Marking the HSC
Every year, around 5,000 markers mark HSC exams. Learn what's involved in marking, what the criteria are and how to apply.
Applications to mark the 2023 HSC have now closed
Applications to mark the 2023 HSC have now closed
Applications to mark the HSC are open in March for two weeks each year. Check back later in the year to find out when HSC marking applications are open.
About HSC marking
NESA sets, conducts and marks the HSC exams. HSC markers are employed to mark all types of examinations including written, practical (projects, submitted works and performances) and languages oral exams.
Most HSC marking is done online and outside school hours using Markers Online. All markers attend briefing and practice marking sessions before they begin marking student responses. Some markers will need to attend a NESA marking centre for these sessions. If these sessions occur on weekdays, NESA will pay your school to employ a relief teacher.
Applicants are considered across many different positions within the marking operation. These include:
- pilot marker
- senior marker
- coordinating senior marker
- senior judge.
The role of a judge is different to the role of a marker. Learn more about what judges do.
To learn about the criteria for selecting HSC markers see HSC marker criteria.
Marking applications open in early March each year for two weeks. This allows time to process applications and notify applicants in priority order from mid-June.
Applicants can still apply late, but sometimes late applicants are not accepted. This depends on subject requirements (number of positions available and number of applicants).
HSC marking process
All markers must participate in the briefing and practice marking sessions before marking student responses. These sessions are usually held over 3 days in the evenings and sometimes on Saturdays.
Most of the briefing and practice sessions are done online. A small number of subjects will have briefing sessions done in person at a designated corporate marking centre.
When the practice marking has been successfully completed, the HSC marking will begin.
The length of marking varies depending on the subject.
Some subjects are marked in less than a week, while others will be marked over 2 weeks. The following is a general guide to the marking timeframes.
Marking usually takes place from mid-October to mid-November. Subjects are generally marked in HSC written timetable date order.
Practical exams (projects, submitted works and performances)
Marking is done either itinerantly (in schools) or in a corporate venue between August and October. The itinerant marking program is usually scheduled over a two-week program for each course.
Languages oral exam
Conduct (examining) and marking usually takes place from August to September.
Where HSC marking takes place
Marking largely occurs after school hours on weeknights and on Saturdays. Most subjects will be marked externally using the NESA onscreen marking software. Some subjects (including some written language exams and most VET subjects) are marked in person at a corporate marking venue.
Marking the questions
A team of markers will usually mark one question of a student’s total exam, or a group of questions. These questions usually total around 10 to 15 marks. The Senior Marker leads the team of HSC markers and will supervise and monitor the quality of marking in the team.
Each marking operation will be managed by a Supervisor of Marking (SOM). NESA recruits the SOM to manage individual subject marking operations.
HSC marker criteria
Marker selections are based on what information you provide in your marker application form. All applicants must be supported by their principal or supervisor. Markers also need to be a NSW accredited teacher.
NESA will preference applicants who have both of the following:
- current or recent teaching experience
- currently teaching the subject to Year 12 students or equivalent.
When the number of suitable applicants exceeds the number of marking positions, additional criteria will be applied. NESA may:
- increase the cut off for the number of years' teaching experience
- exclude the markers with the most number of years’ experience at marking to increase opportunities for new teachers to mark
- exclude late applications.
School principals are not eligible to be HSC markers.
Markers should have a minimum of three years of experience teaching the subject to Year 12 students. This is usually the minimum requirement to be a marker.
Markers must have a degree with a major in the subject they are marking (or an equivalent program of study).
Markers must have taught the subject recently to become a marker. An applicant who has not taught the subject in the last three years is not deemed to have recent teaching experience.
Most casual and part-time teachers will not have enough teaching experience. There may be instances where the applicant is both:
- a casual or part-time teacher with experience teaching blocks of senior classes
- has a minimum of three years of teaching experience in that subject.
The requirement of recent teaching means most retired applicants are not eligible.
Apply through Markers Online
You can apply to be a HSC marker or judge through Markers Online.
To do this you need to:
- read the HSC marker criteria to check if you're eligible to apply
- create a Markers Online account or log in to your existing account
- complete a marker application form.
Markers Online also has more detailed information about being a marker, how you'll be notified and eligibility criteria.
Contact Marker Support
You can contact Marker Support for questions about applying to mark the HSC.
The department can be contacted by phone or email: