Should I Choose Standard or Advanced Mathematics in the New Syllabus?
When you’re choosing which level of maths to study for the HSC, it’s important to have all the information. At Sponge, we’ve recently examined what is important to students, and assembled all the information and advice you need!
What is the biggest difference between standard and advanced in the new syllabus?
Basically, the main difference between standard and advanced maths is calculus, financial maths, statistics and pace. Standard maths includes financial maths, statistics, no calculus, and is typically easier to keep up with. Advanced maths has very little financial maths & statistics, is calculus-heavy, and is taught at a faster pace. (There’s lots to get through!)
Furthermore, there are two standard maths courses available for HSC study: Standard 1 and Standard 2. The difference? Standard 2 has harder trig, stats and financial maths topics in year 12. That’s it.
The new standard maths 1 syllabus
The new standard maths 2 syllabus
The new advanced maths syllabus
Does advanced maths scale better than standard maths?
The answer is technically yes. A student who earns 80% on their standard maths HSC will earn a lower scaled mark than in advanced. However, advanced maths is a more challenging course, so you will personally perform better in standard than you would in advanced. The scaling is designed to even out the difficulty of both courses. If you are a really strong maths student who loves it and wants to be challenged, you will probably achieve better marks studying advanced than you would studying standard. If you’re in year 10 and struggling with maths, and don’t enjoy the subject as much as others, standard might be the better option.
At Sponge, we encourage students to aim high and not to give up when things get tough. If you find maths challenging but can hang in there with it, and are prepared to wrestle with ideas until you have those awesome ‘aha’ moment, then advanced is for you. Harder levels of maths can be super rewarding long term. Also, many university courses require a minimum of advanced maths in year 12, so it’s worth checking out prerequisites for your dream uni degree before making a decision.
If I’m a high-achiever in essay subjects, will I let myself down by choosing an ‘easier’ maths subject?
No! You should choose subjects based on interest and what you’re good at. Standard maths may be an easy subject for a strong maths student, but that same maths student might find advanced mathematics very difficult and dull. If you can keep going with maths, at whatever level is right for you, do it.
Is standard maths ‘easier’?
Standard maths aims to develop a high level of maths proficiency, and skills that apply directly to real life situation. Advanced maths aims to develop an advanced level of mathematical understanding and competence. The content is adjusted to this, and a student who has always found maths particularly difficult will find standard maths easier. However, if you are a high achieving student and enjoy a challenge, the higher level of technical engagement with maths in the advanced syllabus may encourage you to enjoy maths more, and therefore find advanced maths easy to enjoy and study for.
The bottom line:
Choose the subject you think you will enjoy more and be happier studying. If you love a challenge… if you just love the satisfaction of learning challenging things after grappling with them for a time, then advanced is the right choice for you. If you don’t enjoy maths as much as your other subjects, struggle to engage with the concepts, dislike doing maths in your own time, and have many other unique strengths and skills, standard is the choice for you. You are the person who has to study the subject, so your opinion is the most valuable one!