Spending the morning doing an HSC exam isn't the ideal way to start your 18th birthday, but Jessica Herbert took it in her stride.
The Oak Flats High School student completed the two-hour Retail Services (VET) exam on Friday morning, but was planning on celebrating becoming an adult with friends on Saturday night.
But then it would be straight back to the books to get ready for her Modern History exam on Monday.
Sitting the HSC examination for Retail Services is only compulsory for students who want to receive an ATAR at the end of year 12. Students who don't sit the exam still receive credit for completing the course and walk away with a Certificate II in Retail Services.
The subject covers the duties of a shop assistant or sales person, including minimising loss, stock control, technological changes in the workplace, communicating with customers and merchandising.
The HSC component covers the theory, while the qualification is about students being able to apply what they have learnt in a practical situation.
Jessica, who has been given an early entry offer to study law and psychology at UOW next year, said she was interested in the subject because it gave her a greater understanding of her after-school job at KFC.
She has been working there for the past two years and completing the retail certificate at school means she won't have to do a traineeship to become a manager.
"They help each other. If I'm at work I think 'I learnt that in retail' and the other way around."
While it has been tricky balancing work and study over the past few months, Jessica thought she did well on the exam.
"I knew it all and I actually finished early," she said.
"The extended responses were really good, I did those first."
Retail Services teacher Richard McMullen said most students who studied Retail Services had a part-time job outside of school, which led to a lot of good in-class discussions about their experiences at work.
"It was reasonably straightforward," Mr McMullen said.
"Students needed a clear understanding of the terminology for the multiple choice, and they had a number of questions that focused on the industry level rather than the shop assistant level, and that's something that hasn't appeared on previous papers."
Monday, October 21
■ Modern History
■ Information technology (VET)
■ French Beginners
■ French Continuers