by Jack Theodoulou / Art of Smart
With your HSC Standard & Advanced English exam right around the corner, you don’t want to be slacking off or cramming: you want to be studying to get the best marks you can possibly score. But it’s not about rewriting notes or remembering your essay word-for-word, it’s about practice.
Here’s your 7 Day Study Plan for Acing HSC Standard & Advanced English!
Make sure you also check out our other HSC 7 Day Study Plans!
Here’s a list of all the English Standard and Advanced past papers from 2010 – 2016 so you can get used to the format and structure of the exam itself. You’re welcome.
|Paper 1 - Area of Study||Paper 2 - Standard||Paper 2 - Advanced|
|AOS 2017 Area of Study - Standard and Advanced||AOS 2017 -
Paper 2 (Modules) - Standard
|AOS 2017 -
Paper 2 (Modules) - Advanced
|HSC 2016 Area of Study - Standard and Advanced||HSC 2016 - Paper 2 (Modules) - Standard||HSC 2016 - Paper 2 (Modules) - Advanced|
|HSC 2015 Area of Study - Standard and Advanced||HSC 2015 - Paper 2 (Modules) - Standard||HSC 2015 - Paper 2 (Modules) - Advanced|
|HSC 2014 Area of Study - Standard and Advanced||HSC 2014 - Paper 2 (Modules) - Standard||HSC 2014 - Paper 2 (Modules) - Advanced|
|HSC 2013 Area of Study - Standard and Advanced||HSC 2013 - Paper 2 (Modules) - Standard||HSC 2013 - Paper 2 (Modules) - Advanced|
|HSC 2012 Area of Study - Standard and Advanced||HSC 2013 - Paper 2 (Modules) - Standard||HSC 2012 - Paper 2 (Modules) - Advanced|
|HSC 2011 Area of Study - Standard and Advanced||HSC 2011 - Paper 2 (Modules) - Standard||HSC 2011 - Paper 2 (Modules) - Advanced|
|HSC 2010 Area of Study - Standard and Advanced||HSC 2010 - Paper 2 (Modules) - Standard||HSC 2010 - Paper 2 (Modules) - Advanced|
Organise all the notes you have on Area of Study and Modules, including any quotes, essay materials, extra resources etc. Divide them into Area of Study, Module A, Module B and Module C.
Go through your notes and ask yourself the following questions:
If you answered no to either of them, put them in an ‘Irrelevant’ pile. The rest of them, you can keep.
Choose your three top themes shared by both your prescribed text and your related text/s.
A TEE Table is a table which explores the Technique/Example/Effect of a snippet of your text. You should have at least 4 pieces of evidence per text. For example, the film Zaytoun can be used for Discovery. For the Discovery theme of ‘Rediscovering something which was once lost‘, the TEE Table for it should look like this:
|Technique||Deep focus of the camera upon the contrast between Yoni and Fahed at the abandoned fairground in war-torn Beirut.|
|Example||Director Eran Riklis places Yoni in the foreground, walking determinedly without distraction to find his way back to Israel as a normal adult would whilst Fahed plays in the background upon a large waterslide, screaming with laughter.|
|Effect||The juxtaposition of the one-tracked-mind Yoni against Fahed playing innocently upon waterslide in amongst bomb craters elicits an emotional response from the viewer as Fahed rediscovers what has been lost - his childhood.|
Except with 4 pieces of evidence instead of one.
You have two choices to make about how you complete your essay in the HSC:
|Method 1||Method 2|
|Memorising a pre-written essay: this method is a hotly debated one, but one that has been used and abused by HSC students for a long time. This method revolves around creating a polished, high-quality essay and memorising it word-for-word before entering the exam room. All you have to do is then adapt your pre-written essay to the question by changing a few things around and inserting the thesis.||Preparing quotes, themes, and ideas: this method revolves around memorising quotes, themes, and ideas in your texts in order to adapt to the proposed question in the exam. This method requires students to engage deeply with their texts and understand the thematic ideas in a sophisticated way.|
|Pro: High quality essay, Easy to rattle off and adapt mid-exam (little thinking required).||Pro: Grants you the freedom to choose the best pieces of evidence to support your themes at any time, Often results in an appropriate, tightly structured essay.|
|Con: Difficult/boring to memorise, Can result in a formulaic and sometimes misguided essay, if done poorly.||Con: Requires a lot of study – assumes deep familiarity with the texts used, Sometimes difficult to adapt on-the-fly mid-exam.|
Thus, you can choose to either write and memorise your essay (method 1) OR familiarise yourself with key themes, ideas, and evidence (method 2).
Why 35 minutes only for each practice essay? If you can write an essay in 35 minutes in practice, in the exam when you have 40 minutes, you’ll feel like you’ve got all the time in the world!
The instructions for Days Three, Four, and Five are identical: spend each day preparing an essay for each respective Module.
Yes, it seems dull and repetitive, but this method works! Follow the steps outlined in Day Two to aid your preparation for each Module. So go through and create a TEE table for each text, covering your main themes.
Remember: the more familiarity you have with your texts, the better! Memorise themes, quotes, and key ideas regardless of which method you use.
Complete at least 2 practice questions for each Module from the Past Papers up above.
After four days of continuous essay preparation, it’s always good to shake things up with a bit of comprehension and creative writing.
Revise visual and textual techniques. Increasing your technical vocabulary is a sure-fire way to simplify the comprehension section of the English paper. Review techniques like: alliteration, enjambment, Rule of Thirds, symbolism, synecdoche, imagery, colour psychology.
Find an advertisement. Write down at least two techniques used to give meaning to what the advertiser is trying to sell using visual and textual language.
Was your creative salvageable from your HSC trials?
If so, use these tips to proofread, edit and polish your creative writing
If you give yourself anything less than 10/15, go over it again and continue to improve it using this guide here.
Need to re-write your creative from scratch?
Don’t stress – we’ve put together a step by step guide here.
Have a question for us?
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Jack Theodoulou studies a double degree of Education/Arts majoring in English at the University of Sydney. Previously an instructor of classical guitar, Jack began coaching at Art of Smart in 2015. In his spare time, Jack often finds himself entangled in a love-hate relationship with fiction-writing and a (possibly) unhealthy obsession with video games.