YEAR 12 students from all across NSW sat their first Higher School Certificate (HSC) exam the morning of Wednesday, October 12, with the first paper being the common English module.
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Students were called to sit for the 1.5-hour exam, and to draw on their knowledge from set texts while justifying the human experience in both an individual and collective setting.
MacKillop College seniors Keely Behan and Grace Pucci; both advanced English students who studied 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' by George Orwell as their prescribed text, said they were relieved to have the first exam over and done with.
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"At first it was a little daunting, when I was reading through the questions, but then once I got going I felt fine and it was good to have that first exam done," Keely said.
"It sort of built my confidence in a way and gave me an understanding of how much I need to know and how fast I need to write," she said.
Though Grace was feeling positive about the first exam being finished, she was also realistic about the two weeks remaining in the exam period.
"It's a big relief, but I still have to come back tomorrow and then for two weeks after that," Grace said.
Though for both Keely and Grace, sitting their first exam was obviously unnerving, they felt as if their studying efforts before the exam actively helped to prepare them for the day.
"In the past two weeks it's been pretty intense study sort of every day trying to do at least two hours," Keely said.
Grace however, took a different approach, by limiting herself to certain time pressures in order to adjust to the exam environment.
"[I've been doing] a lot of practice papers, getting into a timing routine, so putting a timer on for 45 minutes and sitting down and doing as essay. That helped when I went into the environment and was able to do it in the right amount of time," Grace said.
Keely and Grace both said they are hoping to achieve Australian Tertiary Admission Rankings (ATARs) of 70 - 80, and are both planning to attend university next year.
Despite the pressure they were feeling during the HSC period, Grace wanted to ensure that her peers took the time to enjoy the experience, and remember that the outcome of these exams aren't everything.
"What you put in is what you'll get out and it's taken 13 years but those 13 years have all helped to shape the person that you are and the experience that you've had," Grace said.
"In the end, it's just a number and the result doesn't define who you are."
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