Exam Advice for English Language

Exam Advice for English Language

This article has been written by Liam McAlary, a Years 7 – 12, VCE Legal Studies and VCE English Language Tutor at Learnmate. If you’re interested in private tutoring from Liam then please check out his page here.


Hey guys, here is my English Language article for October. Historically, the English Language exam has been late in the exam period, although this year it is taking place on October 31 at 2:00pm. Consequently, this is the last article I am writing before the English Language exam, so this article will quite sensibly focus on the exam.

I have already written some articles on the exam, which can be found here:

Advice for the last 24 or so hours before the exam: https://learnmate.com.au/24-hours-before-exam/

Time management strategies in the exam: https://learnmate.com.au/time-management-english-language-exam/

Final tips for the exam: https://learnmate.com.au/final-tips-for-your-exam/

The English Language exam is tough to finish, so reading time is vital. In my opinion, using your 15 minutes of reading time effectively can easily save you more than half an hour of writing time. Using reading time effectively means that you start writing time without having to take the time to formulate plans for your responses, because you have already done that. Therefore, you just put your plans onto paper and get writing, meaning that you spend less time stopping to think about what to write next, and more time writing your responses, covering more ground in greater detail, and hence getting you more marks. My personal recommendation with reading time is to pick your essay topic straight away, so you can start thinking about what to write, and to then work through how you will answer the short answer questions and what you will discuss in the commentary. My advice is to spend most of your reading time on section A, as it will allow you to get through it quickly (Whilst still obtaining as many marks as possible) and have more time for sections B and C, which require extended responses. The time management article goes into some more detail about how I would advise using your reading time, although how you use it will ultimately come down to how you feel comfortable.

How will you know the reading time strategy that you feel comfortable with? Practice exams. I will not spend much time writing about how important practice exams are as I am sure that you are sick of having their importance drilled into you repeatedly. However, timed practice exams that simulate exam conditions (15 minutes reading, 2 hours writing, ideally having not seen the questions and texts before you start) are important as it gets you used to writing under timed conditions and pressure. If you do not finish a practice exam in time, get a different coloured pen and finish anyway, noting how much longer it took you to finish. Additionally, these practice exams are a terrific way of getting feedback from your teacher and clarifying issues in writing style or knowledge, so go and get feedback from your teacher on them.

The final piece of advice I have for you is generic advice which can be used for all your exams (although adapted depending on the time of each exam during the day), which is what to do in the final 24 hours before the exam. I wrote about this in more detail in the first article linked above, so will keep this brief. Go to bed early the night before, ensuring that you get a good night’s sleep and are well rested and refreshed for the exam. In the morning, have a good breakfast with protein and good quality fats (such as eggs and avocado), and as English Language is an afternoon exam, have something to eat around lunchtime as well, avoiding sugar as that will cause you to, “crash,” in the exam. Finally, ensure that you get to the exam with plenty of time to spare, so you do not have the potential stress of being late (and loosing your reading time).

I hope that may articles over the past year have been helpful, and good luck with your preparation and with your exams.

If you loved this article, you will LOVE all of our other articles, such as: Discussion and Examples of Language Varying to Reflect Identity, Comparing Australian English to American and British Englishes and An Introduction to Unit 4 Area of Study 1


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Exam Advice for English Language