Introduction to Unit 3/4 English Language for 2021

Introduction to Unit 3/4 English Language for 2021

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.


Hello everyone, my name is Liam, and I am an English Language and Legal Studies tutor for Learnmate, and have been since the start of 2017. In addition to tutoring, I write these blog posts for year 12 English Language students every month. This article will provide you with an introduction to units 3 and 4 English Language, and give you a bit of advice for the subject.


Firstly, the upcoming school holidays (you may already be on them by the time you read this). Although you will almost certainly have some holiday work to do to prepare for the start of 2021, the biggest piece of advice I have for you is to take a break. 2020 has been a year like no other, and unquestionably one of the most draining years for the entire world. Remember to rest and recharge your batteries, as you will need the rest and the energy for year 12. Having said that, make sure that you get your holiday work done as well, either getting it done at the start so it’s out of the way, or taking a break before getting it done right before going back to school. Do whichever works for you, although I preferred to get it done early. I would also strongly recommend having a read of the study design for your subjects. I have attached a link to the English Language study design at the end of this article

For English Language, I would recommend paying particular attention to the metalanguage, which is vital for the course, and starting to search for good language examples.

Unit 3:

Unit 3 focuses on language variation and social purpose. In a sentence, this unit focuses on formal and informal language, and why it is used in particular circumstances. You will examine language in both the spoken and written mode, and of both formal and informal (as well as mixed) registers. You will examine the key features of formal and informal language across the subsystems, and you will look at their role in specific texts, as well as generally. Generally speaking, this outcome primarily uses short answer sections and analytical commentaries for SACs, although essays are not uncommon in this unit, and almost invariably appear as at least one of the three exam prompts. Additionally, AOS 2 is also particularly useful to your personal writing, as you look at coherence and cohesion, which are important discourse features for your writing.

Unit 4:

Unit 4 looks at language, and its role in constructing and demonstrating identity. AOS 1 focuses on Australian national identity (when parts of it aren’t ripped out due to a pandemic), which is probably the most enjoyable part of the course. Furthermore, you also look at cultural and regional variations within Australia, as well as the attitudes towards variation. In addition, AOS 2 looks at individual identity, and identity as a member of a group.

Unit 3 leads into unit 4 well because the features you learn in unit 3 are what you use to discuss identities in unit 4. Moreover, this outcome is most commonly assessed with essays, although analytical commentaries and short answer sections can also be used.

Other tips:

  • Contemporary language examples are absolutely vital to this course, so be aware of the language around you, and make a note of anything that seems interesting
    • Once you get into the course, it is worth actively seeking them (using Google news and other resources)
  • When you write in response to a specific text (short answer sections and analytical commentaries), make sure you discuss the specific function of the feature in that text, not just its generic function.
  • Utilise your teacher, and get their feedback on your work throughout the year. This is especially important in the lead up to your SACs, which they just happen to mark.


English Language study design:


Anyway, I hope that you have found this article useful, have a good break, and I hope that you are looking forward to year 12 English Language.


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Introduction to Unit 3/4 English Language for 2021