As you all know by now, the HSC syllabus is undergoing some pretty extensive changes.

Everyone has to do English, whether we like it or not. So, understanding how the HSC English syllabus has changed is pretty important.

Will there still be related texts? What about an area of study? Do I still have to write essays?

These questions and more are answered in our guide to the new HSC English syllabus!

Assessments

One of the major changes to every section of the new Stage 6 curriculum is in regards to assessments. Now, unfortunately, we’re not here to tell you that NESA has decided to ditch assessment tasks (in our dreams, right?). But, we are here to tell you that English assessments during Year 11 and 12 have just got a whole lot more manageable. Here’s how:

  • There are now mandated weightings for assessments. This means that your school can’t put a huge weighting on one assessment task.
  • There are now only allowed to be three English assessment tasks in Year 11 and four (including trial exams) in Year 12 
  • There is supposed to be an increase in the variety of forms assessments take.

Texts

English will always be about reading – that isn’t likely to change anytime soon. However, the texts students are made to read will differ in this new syllabus. The syllabus states that texts studied will be ‘widely acknowledged as quality literature of past and contemporary societies’.

That means that Shakespeare will most likely be hanging around. But, it also means that more post-modern and contemporary literature could be in the cards. The prescribed text list now has a bunch of contemporary Australian authors which were not there before.

The syllabus says that these texts will aim to, give insight into a wide range of social, gender and cultural perspectives, including texts by and about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’.

Basically, NESA is catching up with the times and that can’t be a bad thing.

How many texts will be studied?

  • For English Standard, there will now only be three prescribed texts – instead of four.
  • For English Advanced, students will still be expected to study four prescribed texts.

Content

What’s that you say? No more Area of Study?! Yes, you heard right, NESA has gotten rid of the beloved (or loathed) area of study. There are also two new modules on the horizon.

There will be a new module, common across English Advanced and Standard, called ‘The Craft of Writing’. This will focus on literacy and communication skills. From grammatical structure and essay writing, to creating the perfect short story – ‘The Craft of Writing’ sounds like it will be a pretty practical module.

The module which is set to replace the Area of Study is called ‘Texts and Human Experiences’. It will focus on human behaviour as represented in literature.

In English Advanced, there is a new module called ‘Textual Conversations’. The description is pretty vague, but we’re guessing it is about texts in their context and is pretty similar to the current Module A.

What about the extension subjects?

English Extension One and Two haven’t changed that much. There is now going to be a common topic studied across the state for English Extension One, on top of whatever module each school chooses. For English Extension Two, the logbooks are going to be marked and the marking criteria for the major work have changed a little.

Here’s a quick guide for each subject:

English Standard

  • No more Area of Study.
  • Two new modules:
    • Texts and Human Experiences
    • The Craft of Writing
  • More contemporary texts to be studied.
  • Only three prescribed texts.

English Advanced

  • No more Area of Study.
  • Three new modules:
    • Texts and Human Experiences
    • The Craft of Writing
    • Textual conversations
  • More contemporary texts to be studied.
  • Four prescribed texts

English Extension 1

  • There is now a common module studied in all English Extension classes called ‘Literary Worlds’. We’re hoping this will even out the playing field, no matter what core topic your school does.
  • More of a focus on research skills.
  • Same texts (pretty much), same options, same assessments.

English Extension 2

  • The logbook will be marked.
  • HSC marks will now be decided on the basis of composition, reflection and independent research outcomes – not just from the finished work.

Still not sure about the changes to the rest of the HSC English Syllabus?

Check out our comprehensive guide to the changes for each subject here!

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Brianna McClean studies Law and International Studies at the University of Sydney in between booking another ticket to a far off country. She’s a lover of all things literary – from Shakespeare to Plath. Occasionally she even indulges in some trashy TV (don’t tell anyone but she has seen every episode of Friends 11 times). While plane hopping and being a book-worm keep her pretty busy, she also loves helping high school students achieve great things.