Alstonville High School students Michael Wilson, Jasch Saeck and Ashlea Walker discuss the HSC English exam
Alstonville High School students Michael Wilson, Jasch Saeck and Ashlea Walker discuss the HSC English exam

Students face day one of HSC exams

By SHAN GOODWIN

STUDYING English is more about philosophising on life and delving into culture than it is about spelling bees and grammar, says 17year-old Ashlea Walker.

That perhaps explains why advanced levels of English have become the course of choice among Alstonville Higher School Certificate students.

This year a record 33 students took on the most advanced level, English Extension 2, while 34 did Extension 1. About 80 studied Advanced English and 50 the Standard English course.

Yesterday, on day one of 2005 HSC exams, hundreds of students around the Northern Rivers sat the Standard and Advanced English test.

Ashlea, of Tintenbar, said there were parts that took her by surprise, but overall it was a fair exam.

It offered a good opportunity to get across the knowledge she had gained during the past 12 months of English study, she said.

"In an average week I would do my full day at school and then about three to four hours a night," she said.

"But that's fine. That's what I would expect the workload to be like if I'm going to have a career. I had an English tutor outside of school. About half my class does.

"I want to be a speech pathologist and that is one reason I took on the heavier English levels, but also because it is really about life learning."

Ashlea said her nerves had dissipated by the time she got to yesterday's exam.

"I think we all got a bit stressed and sick around the time of the trials, but by now we are realising it's not the be all of everything," she said.

"There are alternatives if you don't get the UAI (Universities Admission Index) you want."

Ashlea still has to sit the Extension 1 and 2 exams and her other subjects, but says she can now 'see the light at the end of the tunnel'.

The HSC exams continue for the next four weeks.



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