Armidale students tackled the first HSC English paper on Thursday.

New England Girls' School students Laura Strelitz and Sophie Brown were relieved to wrap up their first English paper for the HSC on Thursday.

New England Girls' School students Laura Strelitz and Sophie Brown were relieved to wrap up their first English paper for the HSC on Thursday.

THE High School Certificate exams is one of the most stressful times for Year 12 students across Australia.

More than 60,000 students headed into the first English exam for the HSC on Thursday.

Deputy principal of New England Girls’ School Terri Swartz said her students have access to ample support.

“They need to divide up their schedule over the coming weeks in a way that appropriately balances study, sleep, exercise, friends and healthy eating,” she said.

“The message to them is that achieving their personal best in the HSC will open up opportunities for them, but with this in mind, they need to understand that life will give them additional chances to fulfil their aspirations.”

Students Laura Strelitz and Sophie Brown wrapped up the first English paper of the HSC on Thursday.

Both were relieved to have knocked over the first exam.

“Still one more to go but feeling relieved that one is over, happy that they have started so we can get them finished,” Laura said.

“It’s not very fair that 50 per cent of your grade is based on one exam, it puts a lot of pressure on young adults.”

Sophie said the HSC had been one of the most stressful times of her school life.

“You have to be really organised and make decent notes in class to stay on top of everything,” she said.

A study by the University of New South Wales found that more than 40 per cent of Year 12 students experience concerning levels of anxiety in their final year.

In response ReachOut Australia has launched a study stress campaign designed to help students manage stress and anxiety.

ReachOut Australia CEO Jono Nicholas said the national campaign aims to reassure students that there is life after the HSC regardless of the mark they receive.

“We want young people to know that your marks don’t define you, there are many different options, opportunities and career paths – there’s not just one path to your future,” he said.

The last exams in the HSC are Design and Technology, Modern Greek Beginners and Business services and will wrap up on Friday November 4.

To manage HSC stress visit reachout.com/examstress.

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