Top 3 Things To Know - New Science Syllabus for Year 11 & 12

The new Chemistry, Physics and Biology Syllabus is finally going live in 2018 for Year 11 students. New content has been introduced in the syllabus and students will now have the option of taking up an additional unit of Extension Science for the first time in 2019. The Extension Course will focus on skills, methodology and the big philosophical questions surrounding science.

In this post, we will discuss 3 major things you need to know about the changes and how it will impact on your approach to studying sciences.

1) What's in the new syllabus?

Year 11 Biology, Chemistry and Physics courses are split into a skills component and four modules of study. 

The modules develop your knowledge and understanding of core concepts that will be assessed in the final year of HSC and the skills component aims to develop skills at the core of conducting practical and secondary-sourced investigations in science.

The skills components will be covered within the four modules of study. The modules for the Year 11 curriculum starting in 2018 are:


Module Year 11 Chemistry Year 11 Physics Year 11 Biology
1 Properties and Structure of Matter Kinematics Cells as the Basis of Life
2 Introduction to Quantitative Chemistry Dynamics Organisation of Living Things
3 Reactive Chemistry Waves and Thermodynamics Biological Diversity
4 Drivers of Reactions Electricity and Magnetism Ecosystem Dynamics

“Working Scientifically” is integrated into each module includes a specific focus on some (or all) of the Working Scientifically skills. These scientific skills components will focus on skills such as analysing data, planning and conducting investigations or problem solving. 

2) How does the new syllabus impact you?

The changes in the syllabus " are designed to help motivate and challenge students" according to BOSTE. According to the inside scoop from various teachers, the new syllabus better prepare students for University level courses and the inclusion of "depth studies" in the syllabus is suppose to encourage in-depth thought and understanding. The depth studies will allow you to investigate areas of interest in more detail and consolidate your research skills which will be essential for further studies. There will also be a shift away from straight content regurgitation and students are instead assessed for their ability to think independently.

While the intention of the change is clear, there are always challenges associated with the first year implementation of a syllabus. In particular, you won’t have past exam papers to give you an indication of the style of questions and the standard expectations for your final year of the HSC. However, your teachers at school and tutors at Pinnacle will guide you through the new course and help you develop the necessary skill to write a top response.

3) Resources available to prepare for the new syllabus

To ensure our students receive the best support and the most up to date and relevant material, our team at Pinnacle is busy updating our science modules. Our new course material has been prepared under the direction of a HSC marker and current school teacher who has an in-depth understanding on how the new syllabus will be examined. To find out more about our courses, please click here.

You can also find the full versions of the new Chemistry, Physics and Biology Syllabuses at the NSEA website. The new syllabuses are quite a handful to read and you may find the Parent Guide  prepared by NSEA a better document in terms of summarising the key changes and how it impacts on your studies as a student.

New Syllabus for Other Subjects

While the Science Syllabus experienced the greatest overhaul compared to other subjects, there are also noteworthy changes with the English and Math Syllabuses. We will dedicate separate posts to discuss these changes.

In particular, the new Maths syllabus has been an area of great debate for teachers in NSW, which has resulted in its delayed implementation until 2019. Currently, we know that Mathematics General has been turned into two different courses: Mathematics Standard One and Mathematics Standard Two, implemented from 2018. Technically these courses existed before, but Mathematics Standard One is now a board developed course so it could be used to gain an ATAR.

We will provide a comprehensive update on the Advanced Mathematics, Extension 1 and Extension 2 Mathematics syllabuses once the dust settles, so stay posted.