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Question on ESL study 2018 HSC ( prescribed*text ) (1 Viewer)


New Member
Jan 7, 2018
Hi you all !! have some questions and need help from all you all ! :thrust:
So at the moment, I'm doing ESL for my 2018 hsc and I have a friend who is also doing ESL but he had been in Australia for more than 5 years so he is our out-standing student in ESL. He supported to study Extension 1 English but had chosen to do ESL instead. So at the moment, he's doing a prescribed*text from Advance English whereas we're doing a different prescribed*text. so my questions are.

1. If he does that in his HSC exam, Will his exam be considered as an outlier and will be marked differently or has more potential comparing to our exams as my classmates are all doing the same prescribed*text?
2. I heard that in the HSC exam, the HSC markers will be different for each different Essay ( like if you do your essay on a prescribed*text then a particular HSC markers will mark that parts of your essay?) and If yes, Will he get more benefit than us by doing his own work comparing to the rest of us ?
3. What tips to be good at studying ESL cause I'm currently band 4 in ESL and really get struck on the essay writing and how to adapt the question. ?
4. Any recommendations for studying ESL online for AOS Discovery for China Coin book and all ESL stuffs?
5. Should I learn to use more academic words in my essay or strongly focus on the structure of the essay ? ( I'm looking for a high band 5 ESL for my HSC)



Feb 21, 2018
World of void
Hey, let me start by saying that the number of years spent in this country is not an indication of the mark you’re going to get. I came to Australia 3 years ago and when I first arrived I knew very little to almost no English, however, I still managed to state-rank in English and thankfully was able to achieve a high ATAR. if you approached any subject the right way and put in a decent amount of effort (nothing out of the ordianary), then you’re bound to smash it.

A bit of passion and genuine interest in the subject can help too.

As for your questions,

1- Although it’s important to use a good prescribed text, it’s not really the text that makes a certain essay stand out, it’s the types of ideas and arguments that you use in addition to your analytical approach that will make your essay stand out. There is absolutely no point in analysing a text that is well above your level just because you want to show the marker that you’re using a complex or highly conceptual text, the markers don’t really care what text you use, again, it’s the way you analyse it that matters. Now, the benefits of using a difficult text lie in the substance it has, it allows for a more in-depth analysis, more interesting ideas to be discussed and -if analysed properly- would show the marker your ability to understand and deconstruct abstract and complex ideas, which in turn would boast your mark. So will your friend be marked differently or get a higher mark just because he used a higher level text, i.e the tempest, NO he wouldn’t. It’s the way your friend analyses the text that will get him the mark, If he was able to analyse it in a way that shows the texts’ potential, then obviously he’ll receive a high mark. if you used a normal text and were able to write a wonderful essay then there is also no reason for you not to get a similar mark. The only advantage he has is that his text will provide him with more ideas to analyse and more argument to propose, which if it’s used properly would lead to a spectacular essay. If both of you submitted some topnotch essays, there is no reason for both of you not to get full marks or at least similar marks.

2- Usually, teachers mark texts that they’ve taught before, that’s not always the case though. Also keep in mind that different teachers mark different sections of the paper and essays are double makred to ensure consistency in the marking. Markers have to follow certain guidelines and occasionally the head marker will collect some sample essays to ensure that everything is being done properly, so your essay will most likely be makred fairly. Now for the second part of your question, well if he’s doing a more complex text then he has more work to do, so no, there is no direct benefit, plus you only have 4-5 hours of direct contact with your teacher (during class) so I doubt this would give him that big of an advantage over you.

3- This is going to be subjective, so I recommend taking what suits you and leaving what doesn’t. The first thing you need to do is to understand your rubric to the best of your ability, I can’t emphasise the importance of doing that, it will give you guidance when you write your essay and it will help you tie-in all your ideas together. In terms of essay writing, start by following a structure that you’re comfortable with, for instance, for your body paragraphs try doing this, idea and link to rubric (short and sweet)->brief elaboration->Context(if needed)-> example with textual eivdence> technique(S) that convey your point -> literal effect-> philosophical/metaphysical/political/psychological, etc... effect- (depends on your text)> link to your idea in part or as a whole, then do the example part 3-4 times without repeating yourself. As for the nature of the ideas, I always tried to come up with new concepts that haven’t been discussed before, for example one of my prescribed texts in AOS was Robert Forst’s Poetry and I remember (for one of the poems ) discussing ideas like existentialism and cognitive dissonance in relation to discovery, I also talked about how discovering the inevitability of life choices can lead one to access universal truths about the human psyche or the human experience. I also did a lot of external reading about the philosophies that surround my texts and I tried to incorporate that in my analysis without destroying my essay or missing the actual point. Also writing personal study notes is critical, for example I used to write all my ideas about a certain text in the space of one to two pages and then I’d try to see which ideas fit the rubric/Syllabus description more naturally and in a way that would clearly showcase the meaning I’m trying to communicate.
Making sure that you are using strong techniques and textual evidnce that delineate your point(s) is essential, don’t use a certain quote just because you can use a strong technique with it, your essay has to flow nicely and logically.
- Learn how to manipulate your rubric to your own advantage, this is a very important skill to have when trying to integrate your essay with the question, note that I’m saying integrate not adapt because there is a difference, adapting an essay means changing a couple of things at the end of your senstences to make it ‘seem’ like you’ve answered the question, in other words, you’re just ‘spinning’ your essay (which is not too bad if it’s done well, some people can actually get away with it, but it’s not safest of options). Integration is something else, it means actually owning the question and answering it clearly throughout your essay, you can do that by preparing ideas, quotes and techniques that suit each part of the syllabus description and practising writing that within the time limit, or you can prepare and learn (flexibly memorise) different paragraphs that discuss different parts of the rubric/S.Description. Not only will that cover every possibility but It’ll also be great practice as you will be constantly writing new ideas and integrating them to/with different questions. Making sure you regularly practise writing essays, answering different questions within the time limit is sooo crucial and getting FEEDBACK form your teacher is even more important.
So to sum up, pay attention in class and write personalised notes, do some extra research (if needed and without overwhelming yourself), understand your rubric very well, use interesting ideas (if you can) that link well with your purpose ( be careful not to over complicate your ideas, use simple but interesting ideas), incorporate your teachers’ feedback extensively in your essays and practise as much as you can ( without compromising the quality of what you produce).

4- Not sure about China coin, but I’d recommend looking for study guides and choosing the ones that suit your interest. Reading about the context of your text tends to provide new insights that ultimately can enhance your understanding of the text, this can especially be helpful with Mod A and texts with political/historical backgrounds. If I find any good resources for China coin I’ll post them here.

5- It’s not about learning academic words, it’s more about learning how and when to use them. Reading analytical essays, research articles (not scientific or commercial), philosophical essays, critiques can help in exposing you to the academic style of writing. Don’t use big words for the sake of using them, only use them when you are trying to convey a precise meaning that otherwise can’t be shown. Clarity and structure are very very important, if your essay had great ideas but written in a confusing way, you’ll not be able to get your point across and as a result won’t receive a good mark. Strcutre, clarity and content/ideas are key factors to writing a good essay, if it sounds good then that’s even better. Some people can naturally make things sound good, if you are one of them then that’s great, if you’re not then that’s alright, it’s a skill that can be taught (to a certain extent), you just have to put in more effort.

Getting a high band 5 is not hard, your essay doesn’t need to be at an advanced eng level to get that, focus on understanding your texts in relation to the rubric and translate that into an essay while mainting structure, clarity and most importantly a logical, smooth progression between ideas.

I personally didn’t have a certain mark that I was after, I just wanted to do my best. if you are passionate about your subjects ( including English) and if you give it your best, put in the work and stay consistent, you might actually surprise yourself.

Yeah forgot to mention, if you happen to a have good teacher, I’d highly recommend seeking his/her advice on a regular basis.

Sorry if my ideas were all over the place (how ironic LOL) I was trying to cover as much as I can.

Hope this helps and all the best.
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2018 hsc

New Member
Apr 19, 2018
Hey Kai07

Thank you a lots for actually getting me useful advice.
I also want to ask if you have any discovery about Billi Elliot film or you know any relative texts that best to be used for Billie Elliot then it's would be great.

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