Some HSC students 'saved by the bell'
STUDENTS sitting exams at The Rivers Secondary College Lismore High Campus were saved by the bell on the first day of Higher School Certificate exams yesterday.
Staff at the Northern New South Wales' high school said the first state-wide HSC English exams for 2016 began slightly later than scheduled for between 30 and 40 Year 12 students after a malfunction with the bell system at school that day.
Year 12 Advisor Emma Pruess said some students were pleased to discover they would not be "distracted" by bells ringing during the two hour exam.
"Most have said 'talk to me after the exam'," she said outside the school hall this morning.
"They've all been really nervous."
At around 12.45pm students emerged from the silence of the hall and expressed their relief.
"It was so scary, sitting down for the first time and not really knowing what to expect until you heard all the talk and that kind of stuff," said Kimberley Smith, 18, referring to the pre-exam instructions given by external exam staff, who are often former teachers.
School Captain Madison Little said now that the initial "hump" of the first English exam was over, she felt more confident about the rest of her tests.
Mrs Pruess said three students hadn't shown up to the first day of exams and she wasn't yet sure whether the absences were due to illness or nerves or both.
She said one student had a minor breakdown heading into the exam but was reassured that she was off to a good start just by showing up and the exam would not determine her future, even if she wanted to go to university.