December 14, 2023

HSC, ATAR results 2023 LIVE updates: NSW Year 12 students receive end of year results

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Watch: the incredible moment North Sydney Boys students are told they came first

By Anthony Segaert

After 27 years, it happened. North Sydney Boys hit number one in the HSC rankings, ending James Ruse Agricultural High School’s incredible run.

And after days of speculation from students, it was school principal Brian Ferguson who informed the students of their remarkable achievement.

Watch how it unfolded:

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How North Sydney Boys pulled off the greatest heist in HSC history

By Christopher Harris

On a spring day 13 months ago, roughly 900 students from North Sydney Boys crammed into the school hall. The new school captain Jordan Ho was due to make his first speech.

Public addresses by well-meaning school captains are often dull and riddled with platitudes– but Jordan would not be having any of that.

Jordan (Khang) Ho, scholl captain of North Sydney Boys High School.Credit: Kate Geraghty

“I guess I wanted to get the crowd kind of riled up, to have them cheering and stuff [so] at the end of my school captain’s speech, I said, ‘We will be number one’,” Jordan said.

The students might have been cheering loudly but quietly, some of them still had their doubts. That’s because for even the most intellectually gifted students, the notion of beating James Ruse Agricultural High School, the top-ranked school for 27 years running, is tricky to get your head around.

Read the full story here.


Caring for her mother with cancer, Jessica today received an amazing ATAR

By Ricky Blank

Jessica Kowalski, from Maitland High School, completed her HSC a year early. She describes her last year of high school as “an absolute rollercoaster”.

She spent a lot of time caring for her mother, as she battled breast cancer, and – on top of heavy dance commitments – wasn’t able to attend school regularly.

HSC student Jessica Kowalski, from Maitland High School.Credit: Jessica Kowalski

But today, Jessica received a better-than-expected ATAR result of 92.05 and two band 6 results in Biology and Personal Development, Health and Physical Education. She hopes to show other students experiencing adverse circumstances that “they can do it” too.

She hopes to study pharmacy at the University of Newcastle – that’s despite receiving a surprise offer from the University of Sydney – and give back to the community that has been helping her and her family.


Accelerated Aboriginal Studies leads to seven-track album

By Anthony Segaert

Stella Julius is in year 11, but she’s joined the tens of thousands of year 12 students receiving some stunning results today.

She took on an accelerated Aboriginal Studies subject (she’s set to complete 12 units next year) and was awarded an impressive 96/100 for her major work: seven original songs about the Voice to parliament.

Stella Julius, of Barrenjoey High School, completed Aboriginal Studies accelerated in year 11.

Julius said she wanted to understand how Indigenous people were voting ahead of the referendum, and spoke to several in her community.

“I collected a bunch of opinions and that gave me an understanding of the different opinions on the topic,” she said.

But the best part, for her, was the creation of the songs themselves: “I love music and songwriting,” she said. “I think you can express emotions that you can’t with just words, and it’s been a way to give back to the people I spoke to.”

And in the midst of a hectic study schedule, the creative outlet was something she “genuinely enjoyed and thought was important”.


The moment the ATARs arrived

By Anthony Segaert

Good afternoon, Anthony Segaert with you for the rest of today’s exciting HSC news. Many thanks to Angus Thomson for his excellent coverage this morning (and the very early start).

As school communities and individuals continue to process the results, let’s turn back to the moments early this morning when some students first received their results:


Handing over today’s live coverage

By Angus Thomson

Thanks so much for following our live coverage this morning. I’ve spoken to so many intelligent, articulate and humble young people. It’s been a joy sharing some of their stories with you.

I’m now handing over to Anthony Segaert who has just returned from the celebrations at North Sydney Boys High.

I’ll leave you with Louise Kennerley’s photo of that moment…

North Sydney Boys HSC students celebrate after annoucement of their school ranking first in the state. Credit: Louise Kennerley

My name is Angus Thomson, thanks again for your company.

Now, to cool off at the beach!


What is an ATAR and how is it calculated?

So, you’ve received your ATAR. But what does it actually mean?

There’s a lot of work that goes into calculating those mysterious scores that seem life-defining (even though that’s rarely the case).

To help shed some of the mystery behind the numbers, our video team has put together this 3-minute explainer. Watch below.


‘An other-worldy experience’: ATAR opens door to career in medicine

By Angus Thomson

Another student to receive the highest ATAR – a 99.95 – was Benji Sestanovic from St Joseph’s College Hunters Hill.

Benji Sestanovic, from Putney, shares his 2023 ATAR score.Credit:

His scores were “way higher” than he anticipated and will give him the best chance possible at securing his preferred course – medicine at the University of Sydney.

“It’s been my dream for a really long time to get an ATAR like that and for that dream to come into reality, it’s just really an other-worldly experience,” he says. “I just feel over the moon right now.”

The 18-year-old from Putney said the achievement reflected on “all the hard work and support” he had received from his family and teachers.


Aerin received her results at 3am. She couldn’t believe her eyes

By Angus Thomson

We’ve heard from a few students who would have watched the sunrise as they waited for their results this morning, but none received their marks quite as early as 18-year-old Aerin Hayes.

Because of the time difference, the Singapore-based student received her HSC results at 3am.

Even though early starts have become a common occurrence for her (she had to wake up at 5:40am for her final exams), she couldn’t bring herself to stay up until 3am, and waited until after 7am to open the text.

Australian International School Singapore student Aerin Hayes.Credit:

Three hours or so later, she was delighted to find she had received an ATAR of 92.65.

“I was extremely excited about [my ATAR] as I faced a few roadblocks throughout the year,” she says. “I looked at it for a few seconds – I wasn’t sure if it was the right number because I was expecting much lower.”

The challenges of studying at the Australian International School in Singapore – a crowded island far from Australia – meant she often had to “go the extra mile to find” information about Australia, particularly its geography and history.

She hopes to return to Australian shores to continue her studies, and has received an early offer to study international relations at the Australian National University in Canberra.


Two pairs of students share the same name and school in the HSC

By Angus Thomson

Our data guru Nigel Gladstone has been poring through the HSC numbers, and he’s noticed a strange coincidence in the list of distinguished achievers:

Two pairs of students who have identical names attended the same schools and were all distinguished achievers in the HSC this year.

Two different people named Matthew Wong studied at St Aloysius’ College – one of the students is a Distinguished Achiever for three courses, while the other is for two courses – and both scored over 90 for advanced maths.

And two people named Eugene Han studied for the HSC at Sydney Boys High this year, both of them scored over 90 for maths extension 1 and last year one of them got a band 6 in studies of religion I, while the other got band 6s in English advanced, English extension 1, legal studies and music 1.

Well done to all four. There must be something in the name.

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