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Thread: Crobat's Guide To HSC English Advanced.

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    #tyrannosaurusREKT Crobat's Avatar
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    Cool Crobat's Guide To HSC English Advanced.

    Hello fellow BoSers!

    So recently I've been getting flooded with emails from people asking to buy my materials and give essay marking feedback/exam advice but I've been too busy to give anything comprehensive and quite lazy to attach everything to individual emails so I've decided to just give all the advice I can in one megapost, and give out materials here for free too (if I can figure out how MediaFire works anyway). A disclaimer that some of the advice you will find questionable and others you will might outright disagree with. I welcome discussion of anything I say in the comments below, and also I am happy for other users to give any further advice I have missed there too. This advice is simply what I lived by and used to achieve a mark of 96 in English Advanced and 49 in Extension One English during my HSC year.

    A bit about me - I graduated 1st in English Advanced and 1st in Extension English One from a 20-30 ranking Selective School and a recipient of the "Macquarie University Partner School Award for Academic Excellence in English." I used to also tutor English with my highest improved student having moved from an average of 6-8/20 to 16+/20 within 3 months at a high ranking Private school. All of my HSC students last year received a Band 6. I am now studying a Bachelor of Business/Bachelor of Laws at UTS.

    Let me make it clear that while I am giving out my materials for free, I do not endorse or give permission for using my material in any sale for your own benefit in any circumstance. If you do, I will refer you to a Moderator who will take care of the situation.

    I'll structure by starting out with general tips and then honing in mainly on exam techniques. I will not go into detail what each Module expects from you, you will do so in class numerous times and even if not, there are an illimitable amount of resources on the internet to provide that information to you. I will, however, provide general tips on how you can write a response to the Module essays, including mostly what concepts you should keep in mind.

    The post itself is too long so I will break it down into sections that are pasted in the comments below. A table of contents:

    1. General Tips and Advice
    2. Essay Writing - How to structure it. What to include. Should or shouldn't I memorise?
    3. Exam Techniques
    a. Paper 1 – Section 1
    b. Paper 1 – Section 2
    c. Essay Responses
    i. Belonging
    ii. Module A
    iii. Module B
    iv. Module C

    By the end of this guide I hope to have answered a number of questions you may have had regarding the subject, and possibly even set your mind straight about how to approach this subject regardless of whether or not you enjoy it.

    All the best in your studies, and I hope you get as much out of English Advanced as you can.
    Last edited by Crobat; 27 Apr 2014 at 2:09 AM.

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    #tyrannosaurusREKT Crobat's Avatar
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    Re: Crobat's Guide To HSC English Advanced.

    General Tips and Advice

    What’s the point of English?

    English is the one subject that is compulsory and will 100% count towards your ATAR. Advanced scales particularly well, so it is in your best interests to do well in this subject.

    However, it is a seemingly useless subject. After all, you look at quotes and techniques in texts that have no significance to your life and will continue to have no significance in your life until the day you die, and write essays about it for no apparent reason. This is an understandable attitude to have. But it is no grounds to neglect the benefits the subject has to you overall.

    Critical to any profession is communication. The skills taught in English is a perfect way practising your written communication ability - grammar, punctuation, sentence structures, coherency, etc, etc – and in speeches, your oral communication skills too. This is a skill that has recently been nominated by employers partaking in the 2010 Graduate Outlook Survey as the Number 1 most sought after skill. Don’t believe me? Have a look for yourself.

    In addition, the subject also teaches you to hone your critical thinking abilities by asking you to do just that about your texts – think critically. This is an important skill to have in life that carries on to be useful in all of your further studies and the challenges you will face in employment. Where do you find it on the skills most sought after list? Number 3.

    There are other skills you can ascertain from English, like organisation, logical thinking, argument developing, but instead of going through them, here’s a funny video about the perils of being unable to communicate properly.



    There is a point to English and it is not a direct resultant of what you are studying. English indirectly builds a valuable skillset on students, and it is often taken for granted. If you step back and have an objective assessment of the subject, you will be able to see that the point of the subject lies not within the texts you study, but the skills you build while studying, just as is the case with the skills you gain in employment.

    The onus is on you to prepare.

    Let me start by saying I resented this subject. It didn't matter to me that I was doing well in it, I hated it, I still hate it, and nothing will ever stop me from hating this subject. But I think the difference between me and a lot of other students out there who hate this subject is the fact that I wasn't going to let that be a self-serving excuse I could use to explain my poor performance in the subject.

    There is only 1 reason for poor performance in anything, and that's you. Exam question too hard? You should've taken the time to learn the texts and modules in more depth. Memorised essay didn't work? You should've taken the time to make an essay that was easily adaptable and covered the syllabus in detail. Teachers are shit? You should have taken it upon yourself to learn the subject. Even though I went to a selective school, I had poor teachers. That didn't mean I was doomed to fail the subject or poorly perform in it - it just meant that I had to take it upon myself to learn the subject. I read the syllabuses and the modules and broke down what the Board of Studies expected students to be able to do by the end of the HSC in language that I could understand. I didn't write this anywhere, but what they want is clear to you if you bother to read these. A great place to start reading up on your HSC is HSC Online. This website was a godsend for everyone in my cohort, and I think everyone should use it. It has the rubrics, syllabuses, and even analysis you can use in your essays (obviously use at your own discretion and don't plagiarise by copy and pasting like an idiot). My understanding of the HSC Advanced course was, in simple terms, that they wanted you to be able to write clear, succinct, and coherent arguments with the adequate evidence to support your argument. Yes I thought that techniques were a dumbass way of arguing but guess what? That didn't matter. It's how they want you to argue so it's how you will argue. There is no use in working around a system that doesn’t operate to your detriment anyway.

    Finding motivation.

    I know that motivation is hard to come by in a subject you don't enjoy. Well, I'm not going to screw around and whisper positive words of encouragement into your ear and hold your hand on the exam day and tell you you'll be fine - it's not my style (and yes I'm being deliberately condescending). There's a bitter reality behind a lot of things in life and the sooner you accept that the better. I don't have any advice for how you might start to love this subject. Others will tell you to find a passion or joy in your texts and in writing in general. Well, I don't like to sugar-coat things and I'll tell you now that if you don't like English already, it probably won't happen. True, some people start to enjoy it when they get better or start to like their texts, and that's great for them if they do. But in my experience, more people never liked English even when they got better at it or found love in their texts. So what do we use for motivation?

    I can't speak for everyone who hated English, but I used my future. Knowing that English had to count towards my ATAR, I knew that I had to do well in it to maximise my ATAR so I could get into my uni course. That was enough for me. Another thing that also partly motivated me is that I personally always have to do whatever I'm doing to a high standard. I can't see any point in half-assing things, particularly when those things affect me directly. This is something you might be able to use as well, even if you haven't figured out what you want to do yet - maximise your results so that your options are open.

    Do I need to read the texts?

    In all honesty, no. I am living proof that someone who didn’t read their texts can get within 1 mark of a state rank. Studying English is more about what you learn in your texts than it is about what happens in your texts. Reading a synopsis of the storyline on Wikipedia is all that is necessary for you to know regarding the actual occurrences in your texts. But that doesn’t mean that if you have the time and capacity you shouldn’t have a read. Every bit of knowledge you have on the texts is useful.

    What you should focus on is studying the themes and messages of your texts – with respect to the concepts of the modules, of course. Your school will provide you with a vast array of materials to do so, and if you are unsatisfied with this material (or even if they just don’t) you have the entire internet at your fingertips. BoS alone has hundreds of materials available to you, so there is really no excuse here. Be extensive in your study of the text – learn about quotes/techniques/events that you may not even use in a generic. Having a wide understanding of all the possible aspects you may be asked in exams is always going to be the best preparation you can have. Categorise this information if it makes it easier to retain. The only information I would even consider skimping out on is the information pertaining to the themes/concepts of the previous year’s HSC question as it is highly unlikely they will ask the same question twice in a row. But even then, you should know how to answer a question with those themes/concepts anyway just in case, or because it still may be useful information for you to use.

    So in summary, my advice to you in this section is simple;
    - Start being independent about your study. Take it upon yourself to learn things. English isn't a subject you can ace by mindlessly following your teacher, even if they're amazing teachers. Start reading up on things on your own accord, and start things like a study group to share ideas around. This is one of the things I found incredibly useful in my HSC year.
    - Start accepting responsibility for your own future. Finding motivation is difficult for doings things you hate, but the fact of the matter is that you will have to do things in life you won't always like and that will affect you directly, so better start getting used to it now.
    - Study the text as a whole, learn about its themes and messages. Reading the texts is not necessary but also not a waste of time if you have it.
    Last edited by Crobat; 27 Apr 2014 at 2:20 AM.

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    Re: Crobat's Guide To HSC English Advanced.

    Essay Writing - How to structure it. What to include. Should or shouldn't I memorise?

    A breakdown of the essay structure.

    Essay writing is straight forward enough so I won't linger too long on it here. My detailed materials on essay writing are here (if the link doesn't work, please tell me) which also include examples. I will be quick about what I have to say about essay writing here. Remember that the primary purpose of essay writing is to convince the reader of your argument. You need convincing evidence to support your argument and can't rely on niche one-liners the whole way through your essay.

    In a nutshell - Your thesis paragraph is your argument. General things to include (in no particular order) would be an introduction to the concept that the module is dealing with, your overall point or argument in line with that concept, your answer to the question, formal introductions of the texts (authors, date published, and medium), and the points you're going to approach in the body of your essay (these will be your discussion points for each paragraph of your body). A good thesis paragraph will include all of these things and be well-written. Never underestimate the power of good academic writing.
    - Your body paragraphs should all start with a comprehensible one-liner that identifies the discussion point of the paragraph, how that point relates to a concept of the module, AND how that discussion point will be used to answer the question. An easy way to go about creating good discussion points would be to make the concepts of the modules discussion points in themselves. You can achieve this with a simple rewording of how the concept is brought up in the rubric. Ideally, you will raise about 3 or 4 different quotes and techniques that correspond with those quotes accordingly as evidence of your argument. This may mean multiple techniques to a quote, which is spectacular if you can do it. Remember that your discussion point is a statement that you are using to support your overall argument. Your body paragraph is tasked with supporting this statement by using relevant textual evidence, which will then concurrently give credibility to your overall argument. It is a good idea to sometimes link your analysis to your overall argument AND the question - not solely to the discussion point of the paragraph - considering that all of these things are interrelated. You should have a concluding sentence which reiterates your discussion point, how it supports your argument, and how it answers the question.
    - Your conclusion is very straightforward. It is a concise reiteration of the points you made in your introduction, but don't underestimate its value. It is the last thing the marker will read (they don't read your essay twice) and the last thing you want is a 20/20 essay with a 10/20 conclusion, because you will be marked down for it (I certainly was). It needs to be well-written and not a blatant half-assed repetition of your intro.

    Paragraphing is an important aspect of essay writing. The best way to do it is always to structure with respect to your discussion points. In Modules A and C, I think a good structure would be 4 body paragraphs with 2 discussion points (1 paragraph for each text). Naturally, it is expected that you would integrate within your paragraphs; not just having analysis solely on text 1 and text 2, but also drawing parallels and differences between the texts and their representation of the concept and discussion point. This is usually what separates the High Bs and Low As from the High As. In Module B, I think a good way would be 3 discussion point paragraphs if you're doing only 1 text e.g. Hamlet. For Speeches etc that have more than 1 text, using the structure I mentioned for Mods A and B might be your best bet.

    The general expected word length of essays are about 800 - 1000 words. Most of my essays were ~900 words long to accommodate for adapting in the exam (I memorised my essays), which I expect would have taken up an extra 100-200 words depending on the question. One of the things that the markers expect from a 20/20 essay is being succinct - i.e. clear and concise about your response, no waffling at all, no flowery language being used to cover up non-points - and word length is a correspondent to that. That is not to say if you have a 1200 word essay you are not concise or less valued than a 900 word essay - I'm a firm believer that the whole quality over quantity debate is self-serving bullshit for people who have 700/800 word essays to shit on those with 1000+ word essays so they can feel better about their own work. Quantity in essays is a value of quality of its own - more content and support for your argument. Some people are capable of writing huge 1200+ word essays in 40 minutes that are succinct (I know many who did). The difference in their writing is that they are likely to have more points and evidence than you. I think an ideal essay lies around ~1000 words give or take 10%. 700/800 is too short to have a comprehensive argument and to support that adequately for a high A range response because it would be lacking something when you read it - mostly substance. Some people are capable of having a solid 20/20 essay at 800 words. Good for them - but why should you assume you are one? The only person I have ever known to have that ability was a legitimate genius (came to the theory of calculus in his Year 8 science assignment, 100 and 1st in the state at Year 11 for 2u Maths, 99.95er, 100 on his UMAT, and a lot more just in his high school years alone, also part of MENSA) now studying a triple degree (B Adv Arts (Honours)/B Surgery/B Medicine) at USYD with a HD average in every part of his degree, multiple first places in subjects, and a likely university medalist. Are you that good?

    The key to being succinct though really is in language use. Flowery language, while sometimes nice and well-used, I think should be discouraged. Language that is assertive (high model) and gets straight to the point is more impressive, particularly in essay writing where you have a limited time to write an argument. This is a skill you develop as you write more essays, which brings me to my next point about memorising/not memorising essays.

    To memorise or not to memorise? (see what I did there? )

    So this is an area of high contention. I should provide an objective analysis of the situation and let you come to your own conclusion, but fuck that. Let me make it clear that I memorised and adapted my essays and promote that method, but I will discuss some aspects of both.

    Firstly, memorising your essay is not the intended method of study for English. You are expected to have knowledge of your texts, modules, and the rubrics inside out, and be readily capable of applying that knowledge on the spot to questions. Some students find memorising key quotes and techniques to be a good way of studying English, and if that is what works for them, that's fantastic. The problem with relying on this method is that on the spot writing typically leads to extremes; either you do amazingly or you do poorly because it'll come down to everything that happens on that day - how you're feeling, have you thought about how you'd answer the question on the day, etc, etc. Another thing that you must consider is that high A range responses are expected to have an essay that is relevant, coherent, succinct, sophisticated, well-written, have near-perfect sentence structures, and academic. This pretty much means those with a natural talent for writing and sophistication will have the upper hand against those using the same method of exam approach. Something else I want you to consider is how good is your first draft of anything? Most students who walk into the exam with only quotes and techniques will only write a response as good as their first draft. In a lot of cases, this is not a high A range mark. To really make this technique work, you will have sat down and practised writing out an essay to multiple questions and written it from the top of your head. Only then will you develop excellent sentence structures, sophistication, and the like. But even afterwards, you are still really only limited to what happens on the exam day, and still you run the risk of your response being only as good as a first draft because you are still writing on the spot.

    So, that brings me to why I teach people to memorise a generic response. A lot of people have this misconception that to memorise a generic response is to brainlessly put together an essay and regurgitate it on the day of the exam. If it was truly that, I would be the first person to board the nopetrain to nopeville. The wonderful thing about generic essays is that they offer stability. If done correctly, it is unlikely their mark will stray very far from High B to Low A. A student with an adaptable generic will also always have something to write - they have a detailed and fleshed scaffold of how to answer the particular question on the day. A good generic essay will cover pretty much all the bases in the rubric (with the exception of possibly the concepts that are unlikely to be tested since they were tested in last year's exam, or the last paper they did internally, etc), have an overall argument that the student finds easy to write about, and most importantly, be able to make whatever concept is brought up in the exam the crux of their argument. Remember that essay writing is all about being persuasive and supporting your argument in line with the concepts of the module that are usually some aspect of the question. A good generic will always have room for this. Of course, there will be students who write their first draft of a generic, make a weak attempt at editing it and very poorly adapt the essay on the day of the exam. That is a risk you run by writing a generic and you should be aware of it. But between memorising quotes/techniques and then writing on the spot, and having a fully fleshed out scaffold of an essay, it is easier to make the memorised essay work in your favour.

    A good generic essay will have been written with the concepts of the Module and syllabus in mind. This is easy to find - just go through the link I provided earlier to HSC Online. You can very easily rule out certain concepts by look at past papers and exams for your final generic essay because they are not going to ask the same question twice in a row, but for the purposes of your internal exams, it is always good to consider how you would answer this question and prepare something on the concept anyway. Another thing that is crucial to a good generic essay is editing. Once you write your first draft, edit the shit out of it. Go to your study group and get feedback. Go to your teachers and get feedback. Make changes to your essay accordingly. Some of my generic essays were so edited that I had entire points changed and entire sentence structures changed. It is really in this process of editing that students will learn more about the module, more about their texts, and more about the versatility of their quotes and techniques. They will learn how to adapt their essay to the possible concepts of questions in this way - they will be forced to consider the possible questions and forced to consider how they will make their essay work. I always found it easiest to study English when I had a tangible body of work that I had made in front of me. My final essays were edited over 10 times - and guess what? I sought out the feedback of my entire cohort. Our grade had a Facebook page and I shared my materials to everyone. I asked for their feedback. I wanted to know what made sense and what didn't. What worked and what could be improved on. I never truly understood the Modules and Texts until I knew what everyone else was thinking about it. I highly recommend you do the same. It is one thing to trust in your ability, but another entirely to have your ability informed by the logic of others as well.

    Other Formats

    Remember that they can always ask you to write in a different format to essays for the extended response. This can be diary entries, speeches, newspaper articles, feature articles, letters to a friend, etc. While this is unlikely, it is a form of a curveball you might encounter. In my internal exams, I had to write a diary entry consisting of 4 separate entries that demonstrated my changing attitude towards my opinion of Hamlet. It took me off my game but I did simply adapted my generic essay on the spot to the format they wanted I still came out of it with a 20/20. If this happens to you, remember to keep your cool. You have reading time. If you must, use the 1st minute to freak out. Get it out of your system. Use the remainder of the time to go over what you know about the format they specified and then think about slotting in your response with respect to that format. This is also somewhere where students with generic essays memorised have an advantage as they already have a body of writing to work with and all they have to do is figure out how to slot it in. Usually you can get away with a change in the language you use. All of them will pretty much provide for less sophisticated language - so cut out all your ridiculous big words straight off the bat and use a more inclusive way of writing, e.g. using "we" and "our" maybe. If it is something personal like a diary entry, use "I". I remember the first line of my diary entries to be something like "I have studied Hamlet up to Act 3, and I think that the play presents some intricate questions metaphysical nature and that Shakespeare has masterfully manipulated the textual dynamics of the play to blah blah blah". If you keep your mind stable during the exam and adopt an adaptable attitude, you will still succeed.

    In Summary:
    - Essay writing is straightforward - keep sophistication and being succinct paramount in your mind. Keep essays to about 1000 words give or take 10%. Don't use flowery language because it's not necessary to keep an authoritative and assertive tone which is all you need really for your essay to be well-written. Always integrate between texts, and weigh up the structure of your paragraphing.
    - Structure your arguments around the concepts of the syllabus. Consider the likelihood of concepts appearing and re-appearing in the exam. For example, it is unlikely they will repeat the same question twice in a row.
    - I recommend you memorise your essay. It should have been edited to the point where you understand the points of your essay in its totality and also other points tossed around in the editing process. Seek the help of others.
    - Don't forget they can ask you to write in formats that are not essays (diary entries, letters, etc), but the basis of your response should stay the same anyway. Remember to keep your cool if this happens and just find a way to still be able to keep your essay structure (this is possible in all situations). Most of the time you can get away with just changing tones of writing.

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    #tyrannosaurusREKT Crobat's Avatar
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    Re: Crobat's Guide To HSC English Advanced.

    Exam Techniques.

    Most of the exam techniques will focus on Sections 1&2 of Paper 1. There will be very general explanations of how to approach essays, but for the most part your dilemma will come down to whether or not you memorise mere quotes/techniques or an entire generic essay and adapt on the spot. For that discussion, please refer to my above comments on that.

    Paper 1

    Section 1 - Unseen Texts

    So the general structure is something like 2/2/3/3/5 and the rule of thumb with S1 is 50 words a mark.

    For the picture the easiest technique will always be colour imagery or contrast, and just because it will most definitely be overdone does not mean you won't get full marks for the question so don't waste time trying to find some unorthodox technique there. Use the first thing that comes to mind, and finish that question as fast as possible. Make sure you try to use more than 1 technique because the more techniques you have, the stronger your response will be. I remember I had around 6 techniques for last year's picture question.

    Most of the rest of the questions will ask for a set number of techniques, but I find that my answer is simply stronger if I have more. What I usually did was find one strong technique like a metaphor or simile and elaborate on it, and then chuck in a "combined with the alliteration/hyperbole/etc, the author's emphasis of__ is furthered" towards the end to add more to my answer. I have also heard that what teachers do is only award marks to the necessary amount of techniques, meaning if the question asks for 2, and you put 3, they will award you marks to whichever of 3 techniques you use most correctly or convincingly. In that case, it is easy to see that using more techniques gives you a greater chance of getting the full marks in the event some of your application of techniques is questionable from markers' eyes.

    Because a lot of concepts in Belonging are inter-related like interaction and relationships, family and friends, time and change in belonging, family and culture, community and culture, society and identity, etc , it is sometimes a good idea to bring in another aspect of belonging to further your response keeping in mind that this new aspect of belonging is only a supplement to the one asked in the question. So something like "The sense of belonging to culture in this extract is inextricably also emphasised through the character's interaction with his/her family..." In situations like that, the link between more aspects of belonging is actually more effective than techniques because you are demonstrating a more elaborate understanding on the concept as well. This will be the same for you 2015ers doing "Discovery". The Area of Studies have, historically, all contained concepts which are interrelated and this is not likely to change. Using a more broad understanding of how the concepts of the AoS interrelates is something you can also do in your essay responses to your benefit.

    Also, keep in mind you also studied not belonging and using examples of not belonging can be a great way to emphasis whatever aspect of belonging may be asked in the question.

    As for the mini-essay at the end of the paper, there is usually some contention as to whether or not to repeat the same techniques you've used in the previous questions. I think it is safe to say that you should always be hesitant about repeating your answers. You wouldn't use the same quote twice in an essay, so why should you do it in Section 1? If you can find different quotes and techniques, always prioritise those in your response. It may help to quickly deconstruct the unseen texts in the reading time and save some of the more bigger and useful techniques for this question if possible. Remember also that it's a comparative question so you have to compare the texts in the ways they represent the same type of belonging, as well as the different types of belonging and not belonging. Really take a conceptual approach to Section 1 because it's standardised across the state and they prefer the conceptual understanding of the AoS over too many techniques and stuff. Still keep a good bank of techniques and quotes in your response, but try to find as many links to the many aspects of Belonging (or Discovery) as you can.

    You may have heard of STEEL or PEEL. I prefer STEEL: Statement, Technique, Example, Explanation, Link. It's the structure of essay paragraphs. I approached Section 1 the same too, but always had about 2-3 sentences and repeated it at least twice with supplementary techniques if the question only asked for 1 or 2.

    Finally, really get straight to the point with answering the question because this section usually takes the longest but is still the easiest to get marks in. It actually always used to take me ~45 minutes (I remember it actually took me 48 in the exam). If you have memorised your essay and creative, then it is safe to assume the creative will likely only take you ~30-35 minutes to write out, and the same for the essay. Even if you haven't memorised, aiming to do the creative in 30-35 minutes is very plausible, and no longer than 40 minutes for the essay is necessary anyway.This means that you can potentially save ~20 minutes altogether, which you can dedicate to S1. I always approached the exam with S2, S3, S1, purely because I like to be meticulous with S1 as it is a free 15 marks, and this approach was the same for a lot of students in my grade. It is excellent for students who aren't confident that they can get through each text in the 10 minutes reading time (I'll be honest, I never could), and also for making sure you can maximise the amount of marks you can get in the section.

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    #tyrannosaurusREKT Crobat's Avatar
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    Re: Crobat's Guide To HSC English Advanced.

    Section 2 - Creative Writing

    I think it's important to have a creative writing piece prepared for the exam. The exam question is usually very generic and provided you have a creative writing piece that has actually considered all aspects of the AoS, it also a very easy section to adapt to and get a good mark in. This is a Section where even if you have poor academic writing abilities, you are able to excel in if you have proper imaginative writing skills. At the very least, you should have an idea ready for a story, and if you are a good student, maybe even 3 in total.

    The difficult part of this section is how generic and cliché your story is going to be. This is a list of what I found to be cliché's for creative writing pieces: a death in the family or a friend, moving towns/schools, being unable to achieve a dream because someone else is holding you back or because of some injury, high school love stories (love triangles, i'm in love with my best friend's girlfriend/sister), and not fitting in. The reason these plot lines are clichéd is because they would always follow a very predictable story structure and become overly dramatic teenage angst tales. This is not to say that if you do these stories you will undeniably receive a poor mark. There have been some that have been excellently written and beautifully executed where the story has been along the same lines. The difference is in the writing, in the characterisation, in the dialogue, and in the predictability and angst (or lack there of more specifically). Dark and gloomy stories where the protagonist is an emotionless soul against the world is also a cliché, and stories focussing on too much violence is frowned upon. It is important to demonstrate a change in Belonging in your creative writing. You study both Belonging and Not Belonging so you cannot have a creative piece that is entirely one sided. In this process of change is where you will also demonstrate your understanding of Belonging; the forces that affect the concept, the affect the concept has on characters, the extent of the concept on everyone involved.

    I encourage you to find inspiration from the real world. My inspiration for my story came from an article I read about scientists trying to advance human beings to immortality using holograms and transporting human consciousness. My story was told from Death's perspective and focussed on how the character of Death had become disillusioned with his uselessness in a world where no one dies and how the human population had become despondent as a result of being unable to physically interact with each other on account of being holograms (I will provide a link to my creative writing in my section of the modules below). Stay away from stories where the main character is a teenager lost because of something he can't have. Make your story interesting. HSC markers are incredibly experienced and have been marking creative writing pieces not only for the HSC, but also for their own students. They have literally read them all so setting yourself apart from the crowd is of paramount importance.

    It is also important to remember that this section will save you a lot of time if you are fully prepared. I had friends that would take only 25 minutes to write their creative writing and still get a High A range mark. The marks in this section really come from your grasp of the AoS and your adaptation to the stimulus given to you. Come back to the stimulus a good 2 or 3 times in your story to demonstrate how you are using it.

    Remember that while this section may be the most enjoyable and fun for you, it is only 15 marks out of a 45 mark paper so you shouldn't get carried away here, especially if you know that you struggle with academic writing and could use that time for the other 2 sections.

    Also remember that you can be asked to write in formats other than a story, so if the event comes to that, keep your cool and think about how your story is going to adapt or if it will at all. This is where the students with multiple ideas may take advantage of the situation as perhaps 1 of their many ideas will fit the question.

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    #tyrannosaurusREKT Crobat's Avatar
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    Re: Crobat's Guide To HSC English Advanced.

    Essay Responses

    There's not much I can say in this section. Your performance in the essay responses will largely depend on your preparation of the Modules and Texts, and whether you memorised quotes/techniques or full bodied essays.

    My general advice to you would be to always understand what the question is asking. It doesn't matter which route you take in your preparation, if you can't decipher the question you can't get a good mark. For the most part, the question will always be in relation to some conceptual aspect of the rubric, e.g. time and place in Belonging, Corruption in Hamlet, Context in Mod A, Personal Bias in Mod C, etc ,etc. Narrow down this concept, isolate it, and make it the forefront of your essay. If there are 2, do the same. Use these concepts as the basis of where your argument will be directed. You cannot get a good mark if you don't at least reword the question into your essay a few times. Irrelevant analysis will not benefit you. Your answer will have to be clearly related to the question.

    This is really the main advice you can be given heading into the exam. But some key things to consider for the Modules individually will follow.

    Belonging

    Firstly, this link should take you to my Belonging materials: Belonging.

    Like the creative writing, you should be mindful of where the characters' sense of Belonging changes in your texts. Again it is another case of it not being enough to say "here is where he belongs, demonstrated in the quote" and "here is where he doesn't belong". On a personal level, I always preferred to use quotes and techniques that inferred aspects of Belonging. The risk you run with doing this is that your explanation or analysis may be inadequate to support what you are saying, so be very careful with how you do this. The reason I did not like to dwell on explicit representations of the concept is because any idiot with eyes and a pencil can. A strong English student will be able to see the concept even where it's not explicitly telling you it is there. This may be in the form of actions characters do, a change in habits or a creation of habits, reactions to events, etc. Look at the implications behind what's being done.

    Also remember that while Belonging is very long winded, it is very interconnected. If the question asks for something your generic doesn't fit, or something you didn't explicitly study, you can always draw links between the question's concepts and any other concepts that tie to it that you have studied. This is a good method of writing under pressure, and also goes a long way in demonstrating your understanding of the concept of Belonging. But be mindful that you still need to keep the concepts of the question the centre of attention. Ideally, you'll still be able to come up with at least 1 quote in each paragraph that is entirely new, and maybe even in the place of another line, that explicitly deals with the concepts of the question.

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    #tyrannosaurusREKT Crobat's Avatar
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    Re: Crobat's Guide To HSC English Advanced.

    Module A

    This is the link to my materials on Frankenstein and Bladerunner (they are just essays): FrankenRunner.

    Both electives under Module A focus on how the context of the author influences the concepts of the texts. Thus, it logically follows that tying your analysis to aspects of the composers' context is critical to your success in Module A. This means that themes of great importance in the text are a result of the history surrounding the composer's time. So for example, the presence of science in Frankenstein is a result of the presence of the Industrial Revolution and Galvanism in Shelley's time. It is the same for the other texts and electives and this is how the analysis of your essay response should really be structured. Paragraphing is perhaps best done via a close analysis of 2 key themes, with 4 paragraphs in total - 1 paragraph for each text for each theme.

    This module also tends to be a bit of a doozy in terms of questions. They are generally mono-conceptual in that they typically ask the same thing each year with very little differences from each year (have a look at the past questions) - they pretty much all revolve around your appreciation of the texts with respect to the composers' contexts. What is always important to consider in Module A is integrating your response. Make clear parallels and differences between how themes are represented in the texts, and acknowledge the differences in their contexts. A great website to help you out with Module A is TutorTales (this website is fantastic for preparation). You will see that they also occasionally identify specific themes. Don't panic. The themes they have identified (and if they do identify) are themes that are already important to the texts, and that you should have already studied. Again, if you haven't, the themes aren't too difficult to relate to the other themes present in the text, e.g. the theme of ambition to the theme of dependence on science, creating life, etc in FrankenRunner.

    Of course, it goes without saying that drawing a connection between the context of the composers to the question asked is also a must.

    In summary, to succeed in this Module, you need to always have context in mind, take a thematic approach to the essay, and to focus on the similarities and differences between the texts and the representations between the texts.

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    #tyrannosaurusREKT Crobat's Avatar
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    Re: Crobat's Guide To HSC English Advanced.

    Module B

    These are my Hamlet materials. They are incredibly comprehensive and insightful if I do say so myself. It was the module I most enjoyed and the module I did best in. They include an Act-by-Act analysis, a Powerpoint presentation, and multiple essays. Hopefully the link works: Hamlet.

    Module B is arguably the most difficult and the easiest. Why? Because the questions can be brutally critical and specific, but you are given the freedom of arguing against the question with your own opinion. The Module invites students to think critically about the text, formulate their own supported opinions of them, and argue it regardless of the question. The first question you should ask yourself in the reading time of the question is "Do I agree with this or don't I agree with this?". The next question you should ask yourself is "Why?". Naturally, you will still have to acknowledge the question in your response regardless of which path you choose, even to the extent of providing a brief analysis on the whatever the question is asking. But the defining factor is how you treat this analysis next - are you agreeing with the question or disagreeing with the question?

    If you opt to agree with the question, it is arguable that you have taken the easy road out as you will not have the burdens of disagreeing with the question on you. However, this may mean that your own opinion of the text is not argued, and all that hard work (possibly on a generic) would go to waste, and in the worst case scenario, you will be writing an essay on-the-spot from scratch. It is possible and manageable, but I also think goes against the point of the Module if you argue in the affirmative of the questions without actually agreeing with it, especially with a perfectly sensible and supported critical opinion of the text already.

    The difficulty in disagreeing with the question is that you virtually have double the amount to write; you have to analyse what is being proposed by the question and then dispute this opinion with your own critical opinion of the text. Doing this will also mean the marker may be more meticulous about what you are writing. After all, if you don't agree with the question you better have a damned good reason. This section took me the longest in the exam because I disputed the question - close to 50 minutes - and I had written a good 1300 words in the exam based on a draft that was ~1000 wordsish, but it paid off and I got a 19/20 externally.

    Don't forget that the overarching concept in Module B is "Textual Integrity". Defined, it means how the texts come to a unified whole. While this isn't really a clear definition, the working definition I used during my the HSC was how the intricacies and themes of the texts as a whole combine to propel the story and please the audiences of time. This is something you need to answer in every essay, and something your discussion points need to address too.

    General advice I can give you on the module is very simplistic. Like Modules A and C, it is a good idea to consider what was happening in the composers' context as a means of demonstrating their motivations in the text. Like Belonging, look to what is inferred by events, situations and personalities to inform your opinion. It may also help to have critical theorists' quotes in your response. Do not use their opinions as a basis for you own argument - the idea is that you use these opinions to inform your own argument. You can agree or disagree with the quotes. A good way to think about it is that the quotes either agree with your point, disagree with your point, or suggest an alternative that you can use to inform your point still. They are not necessary for a High A range response, but they are quite beneficial to demonstrate a wider reading and thus a really critical study of the text. A good way of collating theorist quotes is simply to Google "theorist quotes on _______" (that's how I did it). To start off anyone doing Hamlet, have a look at any of the theorists S. T. Coleridge, A. C. Bradley, T. S. Eliot, or Goethe.

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    Re: Crobat's Guide To HSC English Advanced.

    Module C

    My Module C materials are on Ted Hughes's Birthday Letters and include a poem-by-poem analysis, a powerpoint presentation, and multiple essays: Conflicting Perspectives.

    This module is focussed on representations within the text, i.e. how the composer represents events, situations, and personalities respective to their context within their texts. Again, like Module A, it's a good idea to link your analysis back to the context of the composer, however, it is not necessary to do so in as much of a detailed manner as you would for Module A. The key to this Module is really to acknowledge how composers have the ability to manipulate their texts into representing one particular view. Broken down into simpler terms - how the composer is able to use techniques to represent certain events, situations, and personalities in a specific manner. For example, if I wanted to say that Johnny had a quick temper, I could write "Like a mindless raging bull, suddenly all Johnny saw was red." where the simile and metaphor both represent Johnny's madness and anger. Your analysis will pretty much constantly acknowledge that the composer is in full control of what they are doing and intending to represent events, situations, and personalities in a specific manner, usually for their own personal purposes.

    The difficulty in this module is essay structure, or more specifically, discussion points. The reason this is is because this module is the one module where doing your discussion points thematically will get you no where near the requirements set out in the syllabus. You will need to do your discussion points conceptually through what you can decipher from the rubrics. A good place to start is again HSC Online - Conflicting Perspectives, History & Memory. Paramount to both electives is the effect of the passage of time and retrospective reflections. This should be a good discussion point for you, and is something likely to appear in questions. Other points will be a lot more elective specific, but can include topics such as personal biases and motivations, condescension (particularly in Hughes's poetry), etc. A good way to structure you body paragraphs would be to use 2 discussion points, 4 paragraphs - 1 on each text for each discussion point.

    This module is seemingly limited in that there is very little flexibility or wiggle room for students to figure out how to approach it. However, if your essay focuses on representations, personal motivations, and the effects of time, you should have a strong basis for a high A range response.

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    Survivor of the HSC rumbleroar's Avatar
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    Re: Crobat's Guide To HSC English Advanced.

    Wowww a MASSIVE thumbs up for you Crobat!! This guide is amazing and thank you so much for giving up your time to write it!!!
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    Re: Crobat's Guide To HSC English Advanced.

    Good work
    HSC PAPERS >>http://sdrv.ms/H3cL7l
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    Sorted HSC Q's >> https://www.mediafire.com/folder/cls...ns_%2B_options

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    Re: Crobat's Guide To HSC English Advanced.

    obligatory sticky it

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    Re: Crobat's Guide To HSC English Advanced.

    bump

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    Re: Crobat's Guide To HSC English Advanced.

    Cheers guys, I hope it actually helps people out though

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    Re: Crobat's Guide To HSC English Advanced.

    You are awesome Crobat :P
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    Re: Crobat's Guide To HSC English Advanced.

    You are a godsend

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    Re: Crobat's Guide To HSC English Advanced.

    well done crobat! I would definatly have used this wisely if i were still doing HSC English.

    My advice along the lines of HSC English would have been: Don't Bother :P
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    Re: Crobat's Guide To HSC English Advanced.

    Crobat, words can't describe my appreciation and awe. thanks heaps man!

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    Re: Crobat's Guide To HSC English Advanced.

    So much effort put into this guide Will definitely use and refer to in the future !
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    Re: Crobat's Guide To HSC English Advanced.

    Repped. Awesome guide, thanks
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    Re: Crobat's Guide To HSC English Advanced.

    Thank u soo much, ur awesome

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    Re: Crobat's Guide To HSC English Advanced.


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    Re: Crobat's Guide To HSC English Advanced.

    Thank you guys for the positive feedback.

    Big thank you to the mods for stickying!

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    Re: Crobat's Guide To HSC English Advanced.

    Wow this is just amazing, thanks man!!

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    Re: Crobat's Guide To HSC English Advanced.

    I think this is what many lost english students, including myself, needed to get back on track. Thank you!

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