Advice From 2022 HSC Achievers: James L

Ms Jenny Pollock | Deputy Curriculum | Grammar News | 1 April 2023


Last term we invited 3 students who undertook last year’s HSC exams, to speak at assembly to offer advice to future HSC students. Below is the advice offered by one of the students. James Lye completed the HSC in Studies of Religion last year when he was in Year 11.

The SOR course was a compacted course which students completed both the Preliminary and HSC coursework in one year. James achieved the top HSC mark in our school with a mark of 45/50 for SOR.

I asked James whether he thought doing an HSC course and exams in Year 11 has better prepared him for Year 12 this year. His response is below:

"I think the biggest and most important way in which doing SOR last year has prepared me for Year 12 is how it got me used to the HSC. Having done both the Trial and an actual HSC Exam prior to Year 12 has allowed me to get a feel for exam conditions, the year layout as well as the nature of the exams themselves. I feel a lot more confident going into my HSC Exams this year because of this, as I know what to expect from the whole process. As well as this, it got me used to the Year 12 study expectations, which I am now familiar with and can use for my other subjects this year. Doing an accelerated course has benefited me so much so I really recommend doing one!"


I then asked James what advice he would give to other Year 11 accelerants who are doing an HSC course this year. James' advice to students was:

“ Well, firstly i think you should utilise the syllabus as much as you can. HSC exams will be set off the syllabus dot points, so the best preparation for exams is to understand the content, and be able to apply it to a variety of different questions. And of course, as you’ve probably heard in Elevate Seminars and from your teachers, do past papers in real exam conditions based on these dot points. If you go onto the NESA website there are many past HSC papers that i found particularly helpful in my preparation.

Besides this, I also found that I needed to prioritise my Year 12 subject (for me it was SOR) over my other Year 11 subjects with my time. Now that does not mean focusing entirely on the accelerated subject and disregarding the others, but achieving a balance where you are spending enough time on all of them. Doing more work than what your teachers set you really sets you up for success - whether it's reading more articles, doing more practice questions, or taking more past papers."

My final question for James was which L@SL Learning Framework strategies proved to be particularly useful in preparing for all your HSC assessments and exams. James indicated that :

"One of the biggest L@SL strategies that was particularly useful was interdependence, under the Relational Domain. Knowing when to work collaboratively with my peers and when to engage in independent study really helped me in using my time effectively and therefore the quality of my study. Collaborating with others helped me spark new ideas, reframe my arguments if necessary as well as answer questions I had. As well as collaborating with my peers, spending time doing individual work also proved highly beneficial, and achieving a balance between collaboration and this helped me extensively.

Making links as a part of Resourcefulness also helped me gain new ideas and further my understanding of the content. Connecting ideas between different topics across articles, student essay examples and class discussions allowed me to diversify my responses in actual exams, as i had a wider range of knowledge to apply to the question."