New HSC syllabus – 2018 onwards


The NSW Board of Studies has revised the syllabus for 17 different courses, including Maths, Science, English and History. There will be increased focus on Indigenous culture, the environment, Asia and Feminism. The new content – which includes a mandatory writing unit focusing on grammar, spelling and punctuation in all English courses – will be first taught to Year 11 students in 2018. There will also be new assessment requirements for each of the new stage 6 courses

The reforms also include the introduction of a minimum Literacy and Numeracy Standard. From 2020, year 12 students must reach a minimum standard of functional literacy and numeracy for the award of the HSC credential.

Schools and teachers will have the rest of 2017 to familiarise themselves with the new content and assessment policies. Implementation of the new syllabus will start in 2018 for Year 11 students.

Timeline of implementation

  • Planning
  • Implementation of new syllabuses and new school-based assessment policies for Year 11 students
  • Implementation of new school-based assessment policies for Year 12 students
  • New syllabuses examined at HSC for first time

Here are the proposed changes


  • Deeper study of texts across all levels
  • Greater focus on quality literature
  • “Reading to write” will be the mandatory first module in the Year 11 stand and advanced English courses. It will cover the skills required for senior study and help refine students writing skills
  • Focus on digital literacy skills in year 11 English standard module Contemporary Possibilities
  • The year 12 common module areas of study — including Journeys, Discovery, Belonging — will be scrapped
  • New module “The Craft of Writing” now mandatory in standard and advanced courses

Mathematics Standard 2

  • In standard maths, there will be a focus on online data and its application in a new topic area known as Networks.

Mathematics Advanced

  • Extension of current syllabus to incorporate more complex concepts
  • New topic: Financial Mathematics
  • Statistical analysis now introduced at advanced level as well as extension 1

Mathematics Extension 1

  • New topic of vectors has been added, providing stronger links to engineering and other STEM-related concepts
  • New topic of combinatorics

Mathematics Extension 2

  • New topics: more advanced studies in vectors and proof
  • The topic circular motion has been removed and replaced by enhanced calculus content

Sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Biology)

  • Greater focus on critical thinking and understanding concepts rather than memorisation. E.g. instead of writing essays about famous physicists, students will be studying their quantitative theories
  • Mathematical basis of physics principles will be examined more closely
  • There will also be more practical investigations
  • 15 hours each year dedicated to “depth studies” to allow students to investigate concepts in more detail
  • Option topics will be scrapped from the syllabus.


  • Completely new syllabus topic The Shaping of the Modern World, which includes The Enlightenment, The French Revolution, The Age of Imperialism and The Industrial Age
  • Focus on key ideas and Western traditions including the ideas that shaped democracy and liberty, inalienable rights, and the expansion of capitalism
  • World War I topic is shifted from year 12 to year 11
  • World War II topics retained
  • Requirement that students study a non-European/Western study
  • Retained focus on Aboriginal history

Dux College will be ready for the new syllabus

Dux College is currently planning for the new syllabus and is working to produce new content that aligns with the curriculum. We will be ready to implement the new syllabus for our Year 11 students in 2018 and for our Year 12 students in 2019. List of subjects offered by Dux College in the new syllabus include:


  • English Standard
  • English Advanced


  • Mathematics Standard 2
  • Mathematics Advanced
  • Mathematics Extension 1
  • Mathematics Extension 2


  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics

Social Sciences

  • Economics
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