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By the end of this school year, he has become especially active in different science projects - a change that was really hard to expect in him in the very beginning.

Is "a change that was really hard to expect" good English?

Should it be better like:

1) a change that was really hard to be expected

2) a change that was really difficult to expect

3) a change that was really difficult to be expected

4) a change that was not to expect

5) a change that was not to be expected

6) a change that was barely to be expected

7) a change that was hardly to be expected

or something else?

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The typical collocations are

It was a change wholly unexpected.

The change was entirely unexpected.

If you change "unexpected" to "expected" you can use "hardly" as you have done:

The change was hardly (to be) expected.

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