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High school (Years 11-12)

The Higher School Certificate (HSC) is the highest educational award in NSW schools. Your child will receive their HSC once they have successfully completed Year 11 and Year 12 (Stage 6) and satisfy all HSC course requirements.  

If your child does not complete the HSC, they may still be eligible to receive a  Record of School Achievement (RoSA).

Find out more:

What is the HSC?

The HSC is an internationally recognised credential that provides a foundation for your child entering tertiary study, vocational training or employment.

To receive the HSC, students must:

  • Complete a minimum of 12 units of preliminary courses (usually in Year 11) followed by 10 units of HSC courses (usually in Year 12). 
  • Meet HSC course requirements including school based assessments and statewide HSC examinations. 

Review the HSC Rules and Procedure guide to learn more about the rules, requirements and conduct of the HSC.

What is the RoSA?

The RoSA is the credential that formally recognises school achievement if your child leaves school before completing the HSC.

The RoSA reports Stage 5 (Year 9 and 10) and, where applicable, Stage 6 (Year 11 and 12) courses completed by the student. The RoSA credential also lists any courses commenced but not completed and the date of leaving school.

View examples of RoSA credentials

At any stage during Years 11-12 your child can obtain an up-to-date snapshot of their academic progress through a transcript called a Student eRecord. This can be accessed via Students Online or via Schools Online and then printed or emailed to the student.

HSC syllabus

NESA sets the NSW HSC syllabus outlining the course content to be delivered to your child by their teachers. However, it is up to each school to determine its own HSC timetable and assessment program.

You can assist your child with planning Year 11 and Year 12 studies by encouraging them to choose subjects they like, subjects they’re good at and subjects that fit in with what they want to do when they leave school. 

They should also talk to their teachers and their school’s careers adviser to make realistic, informed subject choices.  

Resolve any problems your child has about subject choice with your school.


HSC examinations are generally held from mid October to early November each year.  A timetable with key dates and the examination timetable is released each year.

If your child is late to an exam they should advise their principal immediately and get to the exam centre as soon as possible.  Likewise, if they miss an exam because they have misread the timetable, your child must contact their principal immediately.

Disability provisions and illness/misadventure

There are two types of assistance (disability provisions and illness or misadventure) available to students sitting HSC examinations. These are:

Disability provisions

Disability provisions include emergency disability provisions for conditions that occur just prior to the examinations.

Practical support is available to students to access HSC examinations. Provisions assist students to read examination questions and write their answers. The provisions granted are solely determined by how the student’s exam performance is affected. Examples of provisions include a reader, rest breaks and extra time. The use of any provision is not written on the student’s results.

If you think your child may require support for completing the HSC examinations, please discuss the matter with the year adviser, school counsellor or teacher.

Illness or misadventure

Illness or misadventure includes conditions that occur immediately prior to or on the day of the examinations.

If your child cannot attend an exam because of illness or misadventure, notify the school principal immediately.  You must obtain documentary evidence, generally on the day of the exam, to support your child’s illness/misadventure application. If they did not sit the exam this evidence must indicate why they were unable to attend.

If an application is upheld, the student will be awarded the higher of their examination mark and a mark derived from their assessment mark or unaffected components of their examination.

The HSC Rules and Procedures guide outlines everything you need to know about illness and misadventure.


Your child’s academic progress, from the completion of Year 10 onwards, can be viewed at any time through their Student eRecord.  This can be obtained by a student through their Students Online account.

Your child’s school will provide NESA with a result for every course they successfully complete in Stage 5 (Year 9 and Year 10) and Stage 6 (Year 11 and Year 12).

For Stage 5 (Year 9 and Year 10), a grade (A to E) is captured as outlined in the Stage 5 Course Performance Descriptors.

For Stage 6 (Year 11), a grade (A to E) is captured as outlined in the common grade scale.

For the HSC, students do not receive a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’, nor do they get a single rank or mark for all courses. The HSC results are a detailed package showing the level of knowledge and skills each student achieved in each course.

Your child will get their HSC results in December and their official testamur will be mailed to them in January.

A number of HSC results service including the HSC Results Inquiry Centre telephone hotline on 1300 13 83 23 are available.

Visit HSC Credentials  to view samples of the award documents student’s receive and read more about understanding how the marks are calculated.

The Universities Admissions Centre releases the Australian Tertiary Assessment Rank (ATAR) the day after the HSC results are out. This is different to the HSC result and is used for gaining entry to university.

Replacement statements

If your child needs a replacement copy of their exam results we offer a replacement service.


After the HSC every year NESA compile and present the following awards lists. 

  • First Place in Course List contains the names and school of each student who achieves the top mark in any course, provided they are also placed in the top band (Band 6 is awarded for marks between 90 and 100 in 2 unit courses and Band E4 is awarded as the top Band in 1 unit subjects).
  • Top Achievers in Course contains the names of students in the top places in each course, provided they have also achieved Band 6 or Band E4, as appropriate.
  • Distinguished Achievers List contains the name and school of any student who achieved Band 6 or Band E4 as appropriate.
  • All-Round Achievers List contains the names and schools of students who have been placed on the Distinguished Achievers List for courses totalling 10 or more units.

Full lists are also available in our  Statistics Archive.

At the individual school's discretion, a school may also recognise their own high achieving HSC students. 


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