Lake Macquarie High School student share verdict on Senior Science HSC exam

Big plans: Libby Hill and Paige Bowes hope to study forensic science and radiography respectively. "But if I feel too stressed I remind myself it's not worth ruining my mental health for a good mark," Libby said. Picture: Simone De Peak

Big plans: Libby Hill and Paige Bowes hope to study forensic science and radiography respectively. "But if I feel too stressed I remind myself it's not worth ruining my mental health for a good mark," Libby said. Picture: Simone De Peak

LAKE Macquarie High students have praised their Senior Science exam as less difficult than expected, despite the paper making reference to an experiment they said their class did not complete.

Libby Hill, Paige Bowes and Matt Newton were among 6820 NSW students to study the subject, which combines Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Earth and Environmental Science.

“It wasn’t that bad, it was fairly okay,” Libby said. 

“Last night I was a mess thinking it would be really hard. It’s not that it was easy, but it was a lot less difficult than what I expected.”

Paige said she was “pretty happy, but it could have been easier” and Matt said he “felt a lot more confident coming out of the exam than I was going in”.

Students had three hours to complete the paper, which comprised multiple choice questions; short answer questions; and a multi-part question based on their school’s chosen area of study.

Lake Macquarie High chose to study disasters, including their causes; technological developments that have improved ability to monitor and predict weather patterns; and the role of emergency services.

Libby said one question included a diagram and an explanation of an experiment using a conical flask, boiled egg and a match, which it presumed students had performed.  It asked them to explain how the experiment, about air pressure, related to how tropical cyclones formed.

“I was a little bit shocked,” she said. “I did not know what the air pressure was doing, whereas if we did the practical we would have been going over in class what was happening. But I worked around it.” Referring to the rest of the paper, the trio said the multiple choice questions were fairly straight-forward but the “ambiguous wording” of two of the short answer questions had them temporarily stumped.

“We had a six mark question that asked us to identify three examples of products used in everyday life that have changed the role of the skin,” Libby said. “No product is going to stop what the skin does, so I sat on that one for the majority of the test and came back to it.”

An eight mark question asked them how three topics they had studied – lifestyle chemistry, medical technology (bionics) and information systems – had improved long term health.

“I felt information systems did not relate that much to long term health,” said Paige, who wrote about storing patient data. “It wasn’t one of the easiest questions – better and clearer wording would have made it easier to answer,” said Matt, who agreed about the third topic and wrote about mobile phones.

Libby hopes to study forensic science. Paige and Matt want to study radiography and communication.

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