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Thread: Studying or "Winging" an Essay

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    Studying or "Winging" an Essay

    I've come to notice that there are two main methods to prepare for an essay exam; Pre-prepared essays and "winging" it

    In most of our lives, teachers have encouraged us to make notes, remember quotes, techniques and main ideas then answering a question in the form of an essay. This method of managing to remember a the prescribed text, the related text or a few key quotes and techniques to make an essay when you receive your test paper is what's called winging it. For a few years now, I've become aware that some students, especially people who aim for high ATARs have chosen to prepare their essays and rewrite and mold their essays according to the questions. In this thread I will discussing the costs and benefits of each individual strategy along with a potential compromise in which I find to be extremely helpful in English Area of Study Paper 1.

    By memorizing key quotes, techniques and ideas or the entire text in general is highly advantageous as you are able to plan and write an essay that is perfectly suited to answering the question, however, this method comes with the cost of time. In the HSC, you are expected to write an average of 800 words or 3-4 pages in 40 minutes for an essay, although you are able the write an essay that answers the question being asked, you may not have enough time to do so as you required extra planning time before you write your essay. In addition, whilst writing, you are likely to start and stop to give yourself time to think. This poses big problems in terms of time management as spending too much time on an essay especially in the module essays for Paper 2.

    Preparing essays also presents its own individual set of costs and benefits. By preparing an essay before an exam you can assure yourself that with a decent writing speed you can easily dish out 800 words in maybe 35-40 minutes. However, by simply rewriting your prepared essay, you may not be able to answer the question to a sufficient degree, hence we employ the process of molding your essay on the go to fit the question's needs. Despite these benefits, some teachers dislike the method of preparing an essay and much of the time, the student does not properly answer the question

    Both methods for writing essays pose their unique costs and benefits, a similar method for preparing a creative writing also exists however the risk is much higher then as you are required to follow a stimulus. I strongly believe that both methods for writing essays are equally valid. I would like to see the opinions of others in the replies below. Which method do you use and how did it go for you ?
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    Re: Studying or "Winging" an Essay

    At first I normally write a general essay, but then in preparation for an exam I just wing it. I would use quote tables and under each quote have analysis that would fit most points in the rubric. Sometimes I might memorise a thesis or some nice phrases but that usually comes automatically when I do practice questions. Never had problems with time management, but it might be different when you have to do the whole paper, which consists of other things.

    I don't trust myself to be able to adapt a prepared essay in an exam but I know it works for many people.
    [FONT=Century Gothic][I]2017 HSC : 2U Maths (94)

    2018 HSC : Eng Adv | 3U Maths | 4U Maths | Bio | Legal

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    Re: Studying or "Winging" an Essay

    When I sat my HSC, I memorised around 8 paragraphs per module and chose those which best met the question's scope. Of course I still had to mould them to the point where they aligned with the question, but it allowed me to remain a lot more flexible. This made sure I was able to bust out a bunch of words within the allotted times. I would also have a few thesis statements in mind that drew heavily from each module's respective rubrics but were flexible enough to mould to any question. Before sitting my HSC (during my trials), I memorised one essay per module and that did not go in my favour, so I opted into memorising twice the amount of content.
    2017 HSC

    English Advanced (95), Legal Studies (96), Business Studies (95), Information Processes and Technology (93), Mathematics (100 - 6th in the State), Mathematics Ext 1 (49), Business Services Examination (97 - 5th in the State)

    ATAR: 99.80

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    Re: Studying or "Winging" an Essay

    Quote Originally Posted by darkk_blu View Post
    I've come to notice that there are two main methods to prepare for an essay exam; Pre-prepared essays and "winging" it

    In most of our lives, teachers have encouraged us to make notes, remember quotes, techniques and main ideas then answering a question in the form of an essay. This method of managing to remember a the prescribed text, the related text or a few key quotes and techniques to make an essay when you receive your test paper is what's called winging it. For a few years now, I've become aware that some students, especially people who aim for high ATARs have chosen to prepare their essays and rewrite and mold their essays according to the questions. In this thread I will discussing the costs and benefits of each individual strategy along with a potential compromise in which I find to be extremely helpful in English Area of Study Paper 1.

    By memorizing key quotes, techniques and ideas or the entire text in general is highly advantageous as you are able to plan and write an essay that is perfectly suited to answering the question, however, this method comes with the cost of time. In the HSC, you are expected to write an average of 800 words or 3-4 pages in 40 minutes for an essay, although you are able the write an essay that answers the question being asked, you may not have enough time to do so as you required extra planning time before you write your essay. In addition, whilst writing, you are likely to start and stop to give yourself time to think. This poses big problems in terms of time management as spending too much time on an essay especially in the module essays for Paper 2.

    Preparing essays also presents its own individual set of costs and benefits. By preparing an essay before an exam you can assure yourself that with a decent writing speed you can easily dish out 800 words in maybe 35-40 minutes. However, by simply rewriting your prepared essay, you may not be able to answer the question to a sufficient degree, hence we employ the process of molding your essay on the go to fit the question's needs. Despite these benefits, some teachers dislike the method of preparing an essay and much of the time, the student does not properly answer the question

    Both methods for writing essays pose their unique costs and benefits, a similar method for preparing a creative writing also exists however the risk is much higher then as you are required to follow a stimulus. I strongly believe that both methods for writing essays are equally valid. I would like to see the opinions of others in the replies below. Which method do you use and how did it go for you ?
    I did a lot of humanities and English was the only subject where I had to memorise essays, by which I made a broad, generic essay and adapted it on the day for discovery. For modules, I wrote several paragraphs exploring different ideas and chose the most relevant ones for the question and adapted it. This system worked fairly well for me as I didn't want to risk offering mediocre analysis or not writing enough.
    HSC 2017 - 99.85 Business Studies (97) Modern History (96) SORII (96) English Advanced (95) Economics (94) Mathematics Extension I (47) Mathematics (94)

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    Re: Studying or "Winging" an Essay

    Quote Originally Posted by tklawl View Post
    When I sat my HSC, I memorised around 8 paragraphs per module and chose those which best met the question's scope. Of course I still had to mould them to the point where they aligned with the question, but it allowed me to remain a lot more flexible. This made sure I was able to bust out a bunch of words within the allotted times. I would also have a few thesis statements in mind that drew heavily from each module's respective rubrics but were flexible enough to mould to any question. Before sitting my HSC (during my trials), I memorised one essay per module and that did not go in my favour, so I opted into memorising twice the amount of content.
    Where can I find the rubric, I've only been able to find the syllabus and overview, if possible could I get a link?

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    Re: Studying or "Winging" an Essay

    I write a general essay, memorise it word for word and then just mould it to question on the day. Ever since I started doing it in year 9 i’ve never dropped more than a mark per essay.

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    Re: Studying or "Winging" an Essay

    I memorised all of my essays. If the questions fits = good stuff, if not = gg fail hsc
    HSC 2017
    Chemistry - Physics - English (Standard) - Maths Ext 1 - Maths Ext 2

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