Senior College Curriculum

Higher School Certificate (HSC)

Preparing students for further study and work

The Higher School Certificate (HSC) is an internationally respected credential, run by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA). It is awarded to eligible students at the end of Year 12. In Year 11 students must study a minimum of 12 units, including 2 units of English. In Year 12, students must study a minimum of 10 units, including 2 units of English.

The curriculum seeks to tailor to the learning specialties of all students and abilities, enabling them to hone in on strength areas. With this in mind, our carefully selected and highly equipped teachers integrate value-adding elements into their lessons: technology, excursions throughout CBD learning centres and beyond and innovative approaches that go beyond ‘talk and chalk’ teaching.

We also offer students a broad range of specialist staff members and small-scale tutoring support networks, as well as on-campus study halls throughout the entire HSC process: from subject selection, to major work drafting, to the final external exams.

Who is suited to the HSC study program?

Students electing this course should be willing to follow the prescribed course of study with diligence and sustained effort. They should also be willing to develop independent learning, good time management and organisational skills.

A broad range of subject choices

There are currently 40 subjects offered at St Andrew’s. Students are also able to access NSW school of Languages subjects, TVET subjects and Saturday School of Community Languages subjects.

English is a mandatory subject within the HSC, at Advanced, Standard or English as a Second Language level. All students also study Christian Development at SACS.

HSC subjects offered at St Andrew’s include:

  • Ancient History
  • Biology
  • Business Studies
  • Chemistry
  • Dance
  • Design and Technology
  • Drama
  • Earth and Environmental Science
  • Economics
  • Engineering
  • English Standard
  • English Advanced
  • English as a Second Language
  • English Extension 1
  • English Extension 2
  • French Continuers and Extension
  • General Mathematics
  • Geography
  • History Extension
  • Japanese Beginners
  • Legal Studies
  • Mathematics Standard
  • Mathematics Advanced
  • Mathematics Extension 1
  • Mathematics Extension 2
  • Modern History
  • Music (1, 2 and Extension)
  • NSW School of Languages
  • Personal Development, Health and Physical Education
  • Physics
  • Saturday School of Community Languages
  • Science Extension
  • Society and Culture
  • Software Design and Development
  • Spanish Beginners
  • Studies of Religion 1 and 2
  • TAFE Delivered Vocational Education Courses
  • Textiles and Design
  • Visual Arts

NB: Some smaller-enrolment subjects can fluctuate from year to year depending on the number of students who indicate interest.

Reasons students may elect to do the HSC

  • The HSC offers students familiarity, a wide breadth of subject choice and the ability to specialise in particular subjects of interest.  For example, a student passionate about history can elect to choose Modern History, Ancient History and Extension History (Year 12 only). Or a student wanting to specialise in the sciences may wish to study Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Extension Science (Year 12 only). Those interested in a legal career may wish to specialise in Legal studies, Economics and Business Studies. A student who is passionate about English may wish to study on top of their compulsory 2-unit Advanced load, Extension 1 English and Extension 2 English (Year 12 only).
  • There is no mandatory study of a foreign language, science or mathematics.
  • Only one subject is compulsory – English. Students are free to choose the rest of their subjects based on interest and passion.
  • The HSC also offers a Preliminary year (in Year 11) in which students are able to practise, refine and build on their skills for the HSC. The marks for the Preliminary course do not count towards the HSC and give the students the ability to develop a study routine, mature and use the time to improve strategically.
  • The HSC course is taught over one year.
  • The Examination results in the HSC only account for 50 per cent of the final result. Therefore, students can earn marks for assessments and tasks completed throughout the year and do not have to rely solely on examinations.
  • NESA reduced the amount of assessment tasks to three in Year 11 per subject and four in Year 12, with only one set of internal examinations (yearly examinations in Year 11 and trial examinations in Year 12)
  • In Year 12, students also have the ability to discontinue some subjects (13 units in Year 11 can be reduced to 10 or 11 in Year 12) as the HSC ATAR is made up of a student’s 10 best units (including 2 units of English) or to pick up further extension subjects.
  • The HSC also allows for students to undertake a vocational pathway, studying TVET courses such as Automotive Studies, Entertainment Studies, Hospitality and Travel and Tourism to name a few.
  • There is also flexibility in the HSC to complete the credential over a period of up to five years.
  • You can achieve the HSC regardless of your ATAR. You can also opt to do a non-ATAR HSC.

Booklet of HSC courses

The University Admissions Centre has produced a booklet to help guide students in Year 10 about the courses offered in the HSC. To view the booklet, click here. It includes in-depth explanations about the HSC, attaining an ATAR and applying to university.