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TAFE NSW helps state-topping physics whiz jump-start medical career

TAFE NSW helps state-topping physics whiz jump-start medical career

TAFE NSW graduate Brian Kum has kick-started his medical career by being awarded equal first in the state in the HSC Physics Examination.

According to a report by the National Skills Commission[1], people with post school qualifications generally have better employment outcomes than those who have not completed further education after leaving school. 

In 2019, the median weekly earnings for an employee with a certificate III or IV was $1150 while the medium weekly earnings for an employee with no post-school qualification was $820.

Mr Kum finished school with high marks, but he still had goals to improve his ATAR and gain entry to the university and pursue the career of his dreams in Medicine.

“After completing Year 12, I decided to take a ‘gap year’ and repeat HSC Physics at TAFE NSW. I was hoping to improve my ATAR and increase my chances of getting into medical school,” Mr Kum said.

“Studying HSC Physics at TAFE NSW St Leonards was a great experience. I had a fabulous Physics teacher who helped me develop a strong understanding of the various concepts in Physics. The head teacher of HSC studies supported me all throughout the year and always helped me achieve my best. TAFE NSW is an amazing environment in which to complete your HSC studies.”

Brian completed the TAFE Statement in HSC studies, where he was able to focus solely on one HSC subject. Brian more than exceeded his goal, having gained entry to Medicine and gaining equal first in the state in the HSC Physics Examination in 2021.

The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) has developed the HSC curriculum and is responsible for managing completion requirements including the final examinations and awarding the HSC credential.

Students can study one subject at TAFE NSW or a full HSC program. Students study both Preliminary and HSC coursework in the one year for each subject that they choose. To succeed in the HSC with TAFE NSW, students need to have a mature approach to their study, be prepared to devote time outside the classroom, complete assessments and research tasks, and attend a minimum of 80% of scheduled classes.

TAFE NSW Educational Pathways teacher Melissa Knudson said that people choose to study the HSC at TAFE NSW for a variety of reasons.

“The HSC at TAFE NSW is perfect for those who may have had an incomplete schooling experience, or who want to further their tertiary education or employment prospects,” Ms Knudson said.

“Being able to study one subject or a full HSC program in an adult learning environment is very effective and we find that those who study the HSC at TAFE NSW gain high marks and enjoy the benefit of a strong educational foundation that will serve them for the rest of their lives.”

The HSC at TAFE NSW can be undertaken as an alternative to the HSC at school. TAFE NSW also offers over 40 Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses to study as part of the HSC in areas including animal studies, plumbing, automotive, maritime operations, IT, hospitality, and fitness.

For more information about studying the HSC at TAFE NSW, visit or phone 131 601. 

Media contact: Alice Dalley, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist,, mobile 0402 528 210.