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Joseph41

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HSC Subject Reviews and Ratings
« on: March 01, 2018, 11:29:39 am »
+10
We have hundreds and hundreds of university subject reviews (template largely taken from those threads), which help students select their subjects. It makes a whole heap of sense to have a place where past HSC students can review their HSC subjects.


Review Index
Current Totals
Creative Arts Subject Reviews: 4
English Subject Reviews: 6
Health and Physical Education Subject Reviews: 1
Humanities Subject Reviews: 13
LOTE Subject Reviews: 0
Maths Subject Reviews: 5
Science Subject Reviews: 7
Technology Subject Reviews: 3
VET Subject Reviews: 1

Total: 40 Reviews
Total: 29 Subjects Covered

(2) (3) etc. denote 2nd and 3rd reviews.

Creative Arts Subjects (4)
Drama - HSC, 2017

Music 1 - HSC, 2017

Photography, Video and Digital Imaging - Preliminary, 2016 [Board Endorsed Course]

Visual Arts - HSC, 2017
English Subjects (6)
English Advanced - HSC, 2015
English Advanced - HSC, 2018 (2)
English Advanced - HSC, 2018 (3)

English Extension 1 - HSC, 2017

English Extension 2 - HSC, 2018

English Standard - HSC, 2017
Health and Physical Education Subjects (1)
Humanities Subjects (13)
Ancient History - HSC, 2017
Ancient History - HSC, 2017 (2)

Business Studies - HSC, 2018

Economics - HSC, 2017

Geography - HSC, 2017

History Extension - HSC, 2017
History Extension - HSC, 2018 (2)

Legal Studies - HSC, 2017
Legal Studies - Preliminary, 2018 (2)
Legal Studies - HSC, 2018

Modern History - HSC, 2017
Modern History - HSC, 2018 (2)

Society & Culture - HSC, 2017
LOTE Subjects (0)
Maths Subjects (5)
Science Subjects (7)
Biology - HSC (Compressed), 2018

Chemistry - HSC, 2015
Chemistry - HSC (Compressed), 2017 (2)

Engineering Studies - HSC, 2017

Physics - HSC, 2015
Physics - HSC, 2017 (2)
Physics - HSC, 2018 (3)
Technology Subjects (3)
VET Subjects (1)
Hospitality - HSC, 2016/2017 [VET]

This is a thread for subject reviews only.  If you have any questions, then please PM the member who wrote the review. The views expressed are those of the authors. Keep in mind that, despite best efforts, information provided may not be accurate.

We encourage you to review the subject(s) you have completed, even if someone else has already reviewed your subject(s). The more reviews we have, the more helpful this resource will be. Please do not name teachers or denigrate your school.

Please use the following template for subject reviews:

Code: [Select]
[b]Subject Name:[/b]

[b]Level:[/b] (Prelim or HSC?)

[b]Workload:[/b]

[b]Assessment:[/b] (Outline the various assessments which make up the subject and how much each counts for)

[b]Exam Thoughts:[/b] (What's the structure? How hard was it?)

[b]Textbook Recommendation:[/b] (What did you use? How much did you use it?)

[b]Recommended Other Resources:[/b]

[b]Year of Completion:[/b]

[b]Rating:[/b]  out of 5

[b]Your Mark/Grade:[/b] (Optional)

[b]Comments:[/b] Give your overall opinion of the subject, content, assessment etc. and a recommendation, plus anything else which you feel is relevant.

Updated as of reply #041
« Last Edit: December 20, 2018, 11:50:11 pm by beatroot »

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fantasticbeasts3

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Re: HSC Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2018, 02:07:45 pm »
+12
Subject Name: Modern History

Level: HSC

Workload:
There is a lot of content in this subject, and constant revision is needed so you can keep up (syllabus points are mostly in chronological order. Practice is also key in Modern, especially with essay writing, so writing practice responses is a little time consuming, and not to mention keeping up to date with your notes!

Assessment: (Outline the various assessments which make up the subject and how much each counts for)
At my school, they tried to mimic sections of the actual HSC exam. First assessment was 20%, a WW1 source analysis exam; second was 20%, with a WW1 source analysis section and national study essay; third assessment was also 20%, but a personality study split essay; and the fourth assessment was HSC Trials, weighted 40% and was a 3 hour exam, just like the HSC. And of course, there's the HSC exam, which is 50% of your entire Modern History mark. School assessments make up the other 50%.

Exam Thoughts: (What's the structure? How hard was it?)
The HSC exam is 3 hours, with 4 sections - the recommended time for each section is 45 minutes. The 4 sections (at least until 2018) are WW1, which is a source analysis; the national study essay; personality study 'split' essay; and the Studies in Peace and Conflict essay. Trials and HSC are an absolute killer, because there's so much you need to know, and they could ask about anything, especially in the National Study and Peace and Conflict essay. You do have a choice of question there though, and it's usually split between the first and second half of the topic. Your hand will die at the end of the exam. You thought English Paper 2 sucked? Try the 3 hour Modern exam.

Textbook Recommendation: (What did you use? How much did you use it?)
- WW1 // Retrospective Year 11 Modern History. There was a section at the back of the book all for WW1 stuff. Quite detailed, lots of statistics.
- Germany // Republic to Reich. This one had a lot of historiography (great for essays!) and lots of other details.
- Gorbachev (personality study) and Cold War // Contested Spaces: The Cold War. Takes a bit of getting used to because the wording is a bit confusing at first, but this book was great! Lots of detail, historiography, sources, etc.

I personally didn't use textbooks very much, as my teacher wrote out notes for us. It was only when I thought there wasn't enough detail in the notes I consulted textbooks and the Internet.

Recommended Other Resources: None

Year of Completion: 2017

Rating: 5 out of 5

Comments: Give your overall opinion of the subject, content, assessment etc. and a recommendation, plus anything else which you feel is relevant.
I loved Modern History. So much. I had a really great time in the subject. I think some of that comes from having a really great teacher in both years 11 and 12, who was super passionate about history, and taught it really well, but the content also speaks for itself - it's very interesting. Content-wise, it is quite full on, and you need to make sure you're ready to put extra time and effort to read widely, because it does show in essays! Practice is also important in Modern, because it does show when you read responses - your preparation is veeeery evident. The exams aren't too bad, except for Trials and HSC, you need to plan out how you're going to do the exam, because timing is everything!
HSC 2017: English (Standard) // Mathematics // Modern History // Legal Studies // Business Studies
2018-2022: B International Studies/B Media (PR & Advertising) @ UNSW

fantasticbeasts3

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Re: HSC Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2018, 02:32:10 pm »
+9
Subject Name: Legal Studies

Level: HSC

Workload:
Legal's workload is a lot - mainly because it's very content-heavy. Notes need to be kept up to date and researching recent LCMs are super important!

Assessment: (Outline the various assessments which make up the subject and how much each counts for)
School assessments were weighted 50%, and the HSC exam is 50%. Like Modern, my school tried to mimic sections of the HSC in assessments. My assessments were all in-class exams. I can't remember what they were weighted individually but: first assessment was Crime multiple choice and 15 mark essay; second was Crime/HR multiple choice and 30 marks worth of HR short answers; third was a Shelter option essay; and the fourth was Trials, so the whole 3 hour exam.

Exam Thoughts: (What's the structure? How hard was it?)
The HSC exam is 3 hours, structured like this:
1. Crime and Human Rights multiple choice (recommended 30 mins)
2. Crime 15 marker and Human Rights short answers (also 15 marks) (recommended time: an hour for both)
3. Two options essays (45 mins each)

The Legal Studies exam isn't too bad compared to other subjects. However, you need to have a lot of evidence ready to back up your arguments, especially in the written parts (everything except for the multiple choice hahaha) so there's a lot to remember! Sometimes there are questions that will throw you, so you have to be super prepared, i.e. knowing your syllabus and content very well. Timing is also quite important, because while a lot of time is recommended for the MC, there isn't a lot of time for the Crime 15 marker and HR short answers. Planning ahead works well!

Textbook Recommendation: (What did you use? How much did you use it?)
I almost never picked up a textbook in years 11 and 12, because my teacher wrote out notes for us. I did use a bit of HSC Legal Studies (Pearson) and HSC Legal (Cambridge).

Recommended Other Resources:
The State Library (NSW) website is amazing for Legal! There's some really great cases there for Crime, and lots of resources for Human Rights.

Year of Completion: 2017

Rating: 4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: (Optional)
Band 6: my overall HSC mark was 91 and my actual mark in the HSC exam was 94.

Comments: Give your overall opinion of the subject, content, assessment etc. and a recommendation, plus anything else which you feel is relevant.
Legal Studies was an awesome subject! Like Modern, I had a really great time in the subject. Some of it does come from having an awesome teacher and equally awesome class. At times, Legal can be a bit dry, as some Options topics are crap. Content-wise, there is a lot, but you need to be ready to invest time and effort into researching LCMs, as these are very important when writing essays - evidence is necessary to back up your argument! Assessments aren't too bad either. The content is also quite straightforward as well. There is a lot to remember, but it's just as important to remember where the content you're learning is going to go in an exam.
HSC 2017: English (Standard) // Mathematics // Modern History // Legal Studies // Business Studies
2018-2022: B International Studies/B Media (PR & Advertising) @ UNSW

RuiAce

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Re: HSC Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2018, 03:45:55 pm »
+8
I want to make a disclaimer before my first review: Many (but DEFINITELY NOT ALL) reviews posted at this time will soon become outdated, due to the changes in the new syllabus. Whilst they aren't always drastic, they do change the nature of the subject itself a lot, especially the content and consequently how students would cope with it.

Subject Name: Chemistry

Level: HSC

Workload: Varies from person to person, but tends to be fairly demanding. Can be a bit more of a struggle for students that dropped maths entirely, or didn't pay attention to little subtleties (e.g. sulfate vs sulfite) in prelim. Since you're allowed to answer extended responses using dot points/tables, the writing aspect isn't too bad for people who hate essays (even though I always wrote paragraphs anyway) so that slightly reduces 'extra' workload.

Assessment: At my school, we had...
- 15% Practical Assessments x2
- 15% Half Yearly
- 20% Research Assignment
- 35% Trial HSC Exam
Note that NESA requires a minimum of 30% of all assessment for science subjects to be practical based. The exact amount may vary a little.

Exam Thoughts:
- 20 Multiple Choice
- 55 marks overall for the core topics
- 25 marks for the option topic
The 2015 paper was fairly straightforward. Whilst I didn't come out really satisfied about it, I felt it was mostly really fair. The only bit I'm not sure about (from memory) was my option topic (industrial chem); it felt long.

Textbook Recommendation: Jacaranda textbook (forgot its full name) - I used it quite a fair bit as I was learning the course, since it did have some nice content in it. But arguably it overkills the content and some of the things mentioned there is just not necessary. (Also, the textbook was pretty.)

Recommended Other Resources: Excel chemistry is decent if you're having trouble with chemistry as a whole. Some people use the "Dot-point" series textbook because it forces them to make notes for each syllabus point separately. EasyChem also has nice videos.
Otherwise, just rely on notes. (AN notes are brilliant but I can't review them from first-hand experience, since they weren't out in my HSC year.)

Year of Completion: 2015

Rating: 4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 92 B6 (93 Ext, 90 Int)

Comments:
Perhaps what really distinguishes HSC chemistry from its prelim predecessor is that it takes away about half of the focus on actual chemistry and shifts it to its role in society. For this reason, content wise I didn't enjoy it quite as much as I did in prelim. Still though, chemistry is chemistry, and seeing explosions and stuff happen is always fun. Chemistry will always be chemistry.

Now, what's really nice for some people (not so much myself but definitely a lot of my peers) is that you can kinda get away with HSC chemistry without fully understanding all the prelim background. In prelim, you had to understand how and/or why a specific process happens, but in HSC chem all that they care is that you know it DOES happen. The rules of thumb introduced in HSC chem just take prelim for granted (e.g. we care a lot about a catalyst in prelim, but for the sake of LCP we just care that it doesn't affect the equilibrium because blah).

I've found that the main reason I managed this band 6 was because I found studying for it easier. The reason why I found studying for it easier is because unlike most of my peers, I just retained all of the previous information I learnt (well, at least a significant portion of it). So if you have a sound memory, and put that to use in this course, it can be really surprisingly helpful.

Whilst I enjoyed pracs, I was always shit at them. (A running joke in my chem class was that if I ended up becoming a chemist, I would definitely be a theoretical one.) Pretty much, pracs are divided into 1. the write-up, and 2. the actual experiment. Most people seem to be worse at the former, but for some reason I was worse at the latter. I just seemed to always run into accuracy problems with quantitative experiments (especially titration).

Other than that, assessment was generally fair.

You know you're prepared for the exam when you've done a bunch of past papers (duh), but you know you're ready for past papers when you pretty much have necessary and sufficient information for every syllabus point. Think about this before you dive into the papers.

(Oh, and also make sure you know how to use chemical equations. In fact, you should be writing chemical equations in your extended responses as well, not just your calculations questions. And with the calculations, never throw in unnecessary shit like 2U maths; try to visually picture what's going on and make deductions using relevant formulae based off that.)
« Last Edit: March 01, 2018, 04:54:23 pm by RuiAce »

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Re: HSC Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2018, 03:58:09 pm »
+8
Subject Name:  History Extension

Level: HSC (it is only available in yr 12).

Workload:
The subject does have quite a bit of work but I always found it to be manageable as I was very interested in it. Before the lesson each week we would get some readings (sometimes textbook, excerpts from historians works,etc) and need to do a table on a historian. We would sometimes have questions to do as well (mainly for JFK). Throughout the year you would also need to work on your major work at home as well (whether researching, drafting or editing your essay).

Assessment: (Outline the various assessments which make up the subject and how much each counts for)
I had the major work (proposal 10%, draft essay 20% and final submission (essay, synopsis, bibliography, logbook, source analysis) was 50%.
Half yearly exam was 5% and the trials were 15%.

Exam Thoughts: (What's the structure? How hard was it?)
The HSC exam is 2 hours long and has 2 essays.

What is history?:
An essay on the historians/schools of history and how aspects such as their methodology and purpose have changed throughout history. Section one of the exam always has a source that you will need to extract the main arguments from and consistently reference throughout your essay. It is normally about ˝ to a page long. They will require a judgement throughout the essay and a developed argument/voice. You need to know your historians and quotes really well to use them as examples throughout your essay.

Case study:
Study a historical event/personality and the different (sometimes conflicting) interpretations surrounding it. Usually smaller source then section one, sometimes only one sentence or a short paragraph. You must refer to the source in your essay.


Textbook Recommendation: (What did you use? How much did you use it?)
What is history:
⁃   History and the Historians: John Warren
⁃   Fifty key thinkers on history: Marnie Hughes-Warrington

I used them as readings before class for some of my historians and to make study tables out of. They weren't the easiest books to read at times but contained a lot of important information. I used the textbooks more at the start of the year to make notes then towards the end.

JFK: Excerpts from John F. Kennedy and the Historians by Peter Bastian
We used this for the context of JFK's life/events that occurred and a broad overview on each of the historians interpretations.

Recommended Other Resources:
Wide reading of excerpts from your historians works so that you can understand them better.
Atar Notes: Debate thread, question thread, guide to the major, guide to planning/writing essays.

Year of Completion: 2017

Rating:  5 out of 5 :D

Comments: Give your overall opinion of the subject, content, assessment etc. and a recommendation, plus anything else which you feel is relevant.

I went into extension not really knowing much about historiography at all, and I really loved the course. It is very different to a 2 unit history course as it is much more concerned with the historians and how history has been written over time. It challenged me to think about the way our history is produced and changed my views on many different issues. My major work was something that I researched heaps throughout the year and was incredibly interested in. I would definitely recommend history extension to anyone who has a passionate towards history and would like to learn more about it.
Class of 2017 (Year 12): Advanced English, General Maths, Legal Studies, Music 1, Ancient History, History Extension, Hospitality
2018-2022: B Music/B Education (Secondary) [UNSW]

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Re: HSC Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2018, 04:05:48 pm »
+8
Subject Name: Physics

Level: HSC

Workload: I've found this differs for everyone, and for different schools. Once you get to weird things (such as Lenz's law, but ESPECIALLY special relativity) the workload tends to spike, purely because you might have a difficult time trying to understand what's going on. By nature, it's fairly intense, but it gets reduced with a bit of each: understanding history, being able to work through the math, actually understanding the concepts of physics itself.

Assessment: At my school, we had...
- 10% Practical Assessment
- 10% Half Yearly
- 20% Practical Assessment
- 20% Researched based test (1 page cheat sheet)
- 40% Trial HSC Exam
Note that NESA requires a minimum of 30% of all assessment for science subjects to be practical based. The exact amount may vary a little.

Exam Thoughts:
- 20 Multiple Choice
- 55 marks overall for the core topics
- 25 marks for the option topic
The physics test was really weird this year. The questions were made in a way that looked almost as though they were trying to twist and warp your brain a bit. It seemed to break an 'implied trend' created over the past years.

Textbook Recommendation: Physics in Focus - Decent and gets straight to the point. Felt a tad shallow with the Astrophysics option though; think I preferred Jacaranda Physics for that part.

Recommended Other Resources: Don't remember anything worthy of interest :(

Year of Completion: 2015

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 90 B6 (93 Ext, 87 Int)

Comments:
The gamble that I made by picking physics to begin with literally barely paid off this year. It was all worth it purely because I had scraped that band 6; I was very glad that my external mark made things pay off.

Physics in the HSC was full of stuff that bored me. All of the impact on society stuff put a lot of fatigue into me instantly (I hate rote learning), and the 20% build a motor assignment didn't interest me because I don't like building stuff.

That being said, it wasn't enough to put me off the course in the end. Having a brilliant teacher helped a lot and the actual physics concepts were still really fascinating nonetheless. Thanks to having a mathematical background, I was rarely stumped by all of the calculations they gave and whilst I don't know why, the physics itself just made sense. (EXCEPT for relativity.)

It's really worthwhile talking about the assessment for physics from my perspective. Pretty much, around the time of the half yearly's, I was getting tossed all over the place. The motor's assignment dropped a lot of marks, I lost marks for accuracy in the other prac task (figures, same issue as chemistry), and whilst I still ranked third in it, the top mark for the half yearly was like 75%. Then everything went uphill from there. The other assessments went quite fluently and in my school I topped the final exam. Whilst it's not one of those really drastic tales (going from failing to blitzing), it does show you what a lot of practice and devotion can get.

Also, a part of why I consider physics to be success was because it was the only subject where I made my OWN notes. It really helps, especially when things get abstract.

Something that easily weeds out people from getting a band 6 is just not understanding physics. Just because of the abstraction of some physics concepts, it twists peoples' heads too much. That's something you definitely want to get around, or else you're gonna be stuck.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2018, 04:58:48 pm by RuiAce »

katie,rinos

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Re: HSC Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2018, 06:03:04 pm »
+8
Subject Name: Music 1

Level: HSC

Workload: Not a lot of content to remember as it is more practical based. I spent a lot of time practicing for my pieces (as I did 4 for my HSC). I would practice for around 40min-1hr for at least 5 days a week. In class, we would spend 1-2 periods a week on aural and then the rest on our major works (either viva voce, composition or performance).

Assessment: (Outline the various assessments which make up the subject and how much each counts for)
My school had:
•   Composition core (10%)
•   Musicology core (Viva Voce-10%)
•   Performance/Aural Core (20%)
•   Trials (Elective 1/2/3-15% each)
•   Aural trials (15%)

Exam Thoughts: (What's the structure? How hard was it?)
Performance Exam (earlier then written exams-around September): There are two different examiners in the room and you will perform your pieces/viva voces to them. Very easy to be nervous during the exam.

Aural Exam: There are four different questions and it goes for an hour (with 5 minutes reading time). You listen to a CD and have excerpts of pieces for each question. The questions are normally based on the concepts of music (e.g How are expressive techniques used in this excerpt?) so you need to have a clear understanding of all the concepts. You have 5 or 6 playings of the excerpt with pauses in between and need to identify the concepts of music. In the exam you are able to use dot points, graphs and diagrams to help explain your points. You need to do heaps of practice exams to improve in this as it’s a really hard skill to do at first.

Textbook Recommendation: (What did you use? How much did you use it?)
We didn't really use one.

Recommended Other Resources:
- Watch YouTube videos of your pieces so you can see different interpretations of them.

Year of Completion: 2017

Rating:  4.5 out of 5

Comments: Give your overall opinion of the subject, content, assessment etc. and a recommendation, plus anything else which you feel is relevant.

I really loved music as a subject! I loved the pieces I chose and just being able to come into class and play my clarinet. However, it is a subject where you do have to put a lot of practice in for a good mark (definitely wasn’t a bludge subject). I also found aural really difficult at times (even just identifying and writing about the different concepts) as I found it boring, and it did drag down my marks. I did have to practice my aural a lot to improve.
Class of 2017 (Year 12): Advanced English, General Maths, Legal Studies, Music 1, Ancient History, History Extension, Hospitality
2018-2022: B Music/B Education (Secondary) [UNSW]

RuiAce

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Re: HSC Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2018, 08:57:15 pm »
+6
Subject Name: Mathematics

Level: HSC

Workload: Moderate - Consistency is key. If you were aiming for a state rank you'd need to put your guts into it, but otherwise so long as you're consistently working hard in it, understanding the concepts and doing several questions, you can pull through.

Assessment: At my school, we had...
- 15% In-class tests x2
- 30% Half Yearly
- 40% Trial HSC Exam

Exam Thoughts:
- 10 Multiple choice
- 6x 15 mark Extended responses, broken into subparts
The 2013 exam was known to be a killer. They spiked the difficulty of a lot of things in it. I came out of that test feeling quite distraught and definitely did not anticipate what I ended up getting.

Textbook Recommendation: At the time I used the new Fitzpatrick textbook. Not the best (prefer Cambridge) but fairly decent.

Recommended Other Resources: If it is a past paper, then that.

Year of Completion: 2013

Rating: 5 out of 5 (that's what I would've said back when I did it. Now, probably 2.5/5.)

Your Mark/Grade: 96 B6 (96 Ext, 96 Int)

Comments: Give your overall opinion of the subject, content, assessment etc. and a recommendation, plus anything else which you feel is relevant
My opinion of the course has changed since then. I'm gonna focus my review on whatever I would've thought back in 2013.

Unlike what most of my peers had been doing at the time, this easily let me explore much more of the powerful tools in maths, and also much more difficult to handle ones. It was pretty much the end of an acceleration started in Year 8 and it was quite a huge accomplishment at the time.

The assessment felt very fair, for the most part. So there was very little to comment on. (One funny memory I have was the fact that there was a M/C question where the teacher who wrote the exam forgot to put in a correct answer.) Having said that though, the trial HSC is generally quite different to all of the previous assessment tasks. Some instances of this may have appeared in the prelim exam and the half yearly, but especially in the trials they'll start throwing questions that force you to adapt what you know to more confusing scenarios. The ability to do this (coupled with avoidance of silly mistakes) is usually what splits a B5 from a B6, especially since this same thing does happen in the final exam.

It's easier to drop off in maths than many other subjects because HSC maths literally builds on top of prelim. Furthermore, maths is the only subject area where preliminary content is actually examinable in the HSC. Having gaps in prelim is a detriment that you'll want to avoid.

About 75% of the HSC course revolves around calculus. Most people are well aware of this and tend to perform a bit better in this ~75%. The other 25%, on the other hand, tend to make people really annoyed (series + finance, probability, etc.) and again, a trap to watch out for.

Seeing as though I did this course in Year 10, I had all the time in the world to study for the final exam. That's why it was ok for me to just bash out past papers come exam time. Some people may need to do practice problems during the entire HSC year. Disgusting, not gonna lie (else why would I have avoided it?) but it might not be something that can be helped. Especially since fewer people seem to find math enjoyable nowadays.

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Re: HSC Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2018, 09:21:19 pm »
+6
Subject Name: Geography

Level: HSC

Workload: moderate - just don't underestimate it though

Assessment:
My school had:
Urban places exam: 20%
Ecosystems at risk written report: 25%
Trials: 30%
People and economic activity exam: 25%

Exam Thoughts:
Multiple choice: 20 marks
Do not underestimate this section! It's actually super hard so get practicing early and remeber to bring a magnifying glass to the exam. Yes it looks stupid, but it helps so much!

Short answer: 40 marks
Really easy to nail once you get the hang of answering them and have your content down pat. My favourite section of the paper.

Extended response (pick 2 of 3 possible questions): 20 marks each
Really hard to get everything done in the suggested time so I reccomend cutting down on multiple choice and short answer time to give at least 40 mins on each essay. Requires a lot of practice to avoid random waffling in the exam. Even if you do end up waffling on a tad (not reccomended, but happened to me in the HSC) make sure your essays have structure and subheadings to keep the ideas on track.

Textbook Recommendation:
Not really much out there. Used Macquarie guide and the excel book a few times during HSC study but really not needed (we need to make an ATAR Notes guide *hint hint*)

Recommended Other Resources:
HSC Hub is good but also a total rip off, other than that there are other people's notes and any thing your class teacher has given you - really not much out there
You can also use documentaries such as "world's busiest cities" but they aren't based on the HSC course so you've got to filter out all the not Relavence to the HSC info

Year of Completion: 2017

Rating: 
4.5/5

Your Mark/Grade:
1st in course at school, 92 in HSC exam

Comments:
Geo is SUPER interesting and highly relevant! Weather you like human or physical geography there is an even split of both which is good. Don't underestimate the skills though, I rode them off as easy and ended up having a full day melt down over them because they were harder than expected (I'm normally pretty calm and this was the most stressed I'd ever been over the HSC period) so yeah, practice your skills early rather than in the last few days, practice those essays and short answer responses throughout the year too, and you're on your way to a band 6! (Also go on the geo board of ATAR Notes  ;) )
« Last Edit: March 01, 2018, 11:58:57 pm by Potatohater »
HSC 2017: Advanced English [85] General Maths [92] Biology [96] Geography [92] Drama [86]

2018: Bachelor of Arts and Advanced Studies at University of Sydney

-- need a tutor for any of the subjects listed above?? I reckon I'm the girl! Just message me on ATAR notes or here--

RuiAce

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Re: HSC Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2018, 09:44:57 pm »
+7
Subject Name: Mathematics Extension 2

Level: HSC (Only exists in Year 12)

Workload: Generally quite full-on. Usually depends on what you wanna aim for at the end. Assuming that moderation has negligible impact on you, a final exam mark of 75% usually secures an E4 scrape. But to really do well in this course it does require a relatively insane amount of effort. It's not really possible unless you legit like maths, not pretend to.

Assessment: At my school, we had...
- 15% In-class tests x2
- 30% Half Yearly
- 40% Trial HSC Exam

Exam Thoughts:
- 10 Multiple choice
- 6x 15 mark Extended responses, broken into subparts
The 2015 paper was easy. Later I found out that most of the marks I lost (in fact, nearly all) were because of clumsy, silly mistakes. There were only a few marks (less than 3) that were lost because I was confused and couldn't arrive at an answer.

Textbook Recommendation: Cambridge 4U, Patel's textbook. The former really isn't interesting (Cambridge 4U is still the version by Arnold & Arnold, which presents information in a bland way and also throws in questions too easy or too hard. The latter is mostly good for reasonably challenging problems, but occasionally gives info outside of the course. Neither textbook was really good for teaching/learning the content; it was only the questions that were of interest.

Recommended Other Resources: If it is a past paper, then that.

Year of Completion: 2015

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 97 E4 (97 Ext, 97 Int)

Comments:
Of course, this was my favourite, and also what I lecture now. But I'm still going to try and give these comments from my 2015 self's perspective.

I was really passionate with my math prior to starting this subject. To the point where I pretty much self learnt 40%+ of it beforehand. That definitely saved me a lot of trouble and gave more time for the other subjects. I found that what was easy to self learn were mostly things that straight-forwardly built onto MX1 (harder 3U induction, circle geo as well as conics, polynomials) and some of the topics that typically get taught first (complex numbers, bits and pieces of graphs). I was also an integration nerd at the time.

If there's anything that really knocks an MX2 student out of E4, it's gotta be harder 3U. Whilst the stuff is fairly reasonable to a mathematician, it requires far more intuition than any of the other topics. If you're good at this topic, you have most of this subject under the bag. (Yeah, that includes inequality proofs.)

Now, content wise MX2 isn't really like MX1. MX1 directly builds onto 2U, but MX2 throws a whole bunch of new stuff at you, and somehow you gotta work around it all. The coverage of MX2 is really enough to take up ALL 240 indicative hours you're granted for maths, even though you really only gain 60 more by taking it to begin with. So pretty much, the course is full of new stuff, and also just huge. That's a lot to consider.

I probably studied for this course a bit too much. It paid off quite reasonably, but who knows if it was worth it. (Actually, it was, because it made my uni life easier. But we'll ignore that.)

Assessments were quite curious, because we had a really good teacher writing most of them. They really tested your understanding of the course concepts as well, not just how well you're coping with it.

Potatohater

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Re: HSC Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2018, 09:47:00 pm »
+7
Subject Name: Drama

Level: HSC

Workload: Moderate - Theory: Light, Practical: heavy (due to Individual Project (IP) and Group Performance (GP)

Assessment:
Ok my school did a LOT of drama assesments
Aussie Theatre Rationale: 10%
Aussie theatre monolougue: 10%
Approaches to acting group performance: 10%
Approaches to acting essay: 10%
IP logbook check: 5%
Theory trials: 20%
IP trials: 15%
GP trials: 20%

Exam Thoughts:
GP: 30 marks. Good thing you are marked individually so even the shittiest group can't bring you right down to the ground, however it's good if your group does work well and produce an awesome piece since the 3rd criterion is based on the dramatic coherence of the work.

IP: 30 marks. It's such a shame that you work so long on your baby and in the end it's all kinda subjective. Design, writing, research and film projects are probably easier to score highly (just a hypothesis) cause you can make sure they are perfect on the day, Performance is super fun, however it is subject to change and potentially not be as good as possible on the day (this happened to me, it was still good on exam day but not my absolute best. That's what the markers saw, and that's what I was marked on so oh well...)

Essays: 20 marks each. Super interesting to study for and write (maybe I'm just a drama nerd), like English but with much more to write and only slightly more time. Felt like my whole arm would drop off afterwards since writing at lightning pace is essential for the whole 1.5 hours.

Textbook Recommendation:
N/A - only the set texts are needed
No other drama materials exist as of yet

Recommended Other Resources:
Study guides for Aussie theatre, supplementary readings for approaches to acting (listed in syllabus) and YouTube vids for both, lots of YouTube vids. Also you can use other people's notes but in the end your logbook should be your best friend

Year of Completion: 2017

Rating: 5/5

Your Mark/Grade: assessment: 84 (5th) Examination: 87

Comments:
Drama is so super fun! The theory is incredibly interesting, the workshops are fun and the GP and IP, whilst hard to create, are really enjoyable too! The major work is honestly a labour of love and all the work needed to excel is 100% worth it and enjoyable 90% of the time. One of my favourite subjects (if you couldn't tell)
« Last Edit: March 01, 2018, 09:59:02 pm by Potatohater »
HSC 2017: Advanced English [85] General Maths [92] Biology [96] Geography [92] Drama [86]

2018: Bachelor of Arts and Advanced Studies at University of Sydney

-- need a tutor for any of the subjects listed above?? I reckon I'm the girl! Just message me on ATAR notes or here--

beatroot

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Re: HSC Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2018, 10:25:14 pm »
+7
Subject Name: Visual Arts

Level: HSC

Workload: Theory: very light. Practical: quite demanding because of the body of work

Assessment: (Outline the various assessments which make up the subject and how much each counts for)
- BOW Proposal (10%)
- BOW Progress mark #1
- Half Yearlies
- BOW Progress mark #2
- Trials (30%?)
(I cannot remember the weighting for the other assessments)

Exam Thoughts:
Body of work (50 marks): With the BOW, it's so abstract that there's no definite way of doing it to get top marks. A good friend of mine did hers last minute and got 50/50! Whilst I, on the other hand, worked on it consistently throughout the year and got selected for ARTEXPRESS 2018. The main thing about the body of work- it doesn't matter what it looks like physically or what medium you used, it's all about your concept. It has to be different, has your own personal take on it and must be explored well enough that it doesn't feel superficial. My body of work journey had a lot of surprises along the way, but it was definitely worth it at the end!

HSC exam (50 marks): The exam is split into two sections; Section 1 (25 marks) with unseen artworks and three questions (5, 8 and 12 marks) and Section 2 (25 marks) with six essay questions from which you have to choice to pick which one you would like to answer. I love love love and LIVE for Visual Art exams!! I love writing bs interpretations in the 1.5 hour time limit. Section 1 allowed me to appreciate artworks beyond their aesthetic and made me consider their meaning on a conceptual level. Section 2 was great because you can do ANY artist in the world! I did the same artists for my half yearlies, trials and HSC- which made it easier to study.

Textbook Recommendation:
Senior Artwise Visual Arts 11-12 and Caves to Canvas. *I only read the textbooks when I needed a general idea on what each artwork was about or the background of the artist. My teachers would give out articles from art critics and made us watch videos (of the artist) on Youtube.

Recommended Other Resources:
I mainly depended on my Visual Arts teachers (who were also experienced HSC markers). I just took notes of what just came out of their mouths and quoted them in my essays. I would also recommend just exposing yourself to as many art as much as possible. The Art Gallery of NSW is a MUST!- it definitely helps with studying for Section 1.

Year of Completion: 2017

Rating: 5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade:
Ranked 1st internally. 94 for internal assessments + 94 for external assessments = overall 94 HSC Mark
+ Selected for ARTEXPRESS 2018

Comments:
This was the only subject that I've always had a consistent performance in and was the only subject that got me through the HSC. There was never a class where I felt disappointed and felt I learnt nothing because Visual Arts isn't just a subject learning about art. It's a subject that makes you appreciate the world, be aware of social issues and helps you become a better person. The BOW was literally the best thing I did during the HSC because it was quite nice having a break from my english essays and my calculations in maths. My piece of advice for you would just to be- enjoy the ride. This is your last year for Visual Arts. Give it your all!
« Last Edit: March 01, 2018, 10:43:40 pm by beatroot »
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Re: HSC Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2018, 03:03:12 pm »
+7
Subject Name: Ancient History

Level: HSC

Workload: Very content heavy. You need to know evidence (ancient/modern historians & archeological, and lots of different dates) for each dot point and in some topics be able to write an essay on any section of the syllabus. I was given a lot of readings in class and there was heaps of detail that would be good to know. Practice essays and essay plans are key throughout the course in order to improve.

Assessment:
My school had:
    - Core study: research and in class task (picked 2 of the last 4 dot points from Pompeii/Herculaneum-30%)
   -  Half Yearly Exam (15%)
   - Historical period (were given a dot point from Julio-Claudians): Oral presentation and research (30%)
   - Trial Exam (25%)

Exam Thoughts:
It’s a 3 our exam (my hand was dead at the end of it) with 4 sections that are each recommended for 45 minutes each. Each section is 25 marks. 
Pompeii and Herculaneum (core): Everybody does Pompeii and Herculaneum. This has multiple choice questions (usually related to sources) which are designed to trick you, 2 short answer questions (source and own knowledge) and a longer extended response (based on the last 4 dot points of the syllabus).
Section 2 (Ancient societies): Three small questions (2,3,5 marks) and a 15 mark extended response.
Section 3 (Personalities in their time): A 10 mark describe question and a 15 mark assses extended response.
Section 4 (Historical periods): A 25 mark essay based on one of the dot points. You have a choice between two different questions.

Textbook Recommendation:
I had:
- Pompeii and Herculaneum: Interpreting the evidence by Brian Brennan and Estelle Lazar
- Spartan society: Interpreting the evidence by Brian Brennan
- The Julio-Claidians and the Roman Empire AD 14-69 by Ken Webb
- Agripinna the younger by Ken Webb
I didn’t really use the textbooks too often. I found that the Ken Webb ones especially only provided a brief overview of events and the questions in them were pretty useless.

Recommended Other Resources:
Susie’s ATAR Notes book on Pompeii and Herculaneum was really helpful and easy to read.

Year of Completion: 2017

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Comments:

I really loved Ancient and found each of the topics incredibly interesting!! I had an amazing teacher and class and It was definitely one of the classes that I looked forward to each week. It is a class that you do need to be doing practice essay plans/exams as they are difficult and there is a lot to remember.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2018, 03:05:57 pm by katie,rinos »
Class of 2017 (Year 12): Advanced English, General Maths, Legal Studies, Music 1, Ancient History, History Extension, Hospitality
2018-2022: B Music/B Education (Secondary) [UNSW]

beatroot

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Re: HSC Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2018, 10:46:16 pm »
+7
Subject Name: Society & Culture

Level: HSC

Workload: Light

Assessment:
- PIP Proposal (15%)
- In class exam (20%)
- Research task (25%)
- Trial exam (40%)

Exam Thoughts: (What's the structure? How hard was it?)
2 hour exam and had 60 marks in total.
Section 1 (Social and Cultural Continuity and Change) = 20 marks
- 8 multiple choice questions
- There are three short answer question. Marks for each question differs each year.

Section 2 (Two in-depth studies) = 40 marks
- a set of 5 marker and 15 marker question for each depth study (20 marks per topic)

The SAC exam isn't too hard if you've got enough evidence to back up your statements and know your content. I found Section 1 to be the easiest because it was straightforward. But Section 2 was quite confusing because there isn't a definite syllabus so anything can pop up in the exam.

Personal Interest Project = 40 marks
5000 word report to be completed throughout your HSC year and is due during trial period. Imo this was the easiest external assessment because I had complete control on what I wanted to do and it was really fun!

Textbook Recommendation: (What did you use? How much did you use it?)
Society and Culture Preliminary and HSC = pretty much was my SAC Bible because all my information came from this book.

Recommended Other Resources:
Try reading online articles and videos for more evidence to use in your essays.
CONCEPTS!!! = so important. Ensure you have this everywhere.

Year of Completion: 2017

Rating: 2 out of 5 (this is what 2017 me would've rated the subject)

Your Mark/Grade:
Ranked equal first internally, 88 HSC mark

Comments:
The thing about SAC is that you don't need to study as much to get top marks. A lot of it is common sense. You just need to learn how to get your content out there in a concise manner, using your concepts and backing all your statements up with evidence.

I honestly would've rated SAC 4 out of 5 now but when I did it at school, I would've rated it a 2. SAC is so diverse, flexible and so abstract that I felt that the course was going nowhere. I found the core topic to be interesting (Social and Cultural Continuity and Change) because I could easily apply it to the world now. However, my depth studies (Conformity and Non-Conformity + Belief Systems and Ideologies) weren't taught properly and made it harder for me to appreciate the subject more. My classmates absolutely hated the subject and my teacher didn't show much enthusiasm which made things worse. The PIP was the only thing that got me through HSC SAC because it was nice having control over this written report.

Now that I'm out of the HSC, I appreciate the SAC topic a lot more because I'm no longer in a classroom context and I'm able to learn the SAC topics at my own pace. I would rate it 4 out of 5 now. The key to getting top marks in SAC is really through referencing a lot of your concepts and preliminary content. You're getting assessed on how much you can relate society back to the concepts. But as well as providing an unbiased perspective on society through social theories and studies.
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Re: HSC Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2018, 06:55:13 pm »
+7
Subject Name: Standard English

Level: HSC

Workload: Moderate/heavy

Assessment: (Outline the various assessments which make up the subject and how much each counts for)
- Discovery Portfolio (10%)
- Video submission (Module A) (10%)
- Hand in essay (Module B) (20%)
- In class essay (Module C) (20%)
- Trial exam (40%)

Exam Thoughts: (What's the structure? How hard was it?)

Paper One - Area of Study (Discovery) = 45 marks in total | 2 hour exam
- Section 1: Unseen texts = 15 marks
- Section 2: Creative writing = 15 marks
- Section 3: Essay = 15 marks

Workload is fairly light compared to Paper Two. You're able to pick what order you want to do the questions in; whether that'd be doing your essay first then working backwards (in terms of word requirement) or work in the order the exam is in; Paper One is quite flexible. Though the exam is quite distinct as well because for all three sections, you're pretty much referring to the same syllabus, making it easy to study. However, since this exam is marked anonymously, there tends to be a huge gap between Adv. and Standard students (not always but is a possibility).

Paper Two - Modules = 60 marks | 2 hour exam
- Module A essay = 20 marks
- Module B = 20 marks
- Module C = 20 marks

Definitely this exam is much more intense than Paper One. You're expected to write three essays in under two hours- all with different texts, evidence, rubrics and questions. Expose yourself to as many questions as possible and practice writing under the time limit because this will pay off in the end.

Textbook Recommendation: (What did you use? How much did you use it?)
- Discovery (Away from Michael Gow)
- No textbook for Mod A (material was from the NESA website)
- Module B (The Life and Crimes of Harry Lavender by Marele Day)
- Module C (Billy Elliot- students had the choice of purchasing the DVD)

Recommended Other Resources:
HSC Standard English Excel
Cambridge Checkpoints Standard English (doesn't matter what edition- the latest one is recommended)

Year of Completion: 2017

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade:
88 internals (ranked equal 4th) + 89 external = overall 89 HSC mark

Comments:
To truly understand english, you just need to have a go at understanding the texts, appreciating their ideas and give out a beautifully written out analysis. English is mandatory for the HSC, so whether you love it or not, you're stuck with it until the very end. I would definitely recommend handing in practice essays every week (if possible) because that's pretty much the only way you can get decent marks. But also try getting feedback from your tutors (if possible) and/or the AN community because english is such a subjective subject. Also (in my opinion) english isn't really a content heavy subject, but its a subject that assesses you on your skills. I found that looking beyond the text's story and diving into the meaning and themes really helped me pull up my marks.

Edit: Also another comment I nearly forgot to make is that, don't feel that Standard English doesn't scale as well as Adv. English. It's all about how you perform in the subject. The key difference between the two levels of English are the texts but in terms of workload, you're still doing the same amount of essays, doing the same creative stimulus and responding to the same unseen texts. It's also about developing your skills in the subject as well and writing your ideas sophistically :)
« Last Edit: March 03, 2018, 07:56:06 pm by beatroot »
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