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Assessment Certification Examination (ACE)
NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA)

Study of Preliminary and HSC courses

ACE 8063

Last Updated: 1 April 2019

Satisfactory completion of the Preliminary course or its equivalent is a prerequisite for entry into an HSC course. (Exception: HSC Mathematics Extension 1) 

For HSC examining purposes, the Preliminary course is regarded as assumed knowledge that has been covered by all candidates. Examination specifications ensure that the major focus of the examination will be on HSC course content.

The HSC course is defined in terms of course content (ie knowledge, skills and understanding outcomes) achievable following completion of the Preliminary course or its equivalent.

Commencement of study of prescribed texts

The study of prescribed texts (in any medium) for the Higher School Certificate must not commence until the relevant Preliminary course has been completed. 'Study' of texts or other set works does not apply to attending performances during the Preliminary course study of plays prescribed as HSC texts, nor to taking part in the production of them.

Commencement of HSC projects

Some HSC courses have a project as part of the HSC examination. Work on the following HSC projects must not commence until the relevant Preliminary course has been completed:

  • Dance Core Performance, Composition, Appreciation or Major Studies – Performance, Composition, Appreciation, Dance and Technology;
  • Design and Technology Major Design Project
  • Drama Group Performance or Individual Projects
  • English Extension 2 Major Work
  • Industrial Technology Major Project
  • Music Performances, Core and Elective Compositions, Elective Musicology essays or viva voces
  • Society and Culture Personal Interest Project
  • Textiles and Design Major Textiles Project
  • Visual Arts Body of Work.

School-based assessment of courses for the HSC

For school-based assessment requirements, refer to the course Assessment and Reporting document located on the syllabus webpage.