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GRUMBLING tummies were not uncommon yesterday for HSC students sitting their first exam, with a change in start time forcing them to skip lunch.
Almost 70,000 year 12 students from across NSW completed the compulsory English exam, this year held from 11.20am to 1.30pm.
In a change from the traditional 9am start, the NSW Board of Studies altered the English exam start time to 1.50pm last year and changed it again this year.
It meant the exam was held over lunch, creating some hungry stomachs and noise as younger students took their break during the year 12 paper.
“I was a bit hungry,” James Fallon student Emily Brown said.
“I heard my own (tummy rumble),” Rebecca Coldan agreed.
Though, hunger wasn’t the main distraction.
With other students on their lunch break during the exam, Mikaela Pontt said the extra noise caused her to lose her train of thought.
“It was a little bit distracting,” she said.
Rebecca said it had been “a little bit harder to concentrate”.
While Rachael Ralph stated it had been “really annoying hearing kids yelling”, she said year 12 students were used to blocking out noises during study periods.
All four girls believed the Board of Studies should change the exam back to the 9am start time for future year 12 students.
“They should have it at 9am because it’s just easier,” Rachael said.
“That way you don’t sit around all day thinking about it.”
The hall had been roped off with signs around instructing other students and teachers to be quiet.
Relieving deputy principal Ross McGarvie didn’t know why the Board of Studies changed the exam start time, but said whether the exam was held at 9am or 11.20am, it would run across a break.
“Either way it’s going to go across a break, recess or lunch, and all schools face that challenge,” he said.
HSC students will face a second English paper today, with exams running until November 6.
Victorian VCE students will complete their first compulsory exam, English, on October 30.