In this Guide, we give you the rundown of what to expect in Year 12 and step-by-step advice about how to get ahead from your first day.
In this Year 12 High School Survival Guide, we will discuss the expectations of Year 12 and strategies to making it your most successful year yet! Year 12, as your HSC year, is the most important year of high school.
Though students often focus their worry on the examinations at the end of the year, there’s more to an HSC mark than just exams. In Year 12, every school assessment mark counts, and in fact 50% of the final HSC mark for each subject is taken from a student’s assessment mark. For this reason, Year 12 students are under an enormous amount of pressure through the entirety of Year 12, not just during their exam period.
Let’s look at Year 12 and the ways you can maximise your results.
What’s expected of students in Year 12
Students must prepare for the following changes when transitioning into Year 12:
Common issues amongst Year 12 students
Let’s have a look at some common issues that year 12 students face,
In order to achieve their best possible outcome, students need to think very hard about what subjects are right for them. This may well involve dropping subjects that students are not performing very well in. This allows students to invest more time in each subject and increase their chance of success in those subjects.
There are some important things to be aware of when making these decisions:
To succeed in Year 12 subjects, students need to have a thorough understanding of what their subjects involve and what the NESA outcomes are. Let’s have a look at the requirements for English, Maths, and Science.
The Year 12 English courses is divided up into:
These courses are different from one another, but share the Area of Study: Discovery Module.
Only certain students can take ESL. Students who feel they should take this course must speak to their teacher and year coordinator.
A minimum standard of Band 5 in English Advanced or Standard is becoming common for some university degrees. The percentage of students who achieved Band 5 or 6 in 2016 can be seen in the following table:
|English Advanced||English Standard|
|Table: Comparison of 2016 English Advanced and English Standard HSC Results|
|Percentage of Students Receiving Band 6||15.41%||0.85%|
|Percentage of Students Receiving Band 5||46.59%||12.62%|
In 2016, 62% of English Advanced students received a Band 5 or higher, but only 13.47% of English Standard students achieved above a Band 5.
It is important that students take the appropriate level of English for their abilities and the requirements of their desired university course. It is also important for students and parents to understand the different rates of success common to each English course, and make informed decisions about chances for success. More information about choosing between English Advanced and English Standard can be found here.
English is divided into four Modules for the HSC. Let’s see what is involved in Year 12 English for 2018:
|Table: English Subjects and Modules for Year 12|
|English Advanced||English Standard||ESL|
|Area of Study||Discovery||Discovery||Discovery|
|Module A||Comparative Study of Texts and Context
Elective 1: Intertextual Connections
Elective 2: Intertextual Perspectives
|Experience Through Language
Elective 1: Distinctive Voices
Elective 2: Distinctively Visual
|Module A: Experience Through Language
Elective 1: Australian Voices
Elective 2: Australian Visions
|Module B||Critical Study of Texts||Close Study of Texts||Module B: Texts and Society
Elective 1: Living and Working in the Community
Elective 2: Academic English
|Module C||Representation and Text
Elective 1: Representing People and Politics
Elective 2: Representing People and Landscapes
|Texts and Society
Elective 1: Exploring Interactions
Elective 2: Exploring Transitions
|No Module C|
Some of these modules have electives that are chosen by a student’s teacher. These modules all have a list of prescribed texts. For some modules, students will need to select their own supplementary texts from a variety of different mediums.
Each one of these modules and electives has a different set of requirements and addresses different Stage 6 outcomes. It is important that students read the NESA documentation around this. Detailed information can be found in the 2015-2018 English prescriptions document.
The Year 12 English Advanced course is intended for students who have demonstrated good competence in English throughout Year 10 and 11.
Year 12 English Advanced students need to satisfy the following outcomes in order to obtain an HSC mark in band 5 or 6. Note that 15.41% of English Advanced students received band 6 compared to 0.85% of English Standard students.
|Table: NESA (formerly BOSTES) Stage 6 Outcomes (Source: NESA Website)|
|Year 12 English Advanced & Standard|
|Outcome 1||A student explains and evaluates the effects of different contexts of responders and composers on texts.|
|Outcome 2||A student explains relationships among texts. A student recognises different ways in which particular texts are valued.|
|Outcome 3||A student develops language relevant to the study of English.|
|Outcome 4||A student explains and analyses the ways in which language forms and features, and structures of texts shape meaning and influence responses.|
|Outcome 5||A student explains and evaluates the effects of textual forms, technologies and their media of production on meaning.|
|Outcome 6||A student engages with the details of a text in order to respond critically and personally.|
|Outcome 7||A student adapts and synthesises a range of textual features to explore and communicate information, ideas and values, for a variety of purposes, audiences and contexts.|
|Outcome 8||A student articulates and represents own ideas in critical, interpretive and imaginative texts from a range of perspectives.|
|Outcome 9||A student evaluates the effectiveness of a range of processes and technologies for various learning purposes including the investigation and organisation of information and ideas.|
|Outcome 10||A student analyses and synthesises information and ideas into sustained and logical argument for a range of purposes, audiences and contexts.|
|Outcome 11||A student draws upon the imagination to transform experience and ideas into text demonstrating control of language.|
|Outcome 12||A student reflects on own processes of responding and composing. A student explains and evaluates different ways of responding to and composing text.|
|Outcome 13||A student reflects on own processes of learning.|
To achieve Band 6, students need to demonstrate extensive knowledge of their texts and write insightful responses that demonstrate their understanding into those texts.
Matrix Year 12 English Advanced Theory Books teach students how to address the outcomes for Stage 6, the Band 6 descriptors, and the specific module requirements. Students who strive to address the outcomes and Band Descriptors always perform better than their peers.
The Matrix Year 12 English Advanced timetable is below:
|Table: Matrix Year 12 English Advanced Program|
|Year 12 English Advanced|
|Oct – Dec||Area of Study: Discovery
Short Answer, Creative Writing, and The Discovery Essay
|Feb – Apr||Module A: Comparative Study
Julius Caesar / The Prince
Metropolis / Nineteen Eighty-Four
Pride and Prejudice / Letter’s to Alice
Richard III / Looking for Richard
|Apr – Jun||Module B: Critical Study
|Jul – Sep||Module C: Representation and Text
Brave New World
The Art of Travel
Year 12 students at Matrix gain an extensive knowledge and understanding of the key concepts and essay structure in the English subjects through structured 9 lesson courses.
If you are unsure of where to start with your study of English, read our Beginner’s Guide to Acing HSC English!
The Year 11 and 12 Mathematics Advanced courses are intended for students who have demonstrated general competence in all the skills in Year 10 Mathematics Advanced Course.
Students who require substantial Mathematics at a tertiary level supporting the physical sciences, computer science or engineering should undertake the Extension 1 or Extension 2 course.
The content and depth of treatment of the Mathematics Advanced course is intended to give students an understanding of and competence in some further aspects of Mathematics which are applicable to the real world.
Year 11 and 12 Mathematics Advanced topics are listed below:
|Table: Stage 6 Mathematics Advanced Syllabus|
|Year 11 Mathematics Advanced||Year 12 Mathematics Advanced|
|Basic arithmetic and algebra (1.1 – 1.4)||Coordinate methods in geometry (6.8)|
|Real functions (4.1 – 4.4)||Applications of geometrical properties (2.5)|
|Trigonometric ratios (5.1 – 5.5)||Geometrical applications of differentiation (10.1-10.8)|
|Linear functions (6.1-6.5, 6.7)||Integration (11.1 – 11.4)|
|The quadratic polynomial and the parabola (9.1 – 9.5)||Trigonometric functions
(including applications of trigonometric ratios)
(13.1 – 13.6, 13.7)
|Plane geometry (2.1 – 2.4)||Logarithmic and exponential functions (12.1 – 12.5)|
|Tangent to a curve and derivative of a function (8.1 – 8.9)||Applications of calculus to the physical world (14.1 – 14.3)|
|Probability (3.1 – 3.3)|
|Series (7.1 – 7.3) and
Series applications (7.5)
The Year 12 Mathematics Extension 1 course is intended for students who have demonstrated a high level of competency in the Year 11 Mathematics Extension 1 course.
The content of the Mathematics Extension 1 course includes the whole of the Mathematics Advanced (2 unit) course. Therefore students sit two HSC exams for this course:
For this reason, the Year 12 Mathematics Advanced course is assigned 2 units of HSC marks and the Year 12 Mathematics Extension 1 course is assigned 1 unit of HSC marks. Hence, the total number of units for this course is 3 units.
Year 11 and 12 Mathematics Extension 1 topics are listed below:
|Table: Mathematics Extension 1 Syllabus|
Year 11 Maths Extension 1
Year 12 Maths Extension 1
|Other inequalities (1.4E)||Method of integration (11.5)|
|Circle geometry (2.6 – 2.10)||Primitive of sin(2x) and cos(2x) (13.6E)|
|Further trigonometry (5.6 – 5.9)||Exponential growth and decay equation (14.2E)|
|Angles between two lines (6.6)||Velocity and acceleration as a function of ‘x’ (14.3E)|
|Internal and external division of lines into given ratios (6.7E)||Projectile motion (14.3E)|
|Parametric representation (9.6)||Simple harmonic motion (14.4)|
|Permutations and combinations (18.1)||Inverse functions and inverse trigonometric functions (15.1 – 15.5)|
|Polynomials (16.1 – 16.3)||Induction (7.4)|
|Harder applications of the Preliminary 2 Unit course||Binomial theorem (17.1 – 17.3)|
|Further probability (18.2)|
|Iterative methods for estimating roots (16.4)|
|Harder applications of HSC 2 Unit topics|
The Year 12 Mathematics Extension 2 course is designed for students with a special interest in mathematics who have:
The content of the Mathematics Extension 2 course includes the whole of the Mathematics Extension 1 course. Therefore the students sit two HSC exams:
For this reason, Year 12 Mathematics Extension 1 and 2 are assigned 2 units of HSC marks each resulting in a total of 4 units of HSC marks.
There are 8 topics in the Year 12 Mathematics Extension 2 course:
At Matrix, students are taught to gain extensive knowledge and skills of all the topics indicated in the syllabus.
The Matrix Year 12 Mathematics course programs are shown below :
|Table: Matrix Year 12 Mathematics Program|
|Period||Year 12 Maths Advanced||Year 12 Maths Extension 1||Year 12 Maths Extension 2|
|Sep- Dec||Geometrical applications of differentiation
|Differentiation & integration
Exponential & Logarithmic functions
|Jan – Apr||Sequence & Series
|Further trigonometric functions
Inverse trigonometry functions
|Apr – Jun||Trigonometric functions
Revision of Preliminary Topics
Review of HSC Exam style questions
|Rates of change
Motion in a straight line
Simple harmonic motion
|Methods of Integration
|Jul – Sep||Rates of change
Exponential Growth & Decay
Co-ordiante methods in goemetry
Applications of geometry
Motion in a straight line
Permutations & Combinations
Year 12 students at Matrix gain an extensive knowledge and understanding of the key concepts in the Mathematics subjects through structured 9 lesson courses.
The Year 12 science courses build upon the Year 11 science courses. Students who have failed to gain an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the key concepts will find the Year 12 sciences course challenging.
The Year 12 science course incorporates the study of :
The core modules and options are outlined in the table below:
|Table: Stage 6 Science Syllabus|
|Year 12 Biology||Year 12 Chemistry||Year 12 Physics|
|Skills||9.1 Biology skills||9.1 Chemistry Skills||9.1 Physics Skills|
|Module||9.2 Maintaining a Balance||9.2 Production of Materials||9.2 Space|
|Module||9.3 Blueprint of Life||9.3 The Acidic Environment||9.3 Motors & Generators|
|Module||9.4 The Search for Better Health||9.4 Chemical Monitoring & Management||9.4 From Ideas to Implementation|
9.8 The Human Story
|9.5 Industrial Chemistry
9.6 Shipwrecks, Corrosion and Conservation
9.7 The Biochemistry of Movement
9.8 The Chemistry of Art
9.9 Forensic Chemistry
9.6 Medical Physics
9.8 From Quanta to Quarks
9.9 The Age of Silicon
Year 12 students at Matrix gain an extensive knowledge and understanding of the key concepts in the science subjects through structured 9 lesson courses.
Students can choose to undertake:
The Matrix Year 12 Science Course Programs are tabulated below:
|Table: Matrix Year 12 Science Program|
|Period||Year 12 Biology||Year 12 Chemistry||Year 12 Physics|
|Sep- Dec||Maintaining a Balance||Production of Materials
The Acidic Environment
Motors & Generators
|Jan – Apr||Blueprint of Life||The Acidic Environment
Motors & Generators
From Ideas to Implementation
|Apr – Jun||The Search for Better Health||Chemical Monitoring & Management
Chemistry or Art
|From Ideas to Implementation
From Quanta to Quarks
|Jul – Sep||Communications
Shipwrecks & Corrosion
Chemistry of Art
Chemical Monitoring & Management
|From Quanta to Quarks
Every year, a large number of Year 12 students ask the question “How did they get such a high ATAR?” When we analysed hundreds of academically successful students that have graduated from Matrix, they appear to have the a few things in common.
Let’s see what they are.
They have an explicit understanding of what’s required to attain a Band 6 performance. This means students have a clear understanding of the syllabus and the band 6 performance band descriptor.
You can view the syllabus here:
Band 6 and Band E4 Performance Descriptors are outlined below. Band 6 indicates the highest level of performance (90 -100 marks) for a 2 unit course and Band E4 (45 – 50 marks or 90 – 100 marks) indicates the highest performance band an Extension 1 and 2 course such as English Extension 1 and 2, or Mathematics Extension 1 and 2.
For the full list of band descriptors, visit the NESA website.
English Advanced (15.41%)
In 2016 HSC, 15.41% of the Year 12 English Advanced students attained Band 6.
English Standard (0.85%)
In 2016 HSC, 0.85% of the Year 12 English Standard students attained Band 6.
Mathematics Advanced (23.2%)
In 2016 HSC, 23.2% of the Year 12 Mathematics Advanced students attained Band 6.
Mathematics Extension 1 (33.12%)
In 2016 HSC, 33.012% of the Year 12 Mathematics Extension 1 students attained Band E4.
Mathematics Extension 2 (32.05%)
In 2016 HSC, 32.05% of the Year 12 Mathematics Extension 2 students attained Band E4.
Biology Band 6 Performance Descriptor
In 2016 HSC, 8.76% of the Year 12 Biology students attained Band 6.
Chemistry Band 6 Performance Descriptor
In 2016 HSC, 9.7% of the Year 12 Chemistry students attained Band 6.
Physics Band 6 Performance Descriptor
In 2016 HSC, 8.37% of the Year 12 Physics students attained Band 6.
They always start with the end in mind. Year 12 students should have an ATAR goal and a university course that they are working towards.
The student shown in the picture below set an ATAR goal of 99 at the beginning of Year 12. She displayed her ATAR goal on her desk as a daily reminder and to help her maintain motivated.
At the end of Year 12, she attained an ATAR of 98.95! Although she didn’t achieve her exact ATAR, she says “Without a clear goal in mind, I probably wouldn’t have been as determined. I think I would have gotten a lower ATAR”.
Read the blog post on ‘How to set goals to enter your university course of choice.’
They always get things done on time. Every time. By consistently completing their tasks by the due date, these students gain an advantage over their peers. We find that whilst discipline is a hurdle for many students, Matrix students make it a priority in order to achieve their best results.
If you lack motivation and determination, watch Sally Kim share her story of success.
Successful students are very self-conscious about how they spend their time. They don’t like wasting time and they dislike others who waste their time. Here are four things that they practise to manage their time effectively.
Image: Sample Student To-Do List
Image: How to prioritise
Step 3: They get ahead of school during the school holidays.
All the past successful students have used their school holidays for advanced completion of content through Matrix Holiday Accelerated Course. This creates blocks of time that students can use for sharpening their skills through exam paper practice.
For example, a student studying Year 12 Chemistry and Year 12 Maths Extension 1 courses would have dedicated 6 hours of study each day for 9 days. This equates to 54 hours of additional study whilst others are doing very little. It also means that the student has saved 54 hours of study during the term.
Step 4: They establish a weekly rhythm to get ahead with exam preparation.
NESA mandates that schools must provide students with assessment schedules and notifications in advance.
Assessment schedules are documents that outline when you should have an assessment for a given subject. They will include important information such as:
Assessment notifications are documents that provide important information about how to prepare for the assessment. For each task, students will be presented with an assessment notification. A sample Year 12 Physics assessment task notification is shown below.
These must be given to students at least two weeks prior to the assessment. They must contain:
To do well in their assessments, students should pay careful attention to their assessment notifications. In particular, students should make an effort to understand the marking criteria, which will clarify what the markers will be expecting from them.
Sample marking criteria and assessment notifications and schedules can be found on the NESA website. Click the link below to download.
We hope this guide and the links provided are a useful resource in preparing you for what’s to come in Year 12, and in achieving your academic ambitions.
We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to nailing HSC English. If you need help writing essays, creatives, and presentations, or even analysing your texts, you should check out the Beginner’s Guide to Acing HSC English! In Part 2, How to Analyse your English Texts, you can download a free textual analysis planner to help you get across your texts and write insightful responses.
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