Transitioning in to Units 3 and 4

Transitioning in to Units 3 and 4

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.


Hi everyone, here is my article for November. This article is primarily aimed at year 11 students who are doing English Language next year, as this year’s year 12 cohort have recently completed their exam and have no need to read my articles again (which is no doubt a source of joy for all of them). This article will provide you with an overview of English Language and will discuss how to use units 1 and 2 to prepare for units 3 and 4.

However, before going into English Language, I would just quickly like to congratulate this year’s year 12 cohort on completing their English Language exam. Good luck for the rest of your exams, and I hope you get the results that you are hoping for, but please remember that it is not the end of the world if you do not. Now stop reading this article and go back to studying for your remaining exams or celebrating the fact that you have finished your formal schooling (depending on your exam timetable and when you read this).

For students planning on studying units 3 and 4 of English Language in 2020, here is an overview of the course.

Unit 3 covers the nature and function of informal (AOS 1) and formal (AOS 2) language, whereas Unit 4 covers language variation and identity, by looking primarily at national identity and Australian English in AOS 1, and individual and group identity in AOS 2. What you discuss in unit 3 is relevant and important for unit 4, so it is worth continually revising throughout the year to ensure that you stay on top of the course (doing this will also help your exam preparation, so there is nothing to lose, and plenty to gain from doing some continual revision throughout the year).

In terms of knowledge that rolls over from year 11 to year 12, most of what you do in year 11 in terms of skills (such as essay writing and answering short answer questions) does transfer over to year 12 (obviously what you have done at school skills wise will impact how transferable it is).

However, not all of the content is transferable, especially from unit 2. The history of the English Language and the historical factors influencing the evolution of the English language are not relevant to units 3 and 4 (please still do revise it for the purpose of your unit 2 exams though, they are important). However, some of the unit 2 content is relevant, such as the processes by which language changes (commonisation, blends, etc.) and what you have learned about Aboriginal English (Aboriginal English is especially important to unit 4 AOS 1).

Moreover, a vast majority of what you did in unit 1 is relevant and is in fact essential knowledge for units 3 and 4. The most important thing from unit 1 is the metalanguage that you learned. Your discussion of written and spoken language in unit 1 will be especially helpful when it comes to doing short answer sections and analytical commentaries (sections A and B of the exam). However, child language acquisition, is not relevant to units 3 and 4.

Overall, it is really worth keeping your unit 1 and 2 notes, as they may provide you with additional information that your teacher assumes you remember from year 11. In fact, your year 11 notes are most likely to be an exceptionally useful resource. I still use them tutoring, and I used them frequently in year 12.

Anyway, good luck for your Unit 2 exams (please do not neglect content that is not relevant to units 3 and 4), and in your preparation for year 12. I will have another article for you next month.

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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Transitioning in to Units 3 and 4