First day of HSC exams – Its October.

Aengus TranFocused … Aengus Tran from Sydney Secondary College sits the HSC English exam. Photo: Edwina Pickles

STUDENTS who memorised prepared essays might have had a tough time answering questions in yesterday’s Higher School Certificate English exam.

”They asked for something very specific so it would be a little bit harder to adapt to the question,” said year 12 student, Aengus Tran, from Sydney Secondary College’s Blackwattle Bay Campus.

The 18-year-old dux of the school was nursing a fatigued hand following the two hour exam. He wrote 15 pages.

”I didn’t really realise it was sore until the end because I was so focused on the exam and maximising my marks.”


Aengus and his 283 peers at the Glebe school joined almost 70,000 year 12 students who sat the first of their final exams yesterday across 760 exam centres.

It was the first of two written exams for both the standard and advanced English courses, as well as English as a second language (ESL). English is compulsory for all HSC students and paper two will be held tomorrow morning.

Anders Melander, also from Sydney Secondary College, said yesterday’s exam was a little harder than he expected.

”The essay was really specific, so if you hadn’t prepared for that part you were definitely screwed,” he said. ”Memorising an essay could have backfired completely.”

Sheila Pun agreed. ”Some of the short answer questions were really difficult,” she said.

Anders is a triplet and joked that he and his siblings had agreed not to ”shun” whoever gets the lowest ATAR.

”We have sort of supported each other through a group hatred of the HSC,” he said.

The exams are held over four weeks and end on November 8. Visual Arts – art criticism and art history – is the final of 117 papers.

Exams continue tomorrow with earth and environmental science, retail services and a number of language courses.

HSC results are released on December 19, and can be accessed by students via internet, SMS and telephone.

Exam timetables are available at

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