HSC Scaling

How Scaling Works

Scaling is the extent to which your marks are pushed up or down to derive a scaled mark. Each subject we offer comprises certain scaling parameters which represent whether the subject is scaled highly or not. Scaling, which is done by the Board of Studies, tends to change every year owing to each year’s fluctuating performance across the subjects.

For example, a high mark in English Standard cannot be said to be “better” than a slightly higher grade in Mathematics Extension 1. One subject may be slightly more difficult than the other so the marks from the various subjects are converted into marks on a common scale.

This conversion is done by converting the Raw Examination Mark into a scaled mark out of 50 for each subject (i.e. incomparable marks are converted into scaled marks). The conversion is somewhat complicated to understand but for those who embark on subjects such as Mathematics Extension 2, the understanding of algorithms will help!

A Few Terms

  • Raw Exam Marks are the actual marks achieved in the external exam. Business will be marked differently to English Advanced, for example. This mark has not yet been aligned and is therefore not a true HSC mark reflection.
  • Scaled up and scaled down refers to whether or not a subject’s raw mark translates to a higher or lower scaled mark. For example, students who score around 70 out of 120 for Mathematics Extension 2 will still achieve a scaled mark of 45 out of 50. In short, higher scaled subjects are desirable as they lower exam marks to equal higher scaled marks which go a long way towards HSC ATAR.
  • Aligned HSC marks are totalled out of 100 and are the final HSC marks. They are separate to ATAR calculation. Read more about HSC Marks Alignment.

Does Scaling Affect You?

Scaling shouldn’t directly affect you since it is the mechanism, which compensates for the differences in subject difficulty. Getting a higher percentage in a lower scaled subject is relatively easy and you should choose subjects that you will excel at. If you don’t have much talent in Physics, then don’t choose it. If you’re passionate about English then English Extension 2 will be better for your ATAR.

A Scaled Mean

Each HSC subject has a scaled mean, the average scaled mark for the subject. This mean is a number out of 50 which describes the average scaled mark per subject scored by the candidature of the subject (i.e. the amount of students participating in the subject).

The scaled mean is possibly the most important statistic since it measures how high a subject scales. The higher the scaled mean for a subject, the better it scales.

For example, in 2008 Mathematics Extension 2 comprised a scaled mean of 44.5 rendering it the highest scaled commonly chosen subject. The scaled mean for English Advanced was 31.3 and Physics was 30.4. Although scaled means tend to be steady, they will change annually owing to the performance of students fluctuating.

What You Really Need To Know

You need to be able to read and interpret scaled means of the various subjects, especially if you are in Year 10 and wanting to select your Year 11 subjects. Try to choose subjects that you are talented at as opposed to selecting subjects purely based on high scaling.

Why You Should Study With e-tut

Studying with e-tut not only allows you flexible and cost effective learning, but you will have access to our highly qualified tutors who will help you with your subject choices.

We offer a top quality virtual classroom environment where students are able to communicate via audio or text with their tutors and peers as well as share files, view images and keep track of class attendance and subject performance.

The flexibility of online tutoring means we can offer individual or small group classes for up to 60 minutes, meaning that you can study as little or as much as you require each week.

Register with e-tut to get favourable grades in a dynamic online learning environment.