Past HSC and Practise Questions for AOS: Discovery

I’m surprised how quickly the years of “Discovery” have gone by! 2018 will be the last year for Discovery, before the launch of the new syllabuses. The new syllabus for 2019 HSC onwards will still have an “area of study” (simply known as the Common Module) and it will be on Texts and Human Experiences.

But for the rest of us dealing with the last leg of the Discovery journey, here’s the list of questions to practice and ponder upon…

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:


‘Whether motivated by need, wonder or curiosity, discovery has the power to be transformative.’

How accurately does this statement reflect the view of discovery explored in your prescribed text and ONE other related text of your own choosing?


To what extent do the texts you have studied reveal both the emotional and intellectual responses provoked by the experience of discovering?
In your response, refer to your prescribed text and ONE other related text of your own choosing.


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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