A Port Stephens school has introduced a raft of new initiatives to ensure the best possible preparation for the 74 Year 12 Higher School Certificate (HSC) students who are sitting their final exams in 2019.
In a couple of firsts for the schools, head teacher secondary studies Belinda Hungerford said that initiatives included the implementation of a new seniors learning area and a free breakfast on HSC exam days.
"The learning area is the space where students come during their study periods in Year 11 and 12, where they are supported to study effectively," Mrs Hungerford said.
"The free breakfast provided from 8.30 every morning has been very popular, ensuring that every student starts their exam day with a healthy breakfast as well as providing the students an opportunity to come together in a relaxed atmosphere, chat with their year advisor and their year 12 teachers before heading into their exams."
There was mixed reactions from Hunter River students who sat the English exams on Thursday and Friday, traditionally the HSC's first paper.
Raymond Terrace's Sohpie Gayler, 18, who is hoping to study psychology at university next year, found the first day's English exam paper quite tough. "I was taken by surprise ... the questions were different to what I thought it would be, which was a bit weird. Fortunately, the Friday paper made more sense and was a lot more straight forward."
Seventeen-year-old Sam Price, of Raymond Terrace, who hopes to follow his parents in a career on the farm, said he had found the English exams challenging, but acceptable. "I was well prepared which made it easier to get through. I am looking forward to get the remaining exams out of the way." Sam has applied to study stock and station at Tocal agriculture centre.
Another university aspirant, 18-year-old Georgina Ross, from Mallabula, said her preparation had helped her through the first two days of exams. "I am hoping to study zoology at university next year so it is important that I perform well in my remaining subjects", which include biology, chemistry and maths.
HSC students from neighbouring Irrawang High School were equally mixed in their summation of the first two day of the various levels of English. The common reactions from the students, according to school staff, as they exited from their rooms was "not as bad as I thought".
HSC written examinations conclude on November 11 with results expected to be released on Tuesday, December 17.