English never came easy to me. My junior years were filled with reading, and more reading, hoping to develop some sense of linguistic prowess. In many ways, I credit my success in HSC English to my younger self, using any downtime for reading novels. However, I did follow a lot of rules I set for myself to ensure success. I hope these can help you guys too!
1. Get a whiteboard
Throughout year 12 I had a whiteboard placed beside my desk with my atar goal at the top and my subjects listed below. Under each subject, I had a to-do list that motivated me to tick things and keep ticking things off. I also made sure these were specific *short* term-goals so I could keep working hard and subconsciously motivate myself to keep going as I was “succeeding” in each tick.
For example, one time under English Advanced I had written “memorise 2 extra quotes for Eliot’s Rhapsody” because that was my last goal for Module B. As an easy goal that I could tick off, I increasingly felt as though the thought of success in English now was not so unimaginable – it helped my confidence immensely.
2. Reading the Module Rubric before the text
I didn’t always have the time to read a text more than once, especially when I had an additional 5 texts from English Extension. Because of this, I made sure I read and annotated the rubric before I read my texts. In so doing, I approached each text and the annotations I would make along the way with purpose and meaning toward the HSC. It is very important that you judiciously select the most appropriate and profound analysis – that comes only with a deep understanding of what lens you are analysing this text from (i.e the module rubric).
3. Time Management
You do not have a lot of time to write these responses and essays in HSC. So not only do you need to practise writing under timed conditions, but you need to find strategies to minimise as much wasted time as possible. I knew I wasted a lot of time with section 1 of paper 1, as I know a lot of students do as well. So to mitigate this problem, I had technique tables for every text type they could give and techniques I would find in that text. This saved loads of time and I was able to cut down comprehension from 50 minutes to 35-40 minutes and give myself more time to think about the essay question.
For example, in regard to poetry, I can always expect to find techniques such as caesura, enjambment, end-stop line, the 5 different types of allusions and imagery, metaphors and motifs. I never came across a poem for paper 1 where I could not have at least 1 of these techniques.
I knew I could always rely on aporia, allusions, cumulative listing, inclusive language and expert opinions for nonfiction.
4. Think about it
Lastly, remember that there are thousands of students studying the same texts as you. Spend a lot of time thinking about your thesis for Common Module, Module A and Module B, and a thesis that will set you apart. The only requirements are that it has to be plausible, unique and adaptable. If you develop a sophisticated thesis, you will 100% “wow” the markers and get that 20/20 you deserve. This is where studying at JP English can help you!