HSC Hexahalls 2015

An exploration into the design of an exam space and the influence it has on the level of anxiety in a high school student

The Higher School Certificate was introduced in 1967. It causes increased risk of anxiety amongst students. When exam day arrives. Many measures have been taken to reduce stress in students however one thing has remained unchanged. The design and approach of the exam halls around Australia. The formal layout is based on containing as many people into one space as possible to reduce malpractice and create an equal playing field for all students. Little focus has been brought to the connection between the mental state of the student and the examination environment.

‘In New South Wales, there were 5261 applications for special provisions particuarly in mental illness, from the almost 70,000 students who undertook the HSC, an increase from previous years.’ ‘In Victoria, there was a 42% increase in applications for special considerations since 2009.’ (August 2015, The conversation, Pearl Subban Lecturer at Monash University.) ‘Figures obtained by the Sydney Morning Herald show that in the five years to 2009 the number of students who appealed for psychological and psychiatric reasons increased from 311 to 401, an increase of almost 30 per cent.’ ‘The number of students who sat the HSC grew from 66,279 in 2004 to 69,261 last year, an increase of 4.5 per cent.’



Architect Fang Xu discusses the idea that humans naturally gravitate towards the walls and windows in a ‘lockdown scenario.’ This is similar to an exam hall scenario and is what the existing special provisions system tries to avoid. My Final design ensures all students have a comfortable space by the wall and windows whilst still maintaining a high level of privacy and high ceilings and ventilation to ensure general wellbeing. The design is a flatpack that can be quickly assembled onto school ovals and can accommodate to varying amounts of students undergoing exams. The materials used are lightweight wood and glass. 


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