St Bede's first year 12 cohort takes on their first major exams
By Chloe Coleman
St Bede's Catholic College Chisholm year 12 students Blaze Brockman, Bella Sepos and Leila Kelly. Picture by Chloe Coleman
It's that time of year again when year 12 students across Maitland have their first taste of major exams; the HSC trials.
While it's up to each school when it holds the exams, many across the city started the two week exam period this week including St Bede's Catholic College, All Saints' Catholic College, Rutherford Technology High School and Maitland Grossmann High School.
The trials, which count toward the students' final marks, are the closest thing they will experience to the HSC exams before the real thing and go for two weeks.
For the HSC students at St Bede's Catholic College Chisholm, not only is this their first big exam period but the school's as well, as they are the school's first year 12 cohort.
The school opened and took on a year seven cohort in 2018, and has grown each year to have a full grade range in 2023.
St Bede's year 12 students Bella Sepos, Leila Kelly and Blaze Brockman all agree the exams were daunting at first, but now they have a few up their sleeve it's getting easier.
"I was kind of feeling stressed, but the more you do the more you get used to it," Bella said.
"After we started, I felt way less pressure and I felt like I knew what I needed to," Leila added.
The trials is the first time the students have sat such long exams, which has been a learning curve.
"This is the first time we've ever done anything like this," Bella said.
"The first time we've sat a three-hour exam, the first time we've had to concentrate for three hours. You can do practice papers, but it's a trial so it's the best way to get you ready for it [the HSC].
"It's scary but it's a good way to get ready."
Blaze, who has seven exams, said the experience has helped him know what will need to be done in the HSC exam.
"The key takeaways are endurance; writing a lot, and also evaluating the question; how do I answer this as clear as possible or as short as possible," he said.
Leila said to any of her peers feeling nervous about the exams, she would tell them "it's not the end of the world if you don't do perfectly".
"Try your best and work really hard up to it because it's only a really short amount of time you have to work hard to get to your exams, try your best," she said.
It's the end of an era for the St Bede's class of 2023, who have gone through their whole high school career always being the oldest at the school, and have formed close bonds with their teachers.
"We have stronger relationships," Bella said.
"I think it was good because we had a close group of people," Leila added.
The end of year is bittersweet as the students look forward to the future, but reflect on what they'll miss about school.
"You don't realise how close it is," Bella said. "It's scary but exciting."
The 2023 HSC written exams start on Wednesday, October 11 with English and end on Friday, November 3 with Food Technology.