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Mathematics Extension 2. Should my Child do it for the HSC?

Updated: Jul 1, 2023

Your child is in Year 11 and has performed well in Mathematics Extension 1. Should they do Mathematics Extension 2 for the HSC? This video may help you decide.


Good morning! This is Jason Ursino from Learning Space, and I'm driving to school.

Today I'm going to be talking about Mathematics Extension 2 or in the old language, “4 Unit Maths”. The holy grail of all maths courses, the highest mathematics that you can do in high school. Should your son or daughter do Mathematics Extension 2?

Firstly, they need to really, really be able to perform well in Mathematics Advanced and Extension 1 in Year 11. They need to prove to the teachers that they are capable of doing that extra higher level. It is difficult, the subject is difficult, and it requires a lot of work. That extra unit of mathematics is almost like picking up a violin for the first time and making sure that you have the time to practise and do a lot of questions and understand the concepts and do the higher level questions involved.

A lot of students think that doing Mathematics Extension 2, it really doesn't matter what mark you get because it scales well. It's absolutely not true. You only scale well, if you perform well in it. So you need to make sure that you perform reasonably well in Extension 2 for it to scale well.

The other thing to consider is when you do Mathematics Extension 2, generally speaking,

you are going to drop a subject to do it. Most students who are academic enough to do Mathematics Extension 2 tend to drop a subject that they're more likely going to get a Band 5 or Band 6 in so they are forgoing a Band 6 in a subject they are dropping, and they are also forgoing a Band 6 in Mathematics Advanced. When you do Mathematics Extension 1, your Mathematics Advanced mark, as well as your Mathematics Extension 1 mark counts towards your ATAR. However, when you do Mathematics Extension 2, your Mathematics Advanced doesn't count because the student does not do any Mathematics Advanced assessments. They only do the Extension 1, Extension 2 assessments. So it is more likely, there's a good chance they're going to get a Band 6 in Mathematics Advanced, they are at that sort of level. So they are going to forgo a Band 6 in Mathematics Advanced, and they're going to forgo a Band 6 in the subject they dropped. So they are risking 2 Band 6’s to do this Mathematics Extension 2. If you're going to risk 2 Band 6’s to do Mathematics Extension 2, you need to make sure that you do exceptionally well in Extension 2, because you are reducing your Band 6 count towards your ATAR. And therefore, the only time it will really be worth it is if you do well in Extension 2 and you get a higher band in Extension 2.

So what I would do if your son or daughter is considering it, and they are at that level, and they have decided that they are going to risk 1 or 2 Band 6’s to do Extension 2. If you're still not 100% sure, I would go in there, making sure they don't have 10 units doing Extension 2. If a student has 10 units doing Extension 2 that means that there is no room if they need to drop the subject. So they should have 11 units at the very least. So that way, if it does get too hard and too difficult, then they can drop the Extension 2 component at some point because they got 11 units and they can drop down to 10 units. If they have 10 years with Extension 2, then it is possible that they will be stuck and if they don’t perform very well, it's going to affect their ATAR.

So a lot of things to consider for Extension 2 Maths, it is difficult and there are a couple of things that you can do to make sure that you have a bit of a buffer or a bit of insurance. One way of doing that is to have at least 11 units in your unit count when you do your Mathematics Extension 2.

If you liked my videos, there are more of them at and have a good day.

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