The area of study is common to HSC ESL, Standard and Advanced English. From the 2009 HSC onwards, the area of study has been belonging. The aim of this study is to inquire into a particular concept in depth; to understand the essence of this concept through the way it is represented and commented on in texts and all aspects of existence. The focus is not on the texts, but more the way that texts shape our understanding of the concept and more broadly, the way we live and interact as a society and as individual human beings. That all sounds a little philosophical for HSC English, but this is what the Board of Studies tells us underpins the area of study as a whole and unfortunately what they say goes.
What you need to remember about the Area of Study is that you are not being tested on how well you know your texts or how many definitions of belonging you can recite from memory, but rather the relationship between the texts and the definitions and characteristics of belonging that come from investigating and understanding these texts. As the names suggests, you are studying an area or concept, which until further notice is belonging. The aim of the area of study is to get you to understand belonging through the way it is represented in texts. Throughout this study you will inevitably get sick of this word and its various meanings and manifestations, but you will need to push through with the knowledge that as soon as you put down your pen after English paper one you will never need to think about belonging in such depth ever again.
Each student will have to study ONE text in depth from the list of prescribed texts that the Board of Studies has chosen for their connections to the concept of belonging. In addition, you will need to find your own texts, which are called related texts that somehow link to the concept of belonging and you will need to know these texts in depth and be able to write about how they have helped you to understand the concept of belonging.
More about the area of study can be found in later posts, but for now, know that this will comprise 40% of your study and is so important that it gets its own two hour exam paper. Every person in the state who is doing the HSC will sit the same paper about the area of study, so if you are going to do well in HSC English, you will need to know the area of study inside out.