Achieving excellent grades in HSC English is something that not all students believe that they can achieve. The reality is that every single paper can be distilled into a few core elements…. And you know what the good news is?

There is a formula that you can learn.

All the good work of your teachers is often not as effective as it should be due to the limitations of the system. You are one student in a class of potentially thirty and your teacher doesn’t have the time to make sure that every single student is up to speed. Even if you have incredibly supportive teachers, you might miss some key elements. I’ve met extension 2 students in the HSC who had never been sat down in a class to thoroughly explain how to create a powerful and effective thesis statement. So as you scramble together your original ideas and bundles of notes (if you’ve gotten that far!) to come up with that Band 6 essay you’ve coveted almost as much as that cute guy or girl from 4th period maths, we’ve prepared article to remind you of the top 5 most important factors which will give you a band 6 essay.

 Great Thesis

The HSC English syllabus wants you to come up with your own response to the themes explored in whatever module you’re studying. Your essay should commence with a thesis statement, a sentence that includes your primary argument which you will explore and develop throughout the rest of the essay.

 Strong Research

There’s a difference between being smart, and cutting so many corners that whatever metaphor you’re looking for is condemned to non-existence, and you leave yourself with a poor essay. Conducting thorough research will mean you’ll fit as many of your own great observations, literary techniques and evidence in your essay as you can.


Don’t start writing your essay willy-nilly! The marks you get will heavily depend on how well you plan, and structure your essay – decide what point, theme or issue each paragraph will deal with, and introduce it with a strong topic sentence. The success of your essay body will depend on the decisions you make here, and the best essays will slowly build the case for how compelling the thesis is.


Your markers want you to display reflection and insight into the complexities of the issues explored. But that doesn’t mean being long-winded and verbose. Even some very prominent writers don’t necessarily do this all the time. So be concise, to the point, and back up everything you say with a piece of textual evidence. And lastly, show a bit of flair. Not the out-dated denim style, or what your friends obnoxiously let off at a Wanders game, it’s that bit of stylistic panache, the “je ne sais quois” and flavour in your writing and argumentation.

 Conclude Strong

Cap it all off with a strong, conclusion that serves as a recap of your thesis and the main points explored in the structure of your essay. Don’t introduce new arguments, and end with a tone of finality and resolution.

So there you have it, 5 simple tools that you can use to improve your essays.