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Author Topic: 5 Common English Extension 2 mistakes that you can avoid!  (Read 29637 times)  Share 

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elysepopplewell

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5 Common English Extension 2 mistakes that you can avoid!
« on: February 22, 2016, 03:45:09 pm »
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Hello!
Unfortunately, the internet in all of its diversity fails to deliver rich discussion about students' experiences of the English Extension 2 course, yet it will deliver a looped video of Nyan Cat flying through pixellated space. This is just the beginning of various resources that we will pump out for this course in the hopes that we can have a discussion as one big English family. I've spoken to some 2015 and prior English Extension 2 students and asked for their opinions and advice for the course. To surmise all of that, I've got a list of the five most common and detrimental mistakes that you as an Extension 2 English student can avoid.



1. Not using your journal to your advantage.
Although the journal is ultimately a stand against plagiarism and sometimes just a pain to deal with, it is the clearest way to organise your thoughts. You have the option to write an electronic journal or keep it hard copy. The advantage of an electronic journal is that it is always with you and easy to access. The beauty of a hard copy journal is that you can glue resources in and draw wild crazy sketches and plans. Here is an example of JK Rowling’s plot spreadsheet that she wrote for The Order of the Phoenix:


Use this space to glue in essays, images, facts, to draw up character profiles, to write reflections and to keep copies of your drafts as they receive feedback. I wrote a creative story set in 1952. In my journal, I had images on 1950’s hairstyles, BBQs, recipes, aprons, cars, vacuum cleaner advertisements and televisions. Each was annotated with my own descriptions to build up a vocabulary bank but also each was analysed about its appropriateness for the story I had brewing. I had information on the most common baby names in the 1930s (my characters were in their 20s), the most common surnames, the growing phase of dinner parties and the changing sitting room: the one with a television. This is just context! I had ten progressive drafts glued into my journal with teacher feed back, I had periodical reflections (all dated!) and constant updates on my forever evolving concept. You can’t put too much in your journal, in fact, arguably you can never put enough. I went through two books with pages absolutely full. Make sure you cannot be identified by your journal for submission reasons - make sure your name, school and phone number are removed from the front before it comes to crunch time!

Some teachers recommend that the journal be kept minimal so that if you are pulled up for suspected plagiarism, BOSTES can clearly see your process of concept, reflection and sources. There is merit to this and if you agree, have two journals. You absolutely cannot hold back from research and keeping it all documented makes your life easier when it comes to writing the reflection statement. You should also definitely avoid drawing or scribbling things in your journal that are unrelated to your major work or don’t assist the creative process. BOSTES suggests against that here in the Journal fact sheet.

2. Not researching into form.
I wrote a short story for my Major Work. I felt like it was easy enough to do without a lot of thought into the form because I’d been writing short stories for high school English for years. I knew I was skilled in writing - that is why I chose Extension 2 English - did I really need to research into form? My teacher told me that if I didn’t do some serious research into form I was going to be penalised. I was reluctant, and wrongly so. When I focused on studying form, I gained so much. I started with Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Philosophy of Composition.” It taught me a lot about starting a piece with the intention of effect in mind. However, I needed more. I turned to John Marsden’s short book “Everything I Know about Writing.” I’m specifically mentioning it because it is a wonderful book for creative Major Works - but also definitely worth a read for improving your creative writing in Extension 1 English and the Advanced course. I sat down and read it all in about three hours and gained valuable knowledge. After reading the book, I changed up the entire structure of my short story into a circular plot line. Thank you, Marsden.

However, this is definitely not a one-stop shop for creative short story major works. Analysing the form of George Orwell’s essays, for example, is considered research into form. Observing the structural form of plays or radio dramas is equally important as what it is to observe guides or break-downs of the form that you will be writing in.

It is easy to get caught up in your plot and concept and ignore everything that is happening in the structural world. Your structure and your concept are complimentative of each other. If one of these is poor, the other will be weaker.

3. Not drawing on the skills and knowledge gained from the Advanced and English One English courses.
Section 4 of this document explains how the Extension 1 English and the Advanced English course should be incorporated. It is important to look at the Extension 2 course as an expression of everything you have gained from the other two English courses. Your reflection statement will need to contain a clear link between the three courses. Don’t forget - this can be inclusive of the preliminary courses as well. It can be as simple as this: For me, my story was set in the Cold War era that I studied in Extension 1 English. In Advanced English I studied People and Landscapes in Module C - this informed my understanding of how a landscape can impact the experience of an individual. That is all it has to be! It can even be that you admired the minimalistic tone in a prescribed text and you emulated that in your own work. You just need to show that there is a connection and that Extension 2 English isn’t just an awkward, isolated add on.

4. Getting behind on time.
In term 1 - you really need to push yourself to get a solid draft in the works. Ideally, term 2 will be finalising and refining. There are many candidates who get behind on their Major Work and drop the course before the finish line - wasting time and not achieving goals. You can avoid this by staying on top of things. Writer’s block doesn’t help - I know! When the creative juices flow you need to seize the opportunity and pump through as much of the work as you possibly can. Every composer works differently. You might need to designate a Sunday afternoon completely to Extension 2 in order to get things flowing. Or, you may need to be completely pre-occupied until you receive a divine inspiration strike and you will Extension 2 your little heart out. When you have the opportunity to build up your draft, you need to. Even if it is just a small crappy sentence, that is a sentence you didn’t have before and you can always edit later.

5. Connecting between the Reflection Statement and the Major Work.
When you write the reflection statement, you need to do so with the understanding that you markers will read your reflection statement before they read your major work. There are certain boxes you need to tick. You need to talk about your process, your concept, your research, the other English courses and so on. You definitely need to highlight the parts of your work that you think give it textual merit. In a way, you are pretending that your Major Work was not written by you and in fact you are drawing links between the text and the concept from a removed point of view (except, you can write in the first person). This is your chance to show the markers that you have fulfilled everything that you set out to achieve as is highlighted in your Reflection Statement.


Let's chat! Post below whatever your concerns are, your questions are, your weaknesses are, your achievements are and your concepts are. Together we can flesh them out focus on a killer Extension 2 Major Work! Don't be afraid to post below. You and I both know that resources are limited for this course, and together we can change that!

I received 47/50 for Extension 2 English. You can download my reflection statement here and my major work here!
« Last Edit: February 22, 2016, 04:00:29 pm by elysepopplewell »
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bmcclean

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Re: 5 Common English Extension 2 mistakes that you can avoid!
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2016, 06:56:05 pm »
+2
And the E2 superwoman that is Elyse comes to the rescue yet again! I'd also add on to get as much advice from as many sources as possible. I'm finding it really useful to get a wide variety of trusted creatives to read my piece as I work with it to help me get a picture of audience response. I agree with Elyse's tip to get on top of the E2 work early, as difficult as that seems, pumping out my first draft as early as possible has freed me up to work on the major works as well as actually get some study in for half yearlies!  :)

lechema

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Re: 5 Common English Extension 2 mistakes that you can avoid!
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2016, 09:33:31 pm »
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Have you got any tips for film?

elysepopplewell

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Re: 5 Common English Extension 2 mistakes that you can avoid!
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2016, 10:40:30 pm »
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Have you got any tips for film?

Hey!!
(Note: anyone who is reading this who is doing film - share your wisdom!)

Unfortunately, I didn't do film and I don't know anyone personally who has. The above 5 pointers still apply regardless of your media type. I do imagine that researching short films could assist with both your structural development but also your "research into form." Prey view widely and courageously - don't shy away from films in other languages (I'm thinking particularly of European short film festivals here) because the visual merit is so valuable to you!! The very fact that you chose film tells me you are already comfortable with the medium, I'm so happy that you have the opportunity to excel in the field that you enjoy.

Remember, try keep on top of it. Don't let yourself slip into "I'll do it all in bulk later" instead of always planning and preparing. You want as much time as you can to play with editing. Although, you obviously want as much time as possible to actually film! Get your timing in check - this is the term to get ahead!

Good luck! I'd love to hear about any progress you are making or any questions you have! :)
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rain9277

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Re: 5 Common English Extension 2 mistakes that you can avoid!
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2016, 07:52:26 pm »
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Thank you for your awesome advice! Really glad to know that you want to help everyone out with resources! Just wanted to ask, if an E2 creative piece involves a complex process is that particularly bad? Like involving a criminal investigation that is pretty complex.

elysepopplewell

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Re: 5 Common English Extension 2 mistakes that you can avoid!
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2016, 09:20:50 pm »
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Thank you for your awesome advice! Really glad to know that you want to help everyone out with resources! Just wanted to ask, if an E2 creative piece involves a complex process is that particularly bad? Like involving a criminal investigation that is pretty complex.

Hey there!
No, definitely not bad if you involve a complicated process. You just have to make sure that your plot doesn't detract from your concept and literary flair. I'm assuming by process - you mean process in the plot? You can definitely have a solid plot, concept and writing style all in one! Make sure that your clarity of writing is at a level that means a marker can access your plot adequately so that they can look beyond the characters and into the concept that is driving your work :)

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bholenath125

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Re: 5 Common English Extension 2 mistakes that you can avoid!
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2016, 08:56:29 pm »
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Hi Elyse

I love all your threads for English and i think what you're doing is absolutely wonderful. Would you be able to break down the reflection statement into its constituents and maybe list a few key things that are vital to a good mark.


Thank you
Kind Regards
Adi

elysepopplewell

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Re: 5 Common English Extension 2 mistakes that you can avoid!
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2016, 04:34:03 pm »
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Hi Elyse

I love all your threads for English and i think what you're doing is absolutely wonderful. Would you be able to break down the reflection statement into its constituents and maybe list a few key things that are vital to a good mark.


Thank you
Kind Regards
Adi

I'm so sorry I didn't even come across this earlier! Thanks for your kind words :)
Okay, the reflection statement is tricky. It's worth 10 out of your 50 marks for Ext 2 (the other 40 marks come from the Major Work). I know that makes it seem quite small, but tight control of language and direction can ensure you maintain all 10 marks! Ok, firstly, here is a link to the State Library's collection of exemplars! And here is the link to the BOSTES document/

The focus here is basically about showing how your research has contributed to your final piece, and how it is evident in the final piece. So, talk about research into form, language, technique, concept, etc. This can be both organic research (Eg, coming across something by accident that has inspired you) or planned research. Then say exactly where it is found in your work, (Eg, the circular structure of my plot was inspired by...). Another important thing, is that you need to link to how the Advanced or Ext 1 English course has informed your work.

Let me know if you need more help! :)
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bholenath125

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Re: 5 Common English Extension 2 mistakes that you can avoid!
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2016, 04:20:29 pm »
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THANKS elyse
Also, I have the viva vo che coming up, and according to my teacher it is very rare to get an A. I of course, like any other student would like to maintain a good rank and have good marks so how do i do well here. The teacher said it is okay to be informal in terms of the speech

elysepopplewell

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Re: 5 Common English Extension 2 mistakes that you can avoid!
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2016, 04:31:17 pm »
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THANKS elyse
Also, I have the viva vo che coming up, and according to my teacher it is very rare to get an A. I of course, like any other student would like to maintain a good rank and have good marks so how do i do well here. The teacher said it is okay to be informal in terms of the speech

I think the best way to prepare for this is actually look into what is required of a reflection statement. The requirements for both are so similar, but obviously the expectation in the standard is different (seeing as you're so early in the course now). The Viva voce is designed to get you into the mode of looking at research into form, and concept, which is also featured in the reflection statement. I was informal in my language, but I tried to speak slowly and clearly to make the links very clear.
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elysepopplewell

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Re: 5 Common English Extension 2 mistakes that you can avoid!
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2017, 08:22:38 pm »
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Hi Elyse :)

I was just wondering if you think writing a rape scene is too obscure for Extension 2 English? Because I'm planing on writing one, but it's not a full fledged rape scene, but more of a molestation... I'll probably dedicate about 100-200 words to it before it is stopped, and then from that point on that character's every move will be shaped by the cathartic experience. Cause I've received mixed views on whether I should or shouldn't.

Thoughts? :/
Thank you!

I'm not sure what the differentiation is between a molestation and a rape scene! Assaults are usually recommended to be avoided for creative writing in HSC students, but this doesn't necessarily continue into Extension Two. Part of the reason students are warned against writing about assaults is because of the lack of skill it takes to deal with a subject meaningfully and linguistically, because an exam room situation could take away all sensitivity, and also because it's used for a shock factor. But in an Extension Two piece, you could argue that you have the word limit, and the linguistic ability, to deal with an assault in a very purposeful way, one that may even be rewarded. I haven't heard any official word from BOSTES being against this, and I hate playing into silly rumours about what markers supposedly do or don't want.

So, my gut is to say: You're a writer. Writers sometimes write about life situations like assault, and it's so important that they do. Only ever write about what you feel comfortable with, on a personal level but also on a more mechanical level (do you think your own writing style will do this scenario justice?). Extension 2 pieces are often shocking, controversial, outrageous, and absurd. Your treatment of assault will not stand out like the most scandalous thing the marker has read - so I think that if you have the confidence that your writing will be able to do this: do it. :)
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r4id3r

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Re: 5 Common English Extension 2 mistakes that you can avoid!
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2017, 05:18:14 pm »
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Some solid advice, procrastination is always a challenge >:)

Ellie__

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Re: 5 Common English Extension 2 mistakes that you can avoid!
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2017, 08:24:28 am »
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Hi guys,

Just a couple of questions,
- So I'm writing a critical analysis for my major and I'm just about finished the writing stage of it with half of it already being drafted a couple times. Can you please suggest how I should  make a timeframe sort of thing of when things need to be completed because I feel like I am so behind
- Also, for the report assessment, how do you recommend setting it out, paragraphs with subtitles? mini reflection statement? first or third person?

THANKYOU!!!

elysepopplewell

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Re: 5 Common English Extension 2 mistakes that you can avoid!
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2017, 10:01:49 pm »
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Hi guys,

Just a couple of questions,
- So I'm writing a critical analysis for my major and I'm just about finished the writing stage of it with half of it already being drafted a couple times. Can you please suggest how I should  make a timeframe sort of thing of when things need to be completed because I feel like I am so behind
- Also, for the report assessment, how do you recommend setting it out, paragraphs with subtitles? mini reflection statement? first or third person?

THANKYOU!!!

Hey! I'm always wary of giving people timelines only because everyone's creative and analytical processes are so different. So of course, take this with a grain of salt. When is your report due? A lot of students have had to submit theres ready. So, in the assumption that you have a deadline for that - make that the priority as it needs to be! But, I think by the end of this term you really want to be completed with your major work for the most part. Remember you've got to do a reflection statement in there so consider - perhaps it will take you about two weeks to write that? Usually people can use their report to bounce off so they don't start from scratch entirely - but it is important that you keep that in your timeframe as well so you don't rob yourself!

As for the report: I wrote my report in first person, formal register, and basically as a mini reflection statement. Perhaps you might find that given the analytical nature of your major work: it is refreshing to do it in a reflection statement style so you can twist your words with a creative flair. Alternatively, you might want to stick to a sub-titled heading approach so that you can transfer the formality between the major and the report. It really depends on your style. When you're brainstorming what to write in your report, it might be worth using subheadings for different sections and then physically drawing connections between them.

Let me know what you decide or if you have any more questions! I can always advise - but with something like Ext 2, it comes down to your style :)
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nadine.tan

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Re: 5 Common English Extension 2 mistakes that you can avoid!
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2017, 01:55:21 pm »
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Hi Elyse !
Im doing poetry for my major work and my current word count is 3020. My teacher has given me a result of C+ for the poems so far. This is my first draft. I have asked for feedback from her but she hasnt given me anything! If you have the time, would you be able to explain the C mark and how I can get it from a C to an A (E4)

ThANK-YOU so much.