Investigating Science” as new courses available to students which commenced teaching in October 2018 for the cohort of 2019. The course “Senior Science” was discontinued as of October 2018.
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