When you're planning on life as a rock star, your ATAR isn't really your biggest priority.
So while Winmalee High School captain Nick Craig puts in about 90 minutes a night preparing for the first HSC English exam on Thursday, he's spending most of his daylight hours drumming in a Talent Development Project with his band Cosmix and looking to a future in music.
"It's pretty crazy ... because I've got my head looking way past the horizon into the future with this band."
The Talent Development Project is a joint initiative between the Department of Education and the entertainment industry. Nick has been part of the scheme for the past three months, while juggling the demands of school work and captain duties and has been on an extra week long school holiday camp where only the best survive to the final callback.
"Mum says I have a finger in every pie. The school captaincy pushed that a bit. There was a lot of formal occasions, speech making and helping the next leaders ... giving them the reins."
Nick, 18, was also recently nominated to perform in Encore where the cream of this year's HSC music performers are showcased at the Sydney Opera House.
"But I don't have to film it [my nomination] until after the HSC." He's hoping to get a scholarship to a music school next year.
"I'm juggling the best I can. Luckily I don't need an ATAR, that's a big pressure off."
Nick has been playing piano since he was four, drums since he was eight, and has known he wanted to do something in music production since age 12.
His best friend Max Ogle is in his band too and plays bass. The Springwood High student is finishing his higher school certificate this year, but because Springwood High has a staggered two year HSC program Max only has two subjects to juggle - music and drama.
"So he's having fun," said Nick laughing. A 16-year-old student from Pennant Hills, Yohan Rad, rounds out the trio on lead vocals.
The band are influenced by Coldplay and Pink Floyd and write their own songs. They were able to show their "demo" original track to a talent scout from Sony during the week-long music camp.
"Music is my life. I'm looking forward to the next chapter," he said.
There are 75,006 students enrolled to do the NSW Higher School Certificate this year - 3302 of those attend schools in the Blue Mountains and the outer western Sydney region, which includes Penrith, Richmond-Windsor and St Marys. The final HSC exam is on November 11. Results will be released on December 17.