Syllabus is just a fancy word the Board of Studies uses to scare students, but essentially it is a document that outlines exactly what you can be tested on, what you need to know and the reasons why you have to study the various topics that you do.
The first ten pages are simply the Board of Studies explaining to the outside world what was going through their heads when they designed the course. The most relevant things students can take from these first few pages is that the course is designed to challenge students to investigate the function of the English language in our world and the interrelationship between the modes of reading, viewing, listening, speaking, representing. Put simply, every question you will be asked in a HSC English exam is asked because of its relationship to these overarching aims and ideas behind the course.
The most relevant parts of the syllabus for students are those about the course requirements and content. There are a lot of other pages which detail rationales, objectives and outcomes, but again, these are all the Board of Studies reminding us how good they are at their job of designing a course to match their aims and expectations of students when they graduate with a HSC!
A good idea is to print out the pages about course requirements, and the course content for the electives you are studying. Ensure you become familiar with each of these pages as they are your guide to what the Board of Studies wants you to learn, and thus what they will be looking to test you on in the HSC exam. Although this may sound like a simple step that could easily be skipped, it will show in your essay when your answer reflects everything the syllabus wanted you to learn and achieve by studying English.
The syllabus tells us that for both HSC Standard and Advanced English, it is expected students will study the Area of Study, which comprises 40% of the course, and electives or modules, which comprise 60% of the course.