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Back to School: How to be Prepared for HSC English in Term 1

The half yearly exams in April may seem a while off yet but once school goes back students often struggle with managing time amidst summarising concepts covered in class and learning new material. With just a couple of weeks left before school starts for 2015, here is a checklist you can use to ensure you have set yourself up for success in HSC English in Term One.

  1. Read all the texts you will study over the year. Students at any level of English will study at least one extended prose text and one play during the HSC year. For students in Advanced, tackling the Shakespearean play during the holidays can be immensely helpful to ensure that concepts covered early in the unit are fully understood. This checkpoint is vital for students in Extension One. Despite this course being only one unit, the amount of reading required is double that expected in Advanced. It is advisable to reread each text as it is encountered in class, but students can progress much more swiftly through a text they have already read rather than one they are reading for the first time.
  2. Finish your notes for Discovery. After focusing on the area or text required to fulfil last term’s assessment task there are bound to be gaps in your knowledge and notes. This is particularly true for students studying texts with multiple parts, such as Robert Frost’s poetry or Go Back to Where You Came From. It is also vital that students in Standard and Advanced have prepared at least three related texts of a different text type to their core text. For example if you studied a film, related texts could include a novel, a poem and a speech. If the related texts you have found thus far are fiction, consider including one non-fiction text such as a feature article.
  3. Write an essay for Discovery. For most students across NSW Discovery was tested last term, the assessment was in the form of a speech. Even if your assessment was an essay, the questions for this assessment often only address one readily apparent aspect of your core text. Write an essay that you can refer to, not memorise, when you need to study for Discovery again in the half yearly, trial and HSC exams. Writing an essay gives you the opportunity to explore different themes and concepts in an environment where time management is not a paramount skill. When school recommences you can hand in your essay to your English teacher or swap essays with class members for constructive feedback.
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