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2017 Rules and Procedures Guide

The Higher School Certificate Rules and Procedures guide must be read by all students entered for an HSC course.

This guide is for students entered for HSC courses in 2017.

In signing your Confirmation of Entry (see section 4, ‘Entering for the Higher School Certificate'), you are certifying that you have read this guide.

The Education Act 1990 (NSW) governs the award of the Higher School Certificate. The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA), under this Act, grants certificates to students who comply with the Act and the NESA requirements.

The main rules and requirements for the Higher School Certificate are set out in this guide.

Students can obtain more detailed explanations of the rules and requirements by referring to the Assessment, Certification and Examination website.

1 Senior study options

1.1 Understanding HSC pathways

While most students complete their HSC over two years during Years 11 and 12, there are other options. If you want to study while you work, care for your family or, for example, take part in elite sports or cultural activities, one of these five pathways may be suitable for you.

Pathway Description

1. Accumulating

You can take up to five consecutive years to finish your studies, starting from the first year you complete an HSC course. After five years, you must have met all HSC requirements.

2. Repeating

You can repeat one or more courses within the five years (see pathway 1) without penalty. Your Record of Achievement will show the results of all attempts. The Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) will calculate your Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) from the results of your most recent attempt.

3. Transferring credit and recognition of prior learning (RPL)

You may be able to count courses you did at TAFE or other educational institutions towards your HSC as ‘credit transfer’.

Or, you may not need to complete some course components if you can show that you have met the necessary outcomes in another way, such as through interstate study, as ‘RPL’. This may apply to a Preliminary course, part of a Preliminary course or part of an HSC course.

4. Accelerating

You may be able to accelerate in a course, sit for the HSC exam for that course (usually at the end of Year 11) and accumulate your results.

5. Studying during an apprenticeship or traineeship

You can complete a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship while you study. These combine paid work and training, lead to a recognised Vocational Education and Training (VET) credential and count towards your HSC.

1.2 Leaving without your HSC

If you decide to leave school before completing your HSC, you have three other options to show your achievements and credentials:

  1. eRecord: You can retrieve a record of your grades from Students Online at any time.
  2. Record of School Achievement (RoSA): You may be eligible for a RoSA if you meetcertain criteria. The RoSA shows your courses and grades for Years 10 and 11, and any HSC courses you have taken.
  3. Literacy and numeracy test results: You can take optional online literacy and numeracy tests and show the results to potential employers.

Talk to your teachers about the RoSA and the literacy and numeracy tests if you are thinking about leaving before you complete the HSC.

2 Before you start your HSC

2.1 Maintaining honesty and integrity

Honesty is key for all students and staff

All HSC candidates, their teachers and others who guide them must comply with our Honesty in Assessment Standard to maintain the integrity of the Higher School Certificate. You should also read your course syllabuses and related NESA policies, such as those on malpractice and completion of a course, on our website.

You must be entirely honest when completing all your assessment tasks, exams and submitted works. You will be marked only on the quality and originality of the work you have produced.

Always acknowledge your sources

You must acknowledge any part of your work that was written, created or developed by someone else, in line with the NESA documents for each course. This includes any material from other sources like books, journals, electronic resources and the internet. You don’t need to formally acknowledge material that you learned from your teacher in class.

2.2 Understanding malpractice

Cheating of any kind is unacceptable

Behaving dishonestly to gain unfair advantage in assessments is malpractice, or cheating. Any form of malpractice, including plagiarism, is unacceptable, and we treat these allegations very seriously. Detected malpractice will limit your marks and jeopardise your HSC. Serious and deliberate malpractice is corrupt conduct, and we can report it to the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Malpractice includes:

  • copying part or all of someone else’s work and presenting it as your own
  • using material directly from books, journals, CDs or the internet without giving its source
  • building on someone else’s ideas without giving their source
  • buying, stealing or borrowing someone else’s work and presenting it as your own
  • submitting work that someone else, like a parent, coach or subject expert, substantially contributed to
  • using someone else’s words, ideas, designs or work in projects and performance tasks without giving their source
  • paying someone to write or prepare material
  • breaching school exam rules
  • cheating in an HSC exam
  • using non-approved aids in an assessment task
  • giving false reasons for not handing in work by the due date
  • helping another student to engage in malpractice.

You might need to prove your work

If you are suspected of malpractice, you will need to show that all unacknowledged work is entirely your own. You might need to:

  • prove and explain your work process with diaries, journals, notes, working plans, sketches or progressive drafts that show how your ideas developed
  • answer questions about the assessment task, exam or submitted work being investigated to show your knowledge, understanding and skills.

3 Early in Year 12

3.1 Meeting HSC eligibility requirements

Know the eligibility basics

To be eligible for the HSC, you must:

  • satisfactorily complete Years 9 and 10 or gain other qualifications that satisfy NESA
  • attend a government school, an accredited non-government school, a NESA-recognised school outside NSW, or a TAFE college
  • complete HSC: All My Own Work (or its equivalent) before you submit any work for Preliminary or HSC courses, unless you are only entered for Year 11 and Year 12 Life Skills courses
  • satisfactorily complete courses in the patterns of study detailed below
  • sit for and make a serious attempt at the required HSC exams.

Certain patterns of study and course requirements apply

You must satisfactorily complete:

  • a Preliminary pattern of study that includes at least 12 units
  • an HSC pattern of study that includes at least 10 units.

Both patterns of study must include at least:

  • 6 units of Board Developed Courses
  • 2 units of a Board Developed Course in English, or English Studies
  • 3 courses of 2 or more units (either Board Developed or Board Endorsed Courses)
  • 4 subjects.

Some courses have certain rules and prerequisites. For example, you can include English Studies in your 6 units of Board Developed Courses, but you can’t count it as the 2 units of English that UAC uses to calculate an ATAR.

There are also specific eligibility rules for some Languages courses, such as Beginners and Language in Context, to ensure your course is at the appropriate level for your experience.


Enrolling in a course that you are not eligible for could put your HSC at risk, so carefully check your eligibility for all courses you are entered for. You can find out more about eligibility, rules and prerequisites on our website.


3.2 Confirming your entry for the HSC

Make sure you are entered for all your courses

You must be entered with NESA for all courses you are attempting this year. These include any courses outside your school or college that your principal has approved, like VET or distance education courses, and study with an outside tutor.

Your school will give you a Confirmation of Entry showing your personal details, courses and whether or not you are eligible for an HSC and an ATAR. You must sign the declaration on the Confirmation of Entry and return it to your school.

If you would like an ATAR so you can apply to universities, make sure your ATAR eligibility is recorded on your Confirmation of Entry.

Your Students Online account will show key details

Your Students Online account will be updated when we receive your Confirmation of Entry. You can then log in with your student number and PIN to see messages from us and study details, like your grades for Years 10 and 11. You will also be able to view your exam timetable, assessment ranks and HSC results when they become available.

3.3 Changing or correcting your entry, school or contact details

Check your Confirmation of Entry closely

When you get your Confirmation of Entry, please check it carefully and tell your school about any changes as soon as possible, and no later than the end of Term 2. You will then receive a new Confirmation of Entry, which you must sign and return to your school. After Term 2, withdrawing from a course (including an Extension course) is the only change allowed.

If you transfer to another school after entering for the HSC, make sure that your new school gives you a new Confirmation of Entry to sign.

Update any contact details straight away

If you change your postal address, email address or mobile phone number during your HSC, log into Students Online and update your details. We need your current contact details to send you important information, like:

  • exam details
  • the status of applications for disability provisions
  • nomination letters for showcase events
  • your HSC results.

If you are eligible for an ATAR, make sure you update your details with UAC as well.

3.4 Applying for disability provisions

We may approve disability provisions if you have a disability that would, in a normal exam situation, prevent you from:

  • reading the exam questions
  • communicating responses.

Speak to your principal, Year adviser or school counsellor if you would like to apply for disability provisions. You can apply from Term 4 in Year 11, and should apply as soon as possible.

Your application should include recent evidence of your disability, so you may need to organise testing early in the year so that you can apply by the closing date. You may also need to include work samples. If you don’t have enough evidence, the decision may be delayed.

Emergency arrangements can be made if you have an illness or mishap just before the exam that affects your ability to read or respond in the exam. Please tell your principal or Year adviser immediately if this happens.

We can’t approve disability provisions to compensate you for:

  • difficulty completing a course or preparing for the exam
  • lack of familiarity with English.

4 Terms 2 and 3

4.1 Completing your school-based assessments and work placements

Your school will set your assessment tasks

For most Board Developed Courses, school-based assessment makes up 50% of your HSC mark, and is shown on your Record of Achievement (see 6.1 Getting your HSC results).

Schools prepare and run an assessment program for each course, in line with the NESA requirements. We set which course components will be assessed, and how they are weighted, in the assessment and reporting documents for each syllabus, which are on our website.

Schools set individual assessment tasks and decide due dates and weightings for each. These tasks measure knowledge, skills and understanding for a wide range of outcomes, and may include tests, written assignments, practical activities, fieldwork and projects. When you start your HSC courses, your school will give you details of your assessment tasks, including weightings and due dates.

All work that you present in an HSC assessment task or exam must be your own. Malpractice, including plagiarism, could mean that you receive zero marks for that task or exam (see 2.1 Maintaining honesty and integrity and 2.2 Understanding malpractice).

NESA moderates assessment marks for your final results

Your school uses your performance in assessment tasks to calculate your school-based assessment mark for each course. If you study a course at an institution outside your home school, that institution provides your assessment mark. Your assessment mark for VET courses or courses with an outside tutor is only used if you have an upheld illness/misadventure application.

At the end of the assessment program, your school (or other institution where you are studying) sends your assessment marks to us. We then moderate these marks to get the assessment marks that appear on your results (see 6.1 Getting your HSC results). Moderating means adjusting the marks so all school course assessment marks are on the same scale as the school exam marks for that course. Each school group’s assessment marks are adjusted based on how it performs in the HSC exam. We don’t change your rank order (your position in the school course) that your school submits.

4.2 Completing your courses

Your principal certifies that you have completed a course

Your principal will certify that you have completed a Board Developed or Board Endorsed course if, in your principal’s view, there is enough evidence that you:

  1. followed the course
  2. applied yourself with diligence and sustained effort to the set tasks and experiences that the school provided in the course
  3. achieved some or all of the course outcomes.

For courses that include school assessment marks, you must also make a genuine attempt at assessment tasks that make up over 50% of the possible school assessment marks for that course.

Most HSC VET Industry Curriculum Framework courses, and some other VET courses, also require students to work set hours to develop industry competencies and practise learned skills. You must complete any required work placements, or your school may find that you have not genuinely attempted to complete the course.

You will receive a warning if your performance is unsatisfactory

If you are in danger of not completing a course, your school will give you written warning in time for you to meet criteria 1–3 above.

If you do not complete a course:

  • you will receive no results in that course
  • the course will not appear on your NESA record
  • the course will not count towards your HSC pattern of study.

Your school will tell you in writing and inform us if your principal finds you did not complete a course. You will then have the right to appeal to the school against this determination. If your appeal is unsuccessful, you can appeal to NESA. Your principal will explain this to you and tell you how to appeal.

4.3 Planning for exams and getting your timetable

Check Students Online for your personal timetable

We publish the HSC exam timetable on our website in Term 2, and you can get your personal timetable through Students Online. Check that all of your exams appear, and tell your school immediately if any courses are missing.

You must read your timetable carefully. If you miss an exam because you misread the timetable you will receive zero marks for that exam.

Your examination mark for each Board Developed Course is based on how you perform in the external HSC exam, which we set and mark. Each exam may involve written, performance and submitted work components.

Note that exams for Board Endorsed Courses and VET courses differ

There are no external HSC exams for Board Endorsed Courses.

If you are studying a 240-hour VET Industry Curriculum Framework course, you may be able to sit for the corresponding HSC exam. You won’t automatically be entered for this exam. If you want to sit for it, tell your school, even if you are studying the course at a TAFE or other RTO.

4.4 Completing performance exams and submitted works

Check the requirements for any performance exams or submitted works

The HSC exams for the following courses include performance exams or submitted works:

  • Dance
  • Design and Technology
  • Drama
  • English Extension 2
  • Industrial Technology
  • Languages (except classical languages and Languages and Literature courses)
  • Music
  • Society and Culture
  • Textiles and Design
  • Visual Arts

You need to maintain general community standards in your HSC performances and submitted works. This means considering the values and culture of your school and its community as you develop these works. You can find out more in the HSC section of our website.

The assessment and reporting documents for each course are also on our website. They show the requirements for performances and submitted works. You should read and understand them to make sure you meet all the requirements. The marking of performances and submitted works takes into account the requirements of the course.

You can’t submit any part of a work for more than one course. If you are repeating a course that includes a submitted work, you can’t resubmit a work that has already been marked for the HSC without our permission. If you developed a major work for a previous HSC exam but didn’t submit it, you can only submit it for your current course if your school agrees.

All submitted works require certification

For all submitted works, you will need to certify that the work is your own, and that you have properly acknowledged anyone else’s words, ideas, designs or work that you have used (see 2.1 Maintaining honesty and integrity).

Your teacher will monitor and record your progress on your submitted work. Your teacher and principal must then certify that you did the work under the teacher’s supervision and that it:

  • is your own
  • is consistent with earlier drafts and other examples of your work
  • was finished by the due date.

If school staff can’t certify the work, you might receive fewer or zero marks. If you are planning a work that you will need to work on at home, you need your teacher’s permission.

Keep copies of your submitted works if you can.

Some courses have specific examination details


Course Performance or submitter work details


Performance exams may be held at different exam centres. Check Students Online or ask your school for details.


Performance exams may be held at different exam centres. Check Students Online or ask your school for details.

We will take every care with your submitted work and return physical works after marking, but are not responsible for loss or damage. Insure your work if you are concerned.

English Extension 2

Submit your major work and reflection statement to your teacher electronically, as PDFs. Your teacher will tell you if you need to submit your project in hard copy.


Oral exams take place in Term 3 and may be held at different exam centres. Check Students Online or ask your school for details.


Submit compositions and musicology essays to your teacher electronically, as PDFs.

Performance exams may be held at different exam centres. Check Students Online or ask your school for details.

Society and Culture

Submit your Personal Interest Project to your teacher electronically, as a PDF.

Textiles and Design

Visual Arts

We will take every care with your submitted work and return physical works after marking, but are not responsible for loss or damage. Insure your work if you are concerned.


5 Term 4

5.1 Attending your exams

Arrive early and be prepared for each exam

On the day of the first English exam, please arrive at the exam centre at least 30 minutes before the exam starts. For all other exams, arrive at least 10 minutes early.

If you arrive more than an hour after an exam has started, you can enter the exam, but you will need to explain why NESA should accept your responses for marking.

If you miss an exam because you misread the timetable, contact your principal immediately. You can’t apply for illness/misadventure on these grounds, and you will receive zero marks for the exam. You may still be able to receive a result, unless there is no assessment mark for that course.

You must:

  • be prepared to attend exams at your own expense at the times and exam centres that we arrange
  • sit for your exams at the centres on your personal exam timetable, even if you studied elsewhere
  • contact your school if you can’t get to your exam because of unusual circumstances, like a flood, as you may be able to sit for the exam at another centre
  • only sit for exams in courses for which you are entered. You can’t change or add courses during exams
  • sit for all exams you are entered in, unless you have an illness or misadventure.

Tell someone immediately if you are ill or have a misadventure

If you have an illness or misadventure:

  • and can’t attend an exam, tell your principal immediately
  • before the exam but you can still attend, tell the presiding officer when you arrive
  • during an exam and it may have affected your performance, tell the presiding officer immediately.

If you miss an entire exam and we decline your illness/misadventure application, you will receive no result for that course and it won’t appear on your NESA record. This could mean you are no longer eligible for your HSC or ATAR (see 5.5 Applying for illness/misadventure provisions).

If you entered for an Extension course (other than Mathematics Extension 2) and don’t sit for the related 2-unit course exam, you will receive no result for either course unless you submit an illness/misadventure application and we uphold it.

If you are an English Extension 2 or Mathematics Extension 2 candidate and you don’t sit for the related Extension 1 exam, you will receive no result for either course unless you submit an illness/misadventure application and we uphold it.

5.2 Bringing the right equipment

Know what to bring with you

You should bring the equipment you need and know what equipment is allowed for each exam. Make sure that your equipment is in good working order, because we won’t uphold misadventure applications for equipment failure.

You can bring the following items into your exams:

  • black pens
  • pencils, erasers and a sharpener (use pencils only when instructed to)
  • a ruler marked in millimetres and centimetres
  • highlighter pens
  • a clear bottle of water
  • a non-programmable watch, which you must take off, place on your desk in clear view and not touch during the exam.

You need to bring certain equipment (like a calculator) for some exams. Check the list of equipment for specific exams on Students Online. If you are allowed a scientific calculator, make sure you have an approved model.

When equipment is listed for an exam, it means that you might need it to answer some questions. If equipment is listed as optional, it is not essential for answering any questions, but you can bring and use it if you wish.

Leave other items outside the exam room

You can’t bring any of the following items into your exams:

  • mobile phones
  • programmable watches, like smart watches
  • any electronic devices (except a calculator, if allowed), including communication devices, organisers, tablets, music players or electronic dictionaries
  • paper or any printed or written material (including your exam timetable)
  • dictionaries (except in language exams, if allowed)
  • correction fluid or correction tape.

You can’t borrow equipment during exams. Exam staff may inspect your equipment when you enter the room, and will tell you where to place any unauthorised items. They are not responsible for these items.

5.3 Following exam room procedures

Check your desk and papers carefully

Before starting each exam, you must sit at the desk that shows your name and student number. Desks may be set up differently at each exam.

Make sure that you have the correct exam paper for the course you have entered. When the supervisor asks you to, you must also check that no pages are missing from your exam papers.

You will have set reading time for each paper. During this time, you must not write, use any equipment, including highlighters, or mark your paper in any way. If you are allowed a dictionary, you can read it but you can’t write on or mark it during reading time.

The reading times for exam papers are:

Exam paper Reading time

2-unit English, Paper 1

Modern Languages written exams (Beginners, Continuers, Extension, Languages in Context and Languages and Literature courses)

Latin Extension

10 minutes

All other written exams

5 minutes

Follow all written and verbal instructions

During each exam, you must:

  • read the instructions and all questions carefully. Presiding officers and supervisors can’t interpret or give instructions about exam questions
  • write your exam centre number and student number on all writing booklets, question and answer booklets and answer sheets (unless that information is already printed on them)
  • write clearly with black pen (only use pencil if instructed to)
  • write your answers in the correct answer booklets. Tell the supervisor if you use the wrong booklet, and write a note on the front and back of both booklets stating that you wrote an answer in the wrong place. Don’t rewrite your answers, but make sure you label and hand in all parts of your answers
  • stop writing immediately when the supervisor tells you to
  • follow the supervisor’s instructions for arranging completed answers, and wait for the supervisor to collect them
  • complete the Student Completion Record listing the number of booklets you used, and wait for the supervisor to check and countersign it before you leave your desk.

Take care with identifying information and avoid leaving early

During each exam, you must not:

  • start writing until the presiding officer or supervisor tells you to
  • write your name, your school’s name, or any other identifying name, symbol or mark on writing booklets, answer booklets or sheets
  • leave the room, except in an emergency. If you have to leave and want to come back to continue the exam, you must be supervised while you are out of the room
  • leave (finish) the exam in the first hour. Your school may not allow any students to leave early
  • leave the exam in the last 15 minutes
  • take an exam paper out of the room. Speak to your teacher if you want to see a paper afterwards.

5.4 Conducting yourself during exams

Follow your school’s usual rules

You must follow the day-to-day rules of the school or institution where you sit for your exams. If you don’t follow these conduct rules, you may get zero marks for the exam or no result for the course. If this reduces your completed courses to less than 10 units, this could mean you are no longer eligible for the HSC.

The presiding officer and supervisors are in charge of students from the time they assemble outside until all students leave at the end.

Behave politely and take exams seriously

During each exam, you must:

  • always follow the supervisors’ instructions
  • make a serious attempt at the exam by answering a range of question types. Answering only multiple-choice questions is not considered a serious attempt
  • answer in English, unless the question paper directs otherwise. If you don’t write in English, you will get zero marks for your answer
  • behave politely and courteously towards the supervisors and other students.

During each exam, you must not:

  • cheat
  • include frivolous or objectionable material
  • take any of the items prohibited in section 5.2 into the room
  • speak to anyone other than a supervisor
  • behave in any way likely to disturb another student or upset the exam’s running
  • be affected by alcohol or illegal drugs
  • eat unless approved by NESA (for example, if you have diabetes)
  • take any writing booklets, whether used or not, out of the room
  • leave the room if your principal requires all students to stay until each exam ends.

Supervisors can ask you to leave the exam if you don’t follow these rules. You will then be reported to NESA, and you could get zero marks for the exam, or your course may be cancelled. If your actions might be illegal, you may also be reported to the police.

5.5 Applying for Illness/misadventure

Apply if an illness or mishap affects your exam performance

If illness or misadventure stops you from attending an exam or affects your performance in the exam, it is your right and responsibility to make an illness/misadventure application.

To do this, ask your principal or the exam’s presiding officer for an application form and the Information Guide for Students, which explain how to apply. Follow the instructions and keep the acknowledgement slip with the presiding officer’s or principal’s signature from the application form.

Illness/misadventure applications are for cases where an illness or mishap affected your performance so that your result does not properly measure your achievement. These applications don’t cover:

  • difficulty preparing or lost preparation time
  • alleged deficiencies in teaching
  • lost time or facilities for study before the formal study vacation
  • misreading exam timetables
  • misreading exam instructions
  • entering or sitting for the wrong exam
  • long-term illness (for example, glandular fever, asthma or epilepsy) unless you can show it recurred suddenly and unexpectedly during the exam period
  • conditions for which you have been granted disability provisions, unless you have further difficulties
  • conditions for which you should have applied for disability provisions
  • courses where you are a self-tuition student
  • attending sporting or cultural events.

Always attend exams if you can, even if you have had an illness or misadventure. Speak to your principal before you decide not to attend an exam, and don’t attend if a doctor advises you not to.

Understand what happens next

If you apply for illness/misadventure, you will need to include advice from a relevant independent expert, like a doctor or police officer, to show why you couldn’t attend the exam. We won’t uphold an illness/misadventure application if we don’t consider that the reason for your absence is serious.

You must lodge any illness/misadventure application for HSC written exams with NESA shortly after that exam. For performance exams or submitted works, you must apply within one week of the exam, performance or submission date. Your principal must sign your application. We will only consider late applications in exceptional circumstances.

If we uphold your application, you will receive either your examination mark, or a mark calculated from your assessment mark or unaffected components of your exam, whichever is higher.

Your illness/misadventure application results will be released with your exam results.

5.6 Appealing an assessment rank

Talk to your teacher if you believe your ranking is incorrect

You will be able to find out your assessment ranks (your final position in each school course) in your Students Online account after the final HSC exam.

You can’t appeal your marks in individual assessment tasks, but if you feel you have been incorrectly ranked in a course, talk to your teacher immediately.

If you are still not satisfied that your ranking is correct, you can apply to your principal for a review. In this review, the school will consider whether it:

  1. weighted its assessment tasks in line with the NESA requirements
  2. complied with its stated assessment program when deciding your final assessment mark
  3. miscalculated or made a clerical error when deciding your assessment mark.

If you want to apply for a review, you must do this before our cut-off date. Your school will tell you the review outcome and inform us if your assessment marks should change.

You can appeal to NESA if you are unhappy with your school’s response

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the school’s review, you can ask your principal to lodge an appeal with NESA. We will only consider whether the school’s review was:

  • adequate for deciding items 1–3 above
  • done properly.

We won’t revise assessment marks or rank order. If we uphold your appeal, we will ask the school to correct any errors.

For more on reviews and appeals, ask your school for an assessment appeal form. You must lodge any appeals to NESA at your school by the cut-off date on the form. We won’t process any appeals after this date.

6 Results

6.1 Getting your HSC results

In December, your HSC results will be available online and sent to you by email and SMS.

The first page of your Record of Achievement will list your results in each HSC course you completed. For Board Developed Courses with an external HSC exam, these results will report your achievement against standards that clearly describe your level of knowledge, skills and understanding.

Your credentials will be provided as a PDF from Students Online. You can print your credentials directly from this PDF, or apply for a printed copy from NESA for a small fee. If you are eligible for an HSC, you will receive a hard copy testamur in the mail in January.

6.2 Understanding different course records

Your Record of Achievement will list your completed courses and results for Year 11 and Year 10 on separate pages.

The following table explains the marks and records you will receive for your courses.

Course type Marks and records

Board Developed Course

For most courses you will receive an assessment mark, an examination mark and an HSC mark, which is the rounded average of your examination mark and assessment mark.

VET course (both Board Developed and Board Endorsed)

All course names and unit values will be listed.

You will receive an examination mark and an HSC mark for any VET Industry Curriculum Framework course exams you completed.

You will also receive an AQF VET Certificate and transcript, or a Statement of Attainment, for your achieved units of competency.

Board Endorsed Course (other than VET courses)

Your assessment mark is the unmoderated mark that your school or provider submitted. This mark cannot be compared with marks for similar courses at other schools.

Life Skills course

The course name and unit value will be listed if you completed the course.

You will also receive a Profile of Student Achievement listing your achieved outcomes.

Course studied with an outside tutor

Your result will be reported as an examination mark and an HSC mark. Your assessment mark will only be listed if you lodged an illness/misadventure application and it was upheld.

6.3 Getting course reports or a RoSA

Course reports for each Board Developed HSC course will be available from Students Online. These reports will show you:

  • the performance bands
  • what a typical student knows and can do at each achievement level
  • a graph of the mark distribution for the course.

If you are not eligible for an HSC and are leaving school, you may still receive a Record of School Achievement (RoSA). Your RoSA will show your results in all Year 10, 11 and 12 courses that you completed. If you are not eligible for a RoSA, you will receive a Transcript of Study listing your results.

6.4 Finding out your ATAR

UAC generally releases ATARs the day after HSC results are released. For more information, please visit or phone 1300 275 822.

7 Copyright and privacy

7.1 Using your material

NESA publishes a range of educational materials based on the HSC exams to help teachers and students understand the required standards. These materials include samples of students’ work, and may be in printed or electronic form.

We may use your original HSC exam responses, including performances, Language-speaking exams and submitted works, in our educational publications.

7.2 Giving your details to other organisations

The Technical Committee on Scaling calculates your ATAR for UAC. We will give the personal details and results, including Year 10 and Year 11 grades, of all NSW HSC students to this committee, UAC and TAFE NSW, among other organisations.

We may also give this information to the NSW Department of Education for research and surveys.

Your school or TAFE college and your school system, if applicable (for example, the Department of Education or the Catholic Education Commission), can also access information about your results.

7.3 Recognising your achievement

We publish HSC merit lists on our website and give these lists to some media outlets. These lists show the name, school and course of all students who, for example, achieve an HSC mark in the top band in any course. We don’t give any other students’ names or results to the media.

We also give student details to a number of organisations to award prizes or scholarships or to recognise high achievement in other ways.

You can ask us to keep your details confidential. If you do, your name will not be published in our merit lists, or given to the media or any organisation that awards prizes for HSC achievement. You can download our privacy policy from our website.


If you need more information on HSC privacy issues, please email the Student Records Unit at or phone (02) 9367 8001.


My checklist

Early in Year 12

  • Read this guide
  • Check that I am eligible for the HSC (if appropriate)
  • Make sure that my personal details and courses, including any VET exams, are correct on my Confirmation of Entry
  • Request an ATAR if I plan to apply to university
  • Read the Student Declaration on my Confirmation of Entry, then sign and return it to my school
  • Go to Students Online to update my PIN and check my postal address, personal email address and mobile number
  • Read and become familiar with course and assessment requirements
  • Talk to my school if I think I might be eligible for disability provisions.

Term 2

  • Get my personal HSC exam timetable from Students Online
  • Check that all my exams appear, including performance and VET exams. 

Term 3

  • Confirm my dates for any project submissions, performance exams and oral exams
  • Submit any projects on the due dates
  • Attend any performance and oral exams.

Term 4

  • Check my exam timetable and the equipment I need
  • Attend and make a serious attempt at every exam
  • Submit an illness/misadventure application for any illnesses or mishaps during exams
  • Check my assessment ranks in Students Online after the last exam
  • Check that my Students Online account uses my personal email address, not my school address
  • Note my student number and PIN so I can get my results online.
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