2016 HSC Rules and Procedures guide

2016 HSC Rules and Procedures guide

The Higher School Certificate Rules and Procedures guide must be read by all students entered for an HSC course.

This guide is for students entered for HSC courses in 2016. If you are undertaking HSC courses in 2017, you will need to refer to the 2017 HSC Rules and Procedures.

In signing your Confirmation of Entry (see section 4, ‘Entering for the Higher School Certificate'), you are certifying that you have read this guide.

The Education Act 1990 (NSW) governs the award of the Higher School Certificate. The Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW (BOSTES), under this Act, grants certificates to students who comply with the Act and the BOSTES requirements.

The main rules and requirements for the Higher School Certificate are set out in this guide. 

You can also download a copy:  2016 HSC Rules and Procedures (PDF)

Students can obtain more detailed explanations of the rules and requirements by referring to the Assessment, Certification and Examination website.

1. Senior study pathways

When you leave school you take with you a record of your achievement. For secondary school students this culminates in the Higher School Certificate; however, your achievements begin to accumulate from Year 10.

Your participation and achievement in Years 10 and 11 have been documented in the form of grades awarded to you and recorded by BOSTES.

If you decide to leave school before receiving your Higher School Certificate, you may be eligible to receive a Record of School Achievement (RoSA). The RoSA will report your Year 10 and 11 courses and grades, and will also reflect any participation in HSC courses. Students must meet certain criteria to be eligible for a RoSA.

All students are able to retrieve an eRecord of their grades at any time through their Students Online account.

Students leaving school before receiving their Higher School Certificate are also able to sit for optional online Literacy and Numeracy tests.

If you are thinking about leaving school before receiving your Higher School Certificate, talk to your teachers about the RoSA, and/or sitting for the Literacy and Numeracy tests.

The diagram below shows the credentials and records available to eligible students throughout the course of their senior studies.


2. HSC eligibility requirements

To be eligible for the award of the Higher School Certificate, you must have:

  1. satisfactorily completed Stage 5 requirements or gained other qualifications the BOSTES considers satisfactory
  2. attended a government school, an accredited non-government school, a school outside NSW recognised by the BOSTES, or a TAFE college
  3. satisfactorily completed courses that comprise the pattern of study required by the BOSTES for the award of the Higher School Certificate
  4. sat for and made a serious attempt at the required HSC examinations.

2.1 Pattern of study

To qualify for the Higher School Certificate, you must satisfactorily complete a Preliminary pattern of study comprising at least 12 units and an HSC pattern of study comprising at least 10 units. Both patterns must include:

  • at least 6 units of Board Developed Courses
  • at least 2 units of a Board Developed Course in English*
  • at least three courses of 2-unit value or greater (either Board Developed or Board Endorsed Courses)
  • at least four subjects.

* Satisfactory completion of English Studies fulfils English requirements and counts towards the six units of Board Developed Courses required for the award of the Higher School Certificate. English Studies does not meet the UAC requirement of two units of English for the calculation of an ATAR.

2.2 Completion of HSC: All My Own Work program

All students (except those entered only for Stage 6 Life Skills courses) are required to have satisfactorily completed HSC: All My Own Work or its equivalent before any Preliminary or HSC course entries can be submitted.

3. HSC pathways

Most students study for the Higher School Certificate over two years during Years 11 and 12. However, HSC pathways offer a more flexible program if you wish to combine your studies with employment or other commitments, such as family care or elite sporting or cultural pursuits.

3.1 Accumulation 

You can take up to five years to complete your HSC studies. The five-year period starts in the first year you complete an HSC course. At the end of the five-year period you need to have met all of the HSC requirements.

3.2 Repeating courses 

You can repeat one or more HSC courses, but it must be within the five-year accumulation period. Results of all attempts will appear on your Record of Achievement. In calculating your ATAR, UAC will use the marks from your most recent attempt. There is no penalty for repeating a course.

3.3 Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) 

You may be granted credit transfer – that is, be able to count courses studied in educational institutions, such as TAFE, towards your Higher School Certificate. You may also be granted recognition of prior learning – that is, be exempted from some components of courses if you can show you have met the necessary outcomes in another way, eg through interstate study. RPL may be granted for a Preliminary course, part of a Preliminary course or part of an HSC course.

3.4 Acceleration 

If you accelerate in a course, you usually sit for the HSC examination for that course at the end of Year 11 and accumulate your results.

3.5 School-based traineeships and apprenticeships 

You can combine HSC study with a part-time apprenticeship or traineeship. These combine paid work and training, lead to a recognised AQF VET credential and count towards your Higher School Certificate.

4. Entering for the Higher School Certificate 

You must be entered with BOSTES for all courses you are attempting in the current year, including those courses approved by your principal to be studied outside the school or college. This includes Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses and entries for HSC VET examinations. You will receive a Confirmation of Entry showing your personal details, courses entered and whether or not you are eligible to receive a Higher School Certificate. You must sign the declaration printed on the Confirmation of Entry and return it to your school. Once your details are entered, BOSTES will update your Students Online account. You will be able to log in and check your personal and enrolment details. You will also receive messages from BOSTES, including, for example, the status of any disability provisions applications.

4.1 Corrections to entries and withdrawals

(i) You must check your Confirmation of Entry and notify your school of any changes as soon as possible but no later than the end of Term 2.
(ii) A new Confirmation of Entry will be issued if any changes to your entry are made. You must sign this and return it to the school.
(iii) The only change to entries allowed after Term 2 is withdrawal from a course (including an Extension course).

4.2 Change of personal details 

If your personal details change from those provided to BOSTES on your Confirmation of Entry, you must advise your school to inform BOSTES as soon as possible. BOSTES needs your current postal address, email address and mobile number to send you important information such as advice of dates and venues for practical and Languages oral examinations, HSC results and nomination letters for HSC showcase events.

You can also change your personal details and address in your Students Online account.

If you are requesting an ATAR, you must also update your address with UAC.

4.3 Eligibility for courses 

There are specific eligibility rules for:

  • all Beginners Languages courses
  • Continuers Languages courses in languages where there are also Heritage or Background Speakers courses
  • all Heritage Languages courses
  • English (ESL).

Certain rules and prerequisites also apply to the study of other courses.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are eligible to undertake the courses for which you are entered. You could jeopardise your Higher School Certificate if you enrol in a course for which you are not eligible.

4.4 Transferring schools

If you transfer from one school to another after entering for the Higher School Certificate, you must ensure that your new school has informed BOSTES. You will receive a new Confirmation of Entry, which you must sign and return to your school.

4.5 Study with an outside tutor

Your principal may give approval for you to study a course with an outside tutor provided that certain conditions are met. In particular, outside tutors must follow the syllabus and provide assessment marks in accordance with syllabus guidelines. These assessment marks may only be used in the case of an upheld illness/misadventure application (see section 7.8, ‘Illness/misadventure applications’). Your result in such courses will be reported only as an examination mark and an HSC mark on your Record of Achievement.

5. HSC assessment

For most Board Developed Courses, school-based assessment throughout the HSC course contributes 50% of your HSC mark. This is reported on your Record of Achievement.

For each course, schools prepare and administer an assessment program in accordance with the syllabus. The components of the course to be assessed and their weightings can be found in the Assessment and Reporting document for the syllabuses on the BOSTES website. The timing and weighting of tasks are determined by the school.

Assessment tasks are designed to measure knowledge, skills and understanding in relation to a wide range of outcomes. Tasks may include tests, written assignments, practical activities, fieldwork and projects.

When you begin your HSC course, your school will provide you with details of your assessment tasks, including weightings and due dates.

All work presented in an assessment task must be your own. Malpractice, including plagiarism, could lead to you receiving zero marks (see section 5.1, ‘Honesty in Assessment – the Standard’ and section 5.2, ‘What constitutes malpractice?’).

At the conclusion of the HSC assessment program, your school will submit a school-based assessment mark to BOSTES for each of your courses, based on your performance in the tasks in your school’s assessment program. The assessment mark submitted by your school is adjusted (moderated) by BOSTES to produce the assessment mark that appears on your results (see section 8, ‘HSC results’). The purpose of moderation is to place the assessment marks awarded by all schools in each course on the same scale. The school group’s assessment marks are adjusted based on the performance of the group in the HSC examination. The rank order of students as submitted by the school is not changed.

If you studied a course at an institution outside your home school, the assessment mark is provided by the outside institution.

No assessment mark is reported for VET courses or courses studied with an outside tutor.

5.1 Honesty in Assessment – the Standard

The following standard sets out the requirements concerning students submitting their own work in HSC assessment. Candidates for the Higher School Certificate, as well as their teachers and others who may guide them, are required to comply with the standard.

The honesty of students in completing assessment tasks, examinations and submitted works, and of teachers and others in guiding students, underpins the integrity of the Higher School Certificate. Throughout the assessment process, the highest level of honesty is required.

Each student’s mark will be determined by the quality of the work produced by the student only. Any component of a student’s work that has been written, created or developed by others must be acknowledged in accordance with BOSTES subject-specific documentation. Use or inclusion of material from other sources, such as books, journals and electronic sources, including the internet, must be acknowledged. General teaching and learning do not require formal acknowledgement.

Dishonest behaviour carried out for the purpose of gaining unfair advantage in the assessment process constitutes malpractice, or cheating. Malpractice in any form, including plagiarism, is unacceptable. BOSTES treats allegations of malpractice very seriously and detected malpractice will limit a student’s marks and jeopardise their Higher School Certificate. Should malpractice be suspected, students will be required to demonstrate that all unacknowledged work is entirely their own. Serious and deliberate acts of malpractice amount to corrupt conduct and, where appropriate, BOSTES will report matters to the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

These requirements should be read in conjunction with BOSTES syllabuses and policies in related areas such as malpractice and satisfactory completion of a course. Details can be found on the BOSTES website.

5.2 What constitutes malpractice?

All work presented in assessment tasks and HSC examinations (including submitted works and practical examinations) must be your own or must be acknowledged appropriately.

Malpractice, including plagiarism, could lead to you receiving zero marks for the task or examination, and will jeopardise your HSC results.

Malpractice is any activity that allows you to gain an unfair advantage over other students. It includes, but is not limited to:

  • copying someone else’s work in part or in whole, and presenting it as your own
  • using material directly from books, journals, CDs or the internet without reference to the source
  • building on the ideas of another person without reference to the source
  • buying, stealing or borrowing another person’s work and presenting it as your own
  • submitting work that another person, such as a parent, coach or subject expert, has contributed to substantially
  • using words, ideas, designs or the work of others in practical and performance tasks without appropriate acknowledgement
  • paying someone to write or prepare material
  • breaching school examination rules
  • cheating in an HSC examination
  • using non-approved aids during an assessment task
  • contriving false explanations to explain work not handed in by the due date
  • assisting another student to engage in malpractice.

Students may be asked to provide evidence that all unacknowledged work is entirely their own. Such evidence might include, but is not limited to, the student:

  • providing evidence of and explaining the process of their work, which might include diaries, journals or notes, working plans or sketches, and progressive drafts to show the development of their ideas
  • answering questions regarding the assessment task, examination or submitted work under investigation, to demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and skills.

5.3 Assessment rank appeals

(1) After the final HSC examination, you can obtain your rank order for assessment in each course via your Students Online account. If you feel that your placement in any course is not correct, you should talk to your teacher immediately. If you are still not satisfied that the ranking is correct, you may apply to your principal for a review.

(ii) There is no provision for a review of the marks you received for individual assessment tasks. Reviews are limited to the assessment process. The only matters that the school will consider are whether or not:
   (a) the weightings specified by the school in its assessment program conform with the BOSTES requirements as detailed    
          in the relevant syllabus
   (b) the procedures used by the school for determining the final assessment mark comply with its stated assessment program
   (c) computational or other clerical errors have been made in the determination of the assessment mark.

(iii) If you wish to apply for a review, you must do so by the date specified by BOSTES. The school will advise you of the outcome of its review, and will advise BOSTES of any changes to assessment marks.

(iv) If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the school review, you may advise your principal that you wish an appeal to be sent to BOSTES. You cannot appeal against the marks awarded for individual assessment tasks. BOSTES will consider only whether:

  (a) the school review process was adequate for determining items (a), (b) and (c) above
  (b) the conduct of the review was proper in all respects.

(v) BOSTES will not revise the assessment marks or rank order. If the appeal is upheld, BOSTES will direct the school to carry out a further review. Further details about reviews and appeals are on the assessment appeal form, which can be obtained from your school. Appeals to BOSTES must be lodged at the school by the date on the form. No extension will be considered.

6. Course completion 

6.1 Principal’s certification of completion of course requirements

(i) You will be considered to have satisfactorily completed a course if, in your principal’s view, there is sufficient evidence that you have met the following course completion criteria:

  (a) followed the course developed or endorsed by BOSTES
  (b) applied yourself with diligence and sustained effort to the set tasks and experiences provided in the course by the school
  (c) achieved some or all of the course outcomes.

(ii) For courses where school assessment marks are submitted, students must make a genuine attempt at assessment tasks that total more than 50% of the available school assessment marks for that course.

(iii) If your principal determines that you are in danger of not meeting the above course completion criteria, you will be given written warning in sufficient time to correct any problems regarding your satisfactory completion of course requirements.

(iv) If your principal determines that you have not met the above criteria for satisfactory completion of a course, the school will inform BOSTES and will inform you in writing.

(v) You have the right to appeal to the school against this determination. If unsuccessful, you may appeal to BOSTES. Your principal will advise you of this right and explain the appeal process.

(vi) If you do not satisfactorily complete a course, you will receive no results in that course, the course will not appear on your BOSTES record, and the course will not count towards your pattern of study for the award of a Higher School Certificate.

6.2 VET courses mandatory work placement

Work placement is a mandatory HSC requirement of most VET Industry Curriculum Framework courses and for some other VET courses. For each course, a minimum number of hours is required in the workplace to enable students to progress towards the achievement of industry competencies and to practise skills acquired in the classroom or workshop. If you fail to undertake the mandatory work placement component of a VET course, it may be determined that you have not made a genuine attempt to complete course requirements.

7. HSC examinations

Your examination mark for Board Developed Courses is based on your performance in the external HSC examination (set and marked by BOSTES). The examination may involve more than one component, such as a written examination, a submitted work or a practical examination. There is no external HSC examination for Board Endorsed Courses.

If you entered for a 240-hour Industry Curriculum Framework course, you may also be eligible to enter for the corresponding HSC examination. You will not be automatically entered into the examination. You must advise your home school, even if you are studying the course at a TAFE or other RTO provider, if you wish to be entered for the examination.

7.1 Practical and performance examinations 

(i) The following courses require you to undertake practical examinations or to submit works as part of your HSC examination:

  • Dance
  • Design and Technology
  • Drama
  • English Extension 2
  • Industrial Technology
  • Languages (except classical languages and Background Speakers courses)
  • Music (all courses)
  • Society and Culture
  • Textiles and Design
  • Visual Arts

(ii) HSC performances and practical examinations, as well as works submitted for examination, should be consistent with general community standards. Such works should be developed in a manner that takes into account the values and culture of the school and its community. More information can be found in the HSC section of the BOSTES website.

(iii) You should refer to the assessment and reporting materials for each course you are studying for specifications and other requirements relating to performances and submitted works. Performances and works that do not comply with the requirements may be penalised.

(iv) You are required to certify that any submitted work is your own, and that any words, ideas, designs or work of others have been acknowledged appropriately (see section 5.1, ‘Honesty in Assessment – the Standard’). Your teacher will monitor your submitted work through its development and is expected to keep records of your progress. Class teachers and principals must certify that: the work has been done under the teacher’s supervision; was the student’s own work, consistent with earlier drafts and other examples of the student’s work; and was completed by the due date. If school staff cannot certify the work, you might not be awarded marks for it, or you may receive reduced marks. If you are planning a work that will need to be worked on at home, you must obtain your teacher’s permission first.

(v) If you are repeating a course where a submitted work is required, you cannot submit any work entered and marked for the HSC in a previous year without the special permission of BOSTES.

If you developed a major work for a previous HSC examination but did not submit it, you may only submit it for your current course with the approval of your school.

(vi) If you submit a work developed for one course, you may not use the same work either in full or in part for assessment in any other course.

(vii) Where possible, you must keep copies of any submitted works.

(viii) Submitted works in Visual Arts, Textiles and Design, and Drama will be returned after marking. While every care will be taken with them, BOSTES accepts no responsibility for loss or damage. It is your responsibility to arrange any insurance.

(ix) Works in Music, Society and Culture (composition, musicology essays and PIPs) are to be submitted as PDFs and submitted to your teacher electronically.

(x) Most English Extension 2 major projects/reflection statements are to be submitted as PDFs and handed in to your teacher electronically. Your teacher will advise if your project is to be submitted in hard copy.

(xi) The Languages oral examinations and the practical examinations are held in Term 3. The dates will be sent to your school and will be available on Students Online.

(xii) The Languages oral examinations and the performance examinations in Music, Dance and Drama may be held in different locations. This information will also be sent to your school and will be available on Students Online.

7.2 Disability provisions 

(i) If you have a disability that would, in a normal examination situation, prevent you from:

  • reading the examination questions and/or
  • communicating responses,

BOSTES may approve disability provisions.

(ii) Applications for known conditions can be submitted from Term 3 in Year 11 and should be submitted as soon as possible. If you wish to apply for disability provisions, you should ask your principal, Year adviser or school counsellor.

(iii) Emergency provisions can be arranged if you have an accident just before the examination and it impairs your ability to undertake the examination. You should immediately notify your principal or Year adviser in such a case.

(iv) Your application should contain recent evidence of your disability and, in some cases, examples of your work. You may need to organise any testing required early in the year to ensure your application reaches BOSTES by the closing date.

If applications do not contain sufficient evidence, the decision may be delayed.

(v) Disability provisions are not available:

  • as compensation for difficulties in undertaking a course and preparing for the examination
  • for lack of familiarity with the English language.

7.3 Examination dates and times

(i) BOSTES publishes the examination timetable on its website in Term 2 and you can access your personalised HSC timetable via your Students Online account. It is your responsibility to read your timetable carefully.

(ii) If you miss an examination simply because you have misread the timetable, you must contact your principal immediately. Illness/misadventure applications on these grounds will not be accepted. You will receive an examination mark of zero. However, except in the case of courses for which there is no assessment mark, you may still be eligible to receive a result in the course.

7.4 Examination attendance rules

(i) On the day of the first English examination, you are advised to be at the examination location at least 30 minutes before the start of the examination. For all other papers, you are advised to be at the examination location at least 10 minutes before the start of each examination.

(ii) If you arrive more than one hour after the commencement of the examination, you will be admitted to the examination room, but you will need to satisfy BOSTES that your responses should be accepted for marking.

(iii)You must be prepared to attend examinations at your own expense at such times and centres as may be arranged by BOSTES.

(iv) You must sit for your examinations at the centre you have been given, even if you have studied a course at a different location. However, if you are unable to get to your examination centre because of unusual circumstances such as a flood, you should contact your school, if possible. In some cases, the school may advise you to go to an alternative centre.

(v) You can only sit for examinations in the courses in which you are entered. You are not permitted to change courses or add courses during the examinations.

(vi) You must sit for all examinations in which you are entered, unless prevented by illness or misadventure. If you cannot attend an examination because of illness or misadventure, notify your school principal immediately.

(vii) If illness or misadventure occurs before the examination and you are still able to attend, notify the presiding officer when entering the examination. If a problem occurs during an examination, you should notify the presiding officer at once.

(viii) You must notify the presiding officer at every examination session in which you consider your performance may have been affected by illness or misadventure (see section 7.8, ‘Illness/misadventure applications’).

(ix) If you are absent from an entire examination and lodge an illness/misadventure application that is declined by BOSTES, you will not receive a result in that course and that course will not appear on your BOSTES record. This could mean that you become ineligible for the award of the Higher School Certificate.

(x) If you have entered for an Extension course (other than Mathematics Extension 2) and fail to sit for the examination in the related 2-unit course, you will not receive a result in either course unless an illness/misadventure application is submitted and upheld by BOSTES.

(xi) If you are an English Extension 2 or Mathematics Extension 2 candidate and you fail to sit for the related Extension 1 examination, you will not receive a result in the Extension 2 course unless an illness/misadventure application is submitted and upheld by BOSTES.

7.5 Equipment for the examinations 

(i) You may only take equipment listed below into the examination room:

  • black pens
  • pencils, erasers and a sharpener (use pencils where specifically directed)
  • a ruler marked in millimetres and centimetres
  • highlighter pens.

You may also bring a bottle of water in a clear bottle. You can wear your watch in to your examinations, but once you sit down you will have to take it off and place it in clear view on your desk. Programmable watches, including smartwatches, will not be allowed in the examination room.

(ii) All equipment you bring may be subject to inspection on entry. You will be directed to place any unauthorised equipment or material in a designated area. Examination staff will not be responsible for these items.

(iii) It is your responsibility to be aware of, and provide, the equipment you are allowed to bring for each examination. If you are allowed a scientific calculator, check that it is on the approved list (available on Students Online). Make sure any equipment, such as a calculator, is in good working order because an application under misadventure provisions for equipment failure will not be upheld.

You are not allowed to borrow equipment during examinations.

(iv) You must NOT bring any of the following into the examination room:

  • a mobile phone or smartwatch
  • any electronic device (except a calculator where permitted). This includes communication devices, organisers, tablets (eg iPads, etc), music players or electronic dictionaries
  • paper or any printed or written material (including your examination timetable)
  • dictionaries, except where permitted in Languages examinations
  • correction fluid or correction tape.

(v) You are expected to provide specific equipment (such as a calculator) for particular examinations. The list of equipment for specific HSC examinations is available on Students Online. Where equipment is listed for an examination, it means that there may be questions that require the use of this equipment. If an item is listed as optional, it means that there will not be questions for which the item is essential, but you may bring and use it if you wish. 

7.6 Examination room procedures 

(i) You must sit at the desk showing your name and student number. The position of the desk may vary from session to session according to the accommodation and the requirements of the examination.

(ii) It is your responsibility to make sure that the correct examination paper has been provided for the course you have entered. When asked to do so by the supervisor, you must also check your examination papers to make sure that there are no pages missing.

(iii) Reading time for examination papers is as follows:

  • 10 minutes of reading time for Paper 1 of the examination in all 2-unit English courses
  • 10 minutes of reading time for all written modern Languages examinations for Beginners, Continuers, Heritage, Background Speakers and Extension courses
  • 5 minutes of reading time for all other written examinations.

During reading time, you must not write, use any equipment including highlighters, or annotate your examination paper in any way. For examinations in which dictionaries are permitted, you may consult, but not annotate, your dictionary during reading time.

(iv) You must:

    (a) read the instructions on the examination paper, as well as all questions, carefully. Presiding officers and supervisors
         are not permitted to interpret examination questions or instructions relating to questions
    (b) write your examination centre number and student number on all writing booklets, question and answer booklets
         and answer sheets, unless that information is preprinted
    (c) write clearly, preferably with black pen. Pencil may be used only where specifically directed
    (d) make sure that you write your answers in the correct answer booklets. If you write an answer in the wrong booklet,
         tell the supervisor, and write a note on the front and back of both booklets stating that an answer has been written in
         the wrong booklet. Do not rewrite your answers, but ensure you label and hand in all parts of your answers
    (e) stop writing immediately when told to do so by the supervisor
    (f) arrange completed answers according to the supervisor’s instructions and wait for the supervisor to collect them
    (g) complete the Student Completion Record listing the number of examination booklets used during the examination.
         This must be checked and countersigned by the supervisor before you leave the examination desk.

(v) You must NOT:

    (a) begin writing until instructed to do so by the presiding officer or supervisor
    (b) write your name or your school’s name on writing booklets, answer booklets or sheets, or use any other names,
          symbols or marks that identify or distinguish you in any way from other students
    (c) leave the examination room during the examination, except in an emergency. If you have to leave and want to return
         and resume the examination, you must be supervised while you are absent from the examination room
    (d) leave (finish) the examination until one hour after the start of the examination. Note that some schools do not allow
         any student to leave the examination early
    (e) leave (finish) the examination during the last 15 minutes of the examination
    (f) remove an examination paper from the examination room. If you want to see an examination paper after the
        examination is over, you will need to speak to your teacher.

7.7 Conduct during the examinations 

(i) You must follow the day-to-day rules of the school or institute where you sit for your examinations. Failure to observe these rules may result in zero marks for the examination, no result for the course, or non-award of a Higher School Certificate. Your principal has the discretion to require all students at your school to remain in the examination room until the end of each examination.

(ii) The presiding officer and supervisors are in charge of students:

    (a) when assembling before an examination
    (b) during the examination
    (c) after the examination until all students have left.

You must follow the supervisors’ instructions at all times.

(iii) You must behave in a polite and courteous manner towards the supervisors and other students.

(iv) You must NOT:

    (a) take a mobile phone or programmable watch or device, including smart watches, into the examination room
    (b) take any electronic device, including a digital media player or electronic tablet, into the examination room,
         unless approved by BOSTES
    (c) speak to any person other than a supervisor during an examination
    (d) behave in any way likely to disturb the work of any other student or upset the conduct of the examination
    (e) attend an examination while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs
    (f) take into the examination room, or refer to during the examination, any books or notes, this booklet, the
         examination timetable, any paper, or any equipment other than the equipment listed in the examination timetable
   (g) eat in the examination room, except as approved by BOSTES, eg for diabetic students
   (h) take any writing booklets, whether used or not, from the examination room.

(v) If you do not follow these rules, or if you cheat in the examinations in any way, you may be asked to leave the examination room, and you will be reported to BOSTES. The penalty may be cancellation of the course concerned, or of all courses, and as a consequence you may be ineligible for a Higher School Certificate.

(vi) If you do not make a serious attempt at an examination, you will not receive a result in that course. Cancellation of a course will make you ineligible for the award of the Higher School Certificate if this reduces your completed courses to less than 10 units. Students are required to attempt a range of question types throughout the examination paper. Simply attempting multiple-choice questions is not sufficient for an attempt to be considered serious. Supervisors of marking will bring to the attention of BOSTES examination answers that contain frivolous or objectionable material.

Answers not written in English, except where required or permitted by the question paper, will have zero marks awarded.

(vii) Actions that may be illegal may be reported to the police.

7.8 Illness/misadventure applications

(i) If illness or misadventure prevented you from attending an examination, or affected your performance in the examination, it is your right and responsibility to lodge an illness/misadventure application.

(ii) Application forms and an Information Guide for Students are available from the presiding officer or your principal. These documents provide further details of application procedures. It is important that you follow the instructions provided.

(iii) You must retain the acknowledgement slip from the illness/misadventure application form signed by the presiding officer or principal.

(iv) The illness/misadventure application process is designed for cases where, because of illness or misadventure, your performance in an examination is not a good measure of your achievement. It does NOT cover:

  • difficulties in preparation or loss of preparation time
  • alleged deficiencies in teaching
  • loss of study time or facilities prior to the formal study vacation
  • misreading of the timetable
  • misreading of examination instructions
  • failure to enter for the examination in the correct course
  • long-term illness, such as glandular fever, asthma and epilepsy – unless there is evidence of a sudden recurrence during the examination period
  • conditions for which you have been granted disability provisions, unless you experience further difficulties
  • courses that are undertaken as a self-tuition student
  • attendance at a sporting or cultural event.

(v) It is important that you attend the examinations where possible, even in the case of illness/misadventure. BOSTES will not uphold an illness/misadventure application if the reason for your absence is not considered to be sufficiently serious. You should consult your principal before deciding not to attend an examination. Advice from a relevant independent expert, such as a doctor or a police officer, must also be provided with your application, indicating why you were unable to attend the examination.

(vi) If your application is upheld, you will be awarded the higher of your examination mark and a mark derived from your assessment mark or unaffected components of your examination.

(vii) You must lodge any illness/misadventure application for HSC written examinations with BOSTES shortly after the examination in question. Application for practical examinations, performances or submitted works must be lodged within one week of the date of the examination, performance or submission.

(viii) Late applications will be considered only in exceptional circumstances. You will be notified of the results of your application on the same day as the release of your examination results.

8. HSC results

For Board Developed Courses with an external HSC examination, your achievement will be reported against standards that clearly describe the level of knowledge, skills and understanding you have reached.

8.1 Reporting of HSC results

In December, your HSC results will be available via the internet, email and SMS. If you are eligible for a Higher School Certificate, your HSC documentation will be available in January.

8.1.1 Record of Achievement

If you satisfactorily complete all HSC requirements, you will be issued a Testamur and a Record of Achievement.

(i) The first page of your Record of Achievement will list all HSC courses you have satisfactorily completed and your results (assessment, examination and HSC marks). Your examination mark and assessment mark will be averaged to give an HSC mark.

    (a) For courses without an assessment mark, the HSC mark is equal to the examination mark. For 2-unit courses, the
         mark will be on a scale from 0 to 100. All students who reach the minimum standard expected in a course are awarded
         at least 50.
    (b) For Board Endorsed Courses other than VET courses, the result reported on the HSC Record of Achievement is
         the assessment mark submitted by the school and/or other provider. These marks are not moderated and cannot
         be compared with marks awarded for similar courses at other schools.
    (c) For all VET courses (both Board Developed and Board Endorsed Courses), the course name and unit value will appear
         on your HSC Record of Achievement. The only VET courses for which you will receive an HSC mark are the
         VET examinations related to the Industry Curriculum Framework courses. In these courses, your result will be reported
         as an examination mark and an HSC mark.
    (d) If you have satisfactorily completed a Life Skills course, the course and unit value will be listed on your HSC Record
         of Achievement.

(ii) The Year 11 courses you have satisfactorily completed and your results will be listed on page 2 of your Record of Achievement.

(iii) The Year 10 courses you have satisfactorily completed and your results will be listed on page 3 of your Record of Achievement.

8.1.2 Course Report

A Course Report will be available online for each Board Developed HSC course. It will show the performance bands, with a description of what a typical student knows and can do at each level of achievement and a graph of the mark distribution for the course.

(i) AQF VET Certificate or Statement of Attainment

If you have achieved units of competency in a VET course, you will also receive an AQF VET Certificate and accompanying transcript of competencies achieved, or a Statement of Attainment.

(ii) Profile of Student Achievement

If you have completed requirements for one or more Board Developed Life Skills courses, you will also receive a Profile of Student Achievement listing the outcomes achieved in each Life Skills course.

8.1.3 Record of School Achievement (RoSA)

If you are not eligible for a Higher School Certificate, and you are leaving school, you will receive a Record of School Achievement (RoSA), if eligible. The results for all Year 10, 11 and 12 courses you have satisfactorily completed will be listed on your RoSA. If you are not eligible for a RoSA, your results will be issued on a Transcript of Study.

8.2 University admission

The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) is calculated for the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC). Students wishing to have an ATAR calculated must ensure that this is recorded on their HSC Confirmation of Entry. BOSTES passes this information to UAC.

For further information, visit the UAC website at uac.edu.au or call 1300 275 822.

9. Copyright and privacy

9.1 Copyright of student material

BOSTES publishes a range of materials based on the HSC examinations that includes samples of students’ work. These publications are made available in printed or electronic form and are published for educational purposes – that is, to enhance teachers’ and students’ understanding of the standards required in the HSC examinations.

BOSTES may use students’ original Higher School Certificate examination responses, including practical performances, Language-speaking examinations and submitted works, in its educational publications.

9.2 Provision of your details to other organisations

The Technical Committee on Scaling calculates your ATAR on behalf of UAC. BOSTES will provide the personal details and results, including Year 10 and Year 11 grades, of all NSW HSC students to the Technical Committee on Scaling, UAC and TAFE NSW, among other organisations. This information may also be made available to the NSW Department of Education for research and survey purposes. In addition, your school or TAFE college and, where applicable, your school system (for example, the Department of Education or the Catholic Education Commission) can access information regarding your results.

9.3 Merit lists, prizes, etc

BOSTES publishes HSC merit lists on its website and provides these lists to selected media outlets. HSC merit lists include the name, school and course(s) of all students who, for example, achieve an HSC mark in the top band in any course. BOSTES does not provide the media with the names or the results of any other students. BOSTES also provides student details to a number of organisations for the purpose of awarding prizes, scholarships or other recognition of high achievement.

You may request that your details be kept confidential. If you do so, your name will not be published in the BOSTES merit lists, or provided to the media or any organisation for the award of prizes, etc.

BOSTES privacy policy can be downloaded from the website.

Should you require further information on privacy issues related to the Higher School Certificate, please contact the Student Records Unit at records@bostes.nsw.edu.au, or by phone on (02) 9367 8001.

My checklist

Early in Year 12

Read each section of this booklet

Check and sign my Confirmation of Entry, noting in particular:

- all my personal details are correct
my courses are correct, including any VET exams
my eligibility for the HSC and ATAR (if appropriate)
the conditions in the Student Declaration

Discuss my eligibility for disability provisions with my school
Log in to my Students Online account and:

– update my PIN
– ensure my postal address, email address and mobile number are correct
– register to receive my results by SMS in December

Term 2

View my personal HSC exam timetable in my Students Online 
Check that all my exams appear, including practical and VET exams

Term 3

Check due dates for my projects and performance examinations (if any)
Submit projects on due date (if any)
Attend performance and oral examinations (if any)

Term 4

Check my examination timetable and the equipment I need
Attend every examination and make a serious attempt
Submit an illness/misadventure application (if necessary)
Check my assessment ranks in Students Online (available after last exam)
Ensure I know my Student Number and PIN to retrieve my results online