Eighty-one Year 12 students in Gunnedah will begin Higher School Certificate (HSC) exams next Monday.
The exams will be undertaken by 43 students at St Mary’s College and 38 students at Gunnedah High School.
Statewide, more than 69,000 students will sit the HSC, with written exams to be held over 20 days between Monday, October 12 and Friday, November 6.
The first exam will be English standard and advanced. English is the only compulsory HSC subject.
Students who complete the HSC can apply for an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) through the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC).
ATAR’s assist universities to rank applicants for selection into courses, and give students an idea of their overall achievement in relation to other students.
St Mary’s College student Jake Somerville will undergo HSC examinations from October 12-29, starting off with standard English and finishing with studies of religion.
Aiming for about six hours of study a day, Jake said he was a bit nervous but was mostly looking forward to it all being over.
“I don’t really stress that much. I figure it’s not the end of the world but I guess some people would get pretty stressed out with it,” he said.
“I’m trying to do a lot of preparation for it.”
Jake has been completing past HSC papers and said he was concentrating his efforts on English, studies of religion, and physics, particularly the long written responses.
The HSC is a stepping stone to university, according to Jake.
“My parents have always said that university is very important and my sister has gone to Newcastle university,” he said.
The 17-year-old has his sights set on a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechatronics) at the University of Newcastle after a gap year.
Jake said he attended an open day at the university, which held introductions to courses on offer.
“There was a mechatronics one there, so I sat in on that and it just intrigued me,” he said.
The 2014 ATAR for the course was 74.70 and students must have undertaken HSC mathematics (band 5 or above ) or equivalent.
Jake said he enjoyed mathematics and would sit HSC exams for two-unit and three-unit mathematics.
The concept of robotics and unmanned vehicles holds Jake’s interest and the strong prospect of job availability following graduation from the four-year course.
“It’s a growing field,” Jake said.
“It’s expanding. It’s in very high demand.”
Jake and a group of his friends will celebrate the end of the HSC by spending a week in Coffs Harbour in late November.
Conscious of the many options available to her, Gunnedah High School student Meg Jaeger has found it difficult to settle on a university degree but thinks sociology may be her fit.
Meg has applied for early entry at the University of Newcastle, where she hopes to begin a Bachelor of Social Science next year.
Originally, Meg had planned to do a Bachelor of Science but recently decided it was no longer the path she wanted to pursue.
“I want to do more humanity stuff, so sociology,” Meg said.
“I’ll do probably a Bachelor of Social Science more for interest – you don’t really get a specific job at the end.
“It just interests me the way people work, why they do things and the reasons behind why they do things, and make the choices and have the beliefs they have.
“I’ve always been interested in this stuff but it was only this year that I’ve realised that there is actually things you can do with that.”
Meg said she considered applying for the police force after completing a university degree.
“I would be willing even to do some work experience before I applied, just to see what it’s like,” she said.
“That’s the problem with applying for uni and stuff.
“When you don’t know anything about the career that you’re studying for and you work out that you don’t like it, then it’s just a waste of time and money.
“I guess I’ve never really been the person to kind of choose what I want to do because I always change my mind. Just wherever I end up, just doing something I’m happy with.”
Meg’s HSC exams will run over a two-week period, rounding off with chemistry on Friday, October 23.
The 17-year-old said she had high hopes for successful results because she was first in two of her classes at school and did well in the HSC trials.
“I would be disappointed if I didn’t get around the same marks,” she said.
“If I got the same marks as in my trials, I would be happy, so I’ll be even happier if I improve.”
St Mary’s College student Charlie Waterford is keen to beat her brother and sister’s ATAR’s when she completes the HSC this year.
“I’m competitive against them,” she said.
“If I can beat them, I will be happy.”
Charlie will be sitting the HSC from October 12-29, finishing up with a Studies of Religion exam.
Aiming for an ATAR of 70 or above, Charlie said she hoped to do a Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science at Charle Sturt University in Bathurst.
“Sport’s sort of my thing and I’m interested in it,” she said.
“I don’t want to be stuck inside. I like being outside.”
Charlie is committing a lot of study time to Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) in the hope of achieving a high enough ATAR.
“It’s my best subject,” she said.
Charlie said she would like to specialise in clinical rehabilitation but was also considering a diploma to allow her to teach PDHPE in schools, and has looked into teaching in other countries.
“I definitely want to travel,” she said.
With HSC exams just four days away, Charlie said she was a bit nervous but eager to get started.
“I just want to get it over and done with because it’s really dragging out but then at the same time I don’t want it to be finished because it means school’s finished and that’s a bit sad,” she said.
Charlie said Year 12 had been really good and she enjoyed the well-known routine of school.
The support of teachers and her results in the HSC trials motivated Charlie to improve her knowledge for the upcoming exams.
“Miss Wilson, the PE teacher, she has done so much for us. She’s given us 2001 to 2014 past paper questions, so I feel like she puts in heaps of effort, so I want to put in heaps of effort,” she said.
Group study is the one of the methods Gunnedah High School student Mitchell Brandon has been using to prepare for the HSC.
Mitchell and fellow Year 12 students have been regularly getting together at the High School to go through past papers and curriculum content with their teachers.
“We’re kind of all pushing each other, which is good,” he said.
“We try and bounce off each other and try and help each other out because we’ve all got to move up together to get the marks.”
Mitchell said he was committing more of his study time to physics because he felt it was a hard subject.
Undertaking physics, chemistry and mathematics at school has laid a good foundation of knowledge to assist Mitchell in his pursuit of a Bachelor of Surveying at the University of Newcastle.
“I’ve been out with some surveyors at the coal mines out there at Tarawonga and I was just going out there to see what kinds of jobs are about and surveying caught my eye,” he said.
“I was tossing up between engineering and surveying and engineering kind of was too much inside than what I liked.”
Mitchell said he only recently decided to pursue surveying but it was always his plan to go to university.
“Nowadays, you need a degree of some sort to get a decent job; sort of like if you want a higher job you’ve got to have the qualifications and nowadays that’s what uni is,” he said.
The 2014 ATAR for the surveying degreee at Newcastle was 71.25, according to Mitchell, but he is hoping to achieve 75.
“What happens on the day, happens on the day but I’ll try and put in as much as I can between now and then,” he said.
Following a gap year in Gunnedah, Mitchell said he hoped to find accommodation at the university campus.
“I want to do uni. I want to do the whole campus life. I reckon it would be good fun,” he said.
“It will be a good experience down there.”
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