Analytical Commentary Introductions in VCE English Language

No comments

I will be running the most comprehensive workshop for VCE English Language 3/4 these coming winter holidays, with a particular focus on Unit 4 AOS 1. To find out more, please go here https://www.facebook.com/events/1892527177656340/ or here http://www.learnmate.com.au/workshops/english-language/

Don’t miss out – my workshops always sell out every holidays – and I have got so much planned for you. Continue setting those foundations and maintain dominance throughout the year! You see past testimonials from past attendees by clicking the links above!


Analytical Commentary Introductions in VCE English Language

In this article, I’ll be looking at WHAT to include and HOW to write an introduction in analytical commentaries. Many students seem to struggle with the AC section due to how much students need to write and how little time they have. The key to succeed in this assessable area is to practice, practice and practice more!

So, what do we write in an analytical commentary introduction?

  1. Register – what is the register of the text/dialogue?
  2. Social purpose and function – try to differentiate between the two, although this can vary according to school.
  3. Audience – mention primary and secondary audiences (if applicable)
  4. Contextual Factors affecting the informality / formality of the text – what in the given circumstance is affecting the language choices being made
    1. Situational
    2. Cultural
    3. Audience
    4. Purpose
    5. Register
    6. Topic

You can see an example I wrote for the 2015 ANZAC Day Speech by then Prime Minister Tony Abbott:

The register of this ANZAC Day speech as presented by the then Prime Minister Tony Abbott is mostly formal, with elements of informality. The main function of the text is to inform the audience about the centenary of the ANZACs, however, the wider social purpose is to commemorate and remember those soldiers who died whilst fighting for their country, and to further promote Australian patriotism. The main audience are Australians and New Zealanders, however, the audience can also include those who were in attendance at the event in Gallipoli in 2015. The topic being a solemn and commemorative event has an affect on the PM in that he must make use of respectful linguistic choices such as euphemisms. Further, due to the need to inform, the use of certain stylistic features help to promote clearer imagery to the audience, thereby highlighting the adversity and atrocities of war. However, the informal language features such as personal pronouns and Australian colloquialisms help to bring a sense of social inclusivity to the speech.

As can be seen above, I am very clear with my language and I pinpoint the 4 MAIN FEATURES NEEDED IN AN INTRODUCTION: register, social purpose/function, audience, and contextual factors. Also notice my language is formal – I focus on creating coherent and cohesive expressions coupled with metalinguistic knowledge. Assessors want to see that you know your stuff (to say it in an informal sense). However, I do not give explicit examples – keep this for the body of your commentary 🙂

I hope this helped! Disclaimer: this may vary by school, but for the exam, try to replicate my method above as it is what worked for me 🙂


I will be running the most comprehensive workshop for VCE English Language 3/4 these coming winter holidays, with a particular focus on Unit 4 AOS 1. To find out more, please go here https://www.facebook.com/events/1892527177656340/ or here http://www.learnmate.com.au/workshops/english-language/

Don’t miss out – my workshops always sell out every holidays – and I have got so much planned for you. Continue setting those foundations and maintain dominance throughout the year! You see past testimonials from past attendees by clicking the links above

Analytical Commentary Introductions in VCE English Language
read more

15 ATAR Hacks – How To Make This Year YOUR Year!

No comments

15 ATAR Hacks – How To Make This Year YOUR Year!

This article was written by Dmitri Dalla-Riva, owner of LearnMate Tutoring and a VCE graduate from 2012. Dmitri attained an ATAR of 95.40 in 2012 and passes on his tips for success to fellow students! We hope you enjoy!


  1. Eat better and drinks lots of water. As cliche as this sounds, it’s so very true.
  2. Plan some time each week for YOURSELF – be it with friends, family or just by yourself.
  3. Be resourceful. Reach out to your tutors, your teachers and your mentors. They don’t hate you as much as you think they do.
  4. Stop looking back at the past. You’re not going that way, so don’t use your past supposed ‘failures’ as a way of bringing you down. Let it fuel you.
  5. Let nothing stop you. Forget all this external pressure. This is YOUR MOMENT to do something great, so compete against yourself.
  6. Be positive! It’s so easy to feel down particularly in the winter months. Days are shorter, weather is colder and the assessments seem to keep piling up. It’a a test! This is the test of the almighty ATAR – if you can get through this, you stand a great chance of getting an amazing ATAR. I like to call this the ‘dip’ – a time when everything just seems like s***.
  7. Start that side project! Do something during the year that isn’t just geared towards your studies. Your brain needs variety and creativity and not just constant study. Launch that website, begin to write that book, record that video, or build that bike.
  8. Study in groups with friends. Study groups are a great way of alleviating pressure and also help to build your confidence.
  9. Try to study in a new location every now and then. The new location will do wonders for your creativity and concentration.
  10. Create some great notes, but balance this with practical application. All those glossy notes won’t mean jack when you’re struggling to practically apply it.
  11. Dominate your time! And manage your time too. Both in exams and out of it. Learn how to complete that practice exam under timed conditions – don’t worry, you’ll thank me later 🙂
  12. Read the question – it’s amazing how many students DON’T do this. Read the question over and over again, and read the marks allocated to each question.
  13. Not sure how to craft an A+ essay? Don’t worry, many students are never really taught HOW to write an essay. To help solve this, of course be resourceful, but also EXPOSE yourself to A+ essays. Read study guides and past A+ essays, and begin to subconsciously use the language in these responses.
  14. Write up your goal on the wall! Yes, do it. It’s scary and it’s in your face, but there’s something about writing up a goal and putting it up on the wall that makes it so satisfying and rewarding. Put it in your study area and on a simple A4 piece of paper stating the ATAR goal you wish to achieve.
  15. And most importantly, WORK HARD. This is your year, but it won’t come easy. You will need to work for it. Sorry, there’s no secret formula. It’s all hard work coupled with smart work (see above hacks).

If you loved this article, don’t forget to share it with your friends 🙂


LearnMate is Australia’s leading tutoring agency offering private lessons in all HSC, VCE & SACE subjects including English, maths, science, humanities, foreign languages, and so much more. Our mission is simple: to provide professional, engaging and enthusiastic HSC, VCE & SACE tutors to students, while also ensuring the student feels empowered and confident during their assessments! Ultimately, our goal is to empower students all over Australia to achieve amazing results and make their dreams come true!

To get started in your search for an amazing tutor, simply go here.

15 ATAR Hacks – How To Make This Year YOUR Year!
read more

How to Study for VCE Revolutions – The Three Common FAQs!

No comments

How to Study for VCE Revolutions – The Three Common FAQs!

This article was written by Sarah, a VCE Revolutions tutor. You can see more about Ronald’s tutoring services here.


The nature of examining history as an academic subject has changed drastically over recent years. What was once a subject that emphasised dates and individuals of  significance, history as an academic discipline has now shifted its attention to WHY something happened and what IMPACT those events then had as opposed to strictly the details of WHAT happened. Essentially, historical events shouldn’t be examined in isolation, but as part of a linear process of cause and effect.

Too often, I see students make the mistake of adopting this dated approach to academic historical studies. This has unfortunate ramifications, most often when it comes time to write an essay and a student jumps into narrative mode, merely re-telling the events of the historical period of inquiry. 

While, of course, it is excellent for a student to be so familiar with the content to such a detailed extent, this evidence (ie. the facts) is secondary to the analysis and conclusions we need to make in regards to examining historical events. Making a sophisticated analysis of history is critical to being successful within the subject. Thus, here are my top tips to understanding what is required in order to enjoy success in the subject of history: 

Answering the question. 

This seems obvious but yet it is surprising how many students do not actually address, specifically, the question they are required to answer. Again, the most common reason for this is that students jump into story-telling mode, explaining sentence after sentence WHAT historically took place, rather than why, how or to what effect.

I will provide two different examples to the hypothetical task, being to analyse a significant, indirect implication of the Holocaust beyond Europe. 

Example one: The atrocities committed during the Second World War – namely the horrific and attempted systematic annihilation of Europe’s Jewish population – gave further reason for a Zionist state, which ultimately had a heavy hand as a catalyst for the creation of the nation Israel. 

Example two: World War Two was an incredibly tumultuous period of warfare, in which over seven million victims of the Nazi’s brutal totalitarian regime perished at the hands of systematic annihilation. 

The second example still makes a valid point and is certainly an accurate analysis, however, does not specifically respond to the question, which requires the student to discuss a consequence beyond the barriers of Europe. On the surface, this may seem like a small detail but it is key to effectively answering the question. It is also common that students make these mistakes. 

2) Providing your answer in your first sentence. 

Whether you are writing a short response answer or a lengthy essay, some sort of hypothesis is absolutely, always essential to properly approach the task. In essence, your hypothesis answers the question straight away, before you justify said hypothesis using your evidence (ie the facts) and further analysis.

3) Being clear and logical in what you are trying to say. 

It is common that students try too hard, so to speak, using language that may sound fancy but isn’t clear or easy to understand in context with the rest of their answer. Of course, should you effectively understand more sophisticated language tools they are great to use. But it’s so important to really understand, yourself, what you are trying to say, why and what impact it will have. 

4) Don’t assume the reader understands the topic. 

As a rule of thumb, you should write your historical analysis with the assumption that the individual reading it knows nothing about the topic. Sure, this may seem silly, knowing that it will generally be a teacher marking your work. But ensure that you don’t leave anything open to further interpretation than what you have already determined. This is an essential skill required to fully answer a question. 

5) Provide just as much analysis as evidence. 

This is important to make a note of: there should be just as much analysis as there is evidence. For  instance, for every sentence providing dates and facts, there should be at least one additional sentence elaborating on what that informations means, in relation to your overall hypothesis or point. Every piece of analysis needs to contribute to the hypothesis. 

There you have five top tips to better understanding what is necessary to being successful in the study of history in senior high school studies. It’s in private lessons that I am keen to elaborate on these guidelines and put them into practice, to ensure students are achieving their best results possible. Good luck!


LearnMate is Australia’s leading tutoring agency offering private lessons in all HSC, VCE & SACE subjects including English, maths, science, humanities, foreign languages, and so much more. Our mission is simple: to provide professional, engaging and enthusiastic HSC, VCE & SACE tutors to students, while also ensuring the student feels empowered and confident during their assessments! Ultimately, our goal is to empower students all over Australia to achieve amazing results and make their dreams come true!

To get started in your search for an amazing tutor, simply go here.

How to Study for VCE Revolutions – The Three Common FAQs!
read more