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Memorising essays for English (1 Viewer)

SpiralFlex

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Re: Memorising essays

iSplicer, you seem to be a strong advocate in memorising essays. Why is that?
 

mirakon

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Re: Memorising essays

it's effective- and almost guarantees marks.
Its also dependent on the module and question though

For example, if you do frankenrunner, memorising essays can be very effective since the question is broad and roughly the same year to year. However, if you do hamlet, they can throw the occasional curveball i.e. Get very very specific for the question.
 

Johnstan

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Re: Memorising essays

Its also dependent on the module and question though

For example, if you do frankenrunner, memorising essays can be very effective since the question is broad and roughly the same year to year. However, if you do hamlet, they can throw the occasional curveball i.e. Get very very specific for the question.
haha yeah my cousin said for scott and shelley module a, its fairly easy to predict what ur gonna get...
 

iSplicer

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Re: Memorising essays

iSplicer, you seem to be a strong advocate in memorising essays. Why is that?
Haha, the answer to that question is what I spend all of my first lecture on when I teach my english classes. I'll try and summarise it here in short for those who are interested.

So basically to secure a 15/15 script in HSC English Advanced, you need a response that:
-ANSWERS THE QUESTION.
-Is 1000+ words long.
-Has 5-6 techniques per paragraph that assist your points of discussion (which must have a reasonable level of sophistication) in providing an integrated, engaging and flowing treatment of your thesis throughout the response.
-3-4 integrated quotes per paragraph that help achieve the above.
-Is eloquent, articulate and flows nicely.
-Has appropriate vocabulary.

Now, the text in red is what, in my opinion, really separates the 13s from the 15s. Answering the question and backing up your thesis with reasonably sustained discussion will get you a 13, yes (not answering the question will get you an 8, at most), but for a 15, your essay has to SOUND NICE. It has to be a pleasure to read. It must not be verbose, clunky or wordy. It has to be clean, concise, packed and smooth - reading it must provide the poor marker in the stuffed marking centre with a breath of fresh air. This is immensely difficult to achieve, keeping in mind that you MUST fulfil ALL the above points that I listed to even be in the race of getting full marks.

Now try doing all that in 40 minutes, with nothing in your head but a bunch of quotes whilst sitting one of the most important examinations in your life. I know I couldn't pull it off. In fact it took me 12-15 drafts, each one involving me getting up at 4:30 am with a hot cup of coffee, to achieve to a point where I was satisfied with the way my essay sounded and flowed.

Don't get me wrong, there are those who can. Blue Suede (a member on this forum) seems to be the type of person capable of doing this. Full credit and respect to her. But unfortunately the vast majority can't. All the 99.95s I know memmed essays, and we did it for a reason: it works.

Which brings us to the main question: HOW DOES ONE ANSWER THE QUESTION WITH A PREPARED RESPONSE? Excellent point. This is where the leverage really comes in. Let me get you in on a secret.

You already know the question.

That's your trump card, your leverage. The rubric instructs that the examination board ONLY ask a question that's intimately linked to the MODULE RUBRIC. Therefore, as long as your thesis engages with the module rubric and provides an engaging, sustained and broad (note I didn't say simple), you'll be able to mould it to any question. Just practice changing keywords and performing some literary gymnastics. You'll be fine.
 

Johnstan

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Re: Memorising essays

Haha, the answer to that question is what I spend all of my first lecture on when I teach my english classes. I'll try and summarise it here in short for those who are interested.

So basically to secure a 15/15 script in HSC English Advanced, you need a response that:
-ANSWERS THE QUESTION.
-Is 1000+ words long.
-Has 5-6 techniques per paragraph that assist your points of discussion (which must have a reasonable level of sophistication) in providing an integrated, engaging and flowing treatment of your thesis throughout the response.
-3-4 integrated quotes per paragraph that help achieve the above.
-Is eloquent, articulate and flows nicely.
-Has appropriate vocabulary.

Now, the text in red is what, in my opinion, really separates the 13s from the 15s. Answering the question and backing up your thesis with reasonably sustained discussion will get you a 13, yes (not answering the question will get you an 8, at most), but for a 15, your essay has to SOUND NICE. It has to be a pleasure to read. It must not be verbose, clunky or wordy. It has to be clean, concise, packed and smooth - reading it must provide the poor marker in the stuffed marking centre with a breath of fresh air. This is immensely difficult to achieve, keeping in mind that you MUST fulfil ALL the above points that I listed to even be in the race of getting full marks.

Now try doing all that in 40 minutes, with nothing in your head but a bunch of quotes whilst sitting one of the most important examinations in your life. I know I couldn't pull it off. In fact it took me 12-15 drafts, each one involving me getting up at 4:30 am with a hot cup of coffee, to achieve to a point where I was satisfied with the way my essay sounded and flowed.

Don't get me wrong, there are those who can. Blue Suede (a member on this forum) seems to be the type of person capable of doing this. Full credit and respect to her. But unfortunately the vast majority can't. All the 99.95s I know memmed essays, and we did it for a reason: it works.

Which brings us to the main question: HOW DOES ONE ANSWER THE QUESTION WITH A PREPARED RESPONSE? Excellent point. This is where the leverage really comes in. Let me get you in on a secret.

You already know the question.

That's your trump card, your leverage. The rubric instructs that the examination board ONLY ask a question that's intimately linked to the MODULE RUBRIC. Therefore, as long as your thesis engages with the module rubric and provides an engaging, sustained and broad (note I didn't say simple), you'll be able to mould it to any question. Just practice changing keywords and performing some literary gymnastics. You'll be fine.
* copy pastes, saves a word document, advertises- selling crucial essay help notes*
 

iSplicer

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Re: Memorising essays

Its also dependent on the module and question though

For example, if you do frankenrunner, memorising essays can be very effective since the question is broad and roughly the same year to year. However, if you do hamlet, they can throw the occasional curveball i.e. Get very very specific for the question.
That's true, thank you for raising such a valid point.

For Mod B, they can throw a buzz word at you. This is why, in addition to a beautiful, memorised essay, you need a contingency plan where you have a general udnerstanding of the different themes/concepts of the texts, and 2-3 quote/technique pairs for each, so that you can integrate them into your response if need be.

You can blatantly prepare for anything, it's almost like cheating the system.

It's a shame, because I genuinely like English and I really wish the system was different (so that my ACTUAL skill in English would get tested). But as long as we can play the system, we will.
 

mirakon

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Re: Memorising essays

Contingency plan is all well and good but hamlet is honestly one of those texts I strongly discourage students to memorise an essay on. Professors have written entire books on singular themes of hamlet, it is impossible to memorise and mould essays on it, or practice paragraphs, because the question can quite literally be on anything in it. It is much more feasible to remember quotes, events and characters and work on a thematic analysis from there.
 

SpiralFlex

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Re: Memorising essays

That's true, thank you for raising such a valid point.

For Mod B, they can throw a buzz word at you. This is why, in addition to a beautiful, memorised essay, you need a contingency plan where you have a general udnerstanding of the different themes/concepts of the texts, and 2-3 quote/technique pairs for each, so that you can integrate them into your response if need be.

You can blatantly prepare for anything, it's almost like cheating the system.

It's a shame, because I genuinely like English and I really wish the system was different (so that my ACTUAL skill in English would get tested). But as long as we can play the system, we will.
You could argue that for many of the HSC subjects. Namely, the sciences. But you do offer a valid point.
 

iSplicer

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Re: Memorising essays

Contingency plan is all well and good but hamlet is honestly one of those texts I strongly discourage students to memorise an essay on. Professors have written entire books on singular themes of hamlet, it is impossible to memorise and mould essays on it, or practice paragraphs, because the question can quite literally be on anything in it. It is much more feasible to remember quotes, events and characters and work on a thematic analysis from there.
Fair points, but completely prepared responses have faithfully served students for a long time - i.e. a buzzword can be integrated to a certain part of your response and you could sculpt the remainder of your prepared text creatively to 'support' the aforementioned argument. The contingent scenario very rarely needs to be used in any case - 90% of the time your memmed essay will do the trick with no problems.

The contingency scenario is very rare indeed.
 

enoilgam

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Re: Memorising essays

Contingency plan is all well and good but hamlet is honestly one of those texts I strongly discourage students to memorise an essay on. Professors have written entire books on singular themes of hamlet, it is impossible to memorise and mould essays on it, or practice paragraphs, because the question can quite literally be on anything in it. It is much more feasible to remember quotes, events and characters and work on a thematic analysis from there.
How did you approach english out of curiosity?
 

mirakon

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Re: Memorising essays

At times it can be more than a buzzword though

Take the 2011 hsc question for hamlet which iirc specified an analysis of the LAST scenes of the play.

It is also entirely possible that they make ask a question on a specific character's portrayal etc.

In the end, you need a wholistic understanding of the text to guarantee that you will do well and unless you want to memorise 50 or so paragraphs, you are probably better off using the quotes technique
 

iSplicer

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Re: Memorising essays

How did you approach english out of curiosity?
Also, I'd like to know what mark mirakon achieved with his/her approach. If they got >97, then of course I'd happily bow to their authority in the matter, but not before asserting that they are the 0.01% of students who are even capable of pulling off such a feat. I took the method that guaranteed success for ANYONE (it was safer).
 

iSplicer

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Re: Memorising essays

At times it can be more than a buzzword though

Take the 2011 hsc question for hamlet which iirc specified an analysis of the LAST scenes of the play.

It is also entirely possible that they make ask a question on a specific character's portrayal etc.

In the end, you need a wholistic understanding of the text to guarantee that you will do well and unless you want to memorise 50 or so paragraphs, you are probably better off using the quotes technique
... which is exactly the contingency preparation that I mentioned and condoned for Module B =P
 

mirakon

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Re: Memorising essays

How did you approach english out of curiosity?
Memorised quotes and themes. I wrote a few essays and got them marked by the teacher but mainly so I could practice writing greater amounts in a short time
 

mirakon

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Re: Memorising essays

Also, I'd like to know what mark mirakon achieved with his/her approach. If they got >97, then of course I'd happily bow to their authority in the matter, but not before asserting that they are the 0.01% of students who are even capable of pulling off such a feat. I took the method that guaranteed success for ANYONE (it was safer).
I got 93 :) so although it was less than a lot of people who memorised essays I know a 99.95er who gunned english and never memorised a single essay.
 

SpiralFlex

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Re: Memorising essays

I do know a person who got 97 and wrote on the spot.
 

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