With HSC getting closer, this can be a pretty stressful time of year. And for a lot of students, English in particular is quite daunting, as it’s not only the first exam (and there are two of them!), but there’s also a fair bit of content to cover. But I’ve got you covered! These tips, whether you’re a Standard, Advanced, or Extension student, will help you get prepared for the English papers.
- Know your quotes! One of the most important things in any English essay is having plenty of textual evidence to support your argument. But for a lot of students, remembering a bunch of quotes can be a challenge. The best thing to do is to start learning them now – you’re much more likely to remember things that are locked away in long-term memory than to try to pluck them from short-term memory if you’ve been cramming the night before. Try to go over your quotes every day – write them out, read them out loud, listen to a recording of yourself saying them, even tape your quote list to the outside of the shower door! Not only will you feel a lot more confident heading into the exam, but remembering the quotes in the order you plan to structure your argument will help you remember what you want to say next.
- Know the rubric! The AOS and the modules all have their own rubrics which can be found online on the NESA site. If you haven’t already done so, spend some time familiarising yourself with these! Not only will this help you to deepen your understanding of each topic, but it’ll actually help you to prepare for the essay question you’ll get in your HSC. The questions they give you have to come from the rubric (although Module B is a little more broad because it can be anything from the text you’re prescribed), so if you know the rubric and how it relates to your prescribed and related texts, you’ll be good to go!
- Do practise essays! You can find past HSC questions on the NESA site, and your school might be able to provide you with past trial papers too. Use these questions and write practise essays under timed conditions. This will help prepare you for the exam and also give you a sense of how much you’re able to write in 40 minutes. Plus, you’ll start to notice patterns/recurring themes in the sorts of questions they generally ask for each section. Most importantly, though, get feedback! Whether it’s a teacher, tutor, family member, or friend, get someone to read over your essay and give you advice on how to improve!
While these tips might seem basic, they were absolute lifesavers to me when I did my HSC in 2016. If you follow them, and constantly put in the effort, you’ll be putting yourself in a solid position for your exams.
If you loved this article, you will LOVE all of our other articles, such as: How To Structure A Comparative Essay (VCE English Tips), 2U Maths Tips from a Past Student (98 in 2U Maths)! and Chemistry – Oxidation & Reduction explained!
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