Preparation Tips for the HSC English Exams

This time next week, the English exams will be over and you will never have to write another essay about belonging ever again!

Important last minute preparation tips

  • Do not try and pre-learn your essays. You will do a lot better if you write your essay from scratch, adapting your knowledge of the module and the text/s to the question.
  • Remember that for Paper One, they can ask you to write any text type for questions 2 and 3 (Creative Writing AND Extended Response). A brief overview of different text types and their purposes can be found here.
  • Don’t spend too much time on one question at the expense of others. English teachers will tell you this time and time again, and it is true, it is much harder to get those last 3 or 4 extra marks than it is to get the first 3 or four marks on another question.
  • Know as many techniques and quotes as you can. This will give you a broad base from which you can create and support arguments to respond to questions
  • Do not forget your essay structure. Although it is easy and tempting to just write everything you know about a topic, markers appreciate an essay with a proper introduction, thesis statement, body paragraphs with one topic of argument, and a conclusion.
  • Try and do as many practice questions as possible before the exam. Even if you just look at the questions and write a brief plan so you know that if you got that question in an exam, you would be able to answer it with your knowledge of the module and text/s.
  • Remember that no matter how obscure the question they give you may seem, it will be drawn from the syllabus. So read over what the syllabus says about your module/elective/area of study and make sure you understand each of the key concepts it has covered, and how your texts have helped you to understand or explore those concepts.
All of that being said, remember that the HSC is not the end of the world and you should not get too stressed out over remembering every little quote and piece of information. If you have done the work throughout the year, there is no reason to be scared, as you will find that when you are in the exam room, it will all come back to you and you will be able to answer the question well.