Seminar: The New HSC Syllabus – What You Need to Know


  • Start: October 27, 2018 2:00 pm, 2 More
  • End: October 27, 2018 3:30 pm

  • Start: November 3, 2018 2:00 pm
  • End: November 3, 2018 3:30 pm

  • Start: November 10, 2018 2:00 pm
  • End: November 10, 2018 3:30 pm

Suite 503, Level 5, 71-73 Archer Street, Chatswoods, NSW, Australia


BOSTES has been replaced by NESA. It’s out with the old and in with the new. This includes a brand new syllabus for many HSC subjects.

But what does this mean for you?

When will things change?

Most of the new Syllabus will be rolled out in 2018. This means that students who are in Year 11 in 2018, will be the first to be taught this new curriculum. If you’re doing your preliminary courses now – don’t worry, you won’t have to switch to the new syllabus. Also, NESA recently bumped back the release date of the new maths courses until 2019.

Why have they done it? 

There were a significant amount of complaints, from teachers, students and parents, about the previous stage 6 syllabus. These issues ranged from assessment weighting, course structure and the time allowed to teach units.

According to NESA, the aims of this new Syllabus are:

  • To increase the number of students able to gain high marks in the HSC.
  • To make the HSC more applicable to life in the real world.
  • To encourage students to achieve the best possible results.
  • To increase the focus on ‘acquisition of deep knowledge, understanding and skills for students’.
What are the big changes? 

There are a few key changes to the Syllabus that will have a big impact on the way Stage 6 is taught by teachers and experienced by students.

1. Assessments

NESA has released a paper which references evidence suggesting that high assessment loads can produce ‘fatigue’ in students, which is no surprise to us. In an effort to combat this NESA has restructured the assessment timetable for stage 6. They have put a limit on how many assessments a school can set for its year 11 and 12 students. That limit is now three per course in year 11 and four per course in year 12, including the trial exam.

2. HSC Questions

NESA really doesn’t like it when HSC students pre-prepare answers to HSC questions. So, to stop this happening they have announced a change in HSC questions. They warn us that, ‘HSC examination questions will beless predictable so students must apply their knowledge and skills in their answers’.

3. In-Depth Knowledge

Syllabuses have become shorter and certain topics have been cut, allowing for more in-depth learning within each course. This is a great change for students and teachers.

4. New Science Course

There is a new science subject which is being introduced which acts as an extension course. It’s calledInvestigating Science, and it essentially focusses on more advanced research and practice skills.

The basics of English will stay the same – texts and essays (sorry about that). But lots of other things will change. The new English Syllabus will also give ‘opportunities to experience texts that give insight into a wide range of social, gender and cultural perspectives, including texts by and about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’, Basically, NESA is catching up with the times, and that can’t be a bad thing.

English Standard

  • There will be a bigger focus on literacy skills. A new module will be introduced for both Advanced and Standard English called ‘The Craft of Writing’. That is likely to be a pretty practical module about essay and creative writing as well as things like sentence structure and grammar.
  • There will now only be three prescribed texts, instead of four.
  • The Area of Study is no more. Instead, they will be introducing a new module called ‘Texts and Human Experiences’. There isn’t much information about that yet.
  • Reading is going to be a big deal. Teachers will be given more time to teach each text and students will be expected to read their texts very thoroughly. There is also a sentence in the new syllabus which talks about ‘reading to write’. This basically means that writing skills will be taught through studying a wide variety of texts.

English Advanced 

  • English Advanced students will still be expected to study texts which are ‘widely acknowledged as quality literature of past and contemporary societies’. This means Shakespeare is most likely hanging around. Same deal for the Romantic Poets and Post Modern novelists.
  • ‘The Craft of Writing’ is the new module about literacy and is studied in English Advanced, as well as standard.
  • There will still be four prescribed texts.
  • Texts and Human Experiences will replace the area of study for English Advanced too.
  • Textual Conversations is a new module being introduced. The description is pretty vague, but we’re guessing it is about texts in their context and is pretty similar to the current Module A.

As you may have figured out, there are now two common modules for English Advanced and Standard. Both ‘The Craft of Writing’ and ‘Texts and Human Experiences’ will be studied across the board.

English Extension 1 & 2

  • The Extension One English syllabus has remained pretty standard, with one big change. There is now a common module studied by all English Extension classes, ‘Literary Worlds’.
  • This syllabus also says there will be more of a focus on research skills.
  • The syllabus for English Extension Two has now put ‘requirements for monitoring the Major Work Journal’ in place. This doesn’t really tell us if the journal will now be marked or not, but it suggests that this could be a possibility.
  • English Extension Two will now be marked according to composition, reflection and independent research outcomes as opposed to purely the merit of the major work. We think this is a great step forward in a highly subjective subject.

Since its release, the new Maths syllabus has been an area of debate for teachers in NSW. In fact, the controversy it caused is the reason that NESA delayed its release date until 2019. From what we can see, Mathematics General has been turned into two different courses: Mathematics Standard One and Mathematics Standard Two. Technically these courses existed before, but Mathematics Standard One was not a board developed course so it couldn’t be used to gain an ATAR – now it can! Other than that, there are some more detailed changes too.

  • A new module in Statistics has been added in. This sounds like it is going to be a bit tricky!
  • There will be more of a focus on practical skills throughout the two Standard Mathematics courses. Things like measurement, finances and how to use certain digital tools will be taught.
  • The course will build on algebra, geometry and statistics learnt in Stage 5.
  • There are now six different skills which are explicitly taught in these courses: Understanding,Fluency, Communicating, Problem Solving, Reasoning and Justification.

The new Advanced and Extension Mathematics Syllabus will hopefully be coming out sometime soon.

Science has probably had the biggest overhaul out of all the subjects, when it comes to content. There is new content in most of the science courses. For example, new ‘inquiry questions’ have been added to the syllabus. These are supposed to encourage debate and in-depth thought. But the biggest change by far, is the introduction of an extension course for science called ‘Investigating Science’. Like most extension subjects this will focus on skills, methodology and the big philosophical questions surrounding science. Each course has its own specific changes.


There are a bunch of new modules for Biology including:

  • Cells and chemical energy.
  • Investigating extinction events.
  • Paleontological and Geological investigations surrounding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.
  • Evidence of past changes in ecosystems.
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism.
  • Genetic drift.
  • Disease as a disruption of homeostasis.
  • Pharmaceuticals and the control of infectious diseases.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ protocols for medicines.


The new Chemistry syllabus includes more of a focus on applying mathematical principles to the study of Chemistry.

There are also new topics studied in Chemistry covering things like:

  • New types of notation.
  • The Bohr and Schrodinger models.
  • The Ideal Gas Law.
  • Enthalpy and Hess’s Law.
  • Entropy and Gibbs Free Energy.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ applications of chemical practices.
  • Calculating the Equilibrium Constant.
  • Analysis of organic compounds.

Earth and Environmental Science 

There are four new modules which have been added to Earth and Environmental Science.

  • Geological mining.
  • Issues of climate science.
  • Mitigation strategies and increased focus on sustainability.


Similarly to the new Chemistry Syllabus, HSC Physics will have a bigger focus on Mathematical skills.

The new stuff studied in Physics includes:

  • Analysis of forces and motion in two dimensions using vectors.
  • Standing waves.
  • The Doppler effect.
  • Elementary thermodynamics.
  • Wave and quantum models of light.
  • Study of the Standard Model of matter.

Investigating Science 

Investigating Science is that swanky new extension science subject we mentioned before. So far, this is what we know will be studied:

  •  Observing.
  •  A module called ‘Inferences and Generalisations’.
  •  Scientific Models.
  •  Theories and Laws.
  •  Scientific Investigations.
  • Technologies.
  • Modules called ‘Fact or Fallacy’ and ‘Science and Society’ (Catchy, huh?).
This seminar will also include these topics as below:
  • What's the Scope and Sequence and the key learning outcomes of each subject under the new syllabus?
  • How changes of the new syllabus affect your assessment and examination?
  • How Maxx Academy’s new course program can help you under the new syllabus?

Hosted by our Academic Heads & Qualified Teachers

This 90 minutes Seminar / Event is open to all our new and existing students and their parents. So seats are limited. Please reserve your seat now.