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Estimating your raw marks in HSC, low ranking schools and estimating your ATAR :D (1 Viewer)


Premium Member
Jan 26, 2013
Hey all.

I finished my HSC in 2013 as some of you may know.

I made a thread after finishing my exams called "ATAR bingo" which can be found here:


Basically it is a thread explaining how a bunch of us tried to estimate my marks and ATAR.

Now I am going to speak about how this can apply to yourselves when trying to estimate your HSC marks.

So with the estimates in the thread, most were slightly off:

These are my original estimates here:

English Advanced:[85/105]

Mathematics Extension 1: [55/70]

Mathematics Extension 2: [64/100]

Chemistry: [80/100]


Economics: [70/100]

Going off other 2013'ers raw marks ordered and everything, I found that my approximate raw marks were:

English Advanced: [70/105] Examination mark: 79

Mathematics Extension 1: [52/70] Examination mark: 91

Mathematics Extension 2: [62/100] Examination mark: 88

Chemistry: [74/100] (19/20 in multiple choice) Examination mark: 88

Physics: [86/100] (14/20 in multiple choice) Examination mark: 92

Economics: [65/100] Examination mark: 73

So in general, after doing 2 months of 8-10 hours a day of past papers and marking them using the HSC marking guidelines and sample answers my estimates were a bit off. Here are the reasons why estimates can sometimes be off:

- For English I was under the misconception that all my essays would get 13+/15 or 16+/20 in the HSC. However, for English, it matters how well you respond to the question given on the day. I struggled to properly address Hamlet and by the time I got to Module C I was so tired I felt a little brain dead. However, I did still estimate on getting over 80/105 raw despite doing all of that.

Why? Because my essays were not good at all, but I kept on re-doing the same mistake over and over and over again to the point that doing all 4 years of past papers 4 times each did not make a difference. I needed to fix up my essay writing first. So I was doomed to a 79. Bottom 45% of the whole Advanced cohort.

- For Mathematics Extension 1, I am not sure why I got less than 55/70 raw. I went home and calculated everything the same day exactly according to Carrotstick's solutions that I got 55/70. No more, no less. Maybe my writing was too messy at some stages of the paper, but I am not sure. Top 35% of the state? I'll take that.

- For Mathematics Extension 2, I calculated everything the same day according to Carrotstick's solutions and I seemed to have estimated 64/100 raw. However, this included "half marks" and the whatnot. So in the end I wasn't too far off by getting something along the lines of 62/100 raw.

- For Chemistry I was sure that I would get 80/100 raw at the minimum. When I marked my papers at home I would always get over 80, mostly around 84/100. I was expecting a definite band 6, and then boom! out pops an 88 with a 74/100 raw mark. I don't know how I got 55/80 raw in the rest of the paper after smashing the multiple choice. I'm predicting that maybe for Chemistry I never fully understood how the marking criteria is completely different every year and each year the markers set new standards. Also, there were a few curveballs for me in the paper, whereas in Physics I felt there were none.

- For Physics, I was expecting around 80/100 raw because that is what I would usually get when doing past papers at home. Considering I got 14/20 in multiple choice, I thought my Band 6 chances would be gone or borderline. Considering 83/100 was the cut-off for band 6 this year, I would have surely been gone with that. However, somehow remarkably I got 72/80 raw in the rest of the paper. I walked out of the test thinking that I got 25/25 in Age of Silicon though (too bad they don't award option module state ranks) and the test was filled with calculation which I was sure to get all right except to lose one silly mark (so around 25/26 of calculations). Overall this means that I got between 22-27/29 for the other part of the paper involving short answers not including the calculations. There were no curveballs for me in the paper though and I guess I just underestimated myself in Physics. Was very happy with this mark and I'm still contemplating on whether buying back my whole Physics paper or not.

- For Economics I had no clue as to what I would get as I made everything up on the spot that day, made up my own concepts and considering it was the week before Physics and Chemistry, which I was very good at in short answer structuring, I decided that I would structure my Economics short answers the exact same way as I would for Physics and Chemistry as an extra practice test for Physics and Chemistry. I predicted 10/20 for multiple choice, 30/40 for short answers and 15/20 for both essays (I somehow wrote more pages for these than for English as I had more time to do them and made up random stuff). In the end I was happy I got a band 4 for doing less than 20 hours of work on Economics throughout year 12.

So overall my raw estimates were ok in the end and were a rough indicator for how well I would do. However, when it comes to English, it depends on the markers and your performance on the day, because my teachers were actual HSC English markers and told me I would get a Band 6 with those essays. However, I would not recommend estimating English because it is too broad to estimate properly. Another example is someone on this forum who never thought they would state rank English, but did in the end with great skill. There was also another person who did very badly in English Extension 2, even though they thought their project was ok.

Now for ATAR estimates:

As seen on the bingo thread, all estimates are in the 90's. My personal estimate was 93.65. I would have been happy with anything above 92 as it would guarantee me into my course, but coming from a school that was ranked the year before in the 600's, it seemed like I could get anything above 75. The rest was out of my hands and I would be unable to guess. So I set up the bingo thread for that sole purpose of making others guess and pin point my ATAR. In the end, I would say there were many estimates around 92-95 and many above 97, but none covered the range of 95-96.9, which on the day of results was likely to be my ATAR.

I was pretty shocked to get 96.4 in the end. I will take top 3000 in the state any day thank you very much. I was so happy with it too. It was enough to even get me into UNSW law with bonus points. Considering the year before, my school's highest ATAR was 88ish, and that 5 people in my year got above 90, I was extremely happy that somehow our year defied the odds and smashed it. And the fact that the previous year, someone who did all my subjects and had better rankings (first in everything) got an 80, I was not expecting to actually get above 90. Even though my estimates were saying between 90-98, I always had this feeling that I was not informed of something very important for HSC and was going to get less than 90 due to the fact that I missed some vital piece of information to get that ATAR and those good HSC marks.

In the end, Congratualtions to John Maximus for winning the Bingo with the closest guess of 96.7!

Going to a low ranked school, it made no difference on my ATAR or HSC marks. I have to say that ironically selective schools did me a very great service in rejecting my continual applications as I liked the extras involved with public schools. In the end, don't let your school discourage you. Of course, it is a little easier to spot mistakes when it comes to going to a top 20 school, as they teach students to master exams, although being at a low ranking school does not have a very negative impact on your performance. Mind you I did not go to tutoring of any form and all my study was independent with the great help of my awesome teachers. So you can get any ATAR at any school with any subject combination. I'm sure there was at least one student who got above 99.80 and came from a school ranked below 300.

So don't limit yourself. If you impose limits on yourself, then you won't beat the limits. Instead, work hard and aim for the top. Aim for that high perfect ATAR. But don't expect it so that you don't get disappointed. Just keep it as a possibility that it is possible and that you can do it. That way, as long as you get into your top preference you will still be happy. And believe me, if you aim for something above your standards, you can surely have a better chance at reaching your standard. I aimed for getting a 95 in my main 8 units and a 90 in English and an 80 in Economics. By aiming this high, but expecting an 85 in everything, I know I tried my best and can look myself in the mirror and say I gave it my best shot. In the end I was super happy even though I didn't reach those aims, but met my expectations.

So in the end I can say that your estimates can work as an ok rough guide, but not necessarily an absolute guide. Keep your estimates very wide within a frame of 10 or so marks/points as you may get lower/higher than you expected. Always aim higher than you expect/need and you will pleasantly be surprised with your results. Taking my example, I would still say that my marks were

And my ATAR aggregate is very close to this for those who are interested in scaling and the what not:

The 91.2 is MX2, 89.2 is MX1, 87.2 is Physics, 82.6 is Chemistry and 61.4 is English. I think for Economics, the aggregate for each unit would have been like 27/50. Though I did not try to accurately calculate it as I didn't care about it.

Good Luck to all 2014'ers and beyond as you are going to need it (I've seen so much stuff happen where luck is involved in HSC as well as dedication and hardwork, etc.). Just a few lucky questions in your exam papers, or a few curveballs can make a difference in getting that extra 1-2 ATAR rankings. Also, you must be constantly looking over your shoulder checking those blind spots, to make sure that you can target all aspects of your HSC and minimise losing marks. For example, I did not check the blind spots behind English and paid the price of getting 6 less than the minimum I expected.

Also, if anyone is interested in receiving tutoring for my strongest 8 units, pm me.

PS to mods:

I felt that this should be for the 2013'er section and the other section, though it would be nice if this thread was locked and the other was the one posted in.


Premium Member
Jan 26, 2013
Physics 2013:

Section I, Part A - Multiple Choice: 14/20

Section I, Part B: 50/55

I got full marks on the photocell 5 marker (and I did solar cell, which technically is a photocell) and full marks on the 7 marker :D

Section II:

Age of Silicon:

Raw mark: 86/100

Weighted Raw mark: 86/100

Examination mark: 92/100 Woot!!!

Although in 2012 that raw mark would have gotten me a 95 :haha:
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