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NSW Curriculum
NSW Education Standards Authority
ACE Rules

NESA has published clarified ACE Rules on the NSW Curriculum website. Stay up to date with the clarified ACE Rules by visiting this website. 

The clarified rules come into effect from 14 October 2024. Schools must not implement the clarified rules before this date. Schools must use the current ACE Rules on Loading... until 14 October 2024.

To learn more about how NESA has clarified the ACE Rules, refer to the information sheets.

Compressed curriculum

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NESA is authorised under sections 20A(2), 95 and 95A of the Education Act 1990 (NSW) to grant the HSC to students who have, to NESA's satisfaction:

  • participated in and completed appropriate courses of study approved by the Minister; and
  • met all other eligibility criteria.


HSC (assessment)HSC credentialHSC (curriculum)PreliminaryRoSASchools Online

Delivering compressed curriculum

  1. Compressed curriculum allows completion of a Preliminary and HSC course (including the HSC exam) in approximately one calendar year instead of two. Students do not receive a time advantage when studying under a compressed curriculum delivery model.
  2. Principals of schools that choose to offer a compressed curriculum must:
    1. notify NESA in the first year of implementation in Loading..., as well as annually thereafter in Schools Online, by the end of Week 5, Term 3
    2. ensure that the teaching of Preliminary courses does not commence before Week 6, Term 4
    3. comply with requirements for course indicative hours 
    4. comply with all eligibility requirements for entry into Preliminary courses, including the satisfactory completion of Year 10 mandatory curriculum requirements
    5. comply with course commencement requirements and place concurrent entries for Preliminary and HSC courses in Loading...
    6. submit Preliminary grades, HSC assessment marks and other HSC results data in the times specified in the Loading...
    7. assess all students in the same HSC course in the same year and report their assessment marks as a single group, for HSC assessment purposes, and
    8. advise NESA in writing ( if a student wishes to appeal to NESA about a school’s decision to decline their ‘N’ determination review, to facilitate the convening of a NESA appeals panel.
  3. Principals may:
    1. compress some or all courses, and
    2. allow a student who has received an ‘N’ determination in a Preliminary course to proceed to the HSC course provisionally, while concurrently satisfying any outstanding Preliminary requirements.
  4. Students must:
    1. complete HSC: All My Own Work (or its equivalent) prior to entry into Preliminary courses
    2. comply with course commencement requirements prior to entry into Preliminary courses
    3. appeal ‘N’ determinations directly with their school in the first instance, and
    4. advise their school if they wish to appeal to NESA about the school’s decision to uphold an ‘N’ determination.

Online resources

For further information

For enquiries about compressed curriculum, please contact your region’s NESA Liaison Officer on (02) 9367 8387 or by email