The choice of a student's HSC course should be geared towards satisfying their individual desires of outcomes from university. For students who want to be involved in science and engineering subjects, Mathematics Extension 1 should be taken. Extension 2 is useful for students that have an extra interest in mathematics, or who want to pursue mathematics more for its own sake (a more pure approach) and who enjoy and can handle a greater challenge.

For high school students who do not wish to study mathematics at a university level at all, the standard mathematics course should be adequate, or the general component.

There are no formal prerequisites for students' first year courses, but the following information may be useful to aid in assisting students to choose their HSC course selection.

First year courses come at a "pass-level" (MATH1131 and MATH1231) and a "higher" stream (MATH1141 and MATH1241). See the course homepages for more details.

MATH1131 has assumed knowledge of HSC Mathematics Extension 1. The expectation is to have a combined mark of at least 100 in Mathematics and Mathematics Extension 1. Students without this expectation are not barred from enrolling, but they may struggle. Later, to study MATH1231, a pass is required. If a credit was achieved with this subject, students may continue to the higher stream MATH1241 below.

The higher stream, MATH1141, has assumed knowledge of HSC Mathematics Extension 1 and 2. Students wishing to enrol in this course are expected to have a combined HSC mark of at least 186 in Mathematics Extension 1 and Extension 2. To continue to MATH1241, a credit is a formal prerequisite for enrolment.

A general-level mathematics course, MATH1011, is also available. However, the course is not intended for students who want to study mathematics beyond the first year level (later courses can include MATH1231 or MATH1241 as a formal prerequisite). The assumed knowledge for this course is equivalent to achieving a mark of at least 60 in HSC Mathematics. However, students who have taken only the General Mathematics HSC subject will not have achieved the level of knowledge which is assumed in the course. This course can be taken in preparation for students who need to take MATH1131 but fail to meet the assumed knowledge requirement.

More details on assumed knowledge are available. For further information on the courses themselves, see the UNSW Handbook entries, plus the information on the above and other first-year courses.