Strategies for Success in English Language

Strategies for Success in 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.


Hello everyone, here is my January 2020 article. Is there any better way to start a new year than with an article about your forthcoming school year? Absolutely, I am certain that there are a thousand ways that are better to start the new year than reading an article about school. However, I am writing this anyway, so I thought it might be useful to discuss some general strategies for success in English Language.

Firstly, I will discuss examples. In this course, contemporary Australian examples are absolutely vital to writing successful essays. Provided that they are well explained and appropriately used, they show that you are aware of the world of language around you and that you have a better understanding of the content. I have previously discussed how important examples are to this course, however I cannot place enough emphasis on how important they are for performing well in this course (and any competent teacher will also stress the importance of examples to you).

Good examples that you can use in your essays can be found just about everywhere. Television, the internet, text messages and even your conversations with friends, family, colleagues or teachers will most likely be able to provide you with examples to discuss and analyse. Moreover, simply typing some key words from the course into Google News, and seeing what pops up in relation to it is a very good way of finding examples and discussion of language. If you see or hear something that may be interesting, note down what you saw/heard, as well as a bit of context so you can effectively discuss how and why it was used in the manner that it was (have an example bank somewhere, maybe even something like a shared OneNote with your classmates) . If you are unsure about an example, take it to your teacher or tutor and try to discuss it with them. They will most likely be ready, willing and able to help you analyse it and work out where it is appropriate to be used in essays. Examiners (and teachers) absolutely love to see interesting, contemporary, and Australian examples of language being used in essays, and showing the person marking your work what they want to see (provided that it is used appropriately) is a sure fire way to improve your marks.

Secondly, practice is also extremely important to this course (as it is to any other subject). In this course, you are ultimately assessed on your ability to show your knowledge of the content in short answer sections, analytical commentaries, and essays. Consequently, it is worth practising writing these, as you want to make sure that you can effectively convey the information that you have learned to the person marking your work. The last thing you want is to know the content, but be unable to use the appropriate skills to demonstrate that knowledge, so practising the skills required by writing in the formats used for the exam will enable you to avoid this problem. Also, make sure that you continually get feedback on your work to track your progress and ensure that you learn from any mistakes that you may have made.

Finally, have a look at the study design before you go back to school. The study design has a list of metalanguage for units 3 and 4 (pages 17 and 18), and subsequently lists the key knowledge and skills for units 3 and 4. You are assessed on the key knowledge and the key skills, so it is worth familiarising yourself with those (not in any kind of detail, but just have a look at where you are heading towards throughout the year).

Anyway, I hope this article has helped you, that your new year has started well and that you enjoy the rest of your summer break.

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 Transitioning in to Units 3 and 4


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Strategies for Success in English Language