18 December 2013

My HSC experience ✏

The HSC or Higher School Certificate are examinations that every student in NSW takes in their final year of High School. Exam marks, assessment marks and your HSC mark are then all taken into consideration to form an ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) which determines whether a student can be fast tracked into the University or College course of their choice. Today marked the official ending of 13 years of schooling for many NSW students; our HSC results were released at 6am this morning.

The subjects I chose going into Year 11 & 12 were Advanced English, Studies of Religion 2 Unit, Business Studies, General Maths, Geography and Visual Art. Me being the poorest reader, I never did any prior deep reading into each subject and so every subject I chose was extremely content heavy. Great. 
I sat in Geography class for 5 weeks in Year 11 and hated it. I knew all I wanted was to get out of the subject because I dreaded going to class, so I spoke to a few people and changed into Design & Technology. I also dropped General Maths in October of Year 11 for a number of reasons: it was stressing me out, the content was pointless, I had no motivation to complete the subject and my marks weren't the best. These changes were some of the best decisions I had made for my HSC.

This now meant I had two major works to complete. These are original projects that are produced individually by students, which are then marked externally. Only selected subjects require a major work and I chose two of them: Visual Art and Design & Technology. If I could give only one piece of advice on major works, it would be to know your idea and start as soon as you can. I can't stress that point enough. 
There ARE going to be things that go wrong with your major works. With my Visual Art major work, I thought I had my idea all set and did experiments...

I really disliked it and I couldn't see myself dedicating a whole year to this artistic practice. So I changed my idea... at least 20 times. As for my Design & Tech major, I was much more organised and I enjoyed pretending I had an actual fashion label. It's so important that you enjoy and have an genuine interest in your major works!

It was important to balance out all of my subjects throughout the year and I remember trying to memorise English essays whilst finishing up 4 assignments. It was stressful, even more so when my trial exams came around. It was around late July and early August when I became unusually down and I could sense other people in my year group feeling the same way. For me, it was the workload and the pressure which was so overwhelming. I even remember my art teacher telling me that "If you haven't cried this year yet, then you're not normal." 
Shoutouts to my best mates who give the best uplifting speeches :)

August 25th was a Sunday and the day before my two major works were due. I completely finished my Design & Tech major beforehand, but finishing my artwork was chaotic. 
I had to pick up my work from the framers then drop it off at school only to find out that the framer had cut off a significant part of my work. My teacher told me to re-do that bit so I went home to pick up some materials came back to school and stayed there for 4 hours, and it still wasn't done. I remember going to school early the next day and painting and glossing like I've never done before. There were so many things going wrong on the due date, but I spent the whole day in the art rooms and got it done!

 (The fingerprint QR Codes scan to here)

As the year goes on, you can feel Year 12 coming to an end as you'll participate in your last ever sport carnival or finish your last high school assignment. It's a weird feeling - I didn't know whether to feel relieved or sad. I'd been waiting for the end of high school for years, but the thought of being away from a year group that I'd grown so close to and to abandon a routine I've been following for 13 years - it was a bit terrifying. 
With everyone going through the same emotions, the last day of classes came, which was a day of class parties, group photos, selfies with teachers, signed cards with meaningful messages and a lot of hugs and tears. 

At this point, my stress level was extremely low. I was losing more and more motivation as school was drawing to a close and I constantly tried to convince myself that I needed to study, while I had friends who would study 5-8 hours a day. During my trial exams I would keep myself away from everyone in order to study 24/7 because I had the idea that the HSC was such a massive, massive deal.. when it really isn't. 
For the most part, everyone was studying their own thing at their own pace and this allowed us to enjoy our final weeks and events together. The week of my Graduation and Formal came around during September and the emotions ranged from proud to sad.

It's extremely important to find out what studying method works for you and to figure that out early on. Unfortunately for me, I only found my ideal studying method half way through Year 12, even after going to multiple lectures by TSFX (which are helpful, by the way!). What I did was gather all relevant information and notes from class and highlight important points. I would then generate questions from what I just highlighted and make them into flashcards. Yes, it was a long, long process, but it let me learn important points off by heart and it was effective for me. I used this method for Business Studies, Studies of Religion 2 Unit and Design & Technology. For English I would literally re-write 1000+ word essays over and over again until I remembered it off by heart and same went for Visual Art. 

My first exam was on the 14th of October for Advanced English, and my last exam was on the 6th of November for Visual Art. Lucky me, I had the very first exam and the very last exam. Every time we were called to walk into the hall for an exam, I would conjure up the exact same emotion where I thought I was unprepared, but at the same time I was confident. Time management is one of the most important things to grasp for any exam. I found that it was one of my strengths and I always had time after an exam to look over my answers and correct anything inaccurate. You also need a good pen! It may sound odd, but two of my teachers encouraged this tip because it will increase you writing speed and therefore the number of pages you can write!
Hands down, it was the best feeling to walk out of the exam room and being able to throw away your study notes!

After working hard through the course of 6 years of high school, it was finally time to sign out. A few signatures and returns to the school library was all I had to do, and I could officially call myself a high school graduate. 
I honestly could not pick out a better bunch of people to spend 6 hours every day for 6 years with. These people made my HSC experience and my overall high school experience worthwhile; these people are so accepting, kind, intelligent and I can never not have a good time with them.

Congratulations to all Year 12 's of 2013 and all the best for the future! Good luck to all Year 11 students who have just started the HSC course - you'll all do awesome!

- AlissAMR


  1. omg it sounds like such a tough year work wise.. well done for getting through it!! you looked so lovely at your formal!! :)

    1. It was the best and worst year for me! Haha! Thank you lovely, you're too kind.

  2. Great post! I really enjoyed reading about your experience, especially how it helped pretending to have your own label! :D



    1. Glad you enjoyed reading it :) Yeah after finishing designing the label, it really made me want to start it up for real... so hopefully one day.