In July 2016, the NSW Minister of Education announced a set of reforms which were examined for the first time in 2019. These changes to the Mathematics, Science and English courses will have a significant impact for all students sitting the HSC in 2020 and beyond.
How Talent will prepare you for the changes
Comprehensive Updated Courses
Our redesigned HSC courses target the defined learning outcomes and prepare for exams that test for those outcomes
- To keep up with the new syllabus, we have redesigned our HSC courses for Mathematics (Ext I and II), Science (Physics, Chemistry and Biology) and English.
- We have recruited a high calibre team of textbook authors, teachers and NESA advisors to produce the course that will underpin our program for the next decade.
- Our accelerated courses are always taught in advance of school, and reinforced with our holiday and support programs to ensure the materials are learnt thoroughly.
Reinforced learning not memorisation
Talent has developed an approach to ensure that students experience each new concept at least 3 times to be truly learnt
- First time (in-class) – with a qualified Mentor who teaches the theory highlighting the main concepts, doing worked examples with questions.
- Second time (in-class, at home) – exam style quizzes at the start of each class revising the previous week’s topic, homework (marked each week) and video solutions to practically apply the theory learnt.
- Third time (in centre and online) – Specific exam preparation, practicals, tutorials and holiday revision courses. There is also the opportunity for individual one -to-one additional support for students to clarify concepts or to address enrichment requirements raised during class.
Overview of Syllabus Changes
The HSC Science courses have changed in both concept and content. All courses consist of a Year 11 course which underpins the externally examinable year 12 course. Both courses consist of 4 compulsory modules. Only the year 12 modules will be examined in the HSC. The Working Scientifically Skills form an integral part of the study and will be integrated throughout the examination.
Each module targets the outcomes that are to be addressed. There is only ONE knowledge andunderstanding outcome for each module. There may be 3 or more Working Scientifically outcomes targeted in each module.
The content in each module is divided into sections, each of which has an Inquiry Question. The suggested activities below the inquiry question will help students answer that inquiry question.
The new syllabus does not have any options, nor does it focus on Prescribed Focus Areas (PFAs) or the Science as a Human Endeavour sections. The content is more discipline based and will prepare students to pursue further studies in the Sciences or STEM courses, more effectively. Students must complete an individual or group Depth Study. It is worth 15% of their assessment mark in both Year 11 and Year 12 with an allocation of 15 hours per year. Depth studies can take any form that you and your teacher determine. They do not need to be taken in a 15-hour block. They might even be taken as 1 hour per fortnight, depending on the needs of each individual or class. Depth Studies have the defined purpose of:
- Enabling students to consolidate their knowledge
- Gaining competence in their skills
- Developing confidence in themselves and their subject and
- Ultimately, developing an investigation using their creativity.
This course has increased in rigour and a minimum of 2 unit Maths is a requirement for you to excel at this course. It explores the structure, composition and reactions of and between all elements, compounds and mixtures that exist in the Universe. The study of Chemistry in Stage 6 enables students to develop an appreciation and understanding of materials and their properties, structures, interactions and related applications. There are increased opportunities for analysis using mathematical principles. Examples of what students will be required to do include: collect data, represent the data in a graphical form and from that, derive a relationship that may exist between the variables being examined.
- The inclusion of the gas laws to allow the ideal gas equation to be derived.
- Opportunities for the application of chemical calculations throughout the syllabus have been enhanced. An example of this is the calculation of equilibrium constants and Hess’ Law.
- Concept development is logical and consistent with accepted models, theories and laws.
- New content includes current theories of atomic models, analysis of organic compounds and analytical techniques.
The Year 11 course develops the knowledge, understanding and skills in relation to the properties and structures of matter, the types and drivers of chemical reactions and how we measure the quantities involved in these processes.
The Year 12 course builds on the concepts introduced in Year 11 by examining particular classes of chemicals, processes and a variety of chemical reactions which incorporate organic compounds and acid/base equilibrium reactions. The course challenges students to apply this knowledge to the investigation of a range of methods used in identifying and measuring quantities of chemicals which leads to an understanding of the structure, properties and trends of and between classes of chemicals.
The new Biology course places an emphasis on concept development and the use of evidenceto link concepts e.g. concept of cell division with genetic variations and DNA. Course conceptshave been developed in a logical progression i.e starting with the basis of life, cell structure andfunction, and how these are related to structure and function of organisms.
- The Year 11 course investigates cellular structure and provides a base forunderstanding the way in which multicellular organisms transport and absorb nutrientsand carry out gas exchange. Exploring variations in the structures and functions oforganisms provides an understanding of the effects of the environment on living thingsand how this leads to biodiversity.
- The Year 12 course investigates reproduction, inheritance patterns and the causes ofgenetic variation in both plants and animals. Applications of this knowledge inbiotechnology and various genetic technologies are explored in the light of their uses inthe treatment, prevention and control of infectious and non-infectious diseases.
There are increased opportunities for analysis using mathematical principles. Examples of what students will be required to do include: collect data, represent the data in a graphical form andfrom that, derive a relationship that may exist between the variables being examined.
- For example, in the equations of motion in Modules 1 and 2, the displacement of an object can be graphed against time to determine a mathematical relationship between the two.
- New content has been introduced to make the concepts presented flow and be consistent with accepted models, theories and laws.
- Thermodynamics has been reintroduced into the Physics syllabus as part of the energy module. The differences between the wave and quantum nature of light provides opportunities for students to learn about the changing and conflicting theories that still exist and that science is not fixed in its explanations of concepts. The standard model of matter is introduced which allows students to investigate the model on their own through a depth study.
The main changes in HSC English are:
Restructured modules, changed texts.
The new course will comprise of 4 set texts instead of the previous 5, but there is a greater focus on literary texts with Shakespeare, prose fiction and poetry/drama as the mandatory mediums of study. Some texts will move to different modules, while other popular texts, such as Hamlet, have been removed completely.
No more Area of Study
The Area of Study from the previous HSC has now been replaced by a common module called Texts and Human Experience. In this unit, students will study a prescribed core text, selected other texts and one related text. This module will form a 90 minute Paper 1 comprised of an essay response and a reading task. This will be the module that ALL Year 12 students undertake in Term 4.
Harder to pre-prepare essays
The new English HSC will challenge students to engage more deeply with their texts, and will make it more difficult for students to tailor prepared responses to the given exam question. Students can now be asked questions which focus on certain compositional elements of their set texts, and there will be questions that will invalidate large portions of a broad, memorised essay.
Less exams, more assignments
Schools are limited to a max of 4 assessments in Year 12 and only one may be under exam conditions, for a weighting of no more than 30%. As a result, most students will not be required to write an essay in exam conditions until their Trials in Term 3. Students also must be assessed via multimedia presentation for at least 15% of their internal mark.
New Module C: will test creative writing & self-reflection
The creative writing component previously assessed in the Area of Study has been moved to a new module named The Craft of Writing, which asks students to read a variety of short texts and to synthesise a creative, persuasive or discursive piece while reflecting on ideas learned from their short texts. The exam question can either ask for one 20 mark extended creative piece, or be broken up into two parts (eg. 12 marks for a creative, 8 marks for a reflection).
The development of the differential and integral calculus is still the central emphasis of the Advanced and Extension courses. Some extra calculus content on differential equations has been included.
However, the Euclidean and coordinate geometry components have been removed and replaced with vector geometry.
Statistics is the other new part of the Advanced and Extension 1 courses, with discrete and continuous random variables being studied in considerable detail, along with the associated probability applications. This branch of mathematics is of great importance in the business and financial worlds, as well as the applied sciences.