New HSC English Syllabus

The New HSC English Syllabus: what’s changed?

Your HSC year is new and challenging, and therefore kind of scary. Higher expectations. More study. Exams. But for Year Elevens who are about to transition into Year Twelves, the new HSC English syllabus has rendered their final year of study even more mysterious. And it’s not just the students who are quaking in their boots. All over New South Wales, teachers are worrying about adjusting their teaching methods to the new requirements. We feel for the so-called “guinea-pig” cohort of students who are the first to attempt the new HSC in 2019. That’s why, we at Prime Education, want to run through some pros and cons of the new syllabus. Hopefully, these will help to demystify the year ahead.

In the ‘pro’ column:

  • The state-wide Year Eleven syllabus. 2018 was the first year that the same three syllabus rubrics were taught across the state: Reading to Write, Narratives that Shape Our World, and Critical Study. Schools are still free to select any texts they like to fulfill the criteria of these modules. However, we’re seeing a higher standard of Year Eleven student already. It seems that knowing the agenda of what you’re supposed to be learning in English is beneficial to your learning outcomes. What a radical thought, huh?
  • Fewer Prescribed TextsIn past HSCs, Advanced and Standard students have been examined across four modules and as many as nine texts. Although wide reading related to the modules will still be expected, the number of prescribed texts is now only three or four. In the new HSC English Syllabus, fewer texts means that you’ll have more time to read and re-read. And more time to develop your own opinions and insights into the texts you are studying.
  • Fewer Assessments. There will now be a cap on the number of assessment tasks that a school can set per year. Once again, the reduced workload is supposed to help Year Twelve students focus on thorough, quality engagement with English studies.

And now the cons:

  • Harder, more specific exam questions: There had to be a downside, right? The new HSC English syllabus will be far more specific, and therefore particularly unkind to students who think studying English means preparing and memorising a single essay. However, it will reward individuals with critical thinking skills, who have taken the time to write many study paragraphs and re-read their texts. Depending on your point of view, this ‘con’ may well be a ‘pro’ in disguise, since the top marks will go to students who really deserve them.

If you have more questions about the new HSC English Syllabus, you can read about it on the NESA website. Alternatively, just speak to our friendly tutors at Prime Education.

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