Why do we need a new HSC Syllabus?

Teachers, students, and parents were unhappy with the previous Stage 6 HSC syllabus. There were issues with assessment weighting, the structure of the courses, and the time allocated to each unit of study.

According to NESA (the old BOSTES) states that the new HSC syllabus aims to:

  • Increase the number of students able to gain high marks in the HSC;
  • Make the HSC more relevant to real world applications;
  • Encourage students to achieve the best possible results; and
  • Increase focus on the ‘acquisition of deep knowledge, understanding and skills for students’.

When will the new HSC Syllabus be implemented?

The new HSC Syllabus has already been implemented in part – students who were in Year 11 in 2018 have been taught the new curriculum for certain subjects and will sit the new HSC this year (2019). Full roll-out of the new HSC Syllabus is planned for the end of 2020.

What are the key changes in the new HSC syllabus?


NESA has released a paper evidencing high assessment loads may produce fatigue in students. In order to combat this, the assessment timetable for Stage 6 has been restructured. There is now a limit set on how many assessments a school can set for its Year 11 and 12 students – 3 assessments per course in Year 11; and 4 assessments per course in Year 12; including the Trial exam.


NESA does not like students pre-prepare answer to HSC questions, and have announced a change. Their warning to us is “HSC examination questions will be less predictable so students must apply their knowledge and skills in their answers”.


Another great change for students and teachers is the shortening of the syllabuses, and certain topics have been cut. This allows for more in-depth learning within each course.


Investigating Science will be added to the syllabus as an extension course. It focusses on more advanced research and practice skills.

The Take Home point:

As students, teachers, and parents who are trying to tackle the new HSC Syllabus, please understand that many of the aims of the overhaul are beneficial. These changes allow for more in-depth learning, more time for teachers, and increased diverseness in subject matter.

For in depth review of changes to specific subjects see – English | NSW Education Standards.