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Memorising essays for English (1 Viewer)

aphorae

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Agreed that different methods work for different students, but I always thought it'd be harder for the average student to write concisely and/or eloquently on the spot vs. adapting a prepared. Personally I went in with a single ~1200-word memorised essay for each of the modules with no additional quotes prepared for both trials (2nd) and the HSC (98) - although I did have 1500 for AOS just in case, and was somewhat lucky they asked an ideas-based, as opposed to a specific non-Hamlet character-based question, for Module B in both.

On the other side of the spectrum, I think it's worth mentioning that the girl who topped the state last year in English Advanced (same school) did not memorise a single essay for trials (1st) or the HSC.
 

liangson

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ok, the way i do is wake up at 6 if i have exam on that day, and then copy my essay twice before the exam. when u sit in the exam, u will find u can write down your whole essay even u close your eyes
 

Cl324

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Gonna agree with iSplicer. Memorising definitely helps.
Your essay has to flow eloquently and its extremely hard to do in 40 mins with the pressure people put on themselves in the HSC. Yes there are some naturally gifted people or exceptions to the rule, but the majority of people who do well in English rely on memorised essays. However it is extremely important to know how to do them properly

Yes there are going to be people who memorise and fail miserably because of a few main reasons. There are people who memorise essays that:
1. Have crap essays to begin with. Many students simply cannot write a coherent essay to save their lives and if you gave them the question 'Write your prepared response about [text]' they're still going to shitty mark regardless.
2. Cannot write mouldable essays. Writing mouldable essays is a skill in itself. It is actually very difficult to write a good essay that is very mouldable and covers a wide range of topics without being too specific. Way too many people concentrate on specific themes or characters and disregard the rest of the rubric.
3. Cannot adapt essays. To be able to mould an essay to the question you have to be selective about which parts you keep or drop. Then you also have to integrate keywords and answer the question throughout the text. There are students who literally memorise essays and refuse to change them in the exam.
4. Do not have backup plans. The 'contingency plan' whilst not often used is extremely important. You cannot just rely on memorised essays and a lot of people fail to realise this. For example in Mod B last year I bet you the BOS would have had a lot of 'The concluding scenes of [text] did not inform my judgement as a whole, instead (prepared response)'

Yes so maybe it is a selective school thing. The majority of people at the 'smarter' schools will rely on prepared essays and will do considerably worse without them. At the weaker schools, many people simply dont know how to write prepared responses properly and go about it the wrong way or they cant be bothered. However for the students who do it properly and with the desire and dedication to do well, they will almost always benefit from memorised essays.
 

iSplicer

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Gonna agree with iSplicer. Memorising definitely helps.
Your essay has to flow eloquently and its extremely hard to do in 40 mins with the pressure people put on themselves in the HSC. Yes there are some naturally gifted people or exceptions to the rule, but the majority of people who do well in English rely on memorised essays. However it is extremely important to know how to do them properly

Yes there are going to be people who memorise and fail miserably because of a few main reasons. There are people who memorise essays that:
1. Have crap essays to begin with. Many students simply cannot write a coherent essay to save their lives and if you gave them the question 'Write your prepared response about [text]' they're still going to shitty mark regardless.
2. Cannot write mouldable essays. Writing mouldable essays is a skill in itself. It is actually very difficult to write a good essay that is very mouldable and covers a wide range of topics without being too specific. Way too many people concentrate on specific themes or characters and disregard the rest of the rubric.
3. Cannot adapt essays. To be able to mould an essay to the question you have to be selective about which parts you keep or drop. Then you also have to integrate keywords and answer the question throughout the text. There are students who literally memorise essays and refuse to change them in the exam.
4. Do not have backup plans. The 'contingency plan' whilst not often used is extremely important. You cannot just rely on memorised essays and a lot of people fail to realise this. For example in Mod B last year I bet you the BOS would have had a lot of 'The concluding scenes of [text] did not inform my judgement as a whole, instead (prepared response)'

Yes so maybe it is a selective school thing. The majority of people at the 'smarter' schools will rely on prepared essays and will do considerably worse without them. At the weaker schools, many people simply dont know how to write prepared responses properly and go about it the wrong way or they cant be bothered. However for the students who do it properly and with the desire and dedication to do well, they will almost always benefit from memorised essays.
Finally, some rationality. +1, +1 so much.
 

iSplicer

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Agreed that different methods work for different students, but I always thought it'd be harder for the average student to write concisely and/or eloquently on the spot vs. adapting a prepared. Personally I went in with a single ~1200-word memorised essay for each of the modules with no additional quotes prepared for both trials (2nd) and the HSC (98) - although I did have 1500 for AOS just in case, and was somewhat lucky they asked an ideas-based, as opposed to a specific non-Hamlet character-based question, for Module B in both.

On the other side of the spectrum, I think it's worth mentioning that the girl who topped the state last year in English Advanced (same school) did not memorise a single essay for trials (1st) or the HSC.
Great - that's one person. What about the other few ten thousand students who didn't memorise? What was the median mark of that subset?

The logical fallacies on this thread are hilarious.
 

unLimitieDx

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There are some smarties around who can just wing the essays without even preparing one beforehand.
I know im not one of them so i have a prepared essay to suit most scenarios and just read it once a day :p
 

enoilgam

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Finally, some rationality. +1, +1 so much.
Great - that's one person. What about the other few ten thousand students who didn't memorise? What was the median mark of that subset?

The logical fallacies on this thread are hilarious.
I think you have missed the point entirely. I see what your saying - as I said before I went in with memorised responses because I felt it was safer given my skill level in english (or lack thereof). I tried the whole "remember quotes and key techniques" thing and I performed poorly pretty much for the reasons you stated (I especially agree with what you said regarding the response sounding more clear and well written). What I am saying (and what I think mirakon is trying to say) is that whilst it may be a good strategy, it is not the best strategy for everyone. Whilst it is true that many many high achievers memorise responses, there are others who dont and do quite well. Personally, if I had strong english skills, I would probably have gone with the non-memorised approach in some of my modules (namely Hamlet), because I believe that a student with considerable skill can get a better result with a non-memorised response in certain situations.
 
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Zeroes

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I usually have something vaguely memorised that can also be adapted fairly easily if I need to (which is most of the time)
 

someth1ng

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It really depends purely on the person, if you do the memorisation of an essay technique, you can get to the top. If you know your texts properly or memorise a good amount of also good quotes and know how to write a half decent essay, you can probably get even further but then again, it really depends on the person, their writing skills, writing speed etc.

With that said, memorisation of the main ideas of an essay is probably the best way to go about it.
 

aphorae

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Great - that's one person. What about the other few ten thousand students who didn't memorise? What was the median mark of that subset?

The logical fallacies on this thread are hilarious.
Yeah I think you completely and entirely missed my point - did you read the first paragraph? What I'm saying is that I just agree that it's different for different people. I'm just trying to show that both methods are valid - there's no point presenting only my own biased perspective without considering the other side if I know for a fact that that works for some people too better than the memorising/adapting method.

Personally I still think that memorising would be the easiest/best method for the majority of people, just because you're guaranteed something as opposed to nothing, just because most people are inherently procrastinators and ceebs practising extra essays, and just because you don't have to worry about sophistication - but as enoilgam and mirakon is saying it depends for different kinds of people. I was definitely not saying that the writing-on-the-spot method is the best. Probably would have ended up with a mark in the 80s if I did so tbh.

But particularly for those people who are just unable to adapt well or rely on/copy out their prepared (then get caught out eezy in their exams), or who lack the high band 5-band 6 sophistication just because that is their English ability... I'm not so sure that it's worth it to get screwed over for having a non-relevant essay that wasn't that sophisticated in the first place. Considering the Board complains about memorised essays every year, I wonder how many people actually get screwed over for that too?
 

JINOUGA

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Yeah I think you completely and entirely missed my point - did you read the first paragraph? What I'm saying is that I just agree that it's different for different people. I'm just trying to show that both methods are valid - there's no point presenting only my own biased perspective without considering the other side if I know for a fact that that works for some people too better than the memorising/adapting method.

Personally I still think that memorising would be the easiest/best method for the majority of people, just because you're guaranteed something as opposed to nothing, just because most people are inherently procrastinators and ceebs practising extra essays, and just because you don't have to worry about sophistication - but as enoilgam and mirakon is saying it depends for different kinds of people. I was definitely not saying that the writing-on-the-spot method is the best. Probably would have ended up with a mark in the 80s if I did so tbh.

But particularly for those people who are just unable to adapt well or rely on/copy out their prepared (then get caught out eezy in their exams), or who lack the high band 5-band 6 sophistication just because that is their English ability... I'm not so sure that it's worth it to get screwed over for having a non-relevant essay that wasn't that sophisticated in the first place. Considering the Board complains about memorised essays every year, I wonder how many people actually get screwed over for that too?
Pretty much this
 

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