VCE English Language Holiday Checklist for 2018

I will be running the most comprehensive head start a workshop for VCE English Language 3/4 these coming summer holidays. To find out more, please go here or here

Don’t miss out – my workshops always sell out every holiday – and I have got so much planned for you. Get a massive head start and feel confident in 2018!

Hey guys!

For those entering VCE English Language 3/4 in 2018, I’d like to give you a quick rundown of what to do these holidays in preparation for next year. The holidays present the perfect time to not only give your body a much-needed break but to also prepare yourself for the following year.

I was inspired to write this post as a new student of mine had told me that he had no issues studying for all of his other subjects (Methods, Chemistry, Physics etc), yet struggled to study for the English Language. He actually had no idea how to approach VCE English Language these holidays. So that’s what this post will be about today!


First and foremost, you must complete all of the prescribed homework from your school. There is a reason teachers give this to you to complete over the holidays – it will allow you to form a foundation for next year. Make sure you complete this meticulously and over time – do not rush it as this will not benefit you at all. Once this is done, then move onto the list below.


You can find the complete metalanguage list here on the VCAA site. Go to pages 17-18 to find the complete list.

Your task over the holidays will be to go through this list and define ALL of these terms. This is very important for next year as metalanguage underpins everything you do in VCE English Language including all sections of the exams and all SACs. I have an online course, which conveniently has all the definitions for the metalanguage list (updated for 2017 STUDY DESIGN). You can find that here.


Part of being successful in the essay section (Section C) is knowing how to weave in both modern media examples and linguist quotes. What I mean by this is supporting real-world examples of language use WITH linguist quotes to prove your claims. Often what you study in the English Language will be occurring out in the real world, and assessors LOVE to see this as it shows you’re linguistically aware of the world around you!

How do you find modern examples? Good question. Take a look at all my English Language articles that I’ve ever published here:

Get your list started early; many students mistakenly leave it until the last minute before exams and this will just cause you stress. Year after year, I notice the top students prepare in January. Many of you will have EL as your last exam, but that does not mean at all that you leave it last to revise for it.


Firstly, I’d advise reading Kirsten Fox’s English Language Exam Guide (otherwise known as ‘The Green Book’), and in doing so I’d recommend you study the sample responses they provide to you for section A, B and C. To refresh if you don’t know, section A is short answer, section B is the analytical commentary and section C is the essay.

When observing and analysing the sample responses in the green book, look at:

  • The key metalinguistic terms used often
  • The structure of the content (note: a structure is always followed every time)
  • Any noticeable examples or quotations (highlight these!)
  • The sentence structures and the lexical choice (i.e. how the sentences flow on from each other)


By exposing yourself to A+ responses, you will begin to subconsciously replicate the structuring and expression in your own pieces. You could even ask your teacher for some A+ responses from past students at your school (if they’re happy to obviously!).


I guess I should’ve put this at the start, but it goes without saying that you should familiarise yourself with what you’re going to be learning. The study design has a wealth of knowledge that will allow you to fundamentally understand the key concepts of this course. When going through it, highlight key terms you may not understand and put this onto a list. Your task then will be to look up and define each of these terms.


I always tell students that EL is not just another boring, indecipherable subject. It’s actually very interesting! EL can be used in real life in so many instances, that it will indeed help you once you leave school. For example, knowing how to write a formal letter to a prospective employer will do you wonders. Knowing when it’s appropriate to make certain informal/formal language choices in a job interview will reflect well on you and so forth. Even in my job running, when I send emails to students, I must know the difference between informal and formal language to ensure I can convey my message.


Your first assessment will be for Unit 3 AOS 1 at school. Now, the way your school assesses this will vary from school to school. Some assess this AOS (area of study) in the form of an essay, or an analytical commentary, or even short answer. Some even conduct orals (unlikely). Whatever it is, it would be worthwhile (in my opinion) to go through a spoken transcript and written piece (both informal) and analyse all of the linguistic features. You can find sample informal spoken and written pieces in all past English Language exams, which can be found here.

You may struggle with this at first, but just go through any piece that is informal and ask yourself the question – “if I was this author/speaker, why would I write/speak like this?”. Be inquisitive as this skill will allow you to excel in the English Language. Upon reflection, I was incredibly inquisitive in Year 12 and so I often did a lot of my own outside research and pondered many unanswered questions myself, which propelled me to do a ton of online research.

I also sell an online course to VCE English Language 3/4 students – with over 700 students using the course! My online course is THE best resource out there for a consolidation of the EL course in an easy-to-understand manner. You can find my interactive online course here (with 25% off):


I hope this helps any student out there! 🙂

Good luck for 2018,

Dmitri 🙂

LearnMate is Australia’s leading tutoring agency offering private lessons in all primary & high school subjects including English, maths, science, humanities, foreign languages, and so much more. Our mission is simple: to provide professional, engaging and enthusiastic 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!

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VCE English Language Holiday Checklist for 2018

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