VCE ENGLISH: Start Writing Now!
This article has been written by Imogen Van der Meer, a VCE English tutor at Learnmate. If you’re interested in private tutoring from Imogen then please check out her page here.
I have been an English tutor for over a year now, helping many VCE students gain confidence in their essay writing for the final examinations. And during this time, I’ve noticed a similar study pattern occurring with each student.
We start by reading the book (which is a MUST in English, no exceptions). From there a deep discussion about characters and themes occurs, which helps students be prepared to explore ideas that are going to be given them in prompt form. Then at some point, students will receive a bunch of practice essay topics from their teachers, as well as a basic essay structure to follow.
And then all of sudden, the students panic; because it has come to the point where they have to put pen to paper.
I see it time and time again. The same hesitancy, the same lack of confidence, the same procrastination over getting words onto a page. And it’s always at this time when I get the question: How do I get better at writing essays?
I’m not kidding when I say that every single one of my students has asked me this. It’s like they’re convinced there’s a secret formula, or some trick of the trade, that all of a sudden makes writing an essay no more stressful than it is to hold a pen.
What baffles me is that no one, not a single one of my students, knows what the answer is, even though it is obvious. Or maybe they do know the answer, but they just don’t like the answer.
To be honest, I didn’t like the answer either, when I first heard it…
That’s the only way you’ll improve. Start now, while exams are still a fair way away. Start now, while your teachers have time to give you feedback, while you’ve got time to improve.
You have to trust me on this; I’ve been in your shoes, and I’ve learned from my mistakes.
When I was in year 12, I spent the whole first term convincing myself that I had mastered English. I knew was a good writer (straight A’s showed me that), and I knew I understood the text (my involvement in class showed me that).
So what else should I have studied? Well, the first SAC showed me that…
Don’t get me wrong, I did well. But not as well as I would have liked. Not as well as I usually did. And what’s more, it was way harder than I thought it would be.
I was shocked, I’ll admit. I thought I have this subject down-pat. It took me a while to figure out why I struggled so much.
Then it hit me: that SAC was the first essay I’d written in a time limit for that whole year. And it wasn’t going to be the last.
Start writing now, guys. Trust me.
It’ll make the rest of the year so much easier.
Good luck everyone!
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