Yr 12 Survival Guide - HSC Marks, Scaling and ATARs

Welcome to our Year 12 Survival Guide - Part 1! In this post we will be explaining HSC Marks, Scaling and ATARs to ensure that you have all the information you need when transitioning into Year 12.

HSC Marks:

What is it?

Your HSC marks show how well you have performed in each HSC course you have completed. For 2 unit courses (eg. English Advanced), the highest possible HSC mark is 100/100. For Extension courses (eg. English Extension 1), the highest possible HSC mark is 50/50.

2 unit courses:

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Extension courses:

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How is it calculated?

Your HSC Mark is the average of your HSC Exam mark and your moderated assessment mark. Moderated assessment mark means that the top HSC assessment mark (your internal school mark) is adjusted to equal the highest examination mark (HSC exam mark) in that school. The second top HSC assessment mark is adjusted to equal the second highest examination mark in that school, and so on.

Example:

Check out the following example to understand how moderated assessment marks may affect you. This table includes the English Assessment marks and HSC English Exam marks of students at a hypothetical school.

 Table: Example of HSC English Assessment and English Exam marks

Table: Example of HSC English Assessment and English Exam marks

Emily’s HSC Mark

Emily ranked first in English at her school, so her final assessment mark is adjusted to equal the highest HSC English exam mark in her school. Therefore, her final school assessment mark of 94 is adjusted to 98.

 Average of Emily’s HSC English exam mark and her moderated assessment mark.

Average of Emily’s HSC English exam mark and her moderated assessment mark.

David’s HSC Mark

David was ranked second in English at his school, so his final assessment mark is adjusted to equal the second highest HSC English exam mark in his school. Therefore, despite not doing as well as expected in the actual HSC, David’s final school assessment mark of 93 will be pulled up to 96.

 Average of David’s HSC English exam mark and his moderated assessment mark.

Average of David’s HSC English exam mark and his moderated assessment mark.

Rebecca’s HSC Mark

Rebeca was ranked fourth in English at her school, so her final assessment mark is adjusted to equal the fourth highest HSC English mark in her school. Even though Rebecca did better than expected in the actual HSC, her final school assessment mark of 89 will drop to 88 (the fourth highest HSC exam result).

 Average of Rebecca’s HSC English exam mark and her moderated assessment mark.

Average of Rebecca’s HSC English exam mark and her moderated assessment mark.

Key takeaways

  • The performance of your school in an HSC course WILL affect your final HSC assessment mark.

  • Therefore, once HSC Trials are finished (and your rank is determined) your cohort should WORK TOGETHER. You can do this by sharing resources like study notes and exam papers, and helping each other out where needed. This will increase the overall performance of your cohort in the HSC exam, lessening the chances of student’s HSC assessment mark being drastically “pulled down”.

  • However, if you are worried about being negatively affected by your schools performance, then you should aim to rank first in your final school assessment and in the HSC exam. This will ensure that like Emily in the example above, your HSC exam mark will determine your assessment mark. Obviously, this is easier said than done :P

Scaling:

HSC courses are scaled to ensure that students are neither advantaged nor disadvantaged based on the courses they choose to study. Different courses are completely different (duh!), hence scaling enables UAC to compare marks in different courses fairly. For courses that are taken by many students with high levels of achievement in all their subjects (like Mathematics Extension 2 and Physics), a higher proportion of high scaled scores are awarded than courses that are mainly taken by students with an average level of achievement across their courses. Regardless, it’s important to remember that even in “high-scaling” subjects, you still need to achieve a high HSC mark to obtain a high scaled score.

ATAR:

What is it?

Your ATAR is a number between 0.00 and 99.95 that indicates a student’s position relative to all the students sitting the HSC in NSW. Therefore, it’s important to note that your ATAR is a RANK, NOT A MARK.

How is it calculated?

Your ATAR is based on the sum of scaled marks in 10 units of ATAR courses. It must include your best 2 units of English (this will be counted regardless of how low the scaled mark is) and the best 8 units from your remaining units.

Why does it matter?

Your ATAR is used (amongst other things) by universities to help them select students for their courses. Certain courses like a Bachelor of Laws or a Bachelor of Medicine requires a much higher ATAR than other courses like a Bachelor of Arts.

We hope that you found our Year 12 Survival Guide - Part 1 informative, and are feeling a bit more confident about your HSC journey! Keep an eye out for Part 2 in the upcoming weeks.

Rachel SiuComment