It was 1967 and about 18,300 students who had sat the first HSC exams were anxiously waiting for their results to arrive - by post.
Another 30 years later, in 1997, students could call a phone number and have a recorded message read their results to them.
This year, exactly 50 years after the first HSC, nearly 78,000 HSC students will wake up to text messages at 6am on Thursday with their marks for each subject and the bands they achieved.
Students now wait nearly a month less than students did 20 years ago to get their HSC results, and will get their Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) the next day.
And the way results are delivered is not the only thing that has changed.
Students in 1967 had a choice of only 28 subjects, compared to the 140 subjects available to this year's cohort.
In 1967, about 90 per cent of students did maths, another 80 per cent were studying a science subject and a massive 37 per cent were studying French, the most popular language.
Now, about 83 per cent of students are studying maths, 52 per cent are doing science and French is no longer the most popular language, with only 1.8 per cent of students choosing it this year.
Instead, Japanese has been the most popular language for more than 20 years, with 1446 students, or 2.1 per cent of the cohort, electing it this year. In 1967, just five students did Japanese.
The ATAR which was introduced in 2008, has also evolved over the years.
The current ATAR is based on a student's 10 best HSC units, with a maximum possible ATAR of 99.95, and used by many universities to assess applicants.
The very first rank was based on a student's five best HSC courses and was replaced by the Tertiary Entrance Score (TES), in 1976.
The TES, which was based on a student's 10 best units and had a maximum possible score of 500, was replaced in 1990 by the Tertiary Entrance Rank (TER), with a maximum rank of 100.
The Universities Admission Index (UAI),was adopted in 1998 to bring in a common scale across all states. In NSW, the maximum UAI was 100, and it was administered by the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC), which is now responsible for the ATAR.
Harsha Kumar, 18, from Rooty Hill High School, said the wait for results has been difficult.
"I'm extremely nervous, I'm scared I've gotten out of exams going 'it was great' and I've actually done really terribly," Harsha said.
She has already had offers from two universities but is hoping to get an ATAR over 85 to get into media and international relations at UNSW.
Jayden Hicks, 18, Sabrina Zamaan, 17, and Braydon Hurley, 18, from Rooty Hill High, are also waiting for their results before they decide what to do next year.
"It's finally good to sit back and relax after the HSC, although it's an anxious wait for results," said Braydon, who is hoping to study law or criminology next year and eventually wants to start his own law firm.
Sabrina, who wants to become a dentist, said she has received a conditional early offer for oral health at the University of Sydney, but still needs to get an ATAR of 78.
Jayden, who has been accepted into the Australian Film Television and Radio School, said he will apply to do a bachelor of arts at Western Sydney University if he gets an ATAR above 80.
"I'll get very close to that but I'm not too nervous about it because I have a back up plan in case I don't get what I want," he said.
Follow the HSC results live on smh.com.au from 6.30am on Thursday.