The HSC has been a stressful time for successive generations of year 12 students, but the current crop has found a decidedly millennial form of catharsis and humour to get through their exams.
Social media sites are abuzz with HSC memes, funny, pithy Photoshop creations that use recognisable, heavily reworked images to poke fun at the subjects, themes and specific exam questions being tackled by students.
Several different pages and accounts have sprung up on platforms including Facebook and Instagram, which have tens of thousands of followers between them.
''We wanted the students to have a creative outlet and to create a more communal atmosphere, given the HSC is not only an individual but a collective effort,'' one of the administrators of the HSC 2013 Memes Facebook page, 17-year-old Jaslyn Porto, said in an online chat with Fairfax Media.
''We were actually quite surprised at the positive reception and did not expect to have almost 16,000 followers in a matter of days.''
The term ''meme'' was coined by Richard Dawkins in 1976. He defined it ''as unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation'', but it is now widely used to describe images, phrases, videos and concepts that are repeated, shared and reworked online.
Like most popular internet memes, most of the HSC creations use a familiar image or memorable quote from pop culture, with students introducing new captions or dialogue related to the HSC.
One popular meme uses the image of Ned Stark, hero of the first season of Game of Thrones and head of a family whose motto is ''Winter is Coming''.
His image has been reworked several times, including, with the phrase ''The maths exams are coming''.
Viveka Prasad, 17, the other co-administrator of the HSC 2013 Memes Facebook page, said English, particularly the unseen texts in paper one, had been their most popular subject for memes so far.
"Definitely English because it is a compulsory subject, everyone can enjoy the humour," she said.
The story Memes the word: proving there is a lighter side to the HSC first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.