About HSCMST Support

What is the HSC Minimum Standards Test?

The HSC minimum standards test is a multi-choice computer based test designed to assess students for a minimum standard required for higher education and the workforce. The HSC minimum standard is set at Level 3 of the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF). The ACSF is a nationally agreed set of standards used to identify and develop core skills required for personal, community, work and training contexts. Level 3 of the ACSF describes the functional literacy and numeracy skills required for life after school, for work and further education.

There are three different components of the MST test; Reading, Writing and Numeracy. If students do not meet the minimum standard required after their first test, they are required to sit the test one more time in that calander year. Students will decide with their teachers when they are ready to attempt each test they need to pass. To complete the MST requirements, students must achieve the standard in all three tests but not necessarily at the same time. Once a student has met the minimum standard in one area they do not have to complete that test again but they will have to complete the other components, for example; a student may achieve the minimum standard in Reading and Writing but they may have to repeat the Numeracy test until they meet the standard.

Who has to sit the HSC MST?

From 2020, all Year 12 students in NSW must reach the minimum standard of numeracy and literacy to receive an HSC. This means students undertaking Year 9 in 2017 will be the first students expected to meet the minimum standard.

Students will not have to sit the MST test if they have already achieved “Band 8” or above in their Year 9 NAPLAN test (National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy). Students experience the MST test for the first time in Year 10 and they are given two opportunities each year to achieve the standard. Students who do not meet the standard in Year 10 will be allowed to make another two attempts at the test or tests required in Year 11 and a final two attempts in Year 12 (for a total of six attempts).

Why has the MST test become important?

The HSC minimum standard is being introduced to ensure:

  • students have the basic reading, writing and maths skills needed for everyday tasks and future learning
  • students are ready for success in life after school
  • employers, TAFE and universities know students with an HSC can read, write and do basic maths.

Along with other elements of the NSW Literacy and Numeracy Strategy, the HSC minimum standard will strengthen the existing focus of schools on improving the literacy and numeracy skills of all students from the early years through to the HSC.

Evidence from other states, such as Western Australia, where a minimum standard has been introduced, indicates:

  • significant improvement in students’ literacy and numeracy skills
  • an increased proportion of students in the top two NAPLAN achievement bands
  • improved value of the Year 12 credential.


The HSCMST Support Website and the actual MST test.

This website is in no way directly affiliated with the NSW Educational Standards Authority (NESA) or the MST test itself. This HSCMST Support website will include Skill builders and Practice tests which look like the tests but they have no direct impact on the MST test itself. Completing the Practice tests or Skill Builders on this website does not mean you, or your student, have met the minimum standards required to achieve the MST test. This website is designed to aid students and facilitate their learning so they have every opportunity to complete the MST test.

How does the HSCMST Support Website help students to achieve the standards in the Minimum Standards Test.

This website includes three distinct sections of support which are designed to deal with each of the three tests available in the MST. You can choose to gain access to one test or purchase the package to gain access to all three support options. Each option is based on the MST test and will aid students by presenting similar problems, stimulus or questions to increase familiarity and facilitate learning of the skills being tested. All sections of this website have been designed to familiarise students with the expectations of the MST test and its formatting to give them every opportunity to achieve the standards required.