Past HSC and Practise Questions for AOS: Discovery

I always feel that the first HSC year to go through a new Area of Study (Discovery) are treated a bit like guinea pigs. With no prior HSC questions to get a feel for what would be in the exams, it’s really a bit unnerving for many students.

However, the focus should always be on concept – dissecting and building a cloud of ideas, relationships and questions about what Discovery is and means to us.

Nonetheless, to assist, I’ve compiled a short list of practise questions, which you might find useful or at least a starting point for an essay.

Remember – the hardest questions to answer will challenge you to think beyond your preconceptions of what Discovery is! They are the best to broaden your ideas and take your essay to new arguments that you may not have considered before. As with my previous post on how to break down a Belonging essay question, I suggest

  1. Identify the keywords – they are often the concepts / hints as to how to structure your response
  2. Challenge the question/statement – this depends on whether the question is specifically asking you to argue FOR the statement; if not, then feel free to look at both the for/against of whether the statement about Discovery is true or not, according to what you have studied, and why.

HSC Questions:


The process of discovery involves uncovering what is hidden and reconsidering what is known.
How is this perspective on discovery explored in your prescribed text and ONE other related
text of your own choosing?

Practise Questions:

  • Discovery changes our perception of human nature and the world we live in.
  • The importance of a discovery is measured by the impact is has on people.
  • The ramifications of an individual’s discovery can change their perspective of themselves and the world.
  • To discover is to be enlightened. Do you agree?
  • “The real voyage of discovery consists in not seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust. Consider the quotation above and consider how perceptions of discovery vary according to personal, cultural and social contexts and values.
  • Analyse how discoveries have a meaningful impact upon a persona’s sense of self.
  • Discoveries can affirm or challenge society’s assumptions and beliefs about aspects of human experience and the world. How does this quote represent your own understanding of discovery?
  • Discovery is part of the human condition.
  • Discovery is essential; we must press forward despite the fact that history may record the specifics of the event as having a human cost
  • Discoveries are often evoked by curiousity and wonder, offering up new understandings of ourselves and the world we live in. Discuss this statement in relation to…
  • Whether discovering something for the first time, or rediscovering something, it is our attitude towards the process of discovery that is most important. Demonstrate how…. represent this interpretation of discovery.

I will continue to build upon this list, but feel free to contribute also in the comments below.

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