Hunter students describe Personal Development, Health and Physical Education Higher School Certificate exam as ‘a gift’

Next step: Jorja Stewardson and Laura Scott said they were both aiming to study biomedical science. Jorja wants to be a doctor and Laura a physiotherapist. They're sad to leave, but excited for the future. Picture: Simone De Peak

HUNTER students have referred to their Personal Development, Health and Physical Education exam as a “gift”, saying their ample preparation made the questions easy to answer.

Bishop Tyrrell Anglican College Fletcher students Jorja Stewardson and Laura Scott said they had studied hard to be in the position to say that it was difficult to fault the paper.

“It was amazing – I could not have asked for anything better than that,” said Jorja, 17, who sat her Mathematics Extension 1 exam an hour later.

“It was probably one of the most generous papers out of the entire exam period.”

More reporting from the 2020 HSC

Laura agreed it was “pretty good”. It was her last exam.

“We prepared really well and knew the syllabus.”

The best friends said they each did every paper from 2010, as well as practice papers and questions.

The paper’s first section is split into multiple choice and short answer questions. Laura, 18, said the multiple choice was “easier than expected” and “good stuff”, while Jorja said it was “like a gift”.

“We barely had to think about it – but we did a lot of practice.”

They were equally as relieved about the short answer questions.

Jorja said she had answered one worth eight marks about skill acquisition in a practice paper.

They said the only question that had them puzzled was one asking for the trend in the leading cause of mortality – coronary heart disease – for males and females over the past decade.

“I just had a one word answer – decreasing, but it was a big box and worth four marks so I’m not sure,” Jorja said.

Laura said she also wrote the word decreasing, but added a statistic.

The paper’s second section required students to answer a question about sports medicine and a question about improving performance.

Each question had three parts, worth three, five and 12 marks.

Laura said the first part of each question was easy, but she had been worried about how she had answered each of the last parts, until she had time to confer with her peers.

She said the sports medicine question asked about sports policies and the sports environment, “which means you have to hit certain points from the syllabus”.

Jorja said she had already practiced a similar sports medicine question in a take home essay.

She gave the thumbs up to the improving performance question.

“It was totally different, but not hard to manipulate,” she said.

They had both practiced answering the three mark improving performance question as if it was worth 12 marks.

The girls, who both play competitive sport, said keeping physically fit during the year also kept them mentally fit.

They ran together daily during remote learning and meet up for “salads and a sunset” every Friday.

Jorja credits her daily gym session before exams with “keeping me alert, happy and taking away any anxieties”.

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