On Friday of this week, students who have completed Year 12 will receive their Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).
In the lead up, we decided to speak to three women about their most nightmarish HSC horror stories.
“That’s… not what I studied.” – Margaret
At school, Modern History was always my favourite subject.
In Year 12, I studied really, really hard and remember having hundreds of notes sprawled across my bedroom floor. The night before, I felt confident there wasn’t any question that could really surprise me. I’d never been more prepared for anything in my life.
I woke up that morning full of adrenalin, and read over my notes on the bus.
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Once we got into the exam hall, the examiner announced it was reading time, and I eagerly opened the paper.
My jaw dropped. I realised something had gone horribly wrong.
Not one thing on that exam was something we’d learned that year.
The subject was a war I’d read up on a few weeks earlier, but had no detailed knowledge of. I winged it and did my best.
I got 60 per cent after being a straight A student since Year Seven.
It turns out our teacher – who used to run out of class crying a lot – had taught us the wrong curriculum.
I still get nightmares a decade later.
“Wait… what question?” – Lizzy
English was my best subject at school, and I’d worked hard all year to get my ranking up as high as possible. I think I was ranked second in the year when I walked into the Advanced English exam.
I was insanely nervous before the exam began. I hadn’t slept the night before, my hands were shaking and I felt sick in my stomach. It wasn’t a level of panic I was used to.
We had three essays to complete, and I’d worked out what order I’d do them in during my preparation.
Anyway, I sat down and the first question stumped me. “It’s okay,” I told myself, “Just move on to the next one, and come back to it”.
So, that’s what I did. I wrote my second essay, and then my third. I remember looking at the clock and thinking “Oh wow, I have so much more time than I expected”.
When we put our pens down, I felt incredible. I’d written more pages than I ever had while studying, and was confident with what I’d argued. I looked over to my friend and did a thumbs up.
When we walked out, she looked completely defeated.
“I didn’t understand the first question at all,” she said, “I just waffled for like four pages.”