HSC Science Syllabi: Everything you need to know
For the first time in 17 years, the NSW HSC syllabus is being overhauled
New school assessment standards will be introduced commencing in January 2018. If you’re starting Year 11 in 2018, you’re part of the group of trailblazers who will be learning the new content for the first time. This means you’re going to need to understand what to expect next year to nail your final HSC year in 2019. In this article, we’ll explain the most important things to know about the new Year 11 Sciences curriculum, how you’ll be impacted, and how Talent 100 is gearing up to help you to ace the HSC in 2019.
1. Why did we need new HSC science syllabi?
It’s been 17 years since the current HSC curriculum was developed, and according the the New South Wales Education Standards Authority (NESA, formerly BOSTES), “The changes are designed to help motivate and challenge students to achieve at their highest possible level, reduce excessive stress and give students more skills and career options.” Will that really be the outcome of the changes? We’ll wait and see.
2. When will the changes be rolled out?
The new HSC syllabus will be incrementally rolled out across NSW with the first students commencing the new syllabus in Year 11. Here’s a timeline for all the HSC science syllabus updates, as well as the updates scheduled for all other syllabuses:
Note: Advanced Mathematics students, will remain on the current syllabus for the HSC as the new syllabus updates have been delayed until 2019.
3. How are the HSC Science syllabi changing?
The Physics, Chemistry and Biology syllabi have a greater emphasis on literacy and numeracy, as well additional pracs. The topic content has also been updated from the current syllabus to make more sense in our rapidly changing world.
The courses also focus on developing a deeper understanding of scientific principles and theories, rather than their context as in the previous syllabus. The focus on ‘science history’ has been diminished, while a greater emphasis is being placed on application of scientific theory.
Another new element of the courses in 2018 is a ‘depth study’. The depth studies will allow you to investigate areas of interest in more detail and consolidate your research skills which will be essential for further studies. This is an entirely new element of the syllabus.
The new Year 11 and Year 12 courses are divided into four modules and a skills component.
The modules develop your knowledge and understanding of core concepts that will be assessed in the final year of HSC and the skills component aims to develop skills at the core of conducting practical and secondary-sourced investigations in science.
“Working Scientifically” is woven throughout the syllabus and each module includes a specific focus on some (or all) of the Working Scientifically skills. These scientific skills components will focus on skills such as analysing data, planning and conducting investigations or problem solving. In the skills component you’ll have the opportunity to design, develop and conduct investigations both individually and collaboratively within the context of the module you’re studying.
4. How will the new HSC impact you?
Unlike previous years, you won’t have past exam papers to give you an indication of the style of questions and the standard expectations for your final year of the HSC. For your HSC, you will need to be more reliant on your teachers (and of course your Talent 100 Mentors) to guide you through the new courses.
On the surface, this might seem daunting but fear not! You will benefit from being better prepared to apply your understanding of complex scientific theories to the real world. That’s because it’ll place you in a better position for success at university and future career.
5. What additional resources are there to prepare for the new syllabi?
To support you through the new HSC, Richard Chua and our Academic Heads have been busy revising our preliminary Science courses to align with the new syllabus. In 2018, we’ll have new Physics, Chemistry and Biology courses with revised content, more practicals, extra online activities and improved reporting.
To find out more about the HSC new syllabus check out the NESA site for full syllabi, detailed course information and FAQs.
For parents, NESA has a prepared a Parent Guide which you can download here detailing the changes in more detail.
The full Physics, Chemistry and Biology syllabuses can be found here: