ATAR Notes: Forum

VCE Stuff => VCE English Studies => VCE => VCE English & EAL => Topic started by: literally lauren on January 11, 2015, 10:35:55 am

Title: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on January 11, 2015, 10:35:55 am
ENGLISH Q&A AND PAST QUESTIONS DATABASE

To go straight to posts from 2018, click here.

What is this thread for?
If you have general questions about the VCE English (or EAL) course about what the tasks entail or how to improve in certain areas, this is the place to ask!

However, if you're looking for text-specific advice (eg. 'How could I talk about character X from text Y' or 'Is my interpretation of Z correct?') then please make a new thread on the English page. This section is designed to be an information and advice resource, so keep your questions fairly general, if possible.

If you're looking for essay marking and feedback, go to the English Work Submission and Marking


Who can/ will answer questions?
Everyone is welcome to contribute; even if you're unsure of yourself, providing different perspectives is incredibly valuable in English, - since we all know there's rarely one "right" answer ;)

Please don't be dissuaded by the fact that you haven't finished Year 12, or didn't score as highly as others, or you're advice contradicts something else you've seen on this thread, or w/e; none of this disqualifies you from helping others. And if you're worried you do have some sort of misconception, put it out there and someone else can clarify and modify your understanding! 

I will endeavour to help wherever I can, but there'll be a whole bunch of other high-scoring students with their own wealths of wisdom to share with you. So you may even get multiple answers from different people offering their insights.


Which questions get included in the database?
The questions in the tabs below are ones deemed helpful to multiple people (ie. dealing with common pitfalls and struggles.) That is not to say other questions are less valid, but these are just the most common areas that students need help with, so please have a read through some before asking your own questions. If there are points that haven't been covered yet, or you'd like a more detailed explanation for an existing question, post here and we can update the database for everyone.

There's also a list of useful Language Analysis vocab attached to this post :)


TEXT RESPONSE
Preparation
What to discuss in a T.R. essay + picking out evidence? (helpful for early in the year)
The 'goal' of T.R. essays (scroll down to second response)
Using background information
Understanding the text

Planning
Planning T.R. essays (scroll down to second response)

Essay Structure
Teachers "recommending" structures

Introductions
What should be included in the intro? 
Structuring introductions
How to make introductions more sophisticated 
What makes an introductions stand out
Using quotes in the introduction (2)

Body Paragraphs
Wording of topic sentences
Choosing evidence from the text
Finding paragraph weaknesses? (scroll down to third response)
Appropriate explanation of evidence in essays (2)

Ideas
Coming up with original ideas
The difference between 'surface level' themes and 'in-depth' themes
Making simple ideas sophisticated
Memorising ideas
Exploring the impact of major/minor characters

Conclusions
Structuring conclusions (2)

Contentions
Strengthening contentions

Areas of Study
The most important criterion
Layers of Text Response texts
Learning about Views and Values with Harry Potter
Addressing views and values (ft. Paddington Bear)
Branching out from the text and explaining the marking process

Prompts
What are 'implications?'
How to discuss implications (2)
Dealing with difficult prompts
Why 'How...' questions aren't as scary as you think
Addressing 'Do you agree?' prompts

Quotes
Embedding quotes
Shortening and integrating quotes
Memorising and categorising quotes
Memorising quotes for the exam

Exam Preparation
Choosing your exam text before the exam (2)
Making the most of rereading texts
Planning in the exam + choosing exam text

CONTEXT
Criteria
A translation of VCAA's criteria?
Why memorisation is a massive pitfall
How to ensure relevance
Explaining the target audience
Originality in context pieces
How to approach Context studying

Intoductions
Why you shouldn't mention Hitler ;) and the importance of originality in context + my sample intro
What should be in an introduction?

Body Paragraphs
Structuring body paragraphs (2) (3)

General Stylistic Advice
Forms and styles: playing it safe
A basic overview of the three styles
Equal opportunity writing styles? + waxing poetic about The American Dream
Choosing a style

Expository Writing
Balancing examples with discussion + responding to prompts + expository structure?
Abstract discussion in expository essays (with pretty colours because Lauren learnt how to format)
Tips for expository writing
What to include in expository pieces - ft. cake

Imaginative/Creative Writing
Benefits of the Imaginative style? (scroll down to second response)
An explanation of the 'show, don't tell' rule for creative writing
Made-up stories

Persuasive Writing
Structuring a persuasive piece

Ideas
Generating ideas (2)
Managing different ideas at once
Going beyond the text: The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Year 12 English
Ratio of examples to discussion + questioning the prompts?
Using close analysis (ie. symbols, motifs) in a Context piece?

Set Texts
Extent of set text usage (2) (3) (4)
Quoting the set text
'Jumping around' within the text, and why chronological exposition isn't worth much (scroll up a bit for an example involving a headless chicken)
Using texts from previous years

External Examples
Finding external examples
Tying in examples, and zooming in/out?
Trying to find examples (esp. for Encountering Conflict)
Categorising examples
Linking between examples
Sopistication of examples (scroll to third response) (2) (3)
Using risky examples (2)

Prompts
Questioning the prompts - with example (scroll to second response)
Dissecting prompts
Simplifying prompts - using the 2013 conflict prompt as an example
Unpacking prompts (2)
The importance of prompts


MISCELLANEOUS
Studying for English
Advice for Year 12s (2)
Improving in English
'Thinking' in English, with a chicken-flavoured analogy
Fascilitating self-improvement
Going beyond practice essays
Using high-scoring responses
Frequency of study
Typing or handwriting essays? (scroll down to second response)
Is a tutor necessary? (Spoilers! The answer is no.)
SAC Preparation (2)

Using Study Guides
Using study guides (2) (3)

Reading
Wider Reading
Reading academic journals?

Vocabulary
Acquiring new vocabulary (2)
Improving vocabulary (2) (3) (4) (5)
Circumlocating verbosity (2)
Vocab: evoke/provoke/invoke
Self-editing for expression
Improving clunky sentences (scroll down to second response)

General Writing Tips
Overcoming writer's block (2) (3) (4) (4) (5) (6)
Quality vs. Quantity: recommended word count?
Writing with clarity

Time Constraints
Dealing with time esp. in the exam (2) (3) (4)
Planning under timed conditions?
Timing of SACs
Cost/benefit analysis of planning under test conditions
How to prepare for time constraints
Concerns about timing + checklist to go through before a SAC (scroll down to second response)

Advice for non-Year 12s and other English subjects
Advice for Year 9/10 English?
General advice for year 11
English/EAL differences
English 3/4 without 1/2 (with Lit 1/2)


Exam Preparation
When to start studying for the exam
Exam Details (scroll down to second response)
Exam writing booklets
What to bring to the exam (2)
Assorted pre-exam questions 2015 (2)
How exam marking works
Day before the exam?

In the Exam
Order of essays (scroll down to second response) (2)
Timing in the exam
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Leezy on January 11, 2015, 09:36:41 pm
Hey Lauren,
Would you recommend starting a text response essay with a quote as the first sentence in the introduction? My tutor says that examiners apparently love students starting with a quote, but my teacher tells me to avoid it.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on January 11, 2015, 11:19:43 pm
I have started all my subjects besides english. Should this be worrisome?

Also, I think the reason why I haven't started is because I don't know where to begin... Someone who got 40 told me to read my books, but I cant even look at it lol :/
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Paulrus on January 12, 2015, 12:33:29 am
Hey Lauren,
Would you recommend starting a text response essay with a quote as the first sentence in the introduction? My tutor says that examiners apparently love students starting with a quote, but my teacher tells me to avoid it.
I don't think there's a definitive answer to this, because each examiner is going to have their own preferences. That said, I'm more inclined to agree with your teacher. If the quote isn't highly relevant to the prompt, it'll make your essay look a bit pre-prepared - and if it is relevant, it'd be better used in a body paragraph, where you can actually get credit for using it to substantiate your ideas. So personally, I'd avoid it :)

Instead, if you're not keen on writing a completely new intro from scratch each time, you can try opening with a contextualising statement related to your text. I generally started with something like "Informed primarily by his own experiences as a soldier, Wilfred Owen's anthology 'The War Poems' elucidates/reflects on/illustrates _____", and that bit there would be altered depending on the prompt. That way it doesn't really feel generic, but you still have a solid and malleable base to work from for each essay. Another example is "Silhouetted against the backdrop of ____", but so many people start with that line that you'd be better off avoiding it lol.

I have started all my subjects besides english. Should this be worrisome?

Also, I think the reason why I haven't started is because I don't know where to begin... Someone who got 40 told me to read my books, but I cant even look at it lol :/
Ideally you should have started by now, but there's still plenty of time. You should definitely begin by reading your texts as soon as you can. I don't think you necessarily have to read all of them these holidays, but if you're feeling short on time you should familiarise yourself with your unit 3 texts at the very least. You'll find that the year goes extremely fast and you won't have much time to read them once it's begun.

Unfortunately, there's no easy way around it (except for just reading Sparknotes, but you know... don't do that), you're going to have to tackle those books. Take them a bit at a time if you need to - once you actually start them, they'll feel a lot less intimidating and you might find that you actually enjoy them :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on January 12, 2015, 01:02:14 am
Hey Lauren,
Would you recommend starting a text response essay with a quote as the first sentence in the introduction? My tutor says that examiners apparently love students starting with a quote, but my teacher tells me to avoid it.

I wouldn't say the examiners love it, but starting with a quote can be effective if done well. Note the difference here:
- "No longer would I be trampled, thrown about, or foiled." This determined shift marks a crucial turning point in the develpment of character in author's text.
- "No longer would I be trampled, thrown about, or foiled." In author's text, character undergoes many important changes in attitude.

The first would be safer, because it's explicitly stating the connection to the assessor. Put yourself in the shoes of a marker; you could read that second sentence and know what the student meant, but you're not allowed to give marks for the inferences you make.

If you're teacher isn't a fan of this style, then steer away from it for SACs, but if you want to keep it as an option for the exam, then by all means do so. Personally, I'd say unpacking the prompt is more important though. (Paulrus' example works really well for basically any prompt you come across, you'd just have to find something that works equally well with your specific texts.)

I have started all my subjects besides english. Should this be worrisome?

Also, I think the reason why I haven't started is because I don't know where to begin... Someone who got 40 told me to read my books, but I cant even look at it lol :/
It's never too late to start English ;D
At the very least, pleeeeeease read your texts. I promise it will help immensely to be able to think a step ahead. Even if you're reading through it in class, the things your teacher hints at and discusses will be way clearer if you already know the basic plot and character trajectories.

Places to start: (aside from reading your texts, which is very much step 1 in the whole process)
- Read over your Year 11 essays, marks, and feedback. See if there are common areas of weakness or if you don't understand where/ why you were wrong.
- Read some study guides (could be text-specific, or just general 'how to English' style things.) This can help clarify any conceptual errors you find in the reading of your own work.
- Read other people's essays. Depending which texts you're studying, there should be a few pieces floating around AN or the interwebs somewhere. Otherwise, you could also look at Language Analyses and try to familiarise yourself with the different ways of structuring essays.
- Sort out your oral. For most schools, this is the first SAC you'll do, but even if that's not the case, getting your speech or resources ready will save you a lot of time later. It's okay to wait until your teacher is explaining Text Response or Context concepts in class before you start analysing the texts or writing practice pieces, but the oral is pretty much self-directed, so get that out of the way, and you'll be able to dedicate more time to other subjects too.

Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: JackSonSmith on January 15, 2015, 02:03:14 pm
Could someone please explain what this means and perhaps provide an example where this is evident. (regarding a 9 to 10 out of 10 for text response essay)

‘demonstrates an understanding of the implications of the topic, using an appropriate strategy
for dealing with it, and exploring its complexity from the basis of the text.’ 
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: ras on January 15, 2015, 02:50:51 pm
Could someone please explain what this means and perhaps provide an example where this is evident. (regarding a 9 to 10 out of 10 for text response essay)

‘demonstrates an understanding of the implications of the topic, using an appropriate strategy
for dealing with it, and exploring its complexity from the basis of the text.’

(anyone else please build on this answer I'm only going to answer it partially)

One way I always looked at this excelling at this criterion was ensuring that I addressed the nuances in a topic. For example, I studied Brooklyn and on a SAC got the topic 'Toibin's Brooklyn is an ultimately uplifting portrayal of love.' We were told that the high scorers on this SAC did not solely focus on romantic love in their essays, but also on other sorts of love, such as familial love, love for one's culture, love for one's country etc etc.

So essentially, I would see this criterion as looking at a topic, highlighting its key words, and brainstorming the implications of each key word, ensuring that you are exploring the nuances of the connection between these words and the text.

'An understanding of the implications of the topic' may also be referring to identifying how certain aspects of the text may contradict what is being stated in a topic. This may be addressed in the typical 'yes, but also no' approach to structuring a text response essay. It is extremely rare for an essay topic to be accurate for every section of a text, and examiners are often looking for you to recognise this and highlight the possibly problematic aspects of a topic. I always found this difficult to do well, as I would end up contradicting what I may have stated in earlier paragraphs.

In terms of 'appropriate strategies' for dealing with the complexities of a topic, I would usually aim to define key words in my intro. So if the word 'self-discovery' was in a topic I'd highlight in my intro that in my essay 'self-discovery' refers to a character gaining confidence, assertiveness, a clear idea of who they are, they stop being defined by others.

Hope some of this helps :D
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on January 15, 2015, 03:03:52 pm
Could someone please explain what this means and perhaps provide an example where this is evident. (regarding a 9 to 10 out of 10 for text response essay)

‘demonstrates an understanding of the implications of the topic, using an appropriate strategy
for dealing with it, and exploring its complexity from the basis of the text.’

I love this word!

Simply put, dealing with the 'implications' is the difference between writing about the words in the prompt, and writing about the ideas in the prompt.

Random thing from a 2012 practice exam to illustrate:
             'Which is more important to Antonio: to hunt and kill the jaguar, or to make amends for the past?'
This is from a film called The Old Man Who Read Love Stories. Don't worry if you haven't seen it; that's actually better for the purposes of this explanation.

So the simple approach typical of middle-band responses is to do this:
Which is more important to Antonio: to hunt and kill the jaguar, or to make amends for the past?
So there'll probably be one paragraph on the importance of the hunt for the jaguar and why that's important to Antonio, then one on how/why he makes amends for the past. The third might deal with these two in conjunction, or introduce a challenge by discussing other things that are important to the character. Whilst this is a safe approach, it's also very limiting.

In ras' method above, this 'key terms' approach works well because the definition of love is central to the way you would approach the question. Provided you were able to add sophistication in other ways, this is perfectly acceptable for certain prompt types, but if you need to look at overall implications/ 'between the lines' stuff and not just definition nuances, here's how:

Ask yourself: if what the prompt says is true, then what?
- If Antonio must prioritise either the hunt, or making amends, then the prompt suggests these two endeavours are mutually exclusive. Both cannot be of equal importance.
- If making amends cannot occur in the form of killing the jaguar, then that means the act of killing represents a refusal to atone for the past.
- Whichever option Antonio chooses, it is inferred that he does not care as much for the other.
- These external responses are indicative of what Antonio values/ finds more important. He cannot act in a state of cognitive dissonance; what he does reflects who he is.
- Antonio acts on what he finds important; his behaviour is a result of his beliefs
With each of these implications we can then ask ourselves 'is this the case in the text?' And filling in those blanks will give you a contention.

Up until you ask yourself this question, you don't need your textual knowledge. Don't bring up examples to demonstrate your points (yet!) Just examine the prompt using logic, and decypher what it is implying as well as denoting/ literally saying.

So a simple contention would be along the lines of 'Both the hunt and the idea of atonement are important to Antonio, but ultimately the hunt is more important.'
A better, more insightful contention would be: 'Antonio's prioritising of the hunt for the jaguar, despite it being an ultimately self-destructive pursuit, suggests his character does not intend to atone for his past mistakes.'
(Note, I'm not familiar with the text so these contentions might both be wrong, but we're looking for the structural differences in approach here, so it doesn't matter.)

As for the rest of that criterion, it's worth thinking about the "appropriate way to deal with the prompt" section. Basically this means that you can't just walk into any assessment writing a paragraph on pre-selected ideas, or in a rigidly pre-prepared manner. eg. The alternate prompt in the aforementioned prac exam was 'To what extent is belonging important in the film.' There aren't a lot of questions to ask here, so you'd have to add complexity in a different way, like defining belonging and examining all the different ways it is present or absent. You should also have a couple of structural methods at your disposal (eg. group paragraphs by thematic concern; start by talking about big ideas then 'zoom in' to the text, etc.) and then chose the most applicable one.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: JackSonSmith on January 15, 2015, 10:12:24 pm
Thank-you both for taking the time to help me - and I'm sure, many others. I'll give more thought to the nuances that are contained within prompts and the implications of the ideas suggested. I guess having a dictionary and reading time has been accounted for by the VCAA.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on January 15, 2015, 10:13:26 pm
Okay, so I miraculously read my book twice... now what? lol what should I do now?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on January 15, 2015, 10:33:35 pm
Okay, so I miraculously read my book twice... now what? lol what should I do now?
Still more reading to go :)

Now that you have an understanding of the basic plot, it's time to start working through external resources to compliment your interpretation. Depending on which text you're studying, you should just be able to type '>title< VCE English resources' into google and get a fair few good sites. If you really wanted to, you could invest in some study guides too, though there should be enough free stuff available.

Using these, you can develop your own resources. Start with the basics (character maps, chapter summaries, quote banks, etc.) as these will give you a good basis for later analysis.

It kind of depends what text you're studying though. Like, if it's a novel, you'll want to spend a bit more time on summary exercises to make sure you've covered everything. Contrarily, if it's a play, then you'll have to think more about performativity, staging, and the ambiguities of performance.

The priority at the moment is ensuring you go into Year 12 with a solid understanding of the book you're studying, and the requirements of a T.R. essay. So long as you're comfortable with that, you should be fine :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Auralee on January 16, 2015, 05:30:10 pm
Hi Lauren! I love writing and reading, however I have never been able to bring myself to read a novel twice. I am wondering how you persevere and tackle even the most sullen of VCE texts.

Also, I am really struggling with Language Analysis. I am a fairly proficient writer, however have always found difficulty in this part of English. I have read your sample essay, which by the way is out-of-this-world awesome, but I do not know how I can work towards that. I have also read through your guide but still have trouble in actually composing sentences and paragraphs that flow nicely and are cohesive. How would you suggest I proceed?

Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on January 16, 2015, 08:32:12 pm
Hi Lauren! I love writing and reading, however I have never been able to bring myself to read a novel twice. I am wondering how you persevere and tackle even the most sullen of VCE texts.

Also, I am really struggling with Language Analysis. I am a fairly proficient writer, however have always found difficulty in this part of English. I have read your sample essay, which by the way is out-of-this-world awesome, but I do not know how I can work towards that. I have also read through your guide but still have trouble in actually composing sentences and paragraphs that flow nicely and are cohesive. How would you suggest I proceed?
VCE texts are not to be read for fun. Except Shakespeare, who is God.

I treated the second/third readings more like dissection exercises. Rather than sitting down to read them cover-to-cover, I'd constantly be stopping to google things, compile annotations, add quotes or other notes to my collections, or just making general scribbles.

Unfortunately some texts are just... well, sullen. Try and make them interesting, maybe by researching the history of the author or the zeitgeist. Otherwise, you can always make your analysis interesting by considering different points of view, eg. the audience of the time, and contemporary audiences (if applicable.)

With the exception of maybe three or four texts, I'd argue that every one on the list has some kind of interesting component to discuss.

Re: Language Analysis, it's great that you've already identified that you need to improve flow, now work out why your essays/ paragraphs/ sentences aren't flowing. eg. are you
a) running points of random analysis together with no clear thread, just because you want to cover as much of the article as possible?
b) jumping from the analysis of language to the contention without connecting threads?
c) cutting the analysis too short so that it feels stilted?
d) letting the analysis stretch out too long, or taking several sentences to say what could have been said in two?
e) not using the right linking words; so your ideas flow, but not the actual sentence structure?
f) not able to connect one discussion/ point of analysis to another?
g) not able to connect the stages of analysis (what-how-why: see first post for links to explanations)
h) any combination of the above, or other...?

Being a good writer helps immensely, and once you're aware of the specific problem, fixing it won't take long at all. Just narrow it down as much as possible. Biggest and most helpful question to constantly ask is 'do I not know what to write, or do I not know how to write it?' At the very least, this should help you to work out whether you need to develop your conceptual understanding of the task/ criteria, or if it's an issue with approach/ language/ vocab/ sentence structure.

Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: JackSonSmith on January 17, 2015, 04:57:56 pm
I had a go at thinking, and have come up with a revised contention for my practice essay on "This Boy's Life". Am I on the right track?

Prompt: Discuss the conflict between Jack's desire for freedom and his desire to belong.

Original contention: Jack has an internal conflict between wanting to be free and wanting to belong.

Contention after thinking: Jack's desire to belong, despite it requiring him to betray his true self, suggests that he does not truly wish to be free – but to be free of the person that he was. (modeled after Lauren's example)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Auralee on January 17, 2015, 06:07:22 pm
Hi Lauren (again!) Thank you for that advice. I think that I will try and instead of 'reading the whole book again', maybe read the important bits or find other ways to enhance my understanding of the novel (e.g. research, reading other interpretations etc).

As for language analysis, I believe I know 'what' to write - I'm fairly good at identifying the techniques used by the writer - however am constantly struggling to find a way of fabricating a piece of writing that isn't just:

technique --> effect on audience

technique --> effect on audience

etc, etc etc,

Literally my essays just look like dotpoints right now, which obviously doesn't earn you the high scores.

Any suggestions in how I can generate more fluidity in my writing?

Much thanks,
Auralee
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on January 17, 2015, 08:31:09 pm
I had a go at thinking, and have come up with a revised contention for my practice essay on "This Boy's Life". Am I on the right track?

Prompt: Discuss the conflict between Jack's desire for freedom and his desire to belong.

Original contention: Jack has an internal conflict between wanting to be free and wanting to belong.

Contention after thinking: Jack's desire to belong, despite it requiring him to betray his true self, suggests that he does not truly wish to be free – but to be free of the person that he was. (modeled after Lauren's example)
Way better contention, man! Well done!
Notice how the second one is much stronger, not just because it's longer, but because it's got more content contained within it. You're not simply saying 'Jack has a conflict,' you're saying 'Jack wanting to belong required a betrayal of his identity, meaning he wanted to be free of his former self.' You've incorporated much more of the prompt, and you've opened up several more angles of inquiry.
With that said, don't be limited by this contention either. There are still some concepts you could examine (eg. what kinds of internal conflict does Jack experience, and how do they manifest themselves? Does one of these desires (freedom or belonging) win out in the end? Why do they come into conflict in the first place? etc.)
None of these are required, but don't feel you're stuck dealing with what you can sum up in a sentence. Cover as much as you can with the contention, but expand it later if you need to. :)

As for language analysis, I believe I know 'what' to write - I'm fairly good at identifying the techniques used by the writer - however am constantly struggling to find a way of fabricating a piece of writing that isn't just:

technique --> effect on audience

technique --> effect on audience

etc, etc etc,

Literally my essays just look like dotpoints right now, which obviously doesn't earn you the high scores.

Any suggestions in how I can generate more fluidity in my writing?
Alrighty: your current issue is that you're only using what and how statements. So you clearly need to involve the why component in some capacity, which I'll explain below, but just to clarify:
The what section is more than just the technique, and how is more than just the effect. You don't need to list a precise technique every time, you could simply quote, refer to tone, or comment on language generally. You definitely don't need to explain or define the technique; it's more about the language of the article than anything else. For the how section, think about integrating the context/ background information as well (where relevant.) You could also 'split the audience,' ie. comment on how language might affect different people in different ways. Don't delve too far into this, and don't make judgements without evidence, but if you're given the information, then you're allowed to use it for analysis.
For instance, let's say you were analysing a leaflet about the dangers of fast food, and there was a paragraph talking about how it damages your health. If you've been told this leaflet was distributed amongst a vegan yoga club, then the effect would be one of self-congratulations and pride. Whereas, if they were handed out at every Maccas and KFC in town, then clearly the author is angling to elicit more shame, regret, and humiliation.

Now let's unpack that troublesome 'why.'
The purpose of this component is to link your discussion back to the author's contention, thereby making it clear to the assessor that you understand how the language is persuasive and you're not simply pointing it out and leaving it at that. If the author is using a specific device in an attempt to elicit a certain response, why would he want audience members to feel this way, or believe a certain idea?
On the surface it's a fairly obvious question to answer, but it can require a lot of practice before you are able to tread the line between giving too much detail, and not enough.
Simply put, your analysis at the moment is as follows:
Author does this --> audience feels this    x repeat
What you need to do is round it off at the end like such:
Author does this --> audience feels this. Author does this for these reasons.

eg.
'The use of the childish epithet "liar liar, pants on fire" is designed to engender readers' scorn for the subject of the author's ridicule. This sense of scorn and disapproval for dishonesty is directed at the man inferred to be lying, therefore the author's unequivocal branding of him as a "liar" with firey pants forms part of a scathing attack upon the man's character.'

I think there are some other examples in previous posts. Let me know if this still isn't making sense and I might be able to explain this further.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: knightrider on January 18, 2015, 12:57:19 pm
Hi Lauren in regards to the attachment below.

Does it mean that students doing units 3 and 4 English in 2017 will have a new study design.

Whereas students doing English  3/4 in 2016 will have the same study design  as before.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on January 18, 2015, 04:08:03 pm
Thank you for bringing this up! I'd given up refreshing the VCAA page every week or so since I figured they wouldn't release any more details until later this year.
Okay, so I just read through all these new documents and my soul wants to die.
Yes, apparently this year is NOT the last year under the current system because VCE English teachers can't use numbers.

So the class of 2017 will be the first to experience the new system, meaning that next year during the transitional phase, Year 11s and Year 12s will be studying something different.
you'd think if that was the plan all along they'd say 'the accreditation period will end in 2017' but who needs logic when you're a curriculum authority -.-

Cheers to another year of Context! *facedesk*


On the plus side, the Literature course makes slightly more sense than the current one.
I'm still mad though  >:(
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on January 18, 2015, 05:08:13 pm
Okay, so I think i have a good understanding of the text i am reading now, well its a play...

So what now? I have read some online summaries, plots, character profiles and stuff... what do i do now?

Thank youuuu (ps, i dont know why, but im starting to like english, wtf....?)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: RazzMeTazz on January 18, 2015, 05:31:50 pm
I was wondering if anyone could please distinguish between

1.) Campaign meeting
2.) Conference
3.) Convention
4.) Forum
5.) Summit

I am trying to choose the setting for my oral presentation, to see which will be best suited to my persona (Aboriginal welfare expert) but I'm unsure of which one would be most appropriate?

I have googled these, but I was still a little confused, as some seem a bit similar?

Thanks, any help would be appreciated!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: JackSonSmith on January 18, 2015, 09:12:30 pm
I was wondering if anyone could please distinguish between

1.) Campaign meeting
2.) Conference
3.) Convention
4.) Forum
5.) Summit

I am trying to choose the setting for my oral presentation, to see which will be best suited to my persona (Aboriginal welfare expert) but I'm unsure of which one would be most appropriate?

I have googled these, but I was still a little confused, as some seem a bit similar?

Thanks, any help would be appreciated!

I would think that either a conference or forum would be best suited to your presentation. They, to me - carry the connotation of an open discussion about an issue. Summits sound a bit more global ie. "economics"/"health issues". Of course these are just my own interpretations of these words.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: RazzMeTazz on January 18, 2015, 09:29:37 pm
I would think that either a conference or forum would be best suited to your presentation. They, to me - carry the connotation of an open discussion about an issue. Summits sound a bit more global ie. "economics"/"health issues". Of course these are just my own interpretations of these words.

Thanks! Yeah I was thinking conference as well, however since this is a persuasive speech, I wasn't sure if such speeches are given at conferences?

Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: knightrider on January 19, 2015, 12:16:43 am
Thank you for bringing this up! I'd given up refreshing the VCAA page every week or so since I figured they wouldn't release any more details until later this year.
Okay, so I just read through all these new documents and my soul wants to die.
Yes, apparently this year is NOT the last year under the current system because VCE English teachers can't use numbers.

So the class of 2017 will be the first to experience the new system, meaning that next year during the transitional phase, Year 11s and Year 12s will be studying something different.
you'd think if that was the plan all along they'd say 'the accreditation period will end in 2017' but who needs logic when you're a curriculum authority -.-

Cheers to another year of Context! *facedesk*


On the plus side, the Literature course makes slightly more sense than the current one.
I'm still mad though  >:(

Thanks Lauren for clarification. :)
i was just wondering what did you mean by  this part."because VCE English teachers can't use numbers."
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Auralee on January 19, 2015, 12:22:23 pm
Hi Lauren! Thanks for your advice... I'm still a little bit stuck on this but hopefully I'll get better with time.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: StupidProdigy on January 19, 2015, 05:18:17 pm
Hey Lauren!
I'm kinda confused with my why I'm meant to read the white tiger at my school this year because I can't find it or a prompt for it on the 2014 exam? Just searching for some clarification. Thankyouuuu! :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: IndefatigableLover on January 19, 2015, 05:21:03 pm
Hey Lauren!
I'm kinda confused with my why I'm meant to read the white tiger at my school this year because I can't find it or a prompt for it on the 2014 exam? Just searching for some clarification. Thankyouuuu! :)
2015 is the first year that White Tiger is implemented for the English Exam :)
http://www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/documents/vce/english/vce_engeal_text_list.pdf

A small summary within the above document by VCAA:

Quote
Adiga, Aravind, The White Tiger, Atlantic Books, 2008 (1)
Set in modern-day India, The White Tiger follows Balram Halwai from his early life of rural poverty to his eventual
success as an entrepreneur and wealthy urbanite. Narrated as a series of letters to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, the
novel charts Balram’s journey out of the slums populated by the poor and lower castes, and celebrates his eventual
triumph as he breaks free from a life of servitude and obeisance. The novel explores the divisions between the rich
and the poor, and considers how social structures operate to reinforce class hierarchy. Adiga’s darkly comic novel
also raises questions about the reliability and integrity of the narrator, and asks whether success is ever possible
without moral compromise.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: StupidProdigy on January 19, 2015, 05:25:09 pm
2015 is the first year that White Tiger is implemented for the English Exam :)
http://www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/documents/vce/english/vce_engeal_text_list.pdf

A small summary within the above document by VCAA:
Ohhh! Thankyou so much! I'm excited for that then, I loved the book 👍
Thanks again
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on January 19, 2015, 07:57:50 pm
Okay, so I think i have a good understanding of the text i am reading now, well its a play...

So what now? I have read some online summaries, plots, character profiles and stuff... what do i do now?
If you feel confident enough in your understanding of the text, you might look into reading some analyses (depending on which play you're studying, there might be proper academic analyses out there, or you may just have to use VCE level essays; both have their advantages.)
More importantly though, ask yourself 'is there anything I find difficult about the text?' Because now is a great time to clear those issues up. Or, more broadly than T.R. ask yourself what you find concerning about English. eg. does the idea of timed responses freak you out/ can you not fathom how to write an oral presentation/ do you not understand what Context even is? and who could blame you
Even the Study Design won't contain a comprehensive list of everything you need to know, so familiarise yourself with the criteria, and then fine-tune any problems or misconceptions afterwards. Ask yourself the question 'where should I go from here?' because that'll be way more beneficial than me simply suggesting a possible direction :)
(ps, i dont know why, but im starting to like english, wtf....?)
(http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_1XAzIkSK23s/TSIeffF2ZhI/AAAAAAAAABY/sGq0a4hwYdE/s320/a-cunning-plan.jpg)

I was wondering if anyone could please distinguish between

1.) Campaign meeting
2.) Conference
3.) Convention
4.) Forum
5.) Summit

I am trying to choose the setting for my oral presentation, to see which will be best suited to my persona (Aboriginal welfare expert) but I'm unsure of which one would be most appropriate?

I have googled these, but I was still a little confused, as some seem a bit similar?
1.) Campaign meeting = ever seen a news interview with a politician who's just won an election and is standing in a room full of screaming groupies who'd applaud anything he/she said? That's the kind of audience that would be at a campaign meeting; you're essentially 'persuading' people who already believe you (or else, why would they be a part of the campaign?) :P
2.) Conference = more of an open, moderate discussion with a balanced audience. This is a pretty broad term though, so it could apply to a variety of different scenarios.
3.) Convention = pretty much interchangeable with a conference; though conventions are more likely to have 'themes' or 'agendas,' perhaps attracting an audience with certain dispositions or proclivities.
4.) Forum = very generic term, could be anything.
5.) Summit = etymologically this is meant to be a meeting between heads of government, or international representatives, though the meaning has widened in modern usage. This is probably too global for your issue though.

Most of the (minor) distinctions are within the kind of audience you're speaking to, so I'd say a Conference or Forum would be the most ideal. Though I highly doubt any assessor would penalise you for saying you're speaking at a conference when it sounded more like something at a convention :P It's good that you're thinking about the context, but I wouldn't get too wrapped up in semantics :)

Thanks Lauren for clarification. :)
i was just wondering what did you mean by  this part."because VCE English teachers can't use numbers."

Just me being petty. Apparently the claim that the study design ends in 2014 actually means the Class of 2017 will be the first ones to go through the new system is something that makes perfect sense to VCAA, since they've offered no clarification as to the constant extensions.
Nvm... if I start ranting I won't stop. Just focus on which ever Study Design will apply to you and don't worry about whatever VCAA logic is :)

Hey Lauren!
I'm kinda confused with my why I'm meant to read the white tiger at my school this year because I can't find it or a prompt for it on the 2014 exam? Just searching for some clarification. Thankyouuuu! :)
Yeah, like IL said, it's a totally new text so there are very few resources available at the moment. At some stage throughout the year I'll update this thread once some samples start cropping up. There'll also be some original ones in around about August/September, or possibly over the June break depending on how busy I get :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: g1mp1e on January 22, 2015, 08:18:04 pm
Hey Lauren,

With regards to your lecture today, particularly with language analysis, I've previously been told to structure my ideas into different effects on stakeholders, and the different tonal shifts/language/etc. used for each stakeholder and how they vary according to whom the writer is "talking to". (e.g. in Martin Luther King's speech, he addresses the American people, the American government, and his fellow black Americans - and so you would structure your paragraphs around these three groups of targeted audiences). However, as you said today, we should perhaps aim to split our paragraphs into ideas and concepts raised. My question is, could you explain your way of splitting it into ideas and concepts a bit further, and would you recommend using one or the other, or can you use a mix of the two? If so, how would you go about doing this?

Awesome lecture today by the way!

Much thanks! :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: M_BONG on January 23, 2015, 12:13:32 am
Hey Lauren,

With regards to your lecture today, particularly with language analysis, I've previously been told to structure my ideas into different effects on stakeholders, and the different tonal shifts/language/etc. used for each stakeholder and how they vary according to whom the writer is "talking to". (e.g. in Martin Luther King's speech, he addresses the American people, the American government, and his fellow black Americans - and so you would structure your paragraphs around these three groups of targeted audiences). However, as you said today, we should perhaps aim to split our paragraphs into ideas and concepts raised. My question is, could you explain your way of splitting it into ideas and concepts a bit further, and would you recommend using one or the other, or can you use a mix of the two? If so, how would you go about doing this?

Awesome lecture today by the way!

Much thanks! :)
Both are commonly used. The stakeholders approach was the one I used because ANY article will have numerous stakeholders. Stakeholders don't have to be a person - it's just something the author has an opinion on. Eg. racism could a stakeholder in Luther King's speech. It's really easy to identify and it's effective because there is clear separation in what you are analysing.

For example, this is how you would use the stakeholder approach would work.
Body paragraph one: American society (analyse everything said about this)
Body paragraph two: Racism; repeat above
Body paragraph three: Racist people; repeat above.

I think Lauren's idea of splitting things into ideas and concepts (the 'argument' approach) is also quite good - although it might be tricky to sort things into arguments if it's not immediately clear what the author is arguing about. Also, it is a bit arbitrary because you run the risk of analysing arguments not techniques, if you don't master it well.

Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on January 23, 2015, 07:31:16 am
Would reading books improve my english skills? And is it a good idea to read other books in year 12 besides our school ones? Thanks
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: brenden on January 23, 2015, 09:43:47 am
Would reading books improve my english skills? And is it a good idea to read other books in year 12 besides our school ones? Thanks
Yes and yes :).
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on January 23, 2015, 10:08:23 am
Yes and yes :).


Hahaha thank you :P
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on January 23, 2015, 11:06:57 am
Hey Lauren,

With regards to your lecture today, particularly with language analysis, I've previously been told to structure my ideas into different effects on stakeholders, and the different tonal shifts/language/etc. used for each stakeholder and how they vary according to whom the writer is "talking to". (e.g. in Martin Luther King's speech, he addresses the American people, the American government, and his fellow black Americans - and so you would structure your paragraphs around these three groups of targeted audiences). However, as you said today, we should perhaps aim to split our paragraphs into ideas and concepts raised. My question is, could you explain your way of splitting it into ideas and concepts a bit further, and would you recommend using one or the other, or can you use a mix of the two? If so, how would you go about doing this?

Awesome lecture today by the way!

Much thanks! :)

Now that the lecture is over, I'm in the process of compiling a full guide to the whole 'key players' thing, since I felt like a raced through it and I know some people will be totally unfamiliar with those concepts. It'll be posted here when ready :)

Stakeholders don't have to be a person - it's just something the author has an opinion on.
I think the issue many people have with this kind of terminology is that every teacher/ school has their own definitions. So what Zezima describes as stakeholders, I would call non-abstracted key players. Whereas the 'stakeholders' I learned about were the people with vested interests in the issue; <-- an essentially useless label because there's not always multiple persons or groups involved.
For example, this is how you would use the stakeholder approach would work.
Body paragraph one: American society (analyse everything said about this)
Body paragraph two: Racism; repeat above
Body paragraph three: Racist people; repeat above.
This would be a variation on the example I gave in the lecture, except I tended to expand the players to incorporate part of the contention (kind of like what you were doing with tone)
Eg.
BP1: The way American society should strive to be more inclusive
BP2: The damaging effects of racism
BP3: How racist people are extremely misguided
Or some such variation of the above. The exact focus would be up to you; the assessor's don't have a set list of right/wrong breakdowns, it's just about what suits your writing style, and what helps you give a full sense of the piece(s).

I guess it comes down to the semantics of what an 'argument' is; <-- a very interesting discussion that would be best to ignore for the sake of not over-complicating VCE English :P

So like I said yesterday, if you have a system that works for you, stick with it!
The reason I recommend having longer, more expansive ideas is because if you're a student who's been structuring by techniques, or barely considering structure at all, jumping straight into dividing arguments and ideas can be daunting, so that contention provides more focus. I've also found it way simpler for the more difficult articles where there's either only one real 'stakeholder' (a la 2011 exam) or when there are so many stakeholders that grouping them becomes unrealistic.

But I made a deliberate effort to explore other structures as well, since provided you're aware of the potential drawbacks in structuring by tone and/or argument, you'll be thinking on your toes and they shouldn't be too much of a concern.

Would reading books improve my english skills? And is it a good idea to read other books in year 12 besides our school ones? Thanks
Without a doubt, and good god yes.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on January 23, 2015, 11:08:38 am
Hey lauren,

I am currently reading my book again and composing quotes and important things to note, is this a good idea?

Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on January 23, 2015, 11:15:17 am
Hey lauren,

I am currently reading my book again and composing quotes and important things to note, is this a good idea?
Definitely, but you'll be adding to your quote bank throughout the year, so don't feel like you have to pick up on everything on the first/ second read-through. In fact, you kind of need to experience running into a prompt you can't handle in order to discover new themes/ Views&Values messages, so that you can then return to the text and look for how these themes or V&Vs would be present.
Start on the major stuff now, but keep it open as a work in progres (at least until you choose which text you'll write on for the exam.)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on January 23, 2015, 11:23:01 am
Definitely, but you'll be adding to your quote bank throughout the year, so don't feel like you have to pick up on everything on the first/ second read-through. In fact, you kind of need to experience running into a prompt you can't handle in order to discover new themes/ Views&Values messages, so that you can then return to the text and look for how these themes or V&Vs would be present.
Start on the major stuff now, but keep it open as a work in progres (at least until you choose which text you'll write on for the exam.)

Alright thank you!!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: g1mp1e on January 23, 2015, 02:00:49 pm
Now that the lecture is over, I'm in the process of compiling a full guide to the whole 'key players' thing, since I felt like a raced through it and I know some people will be totally unfamiliar with those concepts. It'll be posted here when ready :)
I think the issue many people have with this kind of terminology is that every teacher/ school has their own definitions. So what Zezima describes as stakeholders, I would call non-abstracted key players. Whereas the 'stakeholders' I learned about were the people with vested interests in the issue; <-- an essentially useless label because there's not always multiple persons or groups involved. This would be a variation on the example I gave in the lecture, except I tended to expand the players to incorporate part of the contention (kind of like what you were doing with tone)
Eg.
BP1: The way American society should strive to be more inclusive
BP2: The damaging effects of racism
BP3: How racist people are extremely misguided
Or some such variation of the above. The exact focus would be up to you; the assessor's don't have a set list of right/wrong breakdowns, it's just about what suits your writing style, and what helps you give a full sense of the piece(s).

I guess it comes down to the semantics of what an 'argument' is; <-- a very interesting discussion that would be best to ignore for the sake of not over-complicating VCE English :P

So like I said yesterday, if you have a system that works for you, stick with it!
The reason I recommend having longer, more expansive ideas is because if you're a student who's been structuring by techniques, or barely considering structure at all, jumping straight into dividing arguments and ideas can be daunting, so that contention provides more focus. I've also found it way simpler for the more difficult articles where there's either only one real 'stakeholder' (a la 2011 exam) or when there are so many stakeholders that grouping them becomes unrealistic.

But I made a deliberate effort to explore other structures as well, since provided you're aware of the potential drawbacks in structuring by tone and/or argument, you'll be thinking on your toes and they shouldn't be too much of a concern.
Without a doubt, and good god yes.

Alright cool, I'll be sure to try to use both then :P
Thanks Zezima and Lauren for the help!
Just another question regarding the year 12 oral, I am just looking for some ways to start off an oral? Lauren, you said in the lecture yesterday that we perhaps could use an anecdote, but are there any other interesting ways?
I quite like the idea of cutting straight to a news story/real life scenario, but looking for others.
E.g. I'm doing the issue of capital punishment.

Thanks again!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: brenden on January 25, 2015, 03:01:09 pm
Alright cool, I'll be sure to try to use both then :P
Thanks Zezima and Lauren for the help!
Just another question regarding the year 12 oral, I am just looking for some ways to start off an oral? Lauren, you said in the lecture yesterday that we perhaps could use an anecdote, but are there any other interesting ways?
I quite like the idea of cutting straight to a news story/real life scenario, but looking for others.
E.g. I'm doing the issue of capital punishment.

Thanks again!
Recite what would be said to the prisoner pre-execution. "eg... "Applying sponge. Attaching electrodes. Do you have any last words?" (obviously not the words lol... not even sure if there's a procedure for it), and then be like "YO FOOLS WOULD YOU WANT THIS SAID TO YOU I DON'T THINK SO".
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: M_BONG on January 25, 2015, 03:54:40 pm
Recite what would be said to the prisoner pre-execution. "eg... "Applying sponge. Attaching electrodes. Do you have any last words?" (obviously not the words lol... not even sure if there's a procedure for it), and then be like "YO FOOLS WOULD YOU WANT THIS SAID TO YOU I DON'T THINK SO".
Bahahahha I like how you automatically assume that s/he would be against capital punishment ;)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Splash-Tackle-Flail on January 25, 2015, 04:08:29 pm
Hello everyone,

For English, my school is doing a new text for Unit 3: "I for Isobel". I have read it-  and imo it was painful to read :( but I did it in the end. However now I've read it once I really don't know what to do- and while there are some study guides on the internet, most of them are paid and/or aren't catered to the VCE course. What do you think I should do for this text? Especially since I'm quite set on doing war poems for the exam, but I still have to do a sac on I for isobel -.- .

Edit: Just read OP, and realised this probably relates to text specific advice (but could be extended to all new texts?) Sorry! Would it be possible to move this post to a new thread somehow?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on January 26, 2015, 10:03:08 pm
Just another question regarding the year 12 oral, I am just looking for some ways to start off an oral? Lauren, you said in the lecture yesterday that we perhaps could use an anecdote, but are there any other interesting ways?
I quite like the idea of cutting straight to a news story/real life scenario, but looking for others.
E.g. I'm doing the issue of capital punishment.
Depends what you want the audience to feel. First, try to set up your issue in a more complex way; 'doing the issue of capital punishment' doesn't give you much direction. See if you can construct a contention that's more sophisticated than just 'CP = good/bad.' After that you can start to consider how you want to persuade their audience, eg. will your primary focus be on injustice, thereby appealing to the audience's trust (or lack thereof) in the legal system, or would you focus on the emotional/moral side? etc.
Anecdotes don't always have to be in the form of third person story telling either. You could use either the first or second person to make the issue more confronting, using real or hypothetical scenarios.
Another thing to consider is what you want the audience's response to be. This is slightly different from how you want them to feel, as the latter has more to do with attitudes and beliefs, whereas the response should be in the form of a behaviour or action. You don't have to go into a lot of depth telling people to write letters to the government or anything, but you couldn't have a persuasive speech that just rants about how good or bad capital punishment is. You have to do something with that momentum
eg.
1. Capital punishment is awful. Around the world, many people are killed for crimes they didn't commit, and this is unfair.
2. Capital punishment is awful and reflects poorly on society. Australia should not even be considering the prospect of bringing it back due to all the pain and injustice associated with it.
^Reductive arguments, but see how the second is more effective given its direction? This kind of bridges back around to having a strong contention, not just an interesting issue.
The main thing is that your intro is engaging, and relates to your arguments in a way that persuades the audience. Other than that, you have pretty much free creative license.

Hello everyone,

For English, my school is doing a new text for Unit 3: "I for Isobel". I have read it-  and imo it was painful to read :( but I did it in the end. However now I've read it once I really don't know what to do- and while there are some study guides on the internet, most of them are paid and/or aren't catered to the VCE course. What do you think I should do for this text? Especially since I'm quite set on doing war poems for the exam, but I still have to do a sac on I for isobel -.- .

Edit: Just read OP, and realised this probably relates to text specific advice (but could be extended to all new texts?) Sorry! Would it be possible to move this post to a new thread somehow?
IFI was on the English list ages ago (~2002 I think) and since the format for Text Response back in the day was ostensibly the same, you might be able to find some study guides or online materials around.
You don't have to rely on these though (see previous recommendations in response to cosine's questions.) Developing your own resources will probably be more helpful in the long run anyway.
If you're already fairly set on your Semester 2 text instead, then use your first text as an experimentation of note-taking and study techniques. Obviously the differences between a novel and a poetry collection (or a play, film, or other text for that matter) will necessitate a slightly different approach, but you can still use Semester 1 as an experience in fine-tuning the way you deal with the text, from the initial readings to the last-minute SAC preparation.
Work out whether you prefer spending several weeks analysing and dissecting the text before attempting full essays, or whether you like writing pieces alongside your study as you learn more and more. And you'll also be able to fine any general weak spots when it comes to Text Response :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: twinkling star on January 27, 2015, 12:02:11 am
I just wished to check this- is there a difference between how you write a text response for a Unit 3 SAC compared to a Unit 4 SAC?

'Cos the performance descriptor for the Unit 3 text response says 'Analyse, either orally or in writing, how a selected text constructs meaning, conveys ideas and values, and is open to a range of interpretations'

...whereas the performance descriptor for the Unit 4 text response says 'Develop and justify a detailed interpretation of a selected text'

And if there is a difference between the responses required for each unit, would you write in the Unit 3 or the Unit 4 style for the exam's section 1?

Thanks!  :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: knightrider on January 27, 2015, 12:18:24 am
When mentioned in criteria or questions what  "social, cultural and historical values are evident".

What does this actually mean.

what do they want us to state or expect us to include in our writing.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on January 27, 2015, 10:04:53 am
I just wished to check this- is there a difference between how you write a text response for a Unit 3 SAC compared to a Unit 4 SAC?

'Cos the performance descriptor for the Unit 3 text response says 'Analyse, either orally or in writing, how a selected text constructs meaning, conveys ideas and values, and is open to a range of interpretations'

...whereas the performance descriptor for the Unit 4 text response says 'Develop and justify a detailed interpretation of a selected text'

And if there is a difference between the responses required for each unit, would you write in the Unit 3 or the Unit 4 style for the exam's section 1?

Thanks!  :)
Short answer: No, the Semester 1 and 2 Text Responses are the same, just on different texts.
Long answer: No, because the Study Design is stupidly written and offers schools a bunch of choices none of them take. Technically speaking, any one of the tasks you do in Semester 1 can be in oral form, as the Design requires 1/4 (that is, a L.A. T.R. Context piece, and persuasive/POV) except every single school I know choses to make the persuasive piece the oral task.
You're also technically allowed to bring in more resources for the Unit 3 text, though most teachers discourage this because they're trying to make the SACs throughout the year as similar as possible to the exam task unlike some other subjects *coughLiteraturecough*

This is kind of bridging into knightrider's question:
When mentioned in criteria or questions what  "social, cultural and historical values are evident".

What does this actually mean.

what do they want us to state or expect us to include in our writing.
Every T.R. text is chosen for, amongst other things, its ability to relate to a social or historical context. This might be in the time the text is set (eg. This Boy's Life, Stasiland) or the time the author is writing (eg. Cloudstreet, Brooklyn) or both (eg. Henry IV, White Tiger.) Most texts still support both discussions, so what the assessors are looking for is an awareness of how certain values can be seen or presented in the text. You can look at this from either the author or audience's perspective. Not every argument lends itself to this kind of discussion, and you shouldn't base your entire contention on a wider message, but the socio-historical stuff makes for good 'zoomed out' discussion. It's usually pretty hard to form a proper interpretation of the text without an understanding of what the author is trying to say overall; just don't rely too heavily on it in your essays.

Pro tip: If you're integrating some background information, weave it into a sentence with textual discussion
Rather than: 'The idea of body image is something that has plagued young people throughout modern age. The Very Hungry Caterpillar critiques the idea that self-worth should be derived solely from one's external appearance.'
Transition more fluidly: 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar critiques the idea that self-worth should be derived solely from one's external appearance, thereby forming part of Carle's commentary on the wealth of body dysmorphic problems in the modern age.'
In that first example, you risk not getting credit for the first sentence because it doesn't relate to the text; you're just commenting on the context. In the second, however; you can almost trick the assessor into seeing the connection just by combining the sentences.

So in terms of the actual range of interpretations part:
The words whilst, although, despite, and whereas are your greatest allies. You're not expected to spend a great deal of time on alternate interpretations, but an easy way of doing it is to say something like:
'Whilst the caterpillar's journey could be viewed as one of blissful ignorance, there is an underlying sense of self-realisation and enlightenment in the text.'
I've just drawn a distinction between my contention (self-realisation is important to the caterpillar's journey) and an alternate interpretation (the caterpillar is blissfully ignorant.)
Words like 'although,' 'whilst' etc. force you to add that extra clause as a way of challenging interpretations, so include them every so often and you should be fine for this category.

Of course, there's every possibility that your teacher will have a totally different 'interpretation' of the criteria ;) so check with them in case there are any bizarre requirements they want you to fulfill.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: knightrider on January 27, 2015, 12:42:36 pm


This is kind of bridging into knightrider's question:Every T.R. text is chosen for, amongst other things, its ability to relate to a social or historical context. This might be in the time the text is set (eg. This Boy's Life, Stasiland) or the time the author is writing (eg. Cloudstreet, Brooklyn) or both (eg. Henry IV, White Tiger.) Most texts still support both discussions, so what the assessors are looking for is an awareness of how certain values can be seen or presented in the text. You can look at this from either the author or audience's perspective. Not every argument lends itself to this kind of discussion, and you shouldn't base your entire contention on a wider message, but the socio-historical stuff makes for good 'zoomed out' discussion. It's usually pretty hard to form a proper interpretation of the text without an understanding of what the author is trying to say overall; just don't rely too heavily on it in your essays.

Pro tip: If you're integrating some background information, weave it into a sentence with textual discussion
Rather than: 'The idea of body image is something that has plagued young people throughout modern age. The Very Hungry Caterpillar critiques the idea that self-worth should be derived solely from one's external appearance.'
Transition more fluidly: 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar critiques the idea that self-worth should be derived solely from one's external appearance, thereby forming part of Carle's commentary on the wealth of body dysmorphic problems in the modern age.'
In that first example, you risk not getting credit for the first sentence because it doesn't relate to the text; you're just commenting on the context. In the second, however; you can almost trick the assessor into seeing the connection just by combining the sentences.

So in terms of the actual range of interpretations part:
The words whilst, although, despite, and whereas are your greatest allies. You're not expected to spend a great deal of time on alternate interpretations, but an easy way of doing it is to say something like:
'Whilst the caterpillar's journey could be viewed as one of blissful ignorance, there is an underlying sense of self-realisation and enlightenment in the text.'
I've just drawn a distinction between my contention (self-realisation is important to the caterpillar's journey) and an alternate interpretation (the caterpillar is blissfully ignorant.)
Words like 'although,' 'whilst' etc. force you to add that extra clause as a way of challenging interpretations, so include them every so often and you should be fine for this category.

Of course, there's every possibility that your teacher will have a totally different 'interpretation' of the criteria ;) so check with them in case there are any bizarre requirements they want you to fulfill.

Thank you so much Lauren  :)
i was just wondering in terms of the response what criteria do the VCAA examiners usually stick to as they would have to be consistent with there marking.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on January 27, 2015, 12:57:07 pm
Thank you so much Lauren  :)
i was just wondering in terms of the response what criteria do the VCAA examiners usually stick to as they would have to be consistent with there marking.
The most important be-all-and-end-all ultimately majorly critical 'do this or the English Gods will slap you' criteria is relevance. So if the socio-historical context is relevant to your discussion, then you can use it. However, if you're tying it in where it doesn't belong, especially if you're only doing it to ratchet up points for sounding sophisticated, the assessors are very likely to not only notice, but potentially penalise you.
Though you won't often lose marks directly for writing something of tangential relevance, you are indirectly missing an opportunity to gain marks in other areas. It also makes a bad impression on assessors, whose biggest pet peeve seems to be rote-learning formulaic responses. (No joke, every Assessor's Report since 2001 has bemoaned this approach!)

Only once relevance is assured can you get credit for the quality of ideas and writing. I'm generalising here, since I know there are assessors who find it acceptable to give credit for exploration and expression, even if what you're exploring and expressing isn't on the right track, but the most helpful way to approach the task is by prioritising relevance, and letting your discussion reflect that priority. :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: knightrider on January 27, 2015, 01:20:09 pm
The most important be-all-and-end-all ultimately majorly critical 'do this or the English Gods will slap you' criteria is relevance. So if the socio-historical context is relevant to your discussion, then you can use it. However, if you're tying it in where it doesn't belong, especially if you're only doing it to ratchet up points for sounding sophisticated, the assessors are very likely to not only notice, but potentially penalise you.
Though you won't often lose marks directly for writing something of tangential relevance, you are indirectly missing an opportunity to gain marks in other areas. It also makes a bad impression on assessors, whose biggest pet peeve seems to be rote-learning formulaic responses. (No joke, every Assessor's Report since 2001 has bemoaned this approach!)

Only once relevance is assured can you get credit for the quality of ideas and writing. I'm generalising here, since I know there are assessors who find it acceptable to give credit for exploration and expression, even if what you're exploring and expressing isn't on the right track, but the most helpful way to approach the task is by prioritising relevance, and letting your discussion reflect that priority. :)

Thank you so much Lauren  :)
really appreciate your time and effort into each response keep up your awesome work!! :) :D
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Cogglesnatch Cuttlefish on January 28, 2015, 12:53:04 pm
How's religion in context essays? For example, the prompt is "conflict is inevitable" and I adopt the view that God creates conflict and some of the assessors may not necessarily believe in God. Are my chances of getting a high mark smitten as a result?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on January 28, 2015, 12:59:54 pm
How's religion in context essays? For example, the prompt is "conflict is inevitable" and I adopt the view that God creates conflict and some of the assessors may not necessarily believe in God. Are my chances of getting a high mark smitten as a result?

If you're using that premise as the basis of your contention then you might have an issue, but if you're using the concept of religious faith as an example to demonstrate a point, then that should be okay.

(Assuming you're writing an expository/ expos-hybrid piece, you should be using other evidence anyway?)

I actually think it could be really interesting to look at the way different religions resolve the whole 'God is good, but bad stuff happens' dilemma, especially for the prompt you're writing on. I can't speak for your classroom teacher, but I know the end of year assessors are told not to let personal biases when it comes to political/ social/ religious issues skew their marking. Provided your writing is logical and interesting, I can't image them having a problem with it.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Cogglesnatch Cuttlefish on January 28, 2015, 01:15:53 pm
If you're using that premise as the basis of your contention then you might have an issue, but if you're using the concept of religious faith as an example to demonstrate a point, then that should be okay.

(Assuming you're writing an expository/ expos-hybrid piece, you should be using other evidence anyway?)

I actually think it could be really interesting to look at the way different religions resolve the whole 'God is good, but bad stuff happens' dilemma, especially for the prompt you're writing on. I can't speak for your classroom teacher, but I know the end of year assessors are told not to let personal biases when it comes to political/ social/ religious issues skew their marking. Provided your writing is logical and interesting, I can't image them having a problem with it.
Exactly what I was looking for. Thanks Lauren :D
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: shivaji on January 29, 2015, 03:07:11 pm
Hey Lauren,

Just wondering when analysing an editorial, how would you reference the author of it? I constantly use "the writer ...", are there any other better phrases which can be utilised?

Thanks! :D
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: maddihanna on February 01, 2015, 10:19:20 am
Hi all :)

Just a quick question about a prompt/structuring my response.
The prompt I have been given for my text response essay is one that I quite heavily disagree with and there are many pieces of evidence to prove why I do. I know I shouldn't completely favour my essay to one side, so I was just wondering if its enough to mention the 'affirmative' side only in my introduction?

The prompt is a "to what extent do you agree?" type.

Thanks in advance :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: paper-back on February 01, 2015, 10:36:05 am
During your second reading how do you what quotes you should highlight i.e. quotes of significance?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on February 01, 2015, 11:32:49 am
Hey Lauren,

Just wondering when analysing an editorial, how would you reference the author of it? I constantly use "the writer ...", are there any other better phrases which can be utilised?

Thanks! :D
You can refer to him/her as 'the editor' as well. Technically you can even use the newspaper's title, eg. 'The Herald Sun contends that...' or just 'The article/editorial...'
Otherwise, just try to vary your sentence structure so that you're not repeating words too often. Something like 'the writer' isn't a big deal though, since you're expected to tie all your points back to how they're using language to persuade anyway :)

Hi all :)

Just a quick question about a prompt/structuring my response.
The prompt I have been given for my text response essay is one that I quite heavily disagree with and there are many pieces of evidence to prove why I do. I know I shouldn't completely favour my essay to one side, so I was just wondering if its enough to mention the 'affirmative' side only in my introduction?

The prompt is a "to what extent do you agree?" type.

Thanks in advance :)
It's perfectly okay to disagree, but your contention can't simply be 'yes' or 'no.' Ask yourself why you disagree, and try to come up with a more complex argument so that your essay doesn't sound one-sided. Not every Text Response has to deal with both sides (and you don't want to sound non-committal) so perhaps address the alternate interpretations but round things back to your overall contention.
eg. 'Though one could argue character X's transformation is the result of purely selfish intent, there is an undeniable compassion in his behaviour that contradicts this interpretation...'

Also, there's no real difference between a 'to what extent' or 'discuss' or 'do you agree' question. VCAA just vary the sentence structures sometimes :)

During your second reading how do you what quotes you should highlight i.e. quotes of significance?

It's impossible to get all the useful quotes in one go, so start with the simpler themes and major characters. As you study the text in class, you'll uncover more and more facets of the text. You might even find a prompt that deals with an idea or theme you haven't considered before; that's when you go back to the text and  try to find evidence (quotes) to support an interpretation.
Quote banks should always be a work in progress, so trust your instincts at the start and then see what you need to add or change later down the track.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: RazzMeTazz on February 01, 2015, 09:21:36 pm
For the English Persuasive Oral SAC is it necessary to include a rebuttal paragraph?

Also what hand gestures would be recommended during the speech? I usually feel really awkward and I feel like my hands don't have anything to do during a speech (Especially a memorised one, because there are no cue cards to hold!)

Thanks in advance for any of the replies :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: M_BONG on February 01, 2015, 11:43:47 pm
For the English Persuasive Oral SAC is it necessary to include a rebuttal paragraph?

Also what hand gestures would be recommended during the speech? I usually feel really awkward and I feel like my hands don't have anything to do during a speech (Especially a memorised one, because there are no cue cards to hold!)

Thanks in advance for any of the replies :)
Nope, the beauty of persuasive speeches is that you don't need to be balanced. You can be as biased as you want. But, depending on what you are arguing and your target audience(s), you may want to address some of the points that the "other side" or your opponents are espousing to sound moderate (again, optional).

In terms of hand gestures, I always have a rule to do whatever makes you comfortable. For example, I *don't* force myself to have eye contact, hand gestures or colourful pitch - I try to do it naturally (within your comfort zone) and that is the way to make your delivery smooth and not robotic. Of course, if you are normally doing awkward things like shuffling around or bending your knees etc, you should try to correct it.

... Which leads on really well to my golden oral tip: TREAT IT LIKE A CONVERSATION - speak like you would speak normally.The BEST way to argue something is not to sound robotic, overly flamboyant or aggressive. Most people don't respond well to these two. The best orators are ones who try to bring themselves to your own level and speak to you as a fellow human being - not a punching back or a sponge absorbing random information.



Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Cogglesnatch Cuttlefish on February 02, 2015, 08:30:58 pm
Is it right to be commending people/institutes referred to in context pieces(expository mainly)? E.g "As stated by the renowned Abraham Maslow..." or "... draws parallels to the arduous energy expended by the late Martin Luther King Jr."
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on February 03, 2015, 12:07:31 am
Is it right to be commending people/institutes referred to in context pieces(expository mainly)? E.g "As stated by the renowned Abraham Maslow..." or "... draws parallels to the arduous energy expended by the late Martin Luther King Jr."
For context you can commend, critique or censure as much as you like. Just don't do anything like it in a Text Response essay, as it can sound sycophantic and isn't worth anything.
Topic sentences like '>Author's< novel '___' is a hauntingly beautiful evocation of the human condition...' just make assessors' eyes roll :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: brenden on February 03, 2015, 12:14:22 am
For context you can commend, critique or censure as much as you like. Just don't do anything like it in a Text Response essay, as it can sound sycophantic and isn't worth anything.
Topic sentences like '>Author's< novel '___' is a hauntingly beautiful evocation of the human condition...' just make assessors' eyes roll :)
B-b-but... I thought mentioning the human condition was an instant guarantee for full marks..?!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on February 03, 2015, 12:19:56 am
B-b-but... I thought mentioning the human condition was an instant guarantee for full marks..?!

Ssssshhhhhh!!!!! We can't give away the secret!!


Nekminnit in this year's assessor's report: "An alarming number of students simply wrote the words 'human condition,' and nothing else on every page in their exam booklet, thereby royally screwing over our bell curves. VCAA is investigating the matter."
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: [email protected] on February 04, 2015, 03:04:29 pm
Hi Lauren  :D

I have a english context speech on whose reality and the prompt that we are doing is 'Our reality is influenced by place and time'. The book we are studying is The Shark Net. I don't know how to go about it, because of the word 'our'.

What I mean is i can think of numerous examples where Robert's reality is influenced by place and time, but what am i meant to do seeing as it is not ' A reality can be influenced' instead 'OUR reality...'. Does that mean that I have to talk about everyone, 100 people to show its 'our', 3 people to show its 'our' or can I just simply refer to a couple examples with different people.

I can see what most of my year is going to do - something along the lines of 'Robert lived in 'orderly' melbourne and then when he got to perth he thought it was isolated because his reality of what a place to live in was influenced by his place in melbourne.' I want to do something different and explore it a bit deeper  ;D 8)

Thanks for any help you can give  :) :) :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on February 05, 2015, 07:17:35 am
Hey

I got my sac date for my first english essay. Its on the 3rd of march, when would be suitable for me to actually start writing practice essays, better more what else should i do to REALLY prepare for this date? The text im reading is a play called 'Medea'. Thank you
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: StressedAlready on February 05, 2015, 08:14:04 pm
Okay so I am freaking out. Can you totally 100% confirm that 3&4 English in 2016 will still follow the old study design?! I seriously had a panic attack over this because I graduate next year and I'm just a little - okay, a lot - stressed about this change.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on February 05, 2015, 09:46:30 pm
Hi Lauren  :D

I have a english context speech on whose reality and the prompt that we are doing is 'Our reality is influenced by place and time'. The book we are studying is The Shark Net. I don't know how to go about it, because of the word 'our'.

What I mean is i can think of numerous examples where Robert's reality is influenced by place and time, but what am i meant to do seeing as it is not ' A reality can be influenced' instead 'OUR reality...'. Does that mean that I have to talk about everyone, 100 people to show its 'our', 3 people to show its 'our' or can I just simply refer to a couple examples with different people.

I can see what most of my year is going to do - something along the lines of 'Robert lived in 'orderly' melbourne and then when he got to perth he thought it was isolated because his reality of what a place to live in was influenced by his place in melbourne.' I want to do something different and explore it a bit deeper  ;D 8)

Thanks for any help you can give  :) :) :)
You're absolutely right to want to challenge the prompt, and no, the evidence doesn't have to be the sole factor in your arguments. Obviously you need to do a substantial amount of exploration, but there's no requirement to 'prove' in English; you just need to suggest.
Some earlier posts contain information about questioning prompts (check the Context links on the first post in this thread) but for the example you've given, you can definitely consider the difference between our reality (ie. the objective one we all exist in) and our own personal realities.

Hey

I got my sac date for my first english essay. Its on the 3rd of march, when would be suitable for me to actually start writing practice essays, better more what else should i do to REALLY prepare for this date? The text im reading is a play called 'Medea'. Thank you
18th of Feb. 2:33 pm. Beginning practice essays at this exact time will guarantee full marks.
..I'm kidding of course. It totally depends on whether you prefer to read and research and think heaps before putting pen to paper, or whether you're the kind of learner who needs to practice articulating knowledge as soon as you acquire it. Remember, you can always write practice paragraphs in the meantime in order to consolidate your understanding of certain characters and themes. Writing full essays isn't the only way to learn, and you should be looking to improve your knowledge of the text as well as how you approach the Text Response criteria.

Okay so I am freaking out. Can you totally 100% confirm that 3&4 English in 2016 will still follow the old study design?! I seriously had a panic attack over this because I graduate next year and I'm just a little - okay, a lot - stressed about this change.
I can 100% confirm that the VCAA website states, in annoying equivocal jargon, that Year 12s in 2016 will be doing the current study design. There's really no point stressing over something like this anyway; 2/3 of the essay types are remaining the same, and it's looking like the third will only undergo minor changes. The marking scheme and a few odd SACs are the most significant alterations, unless you're doing EAL in which case there'll be a listening component like other SL subjects.
Tbh my sneaking suspicion is that this is a step towards a nationalised curriculum, and VCAA are just making minor changes here and there in preparation for a revamp in ~2021 or whenever.
Worst case scenario and VCAA actually implement the new design next year, everyone will be in the same boat, and the schools will guide you into things, so there's no sense worrying :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: [email protected] on February 06, 2015, 06:42:53 am
Thanks Lauren, I'll use that in my research  ;D
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: StressedAlready on February 06, 2015, 06:08:08 pm
Okay. I feel slightly better now. Panic attack over.

Because apparently some kids at my school were being told that they were being implemented next year by their teachers and I'd been told that they weren't and I was freaking out and gahhhhh. I feel slightly better now knowing everyone shall be in the same boat come 2016 English exam.

Worst case scenario, the whole state does horribly in English next year because they're ill prepared and the assessors feel bad and give us all a 50 SS because they screwed up the implementation.

Okay, so it's a little bit of wishful thinking on my part...
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Talia2144 on February 06, 2015, 06:44:09 pm
Hi, can anyone please tell me if know any English tutorial class for year 11 student or where I can find one. Thank you
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: 2jzgte on February 07, 2015, 04:22:22 am
Hey

I got my sac date for my first english essay. Its on the 3rd of march, when would be suitable for me to actually start writing practice essays, better more what else should i do to REALLY prepare for this date? The text im reading is a play called 'Medea'. Thank you
Got my first essay on the same day, thinking of filling out character profiles to have a really in depth understanding of them and put together a few practice paragraphs. Thats all I've got in mind other than full practice essays based on prompts. Does anyone have any idea what aspects of the play they would want us to explore through the essay?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on February 07, 2015, 03:08:09 pm
Okay. I feel slightly better now. Panic attack over.

Because apparently some kids at my school were being told that they were being implemented next year by their teachers and I'd been told that they weren't and I was freaking out and gahhhhh. I feel slightly better now knowing everyone shall be in the same boat come 2016 English exam.

Worst case scenario, the whole state does horribly in English next year because they're ill prepared and the assessors feel bad and give us all a 50 SS because they screwed up the implementation.

Okay, so it's a little bit of wishful thinking on my part...
Technically speaking, the new study design begins in 2016 because that's when the Year 11s (ie. class of 2017, currently year 10s) will start studying it. But if you're in year 11 now you have nothing to worry about.

Hi, can anyone please tell me if know any English tutorial class for year 11 student or where I can find one. Thank you
You can search the tutoring section of Atar Notes if you're looking for a one-on-one tutor, but I'm afraid I can't vouch for any of the particular groups (ie. commercially organised programs.)  You might be able to find an answer in some of the tutoring businesses thread.

Got my first essay on the same day, thinking of filling out character profiles to have a really in depth understanding of them and put together a few practice paragraphs. Thats all I've got in mind other than full practice essays based on prompts. Does anyone have any idea what aspects of the play they would want us to explore through the essay?
Sounds like a good plan for such a character-driven play. Just make sure you don't neglect the themes and values in the text, as going from character profiles to full essays can be a bit of a jump.
And unfortunately, there's no telling what your SAC might be on because they're all controlled internally, meaning every school (and occasionally every teacher) gets to choose their own focus. However, since it's in every teacher's best interests for their students to do well, they'll most likely choose/write a prompt relatively close to the areas you've been studying. So if you notice your teacher is bringing a lot of the discussion back to the idea of family an betrayal, for instance; don't be suprised if the prompt you get is 'Discuss the relationship between family and betrayal' :P
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on February 07, 2015, 05:56:46 pm
Would it be of much use if i posted my paragraph/short answer here for someone to edit for me and lend me some helpful advice, or not because the play i am doing (Medea by Euripides) you all may not have read? Thanks
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on February 07, 2015, 05:59:00 pm
Would it be of much use if i posted my paragraph/short answer here for someone to edit for me and lend me some helpful advice, or not because the play i am doing (Medea by Euripides) you all may not have read? Thanks

The English Work Submission and Marking board is the place to post your work if you want feedback :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: knightrider on February 08, 2015, 09:04:30 am
Hey Lauren.

How did you memorise your quotes for your sacs?

Also how did you group your quotes like how did you split them up?

What categories do you think are good ideas to be splitting your quotes into.Like themes etc.

Thanks  :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on February 08, 2015, 11:00:58 am
Hey Lauren.

How did you memorise your quotes for your sacs?

Also how did you group your quotes like how did you split them up?

What categories do you think are good ideas to be splitting your quotes into.Like themes etc.

Thanks  :)
Definitely split the quotes into categories. It'll depend on which text you're studying, as you could either go by characters (quotes said by, about, or to them) or by themes/ ideas.

My recommendations:
All About Eve - by characters
Burial Rights - by themes
Brooklyn - by themes
Cat's Eye - either (character maps would be helpful early on, but themes are better in the long run)
Cloudstreet - by themes
Henry IV Part 1 - either (I found themes worked better, even though there's an easy split between the four main characters)
I for Isobel - by themes
In the Country of Men - by themes
Mabo - by themes
Medea - by characters
No Sugar - by characters
Selected Harwood Poems - by theme (by poem is a good start, but breaking things into themes will definitely help for essays)
Stasiland - either
The Complete Maus - by themes
The Thing Around Your Neck - by themes
The War Poems - by theme (ditto with Harwood^, sort by poems at first, but aim for themes in the long run)
The White Tiger - by characters
This Boy's Life - by characters
Will You Please Be Quiet Please - by themes
Wuthering Heights - either, characters is probably easiest, but not conclusive

Regardless of what you're studying though, your first step should just be to go through the text chronologically and find as much as you can. Then, start grouping them into categories, but be flexible. Some will fit in multiple areas, so it's up to you whether you duplicate, or maybe just annotate the quotes so you remember.
A good quote bank will be a work in progress though, so keep in mind you may discover other important components of the text that you can't sufficiently cover with textual evidence. This is when you'll go back to the text and look for examples of a certain character or idea.

Basic memorisation techniques like reading, writing, and speaking the quote aloud will gradually cement them in you're mind, but the more you use them in essays, the easier it is to actually analyse and discuss the quotes, not just churn them out.

Don't panic about doing it all in one go though, especially if you're studying a novel or other dense text :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on February 08, 2015, 11:11:57 am
How can I practice for essays? People say do paragraphs, do this and that... But what do I do them on? Where am i meant to get the prompts and questions from?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on February 08, 2015, 11:19:27 am
How can I practice for essays? People say do paragraphs, do this and that... But what do I do them on? Where am i meant to get the prompts and questions from?

HERE! Apologies if your text doesn't have a wealth of resources at the moment; I'll have to wait a few months before good resources start cropping up, or people post their own. Your school should also provide you with some sample prompts when the time is right.
But at this early stage, you could quite easily just write on characters or themes to start your thinking processes. There's no reason to worry about entire essays at this stage, and so proper VCAA-style prompts might not be the way to go, as these generally need fleshing out over multiple paragraphs. Most schools will assign basic stuff like 'Discuss the role of character X' or 'Discuss the importance of theme X' for starters, and then you can gradually build up to constructing arguments later :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Maths Forever on February 08, 2015, 11:23:34 am
How can I practice for essays? People say do paragraphs, do this and that... But what do I do them on? Where am i meant to get the prompts and questions from?

Is this text new to the 2015 booklist for English?

If not, past 'Engage Education Foundation' (type in Google), 'VATE', 'Insight' or 'Neap' exams are great sources for topics.

Alternatively, try typing the name of your text into Google along with the word 'topics'.

Hope this helps!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: pi on February 08, 2015, 11:44:32 am
FYI a guy from VCAA is talking about VCE English and is there to answer questions soon (starting within the next 20mins or so?) on ABC 774, they said a podcast will be uploaded after the session but yeah just to let y'all know :)

edit: starting now!

edt2: turned out to be a fairly general discussion with some anticlimactic question, probably not worth listening to later unfortunately

edit3: the type of music that played afterwards really makes me question why I listen to this station so much lmao
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: [email protected] on February 08, 2015, 08:46:13 pm
Hey, I notice a common theme in text response essays that are really good is that there are a lot of words to describe characters, their actions, themes etc. which I have never heard of. How do you learn to be able to find such good sophisticated words that are specific to the part of the text that you are discussing? ( I know that there is a lot more to a good TR essay apart from metalanguage, but still..)

For example, in a paragraph from someone on here i found: proclivity, amiable, pertinently, hedonistic, repartee, jovial (haha i think you get the point) :P
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on February 08, 2015, 11:05:56 pm
Hey, I notice a common theme in text response essays that are really good is that there are a lot of words to describe characters, their actions, themes etc. which I have never heard of. How do you learn to be able to find such good sophisticated words that are specific to the part of the text that you are discussing? ( I know that there is a lot more to a good TR essay apart from metalanguage, but still..)

For example, in a paragraph from someone on here i found: proclivity, amiable, pertinently, hedonistic, repartee, jovial (haha i think you get the point) :P

You could do what a lot of students do and just download & memorise a list of "sophisticated" words, but what I'd recommend is going through your own work (whether it's stuff from previous years, or pieces you write throughout this year) and replacing words you find yourself repeating, or believe to be too simple.
thesaurus.com is a wonderfully quick way of finding alternate words, and lets you browse their definitions.

Fair warning, you'll probably make a fair few mistakes as you adjust to words you may never have heard before, but the only way to improve vocab sophistication is to make these mistakes and learn from them. Some teachers can get frustrated when students deliberately use words they don't fully understand, but I'd argue it's the only way to improve.

After a point (esp. in actual SACs) you only want to be using language you're comfortable with, but challenge yourself early on, and you'll reap the rewards later :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: [email protected] on February 09, 2015, 06:37:06 am
You could do what a lot of students do and just download & memorise a list of "sophisticated" words, but what I'd recommend is going through your own work (whether it's stuff from previous years, or pieces you write throughout this year) and replacing words you find yourself repeating, or believe to be too simple.
thesaurus.com is a wonderfully quick way of finding alternate words, and lets you browse their definitions.

Fair warning, you'll probably make a fair few mistakes as you adjust to words you may never have heard before, but the only way to improve vocab sophistication is to make these mistakes and learn from them. Some teachers can get frustrated when students deliberately use words they don't fully understand, but I'd argue it's the only way to improve.

After a point (esp. in actual SACs) you only want to be using language you're comfortable with, but challenge yourself early on, and you'll reap the rewards later :)
Where were you when I chucked out my yr 10 english exams??? >:(
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: SE_JM on February 09, 2015, 01:40:52 pm
Hello Lauren,
I was jut viewing your 'power of ink' essay. It's really good! Really, really fantastic.
I was just wondering where is the original article?
I want to give it a go before referring to your example, but i can't find the article.
Any help?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on February 09, 2015, 03:18:41 pm
Where were you when I chucked out my yr 10 english exams??? >:(
Haha, don't worry about it - you'll still have this entire year to reread and fine-tune your work. And you can do the 'alternate words' exercise with any piece of writing, be they VCE English essays, or professionally written compositions. It's just a matter of finding a starting point so your exploration isn't too aimless.
eg. 'starting point' --> 'genesis' --> 'nexus' --> 'nadir' --> 'zenith'
almost like word association, but you're challenging yourself to keep the connections going with synonyms, antonyms, or just associated words.

Hello Lauren,
I was jut viewing your 'power of ink' essay. It's really good! Really, really fantastic.
I was just wondering where is the original article?
I want to give it a go before referring to your example, but i can't find the article.
Any help?
VCAA took down the 2011 exam due to an incredibly amusing copyright violation, so there aren't any copies online like there are with previous years. I do have a scanned version from my Year 12 teacher (that has my annotations and scribbles, but better than nothing) so feel free to PM me your email address and I can link you a copy.
This offer is open to anyone, by the way... even though the 2011 exam is an awful practice exercise, it's good to know just how bad the exam could get :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Eiffel on February 12, 2015, 03:57:59 pm
Im speaking on behalf of a friend who is doing English.

"With the oral, does doing badly/amazing affect our study score AT ALL. I mean sure it does have an affect but honestly does it mean anything? i got a 19/20 and many people in our year level got 18s-19s and couple of 20s and then those who got 15s and under, just in  terms of ranking and all that, lots of people did well including the non- academic ones who dont care (e.g. 15-16)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Maths Forever on February 12, 2015, 05:17:01 pm
Im speaking on behalf of a friend who is doing English.

"With the oral, does doing badly/amazing affect our study score AT ALL. I mean sure it does have an affect but honestly does it mean anything? i got a 19/20 and many people in our year level got 18s-19s and couple of 20s and then those who got 15s and under, just in  terms of ranking and all that, lots of people did well including the non- academic ones who dont care (e.g. 15-16)

In my school the persuasive oral presentation was worth 20 percent of the unit 3 SAC score. So 5 percent overall for the English study score. But usually the exam will determine how SACs are scaled, based on performance by the school and the individual student.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on February 13, 2015, 09:33:11 am
Hi,
I'm currently studying stasiland, but I still don't really understand the text, even though I have read the book. I have a sac on it in 3 weeks and we've barely done anything in class (answering questions). And I have no idea how I'm able to write a good essay on it, if I don't understand the themes, and there's too many characters to remember. What can I do to gain a good understanding of the text?

Main thing to worry about is what you're not understanding, (which I realise is a hard question to answer, but necessary nonetheless.) If it's just a matter of grasping the plot and development of the many characters in a fairly long text, then you'll need to do some summative exercises, ie. chapter summaries, character maps/profiles (<-- defs do this for Stasiland. Insight have a good starter one here that you can add details to.)

Once that's under wraps you start to synergise it all, in order to understand the commonalities between the stories and begin to weave in the views and values of the text. If you're having difficulty here, start with study guides. There's plenty of info freely available on Stasiland at this point, so just googling 'Stasiland vce English resources' should be sufficient.

Start by just charting the major themes in the text, and connect each one to textual information (eg. the idea of sacrifice is linked to Herr Bohnsack, etc.) This will help your brain see the thematic concerns within the text, rather than as a separate list outside everything. When you feel confident enough in this step, you can move on to asking yourself the question 'so what?' Why has the author done this? What is she trying to say?

Piece together the views and values, and the whole text falls into place. From there, tackling essay prompts becomes a lot easier, because you'll be working from your contention down to the textual evidence that supports it, rather than listing every relevant piece of information that comes to mind, and then attempting to make sense of it in the conclusion.

To start with though, you have to go from the inside, out. Ask yourself as many questions as possible about what happens in the text and why, then move out to dealing with the significance of these events and what they imply, and finally out to what the text and the author are saying about a certain theme or character or message.

Start small - lest you be daunted by the enormity of a whole text and all its historical weight - that's my best advice :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: hwilome on February 15, 2015, 01:06:01 pm
Hi, Im a student who's doing EAL.

I have a few questions according to EAL.


1. I am finding it difficult to get the Main contention of an article. (e.g like this one http://m.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinion/linda-dessau-ticks-all-the-boxes-for-governor-role/story-fni0ffsx-1227216525121 ) It is unlikely for me to find the main points if I dont know what the article is REALLY about( Main Contention ). So is there a qay to practise finding the main contention of an article? I can ask my teacher to help but that's just too slow and she probably wouldnt be available all the time.


2. The 'Key Player' Method is particularly effective to make the entire L.A piece coherent. However it seems time-consuming, I'm an EAL student and we have to write a Note-Form-Summary, I dont think we have as much time outlining the Key Players as those in Mainstream do. What if I structure my L.A bodyparagraphs by the Main Points I used from my Note-Form-Summary? Will this be coherent as Key Player Method?


3. I have some confusions regarding to N.F.S, like how much details(dot points) should we add to each Main Point? What kind of N.F.S structure works for which kind of article/opinion piece? How to write a N.F.S for multiple pieces? How to decrease the time wasting on "Converting sentences to Note-Form"?


Many thanks, all replies are appreciated!
(≧▽≦)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: M_BONG on February 15, 2015, 01:37:45 pm
Hi, Im a student who's doing EAL.

I have a few questions according to EAL.


1. I am finding it difficult to get the Main contention of an article. It is unlikely for me to find the main points if I dont know what the article is REALLY about( Main Contention ). So is there a qay to practise finding the main contention of an article? I can ask my teacher to help but that's just too slow and she probably wouldnt be available all the time.


2. The 'Key Player' Method is particularly effective to make the entire L.A piece coherent. However it seems time-consuming, I'm an EAL student and we have to write a Note-Form-Summary, I dont think we have as much time outlining the Key Players as those in Mainstream do. What if I structure my L.A bodyparagraphs by the Main Points I used from my Note-Form-Summary? Will this be coherent as Key Player Method?


3. I have some confusions regarding to N.F.S, like how much details(dot points) should we add to each Main Point? What kind of N.F.S structure works for which kind of article/opinion piece? How to write a N.F.S for multiple pieces? How to decrease the time wasting on "Converting sentences to Note-Form"?


Many thanks, all replies are appreciated!
(≧▽≦)
Hey!

1. There are no hard and fast rules to determine the contention of an article. However, a good article should make it bleedingly obvious what it is arguing. And that is what the contention is: what is the author sending a message/making a point on?

Practice will likely make it easier for you, but the way I always check the contention is look at the key places - the headline, the by-line and the last sentence. The last sentence is always a give away because the author will include something so that the reader will remember the article, and this is most likely related to their contention.


2. I actually find the key player method very time saving. I am not sure the exact requirements of EAL, but since you are required to write a piece of prose, this method can save a lot of time - you just find three groups that the author has an opinion on and sort all your analysis under this umbrella and I find this to be the most sophisticated approach.

However, the best thing to do is follow what you are good at. I obviously won't advocate for your "argument approach" (ie. sorting things by main points) but what I find with this is that it becomes really clunky and you have three separate, distinct paragraphs which actually don't link together, as a piece of prose.

Nevertheless, always do what you are comfortable with; but since it's early days, you can afford to explore around.


3. Not sure, sorry - probably need an EAL student to clarify.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on February 15, 2015, 01:49:35 pm
Hi, Im a student who's doing EAL.

I have a few questions according to EAL.


1. I am finding it difficult to get the Main contention of an article. (e.g like this one http://m.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinion/linda-dessau-ticks-all-the-boxes-for-governor-role/story-fni0ffsx-1227216525121 ) It is unlikely for me to find the main points if I dont know what the article is REALLY about( Main Contention ). So is there a qay to practise finding the main contention of an article? I can ask my teacher to help but that's just too slow and she probably wouldnt be available all the time.
I'll go through this article later as an example if you need, but two questions you should ask yourself:
- If I were the author, and I was writing all this, what would I be trying to do? How do I want people to react to certain ideas? What's my best/worst case scenario?
and
- If I were a reader with no opinions or beliefs, and I just read this article and believed everything it said, what would my overall impression be? What values have I been given? What has been cast in a positive or negative light?

Quote
2. The 'Key Player' Method is particularly effective to make the entire L.A piece coherent. However it seems time-consuming, I'm an EAL student and we have to write a Note-Form-Summary, I dont think we have as much time outlining the Key Players as those in Mainstream do. What if I structure my L.A bodyparagraphs by the Main Points I used from my Note-Form-Summary? Will this be coherent as Key Player Method?
I'm in the process of writing up some EAL-geared resources cause I know it's a sparse area on AN and elsewhere.
With regardss to Key players, yes it's time consuming, but you're consuming time with a purpose. Even if it takes you five minutes of writing time just to tease out what some of the key players are and what the author says about them, that's five minutes well spent, because you've come to a conclusion that half the state won't even try to make. Identifying key players isn't just something that you can do, if you want; it's something that all good analyses definitely do, albeit in different ways. What's optional is the structure, so if you feel more confident going through things chronologically, then by all means do so. Just be aware of the risks, and practice with different forms (especially comparative ones) so you know you can handle whatever the exam throws at you.


Quote
3. I have some confusions regarding to N.F.S, like how much details(dot points) should we add to each Main Point? What kind of N.F.S structure works for which kind of article/opinion piece? How to write a N.F.S for multiple pieces? How to decrease the time wasting on "Converting sentences to Note-Form"?
Use the samples in the Assessor's Reports for EAL on the VCAA website, as these are the only good indicators I've found. Having not done EAL myself I can't vouch for any particular method, but something tells me most teachers would advocate a bunch of different approaches, meaning VCAA have to be flexible with what they accept.

I'll add your other quesitons to the list of stuff I'm trying to cover in the EAL post since it probably warrants more explanation than I have time for right now. Should be done in a couple of days :)

Do check with your teacher in the meantime, even if it takes ages and their advice is dubious. I have limited experience with EAL and most of my knowledge has been gleaned through other students and their teachers, so use your own as a resource too :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: hwilome on February 15, 2015, 03:19:33 pm
Thank you very very much Zezima and Lauren !!! :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on February 16, 2015, 07:55:27 pm
Anyone here a tutor for english 3/4? If so please PM me or if you know of someone good PM me their contact, really desperate for a tutor for english!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Apink! on February 19, 2015, 07:46:43 pm
Hello,
I often lose marks because I do not directly answer the prompt :P But if I do, I cannot come up with original ideas that will make my essay stand out
I'm currently studying "Shark Net" and "whose reality?"

How do you make sure that you DO answer the prompt? Many assessor's reports and my teachers always emphasize on making sure that we answer the prompt but I tend to wander off...And how do you come up with original ideas while answering the prompt? To what extent can you explore a prompt without seeming as you are not answering it?

Also, I am meant to do an expository style essay on a prompt (that is unseen). In the previous years when we did context, I would always do a creative piece or persuasive so i'm not used to the idea of expository... How would you structure your essay? What is the purpose of expository? I heard that you explore the issue at hand, so do you always need to consider both sides of the prompt?

Also, since the prompt is unseen, how can I prepare myself?

Gahh, I am so worried. Although I do love English, I am far from good ::)

Please help me :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on February 19, 2015, 07:51:54 pm
Same with me, I always fall under the impression that im not fully answering the prompt in an essay, and consequently i lose motivation throughout the essay and sort of give up at the end. What can I do to ensure I can analyse the prompt well, and be able to come up with good arguments/ideas? Thanks
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on February 20, 2015, 02:10:28 pm
Hello,
I often lose marks because I do not directly answer the prompt :P But if I do, I cannot come up with original ideas that will make my essay stand out
I'm currently studying "Shark Net" and "whose reality?"

How do you make sure that you DO answer the prompt? Many assessor's reports and my teachers always emphasize on making sure that we answer the prompt but I tend to wander off...And how do you come up with original ideas while answering the prompt? To what extent can you explore a prompt without seeming as you are not answering it?

Also, I am meant to do an expository style essay on a prompt (that is unseen). In the previous years when we did context, I would always do a creative piece or persuasive so i'm not used to the idea of expository... How would you structure your essay? What is the purpose of expository? I heard that you explore the issue at hand, so do you always need to consider both sides of the prompt?

Also, since the prompt is unseen, how can I prepare myself?

Gahh, I am so worried. Although I do love English, I am far from good ::)

Please help me :)
Same with me, I always fall under the impression that im not fully answering the prompt in an essay, and consequently i lose motivation throughout the essay and sort of give up at the end. What can I do to ensure I can analyse the prompt well, and be able to come up with good arguments/ideas? Thanks

Rather than thinking of it as "answering" the prompt, try to see your essays as taking the prompt a step further.
Let's say you're doing Conflict and the prompt is It is not what we learn, but how we learn from conflict that is important.

The simplistic, middle-band pieces would have contentions like 'yes' or 'no.' You don't want to fall into that chasm of simply repeating a bunch of evidence that demonstrates the same point. Your piece must have a contention, and it should be at least a sentence long (preferably more.) For instance, I might want to argue that 'how we learn' tells us more about who we are and what we value, whereas the lessons learned (ie. 'what we learn') have to be filtered through our understanding of the world. 'How we learn' is a process, 'what we learn' is simply the result; it's almost like 'what we learn' is a subset of the 'how.' Therefore the former is more important because it's an all-encompassing journey, not an end-goal.

Note how I haven't gone straight for the text, or any of my examples. I'm simply rationalising what the prompt is suggesting on an idea-level. Ultimately, you could boil down my contention to 'yes,' but the important thing is that I've got my reasoning here. I've done the development, and so the outcome is a way more powerful contention than it would have been if I'd just considered the prompt for 30 seconds and gone 'yeah, I guess that sounds about right.'

So that's the most beneficial thing you can do: develop your thinking so that you're not stifling yourself into repeatedly saying 'yes,' or just talking about the key words in the prompt.

But I know this seems risky when you don't know the right questions to ask, or if your discussion is actually relevant.

The question now becomes 'how do I maintain relevance while still conducting sufficiently broad and deep exploration?' To which I say the answer is weaving!
Usually I explain this with hand-drawn diagrams, so I'll see if I can upload something later when I have access to a scanner. Also, this is geared mostly towards expository pieces; different rules can apply for the other forms.

What you want to do is weave your discussion through to different levels. For anyone who knows anything about sewing, you'll know that the needle and thread have to be woven from one side of the material to the other, and back again. But if you prick the needle too close to the hole you just made, you can end up ripping the material and creating a hole that's too big, and can't be woven through. At this bottom level that the thread is trying to get to: you have the very close examples, often from the set text, though not always. This can have seemingly little to do with the Context itself, so the way you make it relevant is by slowly weaving it through the upper levels. However, using too much evidence to illustrate the same point is the equivalent of sewing too close together: you can't do any more sewing in that area, and you can't get to the next stage.

In the middle, you have 'theorisation,' which is where you're drawing conclusions from the examples, but not necessarily going all the way out to the Context yet. You might be discussing the meaning of an event, or comparing it to other occurrences for the sake of drawing parallels or contrasts. This is where you're actually passing through the material and connecting one level with another.

Where you chose to do this theorisation is incredibly important. I'll explain that more in the section on essay structure below.

Then towards the top you have the Context and the prompt, a.k.a. the umbrella that everything else must be under. This is where you start to tie everything together with a 'Therefore...' statement, and hammer home the relevance to the assessor. It's not enough to just conduct an exploration and assume your reader can piece together its relevance - YOU HAVE TO TELL THEM EXPLICITLY!

One of the worst things you can do in an expository piece is allow your marker to get to the end of a paragraph and ask 'so what?' You've brought up the example of post-war America and how people tried to learn from their mistakes... so what? You've reflected upon a past experience when you felt you learnt an important lesson... so what? You've tied together several historical and psychological examples about the way people learn in the midst of conflict... SO WHAT? Why are you saying this? What has this discussion taught us? What contention are you trying to reinforce here??

Answer these questions in your writing, and don't give your assessor the chance :)


This relates quite neatly to your question about essay structure as well. I usually recommend the following format to people as a starting point, as it'll make apparent the amount of discussion you have to do at different levels, as well as help you find areas of weakness in a very obvious way. Just a note for anyone else: even if you're dead set on writing an imaginative piece or w/e, you should write at least one expository essay anyway. It spells things out in the clearest way possible, which, when it comes to something as messy as Context, is pretty useful.

Overall (and this is a massive generalisation, not a hard-and-fast rule) you should aim for an even ratio of general abstract theorisation about the Context, to close evidence-based discussion.
Think of it like this:
(http://sewingschool.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/tension.jpg)
In the second image, there's not enough on the upper (ie. general Context stuff) level, meaning the final product is going to have a whole lot literal and metaphorical loose threads hanging at the bottom (evidence) level. The reverse could also be true: if you've gone a heap of talking about the Context but don't have anything to back it up, you won't be getting credit for all the loose loops up the top.

If you want your essay to be tight  ;) you have to not only balance the amount of discussion you do on either side, but you also have to know when and how to transition. Let's say you had a metre long piece of material to sew and you only made five stitches - one every 20 cm. It'd hardly look like an appropriate sewing job, and it wouldn't hold things together. Similarly, make too many stitches and you end up wasting thread (ie. wasting your time.) You also want to avoid making inconsistent transitions. Take a look at any piece of clothing you own; good stitching is evenly spaced out. Miss out on one of those spaces, and things fall apart.

To move away from my slightly tortured sewing metaphor now... you'd want your essay to look something like this:

   ---------------
-----------------    <-- intro exploring the prompt, all general
-----------------   <-- maybe an example at the end to lead into the B.P.

   ---------------       <-- body paragraph, T.S. starts off general
-----------------    <-- start integrating evidence
-----------------     <-- draw out some conclusions so you can link your discussion
-----------------     <-- more evidence, adding to, not repeating your point
-----------------     <-- lastly moving back out to the prompt and reinforcing your contention

   ---------------
-----------------    <-- conclusion tying things up, all general, though
-----------------          perhaps calling back to something mentioned in the intro (=bookending)

Here's an example I wrote in response to a similar question last year:

Quote
For example, the prompt: 'Our identities are always changing'
My paragraph might begin by looking at the idea of change, rather than just assuming the reader knows what I'm talking about. Obviously you don't have to give definitions, but it can be helpful to clarify
eg. 'Change is an inevitable part of our lives, but that is not to say all things are changing all the time. Often there are parts of our personas that remain stagnant until external events prompt us to reconsider ourselves, or to react in different ways.' {I haven't used any examples yet, I'm just breaking down some theory. Then I'd work on linking it to a specific idea or piece of evidence}: 'Nowhere is this change more obvious than in adolescence; a time of transition when we are forced to consciously reevaluate our selves in relation to society. In Bruce Beresford's Paradise Road, the majority of the cast are adult actors dealing with adult concepts, and it is easy to forget the children and teenagers that were likewise subject to the harsh conditions of POW camps in WWII. Following one of the choir's productions, we see boys as young as 15 and 16 being sent away to the men's camp as their mothers cry in the background 'no, please, he's just a child!' {I'm paraphrasing here, it's been ages since I saw the movie :P} One can only imagine the irreparable psychological damage this caused the boys. The separation of a child from their mother is incredibly traumatic, and a further indictment of how the brutality of war pervades all aspects of life. Who we are is, of course, a fluid concept, but our identity as a whole isn't entirely self-determined - we cannot ignore the role of external factors.'

Orange: abstract discussion
Purple: specific examples, from the text or otherwise
In hindsight, the conclusion I've drawn at the end of that paragraph is a bit dodgy, but that's mainly because I've only done two sentences of evidence-unpacking: your essays will obviously go into more detail, and hopefully draw from multiple sources, not just one scene in one text.


Hopefully that addresses the bigger questions, so to clarify the little ones in case you're still unsure:
- The purpose of the expository style is to expose facets of the prompt. It's giving you a literal, usually fairly straightforward assertion, and you have to take that and explore the implications.
- You don't need to consider 'both sides' because there are more than two sides. You need to consider many, but have your considerations fall under the umbrella of your contention. They're giving you an opportunity for limitless exploration, but you only have to explore what's most relevant to you.
- Rather than preparing for specific content like you would in other subjects (ie. 'this maths SAC is going to test these areas, in this format, probably with questions similar to last year' etc.) English is more about preparing a skillset that can handle anything. Collect examples, make a conclusive list of major prompts, write practice paragraphs and essays - do whatever you think will help you solidify your understanding.

Apologies for the verbosity, but 'how to answer a Context prompt' is a huge area, so I figured I'd tackle it from the ground up. If you have further questions, please let me know, as this definitely hasn't covered everything :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: M_BONG on February 20, 2015, 02:43:34 pm
Holy F, Lauren. You deserve a Noble Prize in Literature for writing all that! Also, a whole lot of awesome  and well-illustrated advice as well!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: brenden on February 20, 2015, 05:02:22 pm
Rather than thinking of it as "answering" the prompt, try to see your essays as taking the prompt a step further.
Let's say you're doing Conflict and the prompt is It is not what we learn, but how we learn from conflict that is important.

The simplistic, middle-band pieces would have contentions like 'yes' or 'no.' You don't want to fall into that chasm of simply repeating a bunch of evidence that demonstrates the same point. Your piece must have a contention, and it should be at least a sentence long (preferably more.) For instance, I might want to argue that 'how we learn' tells us more about who we are and what we value, whereas the lessons learned (ie. 'what we learn') have to be filtered through our understanding of the world. 'How we learn' is a process, 'what we learn' is simply the result; it's almost like 'what we learn' is a subset of the 'how.' Therefore the former is more important because it's an all-encompassing journey, not an end-goal.

Note how I haven't gone straight for the text, or any of my examples. I'm simply rationalising what the prompt is suggesting on an idea-level. Ultimately, you could boil down my contention to 'yes,' but the important thing is that I've got my reasoning here. I've done the development, and so the outcome is a way more powerful contention than it would have been if I'd just considered the prompt for 30 seconds and gone 'yeah, I guess that sounds about right.'

So that's the most beneficial thing you can do: develop your thinking so that you're not stifling yourself into repeatedly saying 'yes,' or just talking about the key words in the prompt.

But I know this seems risky when you don't know the right questions to ask, or if your discussion is actually relevant.

The question now becomes 'how do I maintain relevance while still conducting sufficiently broad and deep exploration?' To which I say the answer is weaving!
Usually I explain this with hand-drawn diagrams, so I'll see if I can upload something later when I have access to a scanner. Also, this is geared mostly towards expository pieces; different rules can apply for the other forms.

What you want to do is weave your discussion through to different levels. For anyone who knows anything about sewing, you'll know that the needle and thread have to be woven from one side of the material to the other, and back again. But if you prick the needle too close to the hole you just made, you can end up ripping the material and creating a hole that's too big, and can't be woven through. At this bottom level that the thread is trying to get to: you have the very close examples, often from the set text, though not always. This can have seemingly little to do with the Context itself, so the way you make it relevant is by slowly weaving it through the upper levels. However, using too much evidence to illustrate the same point is the equivalent of sewing too close together: you can't do any more sewing in that area, and you can't get to the next stage.

In the middle, you have 'theorisation,' which is where you're drawing conclusions from the examples, but not necessarily going all the way out to the Context yet. You might be discussing the meaning of an event, or comparing it to other occurrences for the sake of drawing parallels or contrasts. This is where you're actually passing through the material and connecting one level with another.

Where you chose to do this theorisation is incredibly important. I'll explain that more in the section on essay structure below.

Then towards the top you have the Context and the prompt, a.k.a. the umbrella that everything else must be under. This is where you start to tie everything together with a 'Therefore...' statement, and hammer home the relevance to the assessor. It's not enough to just conduct an exploration and assume your reader can piece together its relevance - YOU HAVE TO TELL THEM EXPLICITLY!

One of the worst things you can do in an expository piece is allow your marker to get to the end of a paragraph and ask 'so what?' You've brought up the example of post-war America and how people tried to learn from their mistakes... so what? You've reflected upon a past experience when you felt you learnt an important lesson... so what? You've tied together several historical and psychological examples about the way people learn in the midst of conflict... SO WHAT? Why are you saying this? What has this discussion taught us? What contention are you trying to reinforce here??

Answer these questions in your writing, and don't give your assessor the chance :)


This relates quite neatly to your question about essay structure as well. I usually recommend the following format to people as a starting point, as it'll make apparent the amount of discussion you have to do at different levels, as well as help you find areas of weakness in a very obvious way. Just a note for anyone else: even if you're dead set on writing an imaginative piece or w/e, you should write at least one expository essay anyway. It spells things out in the clearest way possible, which, when it comes to something as messy as Context, is pretty useful.

Overall (and this is a massive generalisation, not a hard-and-fast rule) you should aim for an even ratio of general abstract theorisation about the Context, to close evidence-based discussion.
Think of it like this:
(http://sewingschool.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/tension.jpg)
In the second image, there's not enough on the upper (ie. general Context stuff) level, meaning the final product is going to have a whole lot literal and metaphorical loose threads hanging at the bottom (evidence) level. The reverse could also be true: if you've gone a heap of talking about the Context but don't have anything to back it up, you won't be getting credit for all the loose loops up the top.

If you want your essay to be tight  ;) you have to not only balance the amount of discussion you do on either side, but you also have to know when and how to transition. Let's say you had a metre long piece of material to sew and you only made five stitches - one every 20 cm. It'd hardly look like an appropriate sewing job, and it wouldn't hold things together. Similarly, make too many stitches and you end up wasting thread (ie. wasting your time.) You also want to avoid making inconsistent transitions. Take a look at any piece of clothing you own; good stitching is evenly spaced out. Miss out on one of those spaces, and things fall apart.

To move away from my slightly tortured sewing metaphor now... you'd want your essay to look something like this:

   ---------------
-----------------    <-- intro exploring the prompt, all general
-----------------   <-- maybe an example at the end to lead into the B.P.

   ---------------       <-- body paragraph, T.S. starts off general
-----------------    <-- start integrating evidence
-----------------     <-- draw out some conclusions so you can link your discussion
-----------------     <-- more evidence, adding to, not repeating your point
-----------------     <-- lastly moving back out to the prompt and reinforcing your contention

   ---------------
-----------------    <-- conclusion tying things up, all general, though
-----------------          perhaps calling back to something mentioned in the intro (=bookending)

Here's an example I wrote in response to a similar question last year:
In hindsight, the conclusion I've drawn at the end of that paragraph is a bit dodgy, but that's mainly because I've only done two sentences of evidence-unpacking: your essays will obviously go into more detail, and hopefully draw from multiple sources, not just one scene in one text.


Hopefully that addresses the bigger questions, so to clarify the little ones in case you're still unsure:
- The purpose of the expository style is to expose facets of the prompt. It's giving you a literal, usually fairly straightforward assertion, and you have to take that and explore the implications.
- You don't need to consider 'both sides' because there are more than two sides. You need to consider many, but have your considerations fall under the umbrella of your contention. They're giving you an opportunity for limitless exploration, but you only have to explore what's most relevant to you.
- Rather than preparing for specific content like you would in other subjects (ie. 'this maths SAC is going to test these areas, in this format, probably with questions similar to last year' etc.) English is more about preparing a skillset that can handle anything. Collect examples, make a conclusive list of major prompts, write practice paragraphs and essays - do whatever you think will help you solidify your understanding.

Apologies for the verbosity, but 'how to answer a Context prompt' is a huge area, so I figured I'd tackle it from the ground up. If you have further questions, please let me know, as this definitely hasn't covered everything :)
Let the upvotes rain.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Alter on February 20, 2015, 09:30:50 pm
Hey there guys.

Just to preface this, I should clarify that last year I did 1/2 Literature as opposed to mainstream English. As a result, I'm a bit behind in terms of having practised the different types of responses necessary for the subject, but I don't find them overly difficult to adapt to.

My question relates to doing a context piece. I should clarify that I am particularly interested in writing a creative piece for my SACs/exam as this is the text type I am most comfortable with, it being something I greatly enjoy and have done a lot in the past outside of school. That being said, I am not entirely sure how one is supposed to link into studied texts they've read while still maintaining cohesion and originality in a response. Are there any examples of how I can incorporate textual reference in a creative piece that I should read? To clarify, I'm doing encountering conflict with the texts The Lieutenant and Every Man In This Village Is A Liar.

On top of this, what are the best pieces of advice you can provide for someone who is keen on doing a creative piece for context, but has not had much experience with regular English before? I've read some threads on here for context which were quite helpful, but there don't seem to be a great deal of resources for people in my specific position. Thanks in advance.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on February 20, 2015, 09:46:02 pm
Hey there guys.

Just to preface this, I should clarify that last year I did 1/2 Literature as opposed to mainstream English. As a result, I'm a bit behind in terms of having practised the different types of responses necessary for the subject, but I don't find them overly difficult to adapt to.
Dw man, in some ways Lit is better preparation for English because it helps you analyse and discuss things more closely. So long as you're across the basic 3 essay types in English, you're not really behind.

Quote
My question relates to doing a context piece. I should clarify that I am particularly interested in writing a creative piece for my SACs/exam as this is the text type I am most comfortable with, it being something I greatly enjoy and have done a lot in the past outside of school. That being said, I am not entirely sure how one is supposed to link into studied texts they've read while still maintaining cohesion and originality in a response. Are there any examples of how I can incorporate textual reference in a creative piece that I should read? To clarify, I'm doing encountering conflict with the texts The Lieutenant and Every Man In This Village Is A Liar.
Just so I can answer this properly, what sort of creative piece are you doing? Short story, letter, reflective piece, hybrid? There are slightly different rules for each format, so maybe give us a general overview of what one of your pieces might be dealing with. (You don't have to post a full essay or anything, just a brief outline)

Quote
On top of this, what are the best pieces of advice you can provide for someone who is keen on doing a creative piece for context, but has not had much experience with regular English before? I've read some threads on here for context which were quite helpful, but there don't seem to be a great deal of resources for people in my specific position. Thanks in advance.
Like I said above, write an expository piece anyway. You can definitely stick with creatives for your SACs and the exam, but expository pieces are the easiest way to grasp the requirements of the task, and the balance of your discussion. Not having done English 1&2 really isn't a disadvantage, and a lost of people I know (myself included) weren't exactly top-of-the-range in Year 11, but compensated by working hard in Year 12 when it mattered. Other than that, I'll wait till I know your preferred writing style before I go into more depth in terms of text integration :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Alter on February 20, 2015, 10:20:53 pm
Thanks for the quick response, Lauren!

I'm glad that not doing 1/2 English won't be detrimental for my score. At my school, mainstream English seems to have a pretty poor reputation/stigma for being a subject done by people that aren't intelligent enough to do English Language or Literature do. As a result, the cohort seems to be typically weaker. That being said, there was a girl from my school last year who pretty impressively got a 50 in English despite having transferred from Literature in the same situation as me.

I see now that I was a bit vague with just 'creative writing'. I mean a short story, or possibly a hybrid (although I have very limited experience with the latter...). To be honest, anything that falls under the banner of a typical "narrative" / "short story" will work for me, although perhaps I'm being a bit naive in how distinct different types of creative pieces are.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Apink! on February 21, 2015, 07:53:53 am
Rather than thinking of it as "answering" the prompt, try to see your essays as taking the prompt a step further.
Let's say you're doing Conflict and the prompt is It is not what we learn, but how we learn from conflict that is important.

The simplistic, middle-band pieces would have contentions like 'yes' or 'no.' You don't want to fall into that chasm of simply repeating a bunch of evidence that demonstrates the same point. Your piece must have a contention, and it should be at least a sentence long (preferably more.) For instance, I might want to argue that 'how we learn' tells us more about who we are and what we value, whereas the lessons learned (ie. 'what we learn') have to be filtered through our understanding of the world. 'How we learn' is a process, 'what we learn' is simply the result; it's almost like 'what we learn' is a subset of the 'how.' Therefore the former is more important because it's an all-encompassing journey, not an end-goal.

Note how I haven't gone straight for the text, or any of my examples. I'm simply rationalising what the prompt is suggesting on an idea-level. Ultimately, you could boil down my contention to 'yes,' but the important thing is that I've got my reasoning here. I've done the development, and so the outcome is a way more powerful contention than it would have been if I'd just considered the prompt for 30 seconds and gone 'yeah, I guess that sounds about right.'

So that's the most beneficial thing you can do: develop your thinking so that you're not stifling yourself into repeatedly saying 'yes,' or just talking about the key words in the prompt.

But I know this seems risky when you don't know the right questions to ask, or if your discussion is actually relevant.

The question now becomes 'how do I maintain relevance while still conducting sufficiently broad and deep exploration?' To which I say the answer is weaving!
Usually I explain this with hand-drawn diagrams, so I'll see if I can upload something later when I have access to a scanner. Also, this is geared mostly towards expository pieces; different rules can apply for the other forms.

What you want to do is weave your discussion through to different levels. For anyone who knows anything about sewing, you'll know that the needle and thread have to be woven from one side of the material to the other, and back again. But if you prick the needle too close to the hole you just made, you can end up ripping the material and creating a hole that's too big, and can't be woven through. At this bottom level that the thread is trying to get to: you have the very close examples, often from the set text, though not always. This can have seemingly little to do with the Context itself, so the way you make it relevant is by slowly weaving it through the upper levels. However, using too much evidence to illustrate the same point is the equivalent of sewing too close together: you can't do any more sewing in that area, and you can't get to the next stage.

In the middle, you have 'theorisation,' which is where you're drawing conclusions from the examples, but not necessarily going all the way out to the Context yet. You might be discussing the meaning of an event, or comparing it to other occurrences for the sake of drawing parallels or contrasts. This is where you're actually passing through the material and connecting one level with another.

Where you chose to do this theorisation is incredibly important. I'll explain that more in the section on essay structure below.

Then towards the top you have the Context and the prompt, a.k.a. the umbrella that everything else must be under. This is where you start to tie everything together with a 'Therefore...' statement, and hammer home the relevance to the assessor. It's not enough to just conduct an exploration and assume your reader can piece together its relevance - YOU HAVE TO TELL THEM EXPLICITLY!

One of the worst things you can do in an expository piece is allow your marker to get to the end of a paragraph and ask 'so what?' You've brought up the example of post-war America and how people tried to learn from their mistakes... so what? You've reflected upon a past experience when you felt you learnt an important lesson... so what? You've tied together several historical and psychological examples about the way people learn in the midst of conflict... SO WHAT? Why are you saying this? What has this discussion taught us? What contention are you trying to reinforce here??

Answer these questions in your writing, and don't give your assessor the chance :)


This relates quite neatly to your question about essay structure as well. I usually recommend the following format to people as a starting point, as it'll make apparent the amount of discussion you have to do at different levels, as well as help you find areas of weakness in a very obvious way. Just a note for anyone else: even if you're dead set on writing an imaginative piece or w/e, you should write at least one expository essay anyway. It spells things out in the clearest way possible, which, when it comes to something as messy as Context, is pretty useful.

Overall (and this is a massive generalisation, not a hard-and-fast rule) you should aim for an even ratio of general abstract theorisation about the Context, to close evidence-based discussion.
Think of it like this:
(http://sewingschool.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/tension.jpg)
In the second image, there's not enough on the upper (ie. general Context stuff) level, meaning the final product is going to have a whole lot literal and metaphorical loose threads hanging at the bottom (evidence) level. The reverse could also be true: if you've gone a heap of talking about the Context but don't have anything to back it up, you won't be getting credit for all the loose loops up the top.

If you want your essay to be tight  ;) you have to not only balance the amount of discussion you do on either side, but you also have to know when and how to transition. Let's say you had a metre long piece of material to sew and you only made five stitches - one every 20 cm. It'd hardly look like an appropriate sewing job, and it wouldn't hold things together. Similarly, make too many stitches and you end up wasting thread (ie. wasting your time.) You also want to avoid making inconsistent transitions. Take a look at any piece of clothing you own; good stitching is evenly spaced out. Miss out on one of those spaces, and things fall apart.

To move away from my slightly tortured sewing metaphor now... you'd want your essay to look something like this:

   ---------------
-----------------    <-- intro exploring the prompt, all general
-----------------   <-- maybe an example at the end to lead into the B.P.

   ---------------       <-- body paragraph, T.S. starts off general
-----------------    <-- start integrating evidence
-----------------     <-- draw out some conclusions so you can link your discussion
-----------------     <-- more evidence, adding to, not repeating your point
-----------------     <-- lastly moving back out to the prompt and reinforcing your contention

   ---------------
-----------------    <-- conclusion tying things up, all general, though
-----------------          perhaps calling back to something mentioned in the intro (=bookending)

Here's an example I wrote in response to a similar question last year:
In hindsight, the conclusion I've drawn at the end of that paragraph is a bit dodgy, but that's mainly because I've only done two sentences of evidence-unpacking: your essays will obviously go into more detail, and hopefully draw from multiple sources, not just one scene in one text.


Hopefully that addresses the bigger questions, so to clarify the little ones in case you're still unsure:
- The purpose of the expository style is to expose facets of the prompt. It's giving you a literal, usually fairly straightforward assertion, and you have to take that and explore the implications.
- You don't need to consider 'both sides' because there are more than two sides. You need to consider many, but have your considerations fall under the umbrella of your contention. They're giving you an opportunity for limitless exploration, but you only have to explore what's most relevant to you.
- Rather than preparing for specific content like you would in other subjects (ie. 'this maths SAC is going to test these areas, in this format, probably with questions similar to last year' etc.) English is more about preparing a skillset that can handle anything. Collect examples, make a conclusive list of major prompts, write practice paragraphs and essays - do whatever you think will help you solidify your understanding.

Apologies for the verbosity, but 'how to answer a Context prompt' is a huge area, so I figured I'd tackle it from the ground up. If you have further questions, please let me know, as this definitely hasn't covered everything :)


Thank you so much! That really helps me clarify it a whole lot better.
If you could, could you please upload a good expository essay? I learn things by observing what great writer's had done and analyse it and then apply it to my own writing.
There were some on the essay thread, but not a lot of them are expository :P

Thank you Lauren, you explain it so much better :)

EDIT: Also my teacher is very keen on the idea of personal anecdotes in expository essay. She kinda implies that by putting a personal anecdote of some sort in the beginning of the essay, we will score better than generalising in the first paragraph. What do you think?

I personally do not like personal anecdotes. They are interesting, but often they don't seem like a  'must' think to put in a context expository essay. Should I do what my teacher says to get a better mark or should I just do my own thang?

Also, if you advise me on doing a personal anecdote/ creative bit in the first paragraph, how can I make sure my opening stands out with 35 or so of personal anecdotes/ creative stories? I want to be original :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: paper-back on February 21, 2015, 11:25:37 am
How can I improve on my expressiveness and fluency? Sometimes when others read my paragraphs, they don't seem to know what I'm trying address and it's becoming a real worry

Any tips would be much appreciated
Thanks!

Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Floatzel98 on February 21, 2015, 11:40:38 am
When we are writing context pieces, what do we need to include at the end when writing the summary of intent, or the explanation of the piece. How long does it need to be and does it affect the marking?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: JackSonSmith on February 21, 2015, 02:04:35 pm
How can I improve on my expressiveness and fluency? Sometimes when others read my paragraphs, they don't seem to know what I'm trying address and it's becoming a real worry

Any tips would be much appreciated
Thanks!

Personally, I find that using short sentences helps. They ensure ideas are easy to follow.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on February 21, 2015, 03:08:07 pm
Apink!: I'll try and upload something later tonight. I have a few good-ish expository essays, but I think it'd be more helpful if I wrote a piece from scratch.
With regards to personal anecdotes, no they're not compulsory, and the assessors don't really favour "petty personal stories" (not that all personal stories are petty, but it can be hard to go from 'My sister and I used to pull each others hair, but now we don't. Sometimes people learn lessons from conflict' :P) But you should absolutely so anything and everything your teacher suggests for the SAC. The exam approach might be a little different though.



Alter:

First of all, you need to be aware of the balance between a good Context piece, and a good short story. Here's what happens if you do too much of the former:
Jocelyn stood on the shore, a cool zephyr blowing through her hair. As she gazed at the setting sun, she wondered whether fear or prejudice is really at the heart of conflict. :/ It stops sounding like a believable story at the end there. That's because your piece has to have verisimilitude which is a lovely word that here boils down to 'tell a good story without being bogged down by nonsense.'

The easiest rule of thumb here is not to use the key words of the prompt, or the name of the context itself (eg. prompt is 'Our identity depends on our upbringing, not our values' --> the words 'identity,' 'upbringing' and 'values' are off-limits) as these are things you're meant to show in the story itself. (more on that later)

On the flip side, you still want to be ensuring marks for relevance, and you could write the most amazing short story in the world that totally blows the assessors out of their chairs - but if it has no relation to the prompt - 4/10 for effort, maybe :P
Regardless of your writing style, the prompt dominates everything. It's where your contention, ideas, and examples should all stem from.

The text is a subset of this, but how you integrate it is really up to you. If you find explicit connections easier, then you could write a POV from one of the characters, or rewrite another ending/ 'lost scene' from the text. But the better links will be idea-based ones; if the speaker in your story is going through a certain struggle, see if you can find parallels with someone from the set text.

Using the language of the author can also be very effective. For instance, Every Man has that famous quote about how "you can survive and not survive both at the same time," so if the idea of survival is relevant to your piece, consider integrating or adapting those words and including them in your work.

eg, let's say you were writing about spousal troubles and abuse: Lucy sat at the dinner table, petrified that she would sweat through her concealer and reveal the bruises. She must have looked too nervous, as Micheal took a firm grasp of her knee under the tablecloth. She felt his grubby fingers dig under the kneecap as though he was willing her bones to separate, but she knew she'd pay for her mistakes more severely once the guests had left. She glanced at the other couples and their affectionate tactility, their total comfort with one another. Micheal gripped her knee tighter. At least she was alive, she thought, but this was far from living.

For your SACs, you will have the opportunity to explain yourself fully in a Statement of Intention/ Written Explanation - a paragraph at the end that mentions your choice of form, style, language, audience, contention, and textual connection. So for the above, part of my SOI might read: 'I have used Megan Stack's questioning of what survival really means, and recontextualised it from a global, to a very personal setting.'

In the exam, you don't get this chance though. There are no SOIs, it's just the piece you write, and you have to rely on the assessor being smart enough to grasp the connections. I won't like - this is a massive challenge, and it's the reason I chickened out and went with a nice safe expository piece in the exam. I know people who can make it work, but it takes a lot of practice.

Story-time: Why Lauren abandoned imaginative pieces:
I wrote a piece around mid-year that was sent off to an external marker, and I thought the connections were pretty obvious. One of the films that used to be on the list (Paradise Road) had a line like 'The will to survive is strong, stronger than anything,' and one of the lines in my intro was 'Although the will to survive is strong, the pervasive effects of conflict... something something' and other such similar connections (I think I did this four or five times with the most major quotes that came to mind.) And I figured, that should be clear enough. Nuh uh. I got a 6/10, purely because the text "wasn't there" which scared me straight. It's definitely possible to circumvent these issues, but you need to be aware of the risks when making implicit links.
Moral of the story: assume everyone's an idiot and spell things out as much as the piece allows (without getting too clunky.) Don't assume your marker will fill in the blanks or connect the dots for you, because they won't :/
Since the priority of any context piece is the ideas it deals with, find a few points of interest in the text that you can generalise, and practice applying them. Treat the SOI as an opportunity to reiterate the connection though, not to do all the work for you :)



paper-back:

What kind of fluency issues are you having? If it's something like run-on sentences, then shortening them is definitely an option. But is your writing confusing because of the words you use/ how you express your ideas, or because of what you're actually trying to say. It may just be an issue with grammar and syntax, or there might be underlying issues with your ideas and/or contention depending on the piece. Maybe ask the people (students? teachers?) who said your piece was confusing and ask them how & why they're confused.

Whatever their response is, a good place to start is just to de-clutter your intentions. What are you trying to say, in the simplest, most basic terms? eg. 'okay, I wanna say how we know the character is evil because of how the director casts her in dark lighting and accentuates her sharp features.' --> The director's use of dark lighting to accentuate character X's sharp facial features contributes to her mysterious and sinister persona.

Start simple, and build it up, rather than just beginning a sentence without knowing where it's going to end. This should ensure that at the very least, you're getting your ideas across. After that, you can gradually work up to more complex sentence structures and better vocab.



Floatzel98:

Tbh a lot of schools make up their own rules for this, so I'll tell you what I've found to be most often the case, but it's worth clarifying with your teacher as well.
The standard acronym for what you should include is FLAP-C : Form (essay, speech, diary entry, etc.) Language (ie. what is appropriate for an address to US Congress vs. a high school essay competition,) Audience (same as above, consider the situational context of your Context piece,) Purpose (explained below) and Contention (also below.)
Your contention is what you, as a Year 12 English student, are saying about the prompt. But the purpose should be more imaginative.
Take this example of a creative editorial in a WA newspaper. Let's say the Context was 'Life and Experiences' or something like that; this author's contention would be that taking a life is inexcusable, no matter the circumstances. But his purpose is to address the inhumanity of execution and the hypocrisy of trying to attribute blame in this particular case. He doesn't end every paragraph by saying 'Therefore a human life is very valuable, and we should not deprive anyone of their right to live.' Instead, he communicates it through language and ideas. THAT'S what you need to do in your piece.

Re: marks, that's totally up to the school. Some places assign 5 or 10 marks to the SOI alone, other teachers just say 'do it, I'll tick it, and we'll move on with our lives.' It won't have a drastic effect on your marks, but it can help clarify your intentions. I think I remember hearing that it won't cost you any marks, but it might earn you some, if your teacher is generous :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: KingDrogba on February 21, 2015, 03:29:49 pm
Currently doing identity and belonging for context, have a strong list of ideas which i can bring into an expository essay but was wondering if anyone would share some other issues/movies/books/news articles which i could write about? Specifically to do with crisis and how that affects identity and belonging

Thanks for the help!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on February 21, 2015, 03:32:51 pm
This might help :) I haven't updated it in a while, but these ideas might help spring you into other territory.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: KingDrogba on February 21, 2015, 03:42:18 pm
You're too good to me
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: scarletmoon on February 21, 2015, 10:32:12 pm
For context, do examiners prefer that the outside examples you use are Australian?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on February 22, 2015, 09:01:18 am
For context, do examiners prefer that the outside examples you use are Australian?

The examiners have many weird preferences, but I don't believe this is one of them. Looking back, I didn't bring up a single Australian example in my exam since I had better stuff at my disposal. If you have Australian evidence that works really well then by all means go for it, but pick it because it's interesting, not because it's Australian :)

If your teacher is pushing you down this direction for the SACs though, you should definitely be researching his/her "recommendations," and then maybe do a bit of your own research on the side for the exam, if you think it's necessary.

Having said that, keeping it country-specific would only be a weakness for a pure expository essay. If you were going for a slightly creative/hybrid twist, like a news article, or a piece for an essay competition, then a thematic focus like 'what are the true Australian values in times of crisis?' or 'is the idea of an 'Australian identity' dangerously exclusive?' could be quite useful. Even then, though, you could zoom out and compare our nation with others where applicable - it's really up to you :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: scarletmoon on February 22, 2015, 03:19:07 pm
The examiners have many weird preferences, but I don't believe this is one of them. Looking back, I didn't bring up a single Australian example in my exam since I had better stuff at my disposal. If you have Australian evidence that works really well then by all means go for it, but pick it because it's interesting, not because it's Australian :)

If your teacher is pushing you down this direction for the SACs though, you should definitely be researching his/her "recommendations," and then maybe do a bit of your own research on the side for the exam, if you think it's necessary.

Having said that, keeping it country-specific would only be a weakness for a pure expository essay. If you were going for a slightly creative/hybrid twist, like a news article, or a piece for an essay competition, then a thematic focus like 'what are the true Australian values in times of crisis?' or 'is the idea of an 'Australian identity' dangerously exclusive?' could be quite useful. Even then, though, you could zoom out and compare our nation with others where applicable - it's really up to you :)

Ok thankyou :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: appleandbee on February 22, 2015, 04:37:24 pm
Hey there!

I have a couple of questions:

1. For the oral, my school does things differently-we do the oral in groups (individual marks) and that the entire cohort does the same topic (Freedom of Speech is regards to section 18C and D in the Racial Discrimination Act). Would my approach be any different as a result? Is there anything to look out for/be aware of?

2. For the context (Whose Reality-Death of a Salesman), my teacher prefers current examples (apparently it shows that we're well read...), but the problem is that I feel that because the context is quite abstract, it's difficult to incorporate current examples.

3. For the prompt 'It is sometimes easier to live in a world of illusion, than it is to face reality', how should I address the point  that ' It is easier to face reality, than to live in illusion'? I personally wouldn't say facing reality is easier, but is necessary in order to live a meaningful life.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Eiffel on February 22, 2015, 07:19:03 pm
hey. Im usually a very competent student (talking about Eng Lang for this question - essentially same as Eng), and have been getting A+s during my VCE. However we had a sac for eng lang, and it had an essay component which i totally stuffed up. I havent received my mark yet but my teacher is a realyl harsh marker which makes it worse and am expecting 50-60% (havent got this low since year 7 lol). I know how ranking and all that works and if she marks harshly for everyone, but say the average of the class is sub 70-80s, if i do well in all my other assessments is 45+ feasible?

I did a 3/4 last year and didnt stuff any SACs up, but messed the exam quite a bit and ended up with 46, so i think SACs and Rank 1 helped a little? not too sure...
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on February 22, 2015, 08:13:55 pm
1. For the oral, my school does things differently-we do the oral in groups (individual marks) and that the entire cohort does the same topic (Freedom of Speech is regards to section 18C and D in the Racial Discrimination Act). Would my approach be any different as a result? Is there anything to look out for/be aware of?
I'm not entirely sure what you're saying here... are you all conveying the same contention as a group? Like, does one person speak per minute or something? Apologies, but I've never head of this format before so I can't really help; could you give me more information?

Quote
2. For the context (Whose Reality-Death of a Salesman), my teacher prefers current examples (apparently it shows that we're well read...), but the problem is that I feel that because the context is quite abstract, it's difficult to incorporate current examples.
Do you have trouble incorporating examples because they're current, or because you don't know how to incorporate examples? :) You'd use current news events or situations the same way you would any other story, so I doubt that's it. If you're having issues with general integration, it might be because you're going from abstract discussion (ie. 'Reality is a manifold concept...') to close details (eg. Tony Abbot's comments about how Indonesia owe us for giving them foreign aid were very misguided) without actually connecting the dots. The best way to do this is via theorisation. If you're using something political, look at some political theory or philosophical ideas, as this can make the transition much smoother.

eg. Reality is a manifold concept often riddled with truth, lies, and everything in between. And although we may regard our world as one with a roughly even balance when it comes to these concepts, often there are parts of society where mistrust and deception run rampant. Nowhere is this more evident than in the shady world of politics, where contests of popularity outweigh moral decisions and overrule conscientious objections. This was seen quite recently when many Australians expressed utter indignation over their Prime Minister's assertion that Indonesia should be compelled to release two Australian citizens on death row because "his country" had offered Indonesia aid almost a decade earlier. By implying that our aid was conditional, Tony Abbot essentially isolated himself from many voters who see disaster aid as an ethical obligation, not a political power move that deserves indemnity or recompense. And yet these people are not politicians, for the most part. Their reality is one not plagued by the same knife's-edge posturing and broadcastable rhetoric that people in power experience. So even if we could objectively judge Abbot's views to be ill-expressed or distasteful, we cannot hope to cast judgement upon an individual without some comprehension of the context they are in.  Hence, although our realities may overlap with one another's, an awareness of why untruths or embellishments might be necessary can assist us in reconciling misunderstandings, and closing the gap between different realities.
General context-y stuff
Theorisation and transitioning
Example/evidence-based discussion
Not every essay/paragraph has to weave in and out in this order, but practice like this first so you know how to conduct a flowing discussion.
{Also that paragraph came out weirdly pro-Abbot, this is just because of the prompt and areas I chose to explore. The views in this colourful explanation do not necessary represent those of the creator :)}
Quote
3. For the prompt 'It is sometimes easier to live in a world of illusion, than it is to face reality', how should I address the point  that ' It is easier to face reality, than to live in illusion'? I personally wouldn't say facing reality is easier, but is necessary in order to live a meaningful life.
What do you mean 'how do I address the point?' You've got a contention that's totally based on the prompt. You're challenging the prompt, and going against what it is suggesting, but this is totally fine; in fact, I'd probably recommend this over just churning out a long list of evidence to back up the prompt without any development beyond 'yup, I agree.'
Even if you don't necessarily agree with what you're writing, it can be useful to argue against yourself and build up the strength of your piece in that manner. You're more likely to find the flaws or logic-gaps in your writing if you're in this hyper-critical mode anyway.



hey. Im usually a very competent student (talking about Eng Lang for this question - essentially same as Eng), and have been getting A+s during my VCE. However we had a sac for eng lang, and it had an essay component which i totally stuffed up. I havent received my mark yet but my teacher is a realyl harsh marker which makes it worse and am expecting 50-60% (havent got this low since year 7 lol). I know how ranking and all that works and if she marks harshly for everyone, but say the average of the class is sub 70-80s, if i do well in all my other assessments is 45+ feasible?
If I said no, would you give up? Would you totally stop trying for English? Would you quit VCE and life and say goodbye to your family and run away to Mexico?
I understand that basically everyone on this website has numerical goals; perhaps even numerical prerequisites, but using them for anything other that study motivation is a dangerous pit to fall in.
Is a 44 worthless in your eyes? What's the difference between a 45 and a 46? If you knew you could put in all the effort in the world and still only get a 44, would you just not bother?

Truth be told, it's February. You've been at school for, what, three or four weeks? Nothing you could have done by this point will totally negate the possibility of you scoring highly.

I'm sure other people could jump in and tell you exactly how the system works and why a few percentages on each SAC are ultimately evened out, or even nullified, but I'm not going to do that because I barely understand the system because understanding the system isn't necessary knowledge.

It's comforting knowledge. It can console you when things don't always go to plan, but if you buckle down and focus on qualitative improvement, not quantitative, I guarantee you'll be pleasantly surprised with the results.

Don't let the numbers get you down, man :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: scarletmoon on February 22, 2015, 10:11:19 pm
What are some events that have happened in Australia that are applicable to "encountering conflict". Other than Bali nine or asylum seekers, I'm looking for something that's a little rare idk if that made sense...
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on February 22, 2015, 10:34:06 pm
Conflict is everything.

For something to happen, there must be conflict. Hence, everything is conflict, QED.

And even if this wasn't true, you can say just as much about the significance of the absence of conflict as its presence.

I think I've said this before in some other format, but basically: things happen, which must involve some form of conflict (even if it's only an early or late stage, like causes or resolutions.) This causes a change in who we are (identity) which in turn affects how we see ourselves, others, and the world around us (belonging // imaginative landscape.) And all of this happens in our subjective realities (whose reality.)

So all of the context areas of study can relate to pretty much anything. Some of the connections will be more strained than others (if you look at the context examples in the Resources thread - link is in one of the above comments as well - each example has between one and four of the context listed beside it. This doesn't mean an example would be invalid for the contexts not mentioned, just that you'd have to do a lot more work to get these to fit, and it might only be applicable for a few select prompts.)

If you're just looking to browse and don't want to read entire newspapers, the Google News app/site/thingo is a good way of targetted browsing. You can limit by publications (eg, no Herald Sun pieces) or by country (eg, only Australian publications) or by recency/ relevance (eg. only stuff from 2013 onward, and only pertaining to Australian politics, not international politics) and of course by keyword (eg. you're keen on science and want to write about genetic experiments, type 'genetics' and it'll spit back the most relevant stuff.)

Once the Examples Guide is updated, there'll be a list of similar resources up the top which should help with the research process. If nothing on that list at the moment takes your fancy, maybe start with your set text, extrapolate some ideas, and then think about how they might be relevant for our society.

You can almost turn it into an occasionally fun and challenging game of relating everything back to your context.
eg. My boyfriend is drinking a cup of tea, but he has no idea where those tea leaves came from, or how many hundreds of miles they've traveled only to be diluted in his dorky mug. Perhaps those leaves are the result of slave labour. He could be enabling conflict in the form of immense suffering without even realising it --> Sometimes it's not the deliberate acts of cruelty, but the unintentional actions and mistakes that have a profound impact in times of conflict  ;)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: appleandbee on February 23, 2015, 12:32:30 am
I'm not entirely sure what you're saying here... are you all conveying the same contention as a group? Like, does one person speak per minute or something? Apologies, but I've never head of this format before so I can't really help; could you give me more information?
 

We've never done individual orals in our school, even for year 11. Everyone speaks for 3-4 minutes on a different aspect of the issue, discussing the different viewpoints as a group. As everyone’s doing the same issue, it will probably be difficult to separate people arguments-wise. It’s the first part of a two-part SAC, the second part being a language analysis on the same issue.


 Do you have trouble incorporating examples because they're current, or because you don't know how to incorporate examples? :) You'd use current news events or situations the same way you would any other story, so I doubt that's it. If you're having issues with general integration, it might be because you're going from abstract discussion (ie. 'Reality is a manifold concept...') to close details (eg. Tony Abbot's comments about how Indonesia owe us for giving them foreign aid were very misguided) without actually connecting the dots. The best way to do this is via theorisation. If you're using something political, look at some political theory or philosophical ideas, as this can make the transition much smoother.

eg. Reality is a manifold concept often riddled with truth, lies, and everything in between. And although we may regard our world as one with a roughly even balance when it comes to these concepts, often there are parts of society where mistrust and deception run rampant. Nowhere is this more evident than in the shady world of politics, where contests of popularity outweigh moral decisions and overrule conscientious objections. This was seen quite recently when many Australians expressed utter indignation over their Prime Minister's assertion that Indonesia should be compelled to release two Australian citizens on death row because "his country" had offered Indonesia aid almost a decade earlier. By implying that our aid was conditional, Tony Abbot essentially isolated himself from many voters who see disaster aid as an ethical obligation, not a political power move that deserves indemnity or recompense. And yet these people are not politicians, for the most part. Their reality is one not plagued by the same knife's-edge posturing and broadcastable rhetoric that people in power experience. So even if we could objectively judge Abbot's views to be ill-expressed or distasteful, we cannot hope to cast judgement upon an individual without some comprehension of the context they are in.  Hence, although our realities may overlap with one another's, an awareness of why untruths or embellishments might be necessary can assist us in reconciling misunderstandings, and closing the gap between different realities.
General context-y stuff
Theorisation and transitioning
Example/evidence-based discussion
Not every essay/paragraph has to weave in and out in this order, but practice like this first so you know how to conduct a flowing discussion.
{Also that paragraph came out weirdly pro-Abbot, this is just because of the prompt and areas I chose to explore. The views in this colourful explanation do not necessary represent those of the creator :)}

I find current political issues difficult to write about because they usually don’t provide me with much depth for discussion compared to philosophical theories and interesting stories. I was also unsure how to tie in current political issues with abstract discussion about reality (but you explained it pretty much).

Also how can I avoid my essay from becoming too philosophically dense? I plan of writing hybrid-feature article style. Most of my examples are philosophy based-Descartes, Schopenhauer/Buddhism, Iris Murdoch, Plato, surreal art-Salvador Dali, North Korea etc. Should I contextualise the philosophical theories with real world examples?

Another note about examples, should they strictly complement the book (Death of a Salesman), because I’m wary that my examples may be introduced in an awkward way and not blend in?

What do you mean 'how do I address the point?' You've got a contention that's totally based on the prompt. You're challenging the prompt, and going against what it is suggesting, but this is totally fine; in fact, I'd probably recommend this over just churning out a long list of evidence to back up the prompt without any development beyond 'yup, I agree.'
Even if you don't necessarily agree with what you're writing, it can be useful to argue against yourself and build up the strength of your piece in that manner. You're more likely to find the flaws or logic-gaps in your writing if you're in this hyper-critical mode anyway.


I wasn't challenging the prompt. It’s just that the word ‘sometimes’ suggests that ‘living in an illusion is easier than reality’ may not always be the case. I’m unsure of scenarios where facing reality is easier than living in an illusion because it may be better, but not necessarily easier.

Sorry for bombarding you with questions :P

Thanks so much! :D
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on February 23, 2015, 04:13:01 pm
Hey everyone

I have my first english sac on a text response on a play we read in class. What should i do right now to prepare please i feel like im lost :(
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Apink! on February 23, 2015, 04:43:33 pm
Hi,
for an expository essay, and if the prompt was : the powerful changes reality,
Would you structure your essay like this:

1st paragraph: generalisation

Body paragraph1 - contention: powerful does change reality + evidence
Body paragraph 2- contention: powerful can only change exterior reality of someone but cannot change one's personal, interior reality +evidence
Body paragraph 3- contention: Sometimes it is not even clear who is more powerful +evidence

Long story short, would you have a contention you are trying to make for each paragraph and put evidence in for each?
Or would you have 1 main contention that you are trying to make and use the paragraphs to put in your evidence?

E.g
Main contention: powerful can only change exterior reality of someone but cannot change one's personal, interior reality

1st body paragraph: George Orwell's 1984 (example only, no separate contention)
2nd paragraph: Shark Net
3rd paragraph: something else

Also how would you do a conclusion for expository?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on February 23, 2015, 08:09:52 pm
We've never done individual orals in our school, even for year 11. Everyone speaks for 3-4 minutes on a different aspect of the issue, discussing the different viewpoints as a group. As everyone’s doing the same issue, it will probably be difficult to separate people arguments-wise. It’s the first part of a two-part SAC, the second part being a language analysis on the same issue.
In that case, your approach won't be too different from normal English orals, but you will have to work closely with your group to ensure your arguments work well together as well as individually. It's worth chatting to your teacher as well, since I'm not sure whether they'd expect it to all flow like one 15 minute long speech from different people, or you hand over to one another (eg. 'And now Jacob will talk to you about the wider ramifications of this issue on a global scale...') or whether everything should be self-contained. But it sounds like you'll be able to do your own thing within a designated area (eg. just looking at the financial side of things, or the ethical/moral components of the issue) and so long as your contention is in harmony with the rest of the group, you should be fine.

Quote
I find current political issues difficult to write about because they usually don’t provide me with much depth for discussion compared to philosophical theories and interesting stories. I was also unsure how to tie in current political issues with abstract discussion about reality (but you explained it pretty much).

Also how can I avoid my essay from becoming too philosophically dense? I plan of writing hybrid-feature article style. Most of my examples are philosophy based-Descartes, Schopenhauer/Buddhism, Iris Murdoch, Plato, surreal art-Salvador Dali, North Korea etc. Should I contextualise the philosophical theories with real world examples?
Yes, exactly. You can only talk about theories for so long without it becoming dense and detached. Almost all good philosophical concepts will have links to real world examples, even if they're only hypothetical, but what you've listed here should be fine. The trick is to 'abstractify' things, so that you're not just talking about Salvador Dali's life, you're talking about how escapism can be more productive than mere avoidance, for instance. Not everything has to have a wealth of context and evidence, but it all has to be connected in a satisfying way. If you're doing a whole lot of theorisation with not a lot to back it up, that might be problematic.

Quote
Another note about examples, should they strictly complement the book (Death of a Salesman), because I’m wary that my examples may be introduced in an awkward way and not blend in?
If you're clever enough with your transitions then not all of them have to be. Remember, the priority is always the ideas here, so you need to find some common thread between DoaS and whatever else you want to discuss. It doesn't have to be very detail-oriented (eg. this character in the text was born in Ireland - Iris Murdoch was also born in Ireland!) Relate stuff back to the context and just weave your way around.
Having said that, it might pay to have some very closely related examples as your starting point so the transition isn't too severe. Most texts will either have real world comparisons to draw from, or an interesting backstory behind the author, or both, so maybe start there.

I wasn't challenging the prompt. It’s just that the word ‘sometimes’ suggests that ‘living in an illusion is easier than reality’ may not always be the case. [/quote] What you've described there is a challenge; you don't have to outright disagree with the entire prompt in order to challenge it. Challenging is more like complicating the discussion and making it more sophisticated, rather than denying some truth in the text or anything.
Quote
I’m unsure of scenarios where facing reality is easier than living in an illusion because it may be better, but not necessarily easier.
Sorry, this sentence has lost me... are you arguing that facing reality is easier, or isn't??



Hey everyone

I have my first english sac on a text response on a play we read in class. What should i do right now to prepare please i feel like im lost :(
Unfortunately there is no 'do the activity an instantly get full marks' secret for English. I know it's frustrating when you don't have a textbook or a list of questions to work off of sometimes, but that's because you need to direct your study!
Let's take this SAC for example; what's your absolute worst case scenario? What's the worst thing that could possibly come up on the SAC that would just make you weep and wail?
Maybe your answer is 'that I won't know enough quotes.' --> Go learn quotes then.
Maybe it's 'I can't say anything about this major character' --> Go read and write about that character.
Maybe it's 'I'm scared I won't know where to start' --> Practice some essay plans and introductions for unseen material.
Maybe it's all of those things, maybe you'll have a list of 29 different areas that you feel really weak and unconfident in, but a list of 29 definitive things to work on is better than just sitting there asking 'what do I do?' :)



Hi,
for an expository essay, and if the prompt was : the powerful changes reality,
Would you structure your essay like this:

1st paragraph: generalisation

Body paragraph1 - contention: powerful does change reality + evidence
Body paragraph 2- contention: powerful can only change exterior reality of someone but cannot change one's personal, interior reality +evidence
Body paragraph 3- contention: Sometimes it is not even clear who is more powerful +evidence

Long story short, would you have a contention you are trying to make for each paragraph and put evidence in for each?
Or would you have 1 main contention that you are trying to make and use the paragraphs to put in your evidence?
The second and third B.P.s are looking good, but the first one seems a bit weak. These paragraphs will be a few hundred words long each, and do you really want to devote a third of your discussion to a point as simple as 'power changes reality?' Your other points have more depth , but this one is essentially just saying 'yes' to the prompt, so you want it to be a bit more impactful.
In my experience, the first paragraph is an excellent place to clarify the definitions in the words/phrases you're using, especially for context where words like 'conflict' and 'reality' and 'power' get tossed around in essays so much that no one knows what they mean any more. Waaaaay too many essays at the end of the year will simply take a key word and run with it, never explaining what it means.
I'm NOT saying you should have an atrocious sentence like 'Webster's dictionary defines power as...' because that would be awful. But clarifying yourself can be done really effectively with synonyms. For example: 'The way we exert power and influence over other people can have a tremendous influence...' By adding that extra word 'influence,' I've clarified that I'm talking about social power and control over other people, and doing this once a paragraph or so will make things a lot clearer than branding everything as 'power' with no distinctions or complexity.

Quote
E.g
Main contention: powerful can only change exterior reality of someone but cannot change one's personal, interior reality

1st body paragraph: George Orwell's 1984 (example only, no separate contention)
2nd paragraph: Shark Net
3rd paragraph: something else
Now this is a slightly different problem. I'd say your first plan looks stronger because it's driven by ideas. This outline (and I know it's only a brief skeleton) is too limited by its evidence. From a Context perspective, it's much easier to go into a paragraph knowing what you're trying to say, than knowing what examples you'll draw from. Think about how much direction 'the powerful can only change exterior reality of someone but cannot change one's personal, interior reality' gives you as opposed to 'I'm going to write about Shark Net.'
Also, and this is a matter of personal preference, but I'd argue the stronger expository pieces will draw from more than one example per paragraph. It's not compulsory, and there are definitely examples that deserve their own independent paragraph of exploration, but your ability to compare, contrast, and draw parallels between different kinds of conflict gives you a lot more opportunities for an overall sophisticated contention.
Quote
Also how would you do a conclusion for expository?
To not lose credit: summarise your contention and main arguments, and end on a satisfying note.
To gain credit, try and make a bigger point. The main question a conclusion has to answer is 'so what?' What is the significance of the fact that power is important for changing reality? What does this mean about the nature of reality? It can take a lot of practice, but essentially you want to be zooming out as much as possible and say something impactful about your Context. It doesn't have to massively alter the way the reader thinks about reality, but it should be a concise summation of what you've explored, and the overall significance of the implications of your argument.

If that sounds vague, that's because it is. You can do anything you want in a conclusion, because a Context piece doesn't necessarily have to be an essay. It's convention to summarise at the end, but you could do this in many ways: with a creative example, a full-on imaginative POV from a character, narrative reflection, book-ending with a cool metaphor, whatever works! Maybe gauge what your teacher is a fan of and then experiment a little bit :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: appleandbee on February 23, 2015, 09:53:51 pm
Thanks so much for the detailed and straight to the point responses.  :D :D :D

I'm probably going to focus my hybrid piece (feature article in New York Times or something like that) on the American Dream (the ideas behind it), so hopefully my other examples can somehow flow from there.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Apink! on February 24, 2015, 09:46:30 am
Hi Lauren,
I wrote an expository essay on the prompt: "powerful control reality". I'm pretty sure it's horrendous at the moment (1st time writing one! :))
Could you have a look at it and give me honest criticism?  :) I'm sure I have a lot to improve on the linking with the context, fluency and a lot of things. Feel free to edit it and you can insert sentences/ phrases that would improve it.

Could you also do a sample conclusion for me that relates to the bigger picture?

 "first paragraph is an excellent place to clarify the definitions in the words/phrases you're using, especially for context where words like 'conflict' and 'reality' and 'power' get tossed around in essays so much that no one knows what they mean any more. Waaaaay too many essays at the end of the year will simply take a key word and run with it, never explaining what it means." Could you give me an example of this? :)

Please be really super harsh. Also, the text I am studying is Shark Net at the moment, so have I mentioned it enough in the expository? Should I be aiming for 5o: 5o ratio?

Powerful control reality:

Once it was within my sight, I could not resist her longing gaze, her transparency. Her sleek body gleamed under the dingy light, illuminating two creamy, butterscotch biscuits bound eternally by the sticky, fresh raspberry jam that made any child sigh dreamily. It was two in the morning, and my body was stiff and my lips were dry from cleaning the orphanage from five in the morning. I dressed the younger kids in starched, colourless clothes, swept the floors, polished the vase and replaced the flowers. My hands drew to the jar that sat coyly on the Master William’s mahogany desk like a magnet.  Grabbing one I hastily stuff it in my mouth and innocently resume to work. As I was munching quickly, my eyes find Madame Dowell and I freeze in shock. “No, Carolina.  Stealing is a sin, worse than adultery”. I was put outside to sleep that night. Next morning, I caught her eating from a jar. “Ahh, nothing more like a sweet treat to liven up the morning”. I gaze at her with faint distaste. “Go along, Carolina” Somehow, stealing from the jar was alright this time.

“powerful” figures around the world alter and manipulate their accounts of events to justify their actions or to prevent people from seeing the harsh reality.  Kim Jong Eun restricts every part of civilian life in order to keep them oblivious to the freedom they deserve, while the US falsified their progress information in the Vietnam War to the US civilians, to prevent them from hearing about embarrassing defeats.  However, on a smaller scale  parents are the most domineering figures in a child's life. Under the assumption that their child may take dramatic turns in life in exposure to confronting and promiscuous events, many parents restrict a child's reality of the world. This brings up Robert Drewe in the Shark Net. His father's ritual burning of the 'Mirror', as well as his revulsion towards  public display of anything that would be sexually suggestive that often surfaced outside through his occasional 'coughing fits', Drewe's curiosity and eagerness of this unentered territory grows feverishly in adolescence. This may have been a contributing factor to his early-received paternal role to a son because of his distorted world-view stemming from his parents' reality on intimate relationships.

However, it is not to say that dominant figures “control” reality because there are multitudes of realities to be considered. While the influenced individuals could uphold an outer veneer of a certain reality required from them from a higher power, essentially their personal, interior reality of the society and the world is often stagnant during lifetime. For example, in George Orwell’s 1984, a dystopian novel depicting a society under an utmost power of the Big Brother, the protagonist of the novel, Winston Smith looks no different from any other brain-washed citizens of the society. He works under the government institution responsible for erasing and editing past history for the benefit of the Party and uphold the outer appearance required to prevent being punished. While the “powerful” have encouraged him to adopt a persona and accept this suffocating reality of the society, it essentially does not “control” his reality as he believes, personally and privately that there is something that must be corrected in this society; his illegal diary keeping and search for the Brotherhood  attests this. Similarly in Shark Net, Eric Cooke is bound by the necessity to abide by the social rules as an individual working and living in a human society. As a result he is forced to fabricate his reality of the world by smiling and being friendly to his boss’s son, Robert. However, this social obligation does not “control” his own reality of the world, which was a severe resentment against society. 

While the more controlling individual may impact on another’s reality, sometimes it is not even clear who is more “powerful” one. In Enduring Love by Ian McEwan, Jed Parry upon encountering Joe Rose on a fatal balloon accident believes that the world is revolving around his imaginary love affair with Joe. Parry is suffering from De Clerambault’s syndrome which makes him to have intense delusions that Joe is in love with him   However, Joe, in response to this stranger’s obsessive demonstration of his undying love with letters, stalking and calling, cannot help but act detached, indifferent and quite cold. Jed accuses him for “playing” with him and lying for his amusement and cries “You are very cruel… But you’ve got all the power” In Jed’s mind, suffering from this condition Joe has the ability to transform him from his content self to an aggressive, messy fit. However, the continuous harassing from Jed eventually changes Joe as well- his marriage with Clarissa breaks down and he buys guns to protect himself from Jed’s capricious behaviour that often turns into life-threatening violence. Jed’s behaviour ultimately changes Joe’s reality on morality as well as his once happy marriage. They both change each other, but in this case the powerful figure is not so apparent.


[conclusion]

I know I haven't used a lot of external sources, but what else could I have used?
Also, if the prompt was: A child's world is shaped by their parent's reality
What kind of "big" ideas could I discuss, I don't think I would be able to produce a nice piece on this prompt (if I was given it on the day of the SAC) without repeating I said over and over again or just stating a few examples to support the same contention in the whole essay :-[

Thank you!!! ;D (so many questions :P)
You are a lifesaver

Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: [email protected] on February 24, 2015, 10:05:30 am
Hey lauren  ;D I'm unsure on what makes up the paragraphs for an expository essay.

Like for T.R, it's pretty much 1 paragraph = 1 point that justifies contention.

Say you had a prompt for an expository piece that was: 'There are such things as colours'

What would be a better approach:

BP1: There are red colours
BP2: There are green colours
BP3: There are blue colours

I hope that weird analogy makes sense  :-\

------------------------------

or

BP1: Explaining how t.v was black and white in the olden days
BP2: Then talk about the history of scientists researching the electromagnetic spectrum and finding the wavelengths of visible light
BP3: Summarize what colour is
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on February 24, 2015, 03:46:06 pm
Where can I post my practice essay for someone kind to read? Thanks
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on February 24, 2015, 04:11:56 pm
Where can I post my practice essay for someone kind to read? Thanks

English Work Submission and Marking
(and details on the way to post the essays)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on February 24, 2015, 04:31:54 pm
Thanks bangla_lok

What elements do we need to include in the introduction of a text response?

I know we must include the author, title of the book and etc.. but how exactly do we embed these? Thanks
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: paper-back on February 24, 2015, 05:26:26 pm
Is it bad to memorise a good introduction and keep using that throughout all your text responses whilst just changing the arguments?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Paulrus on February 24, 2015, 05:59:19 pm
Hey lauren  ;D I'm unsure on what makes up the paragraphs for an expository essay.

Like for T.R, it's pretty much 1 paragraph = 1 point that justifies contention.

Say you had a prompt for an expository piece that was: 'There are such things as colours'

What would be a better approach:

BP1: There are red colours
BP2: There are green colours
BP3: There are blue colours

I hope that weird analogy makes sense  :-\

------------------------------

or

BP1: Explaining how t.v was black and white in the olden days
BP2: Then talk about the history of scientists researching the electromagnetic spectrum and finding the wavelengths of visible light
BP3: Summarize what colour is
I'd avoid using the first approach you outlined, because that seems similar to a lot of low-range text responses where people just say 'yes' to the prompt, and then use a different character for different paragraphs that all say the same thing. The way you'd choose your paragraph topics is honestly pretty similar to a text response. You're going to have a pervading contention, and then explore different facets of that within your paragraphs.
This is one I did towards the start-middle of last year if it helps:

'Some conflicts have a history that make them impossible to resolve'.
- Certain ideologies can become engrained in society’s collective psyche to the extent that it becomes impossible to challenge them. When people refuse to re-examine traditional perspectives simply because they are long-established, society itself begins to stagnate.
-Striking comparisons can be drawn between certain conflicts from completely different eras and cultures - the unfortunate implication is that any attempt at resolving conflict is ultimately fruitless, as it is continually destined to repeat itself.
- However, we are often able to learn valuable lessons through our history, allowing us to learn from past mistakes in conflict.

You get me? So you've got an overall contention (that tradition and history can be dangerous when they lead to complacency), and you're trying to examine different facets of the prompt. That way you're able to make pretentious sweeping statements about the human condition and score hella gud points with your assessors  ;)

Thanks bangla_lok

What elements do we need to include in the introduction of a text response?

I know we must include the author, title of the book and etc.. but how exactly do we embed these? Thanks
A very easy way to do it is to just start with a contextualising sentence that sums all that stuff up. In my exam I used "Informed by his own experiences as a soldier, Wilfred Owen's anthology 'The War Poems' elucidates/illustrates/demonstrates/whatever ______"
Your intro is the first impression you leave on the examiner, so you'll need to make it impressive, but the whole author and text name thing is just a structural requirement - don't worry too much about it, it's just kind of a box you have to tick. As long as you don't start your essay with "In [text] by [author], ____", you'll be fine :P

Is it bad to memorise a good introduction and keep using that throughout all your text responses whilst just changing the arguments?

Technically you could do this, but you'd need to make sure that you can do it in a way that sounds natural, because VCAA will crucify you if they think your writing is formulaic. In a standard intro though, you'd probably be better off just having a solid, malleable opening line that you can reuse and then continue from there. You don't really need to memorise a whole intro, but if you have a couple of phrases that you like using in every intro, then that's perfectly fine.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: [email protected] on February 24, 2015, 06:52:04 pm
'Some conflicts have a history that make them impossible to resolve'.
- Certain ideologies can become engrained in society’s collective psyche to the extent that it becomes impossible to challenge them. When people refuse to re-examine traditional perspectives simply because they are long-established, society itself begins to stagnate.
-Striking comparisons can be drawn between certain conflicts from completely different eras and cultures - the unfortunate implication is that any attempt at resolving conflict is ultimately fruitless, as it is continually destined to repeat itself.
- However, we are often able to learn valuable lessons through our history, allowing us to learn from past mistakes in conflict.

You get me? So you've got an overall contention (that tradition and history can be dangerous when they lead to complacency), and you're trying to examine different facets of the prompt. That way you're able to make pretentious sweeping statements about the human condition and score hella gud points with your assessors  ;)
OK YES!!!!!! I have to ask you about the parts that I highlighted in red  ;D

So the prompt is saying pretty much that there are conflicts that because of past circumstances they cannot be resolved.
Then in your contention you give the implications of the prompt, that because some conflicts in history are complacent, it means unresolved conflict which is dangerous.

However, that third point is somewhat related but unrelated to the contention. What I mean is that nowhere in the prompt does it talk about being able to learn from past mistakes in conflict. But, learning from past mistakes from conflict is an implication, or facet of the prompt. It's an idea that is generated from the prompt, but isn't in the words of the prompts itself. That's why i made the words 'different facets' in red as well.

Because that last point is a facet of the prompt, like the prompt is a clue to that third point, but it is not explicitly stated in the prompt.

What i'm trying to say is, and i'm sorry but it's really hard to explain, is that what you have are three ideas that are somewhat suggested by the prompt, not written in big bold letters in the prompt. And that's what makes an essay good, it's what I need to know more about.

So say the 'other' way of tackling the prompt will call method #1
The other advanced way you have shown can be called method #2

For a prompt, say 'Humans are inventors of new technology'

#1 would be

#2 could be something more like

Ahh i really hope you can see what I mean. Is this the better way to do it? As in #2 is just a lot more exploration, and it is not just a bunch of points that re-word the prompt. But is this way of writing the essay too broad? Should it simply be three points that justify the prompt? Because with the example you gave, it seemed as if that third point was just an implication of the prompt, and not clearly written in the prompt at all. And saying that we can learn 'valuable lessons' doesn't seem to be told by the prompt at all, but is a well-written idea that you have thought of  :)

Sorry to drag on, but my teachers at school are going to spend 1 LESSON on how to write an expository piece, which is utterly stupid to me  ::) ::) ::)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Paulrus on February 24, 2015, 07:30:15 pm
I'm on my phone atm so sorry if this is kind of disjointed haha. If anything needs clarifying let me know!
OK YES!!!!!! I have to ask you about the parts that I highlighted in red  ;D

So the prompt is saying pretty much that there are conflicts that because of past circumstances they cannot be resolved.
Then in your contention you give the implications of the prompt, that because some conflicts in history are complacent, it means unresolved conflict which is dangerous.
Well it's not so much the conflicts themselves that are complacent, it's more the fact that an over-reliance on tradition can make us complacent in our ideologies. Like, if we just accept things as being right because they're long established, that can be dangerous cos we're not reexamining those beliefs - therefore that history can make it harder to resolve conflicts. If that makes sense :P



However, that third point is somewhat related but unrelated to the contention. What I mean is that nowhere in the prompt does it talk about being able to learn from past mistakes in conflict. But, learning from past mistakes from conflict is an implication, or facet of the prompt. It's an idea that is generated from the prompt, but isn't in the words of the prompts itself. That's why i made the words 'different facets' in red as well.

Because that last point is a facet of the prompt, like the prompt is a clue to that third point, but it is not explicitly stated in the prompt.

What i'm trying to say is, and i'm sorry but it's really hard to explain, is that what you have are three ideas that are somewhat suggested by the prompt, not written in big bold letters in the prompt. And that's what makes an essay good, it's what I need to know more about.
Haha sorry, I didn't really make the link explicitly clear in the topic sentence. It would have been more obvious in the essay but I don't think I have that any more.
Basically the idea is that learning from the past mistakes teaches us important lessons that actually assist in conflict resolution in the future - i.e. I'm basically saying "HOWEVER" and kind of challenging the prompt head on here by saying that history can actually make conflicts easier to resolve.
Try to pick apart the prompt and I think it makes it a lot easier to recognise the implications. For example, with this prompt you could ask yourself first off about the different kinds of conflict and how they might be affected by history (e.g lingering racial tensions from one event fuelling another, or the fact that the belief that the sun revolved around the earth had existed for so long that people refused to accept the heliocentric model, resulting in conflict of ideology). You could maybe think about the word resolve - how is conflict usually resolved, and how can this history hinder that? Are there instances where history can actually facilitate resolution?
Basically, the more questions you ask yourself about the prompt, the more implications you'll be able to draw out of it. It might take a while to get used to but it could help you come up with some sophisticated ideas
So say the 'other' way of tackling the prompt will call method #1
The other advanced way you have shown can be called method #2

For a prompt, say 'Humans are inventors of new technology'

#1 would be
  • We invented a telephone
  • We invented a lightbulb
  • We invented a calculator

#2 could be something more like
  • Humans through science over time have learnt how to take old technology and make it better
  • Technology takes much time and effort to make it better
  • Inventing technology, like fashion, is a non-stop process

Ahh i really hope you can see what I mean. Is this the better way to do it? As in #2 is just a lot more exploration, and it is not just a bunch of points that re-word the prompt. But is this way of writing the essay too broad? Should it simply be three points that justify the prompt? Because with the example you gave, it seemed as if that third point was just an implication of the prompt, and not clearly written in the prompt at all. And saying that we can learn 'valuable lessons' doesn't seem to be told by the prompt at all, but is a well-written idea that you have thought of  :)

Sorry to drag on, but my teachers at school are going to spend 1 LESSON on how to write an expository piece, which is utterly stupid to me  ::) ::) ::)
Haha I think approach 1 there is too narrow, but approach 2 is a bit too broad. I feel like the prompt itself is incredibly narrow though, and there's not really much room for exploration. Don't worry, you won't ever get anything that bad in VCE haha
The best way to approach that prompt would probably be to look at the way those concepts are interrelated. Like, the prompt is telling you that humans invent new technologies. I think the second paragraph might be a bit too tangential but the others work well - you could talk about how the invention of new technology is reflective of social progression and the betterment of humanity, etc. With that prompt you'd have to extrapolate heaps though because the prompt isn't really giving you much to work with at all. But yeah, just remember that you'll never get anything that bad in vce :P
Hopefully that helps a bit! Again I'm on my phone so this is a bit rushed, sorry. If Lauren or someone else has anything to add please do!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: [email protected] on February 24, 2015, 08:34:51 pm
Ahh don't worry. I was just using that technology crap and the conflict as an example to show how I don't understand what you are meant to do with a context prompt. I can't figure out whether you answer a prompt as in yes i agree/disagree or if your meant to use it as a 'springboard' for ideas, but 'springboard' doesn't make sense to me. I don't get whether we are meant to make assumptions and explore aspects of it, as in draw inferences from it or if it is like asking does 1 + 1 =2, obviously yes.....
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on February 25, 2015, 10:46:38 am
[email protected]:
I know Paulrus has addressed your question really well, but just with regards to your 'methods'
For a prompt, say 'Humans are inventors of new technology'

#1 would be
  • We invented a telephone
  • We invented a lightbulb
  • We invented a calculator

#2 could be something more like
  • Humans through science over time have learnt how to take old technology and make it better
  • Technology takes much time and effort to make it better
  • Inventing technology, like fashion, is a non-stop process
The problem with method 1 is that it's evidence based. You haven't made a point on an idea-level, you've just listed a bunch of cases that conform to the prompt's inference. Although you're allowed to agree with the prompt if you want, doing so blindly isn't a good way of tackling the task.
The issue with this example is that it's something that could be definitively proven, whereas a context prompt would be more like:
'Technology comes with downfalls as well as benefits'
This is more open for debate. So you can't just list evidence of technology having downfalls; you'd need to start with ideas and move outwards:
eg.
1: Technology amplifies human connection, for better and for worse (eg. it enables us to help one another much more efficiently, but it also allows us to harass, bully, and oppress people in a way that wouldn't have been possible 40 years ago)
2: Certain facets of technology exacerbates existing problems or disadvantages (eg. the 'great divide' gets bigger around the world; certain internet sites or phone apps seem to be inherently more dangerous and harmful than others.)
3: Circumventing the problems surrounding technology is getting harder because it is so omnipresent in our lives (eg. even news bulletins are plastered with 'tweet us @...' or 'like our fb page')

You shouldn't be able to boil down your essay to a dot-point list of evidence or examples. The focus in Context is always  your ideas; the evidence is there to support you, not do the work in place of your exploration.

Unlike what you've done in method 2 though, you don't just have to take your exploration in three totally different directions. Try to have each paragraph build on previous explorations. One way of doing this is ensuring the first paragraph is very open, preferably clarifying some of the key words in the prompt. From there, you can start constructing and challenging your arguments.



paper-back:
A 'good introduction' will be one that deals explicitly with the prompt as soon as possible, not one that sounds nice because it's got some impressive words or sentence structures. So you could definitely have a few rough sentence structures or formulae up your sleeve, but don't make it too generic. Original attempts at engagement with the prompt will trump an impressive but irrelevant formula every time :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: scarletmoon on February 25, 2015, 04:43:46 pm
So I have this prompt " we need some degree of conflict or tension to experience to richness of being fully alive" and I can't think of any good ideas for this prompt pls help  :'(
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on February 25, 2015, 05:10:00 pm
So I have this prompt " we need some degree of conflict or tension to experience to richness of being fully alive" and I can't think of any good ideas for this prompt pls help  :'(

First step: do you not know what to write, or do you not know how to write it. Since you've said you don't have any ideas, I'll assume it's the former and answer that question, but I might come back to the latter at the end.

As mentioned in posts on the previous page, you only need ideas to get you started, not examples. So it's a matter of exploring the prompt to get a contention, and some arguments out.

Assuming you understand the key words in the prompt, you should begin by going with your gut feeling: yes or no. Do you think conflict is necessary in life, or not? We'll extrapolate more later, but in order to give your planning enough direction, pick a rough contention to work with for now.

Next step is to ask why you think this. If conflict is a necessity, how do you know? And if it isn't, why not? Don't think in terms of examples (eg. it is a necessity because, like, people who don't bring up concerns in relationships often end up unhappy.) You want to be focusing on the general ideas for your initial framework.

This is where your questioning of the prompt and its implications will come into play (instructions on the first page of this thread if you need.)

Pick apart as much as you can, from the simple definitions (eg. 'What does it mean for something to be 'needed' to experience being alive?') to the more complex inferences (eg. 'What degree of conflict/tension is needed for us to experience the richness of life, and what degree renders us unable to experience this?')

You might only end up using four of these questions in your essay, but the more you ask, the better your thinking becomes.
Most people start moving into arguments at that stage, or even divide up paragraphs if you're feeling confident enough.

Then finally you start consulting your repository of examples to work out what evidence best demonstrates your points. The text will have to comprise at least one of these, so start there, but be prepared to draw from external examples as well. If you haven't begun investigating these avenues of evidence, that might be what's tripping you up at the moment. It can be hard to brainstorm ideas without an understanding of their practical component.

Just because I'm compiling examples for this thread at the moment, and I'm feeling generous, consider looking into
- The aftermath of wars - is this usually an 'absence' of conflict?
- 'The Hedonic Treadmill' theory - what is 'necessary' in life, and do we appreciate the 'richness' of it?
- Apocalypse predictions (Y2K, 2012, Harold Camping) - to what extent is this 'encountering/experiencing' conflict?
- PTSD, anxiety disorders - when tension doesn't help us experience life, but rather detracts from our ability to do so

Hope that helps :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on February 25, 2015, 05:17:00 pm
Lauren, i need your help urgently.

I know the book, i know the prompt, i know the arguments, i know the quotes. However, i dont know how to put them into words. I sit here for hours, literally, whilst the ideas pop up in my head, but I CANT get them to paper, i just cannot find the appropiate words to sentence these ideas of mine :(
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on February 25, 2015, 05:24:13 pm
Lauren, i need your help urgently.

I know the book, i know the prompt, i know the arguments, i know the quotes. However, i dont know how to put them into words. I sit here for hours, literally, whilst the ideas pop up in my head, but I CANT get them to paper, i just cannot find the appropiate words to sentence these ideas of mine :(

I'm not Lauren :) but experienced exactly that all last year (except maybe I didn't have the ideas either :P ); I've stared through tears at a blank page for hours on many occasions!

One thing I found really helped is dot-pointing essays.  Start writing a dot-pointed plan; then make it more and more detailed (in dot-points, doesn't have to be beautiful language - just dump quotes, appropriate vocab, ideas etc. in dot points).  Finally you should get to the point where you have 1 dot point per real sentence you would write in an essay.  Then, turn each dot-point into a flowing sentence. Going a sentence at a time, it's not so hard anymore.

It takes ages, but it's early in the year; this helps you get confidence and you can gradually wean yourself from it.  Next time, transform dot-points to sentences earlier (i.e. 1 dot point covering 2 sentences).

Don't expect yourself to be perfect yet.  You have many months!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on February 25, 2015, 05:33:52 pm
Bangla_lok

Thank you heaps. I know i have time to perfect myself, but my sac is next week and thinking that a week before the sac, that i cannot even write a single sentence about the book is destroying me. You see, why can't i write? Oh... :(
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on February 25, 2015, 05:49:01 pm
Thank you heaps. I know i have time to perfect myself, but my sac is next week and thinking that a week before the sac, that i cannot even write a single sentence about the book is destroying me. You see, why can't i write? Oh... :(

I just want to promise that I had EXACTLY the same issues (embarrassing admission - I even broke down and cried in my first essay SAC....).  When trying to write essays, I would get to the middle of say my first body para, and then just get stuck.  I would alternately cajole, yell, cry, tell myself it didn't matter, and bite my pen (or my hand :( ) really really hard.  It didn't work.  I just couldn't write another word.  And yet every other subject I found so easy!

Take comfort; two weeks before my last SAC (50% of unit 4) I couldn't write an essay.  Had I tried the SAC that week, I would have got a 0, I am absolutely certain; I would have just broken down and not written a sentence (I had done that in my final year 11 exam :'( ).  I finally said to Mum - 'If this goes on, I will fail English.  Can you MAKE me sit there until I have written an essay?'  So, she did.  I took 4 hours on that essay - crying and pleading her so hard to let me off - but it was finally finished.  We repeated it every day; in my one-hour unseen SAC, I got 80%. 

In fact despite all my SAC average was 85%, 2nd in weak cohort.  For me, it worked out (somehow) though mainly because I got lovely examiners :P

All the best!  I wish I could convey how absolutely terrified and stuck I was with English - but words are simply inadequate.  Confess it openly to your teacher/parents/friends/anyone who can help, and just write.  Something, anything, no matter how rubbishy it is, no matter HOW long it takes.  Don't stress at the start if you keep repeating the same vocab and your sentences sound clunky. And dot-points really really do help get up a bit of confidence.  You will master yourself!

P.S. Such melodrama! :P
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on February 25, 2015, 05:51:37 pm
Lauren, i need your help urgently.

I know the book, i know the prompt, i know the arguments, i know the quotes. However, i dont know how to put them into words. I sit here for hours, literally, whilst the ideas pop up in my head, but I CANT get them to paper, i just cannot find the appropiate words to sentence these ideas of mine :(

Alrighty, that was good timing :P So unlike the above, this is a 'I know what to say but not how to say it' case.

For starters, are you able to communicate things on a very basic level? ie. using very simplistic language and basic sentence structure? I'm assuming since you have some idea of the arguments that this is possible, so next: could you communicate this verbally? Some people find it easier to convey concepts by speaking than they would writing it all out, and it means you don't have to worry about formal essay structures or anything. If you find yourself stumbling here, then it probably is an issue with your understanding of the content. Revisiting some study guides or sample analyses/essays will probably help you sort your approach out.

Alternatively, it might be an issue with the vocab you have at your disposal. If you find yourself struggling to think of synonyms to reword your thoughts, or otherwise unable to articulate your interpretations and ideas, you'll need to build up the language to do so. Start with the most basic form of expression (eg. character X does very bad things, which makes the audience feel like they don't like the character) and then, use every English student's best friend: thesaurus.com to explore synonyms of 'bad.' Don't treat this as a test, or a very quick, once-off exercise. When the thesaurus spits back a nice word that you think fits, look it up in dictionary.com; explore synonyms of that word; think about hoe using another word would change the meaning of the sentence (eg. character X does malicious things vs. character X does repulsive things - these don't mean the same thing.)

Do this more and more, and you'll find the same words keep cropping up over and over again. These are the kinds of words you want to be keeping track of in a workbook or notepad, and as you accumulate more synonyms, start interchanging basic words for sophisticated ones. But the only way to improve your confidence with these words is to find, document, remember, and practice implementing them. It can be a long process, but it's worth it in the long run, and the sooner you get started, the better.

Finally, if you're having issues with the actual essay writing part, then an extensive plan is probably your best bet. The process bangla_lok has outlined is excellent; start small and work up to big arguments.

Don't panic about not being able to just churn out 1000 words of magnificent prose just yet; you're only at the start of your studies, and you'll have to do a whole lot of fine-tuning and exploration throughout the year. The students who are able to write an essay with no hesitation or qualms are probably doing something wrong; you''re meant to have these troubles nice and early so you learn how to combat them before it's too late!

...that was a bit melodramatic... I meant before you get to a SAC or exam and don't have the resources to ask questions, or the time to contemplate your approach :) It's never really too late until ~30th of November or whenever the exam is this year.


edit: if it's of any comfort, you might not be the type of learner who benefits from churning out essays as a means of practicing. I would rarely even start writing pieces until a week before my SACs at the earliest, because I simply needed more time for my conceptual understanding to ferment and develop. In the meantime, I'd read heaps of analyses and other people's essays until I was completely familiar with the task and what I needed to do to get it right. But if I were to try writing an essay only a few weeks into studying the text, I'd either hit a total mental roadblock like you, or I'd just descend into mega-simplistic evaluations or summaries that wouldn't showcase my abilities, or help me learn.
By contrast, I had friends who would do nothing but write essays for English, no matter how mediocre they turned out, because for the sake of their marks, they found it more helpful to just get their brains in a writing mood, and worry about the content later.

It's best to work out where you fit on this spectrum and tackle your study from there :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Apink! on February 25, 2015, 06:03:32 pm
Lauren, i need your help urgently.

I know the book, i know the prompt, i know the arguments, i know the quotes. However, i dont know how to put them into words. I sit here for hours, literally, whilst the ideas pop up in my head, but I CANT get them to paper, i just cannot find the appropiate words to sentence these ideas of mine :(
I am having a very similar problem like you. I started writing an essay at 3 and now it's 6 and I still haven't finished my essay (expository). I know it's my first time and all but I have a SAC next week and I am kinda blank on how I am going to write a full essay in like an hour. What do I do?
Oh my god
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on February 25, 2015, 06:11:10 pm
I am having a very similar problem like you. I started writing an essay at 3 and now it's 6 and I still haven't finished my essay (expository). I know it's my first time and all but I have a SAC next week and I am kinda blank on how I am going to write a full essay in like an hour. What do I do?
Oh my god

You have eight months to cut down on timing, don't worry about it now!

It's way easier to go from writing a good, sophisticated essay in three hours to a good essay in one hour, than it is to go from writing a mediocre essay in one hour to a good essay in one hour. Does that make sense?

Timing is easier to cut down on than sophistication is to build up. Develop your understanding and approach first, and not only will the timing just naturally get closer and closer to the exam constraints, but you'll find that if you're doing the task properly, you'll end up taking roughly the right amount of time anyway.

Also, it's not necessarily one essay per hour. If you know you can write one of the essays quicker (usually Language Analysis for most people, but can be Context as well, if that's your strength,) it'll give you more time to work on other areas. In my case, I knew I was find with L.A. and could write that in under 50 minutes, and I also knew there was no way I was ever going to write a Context piece in an hour, because I simply needed more time to think. So I got L.A. out of the way nice and quick, giving me over 10 minutes to plan and execute a good Context piece.

Exam approach is something I'll tackle in more detail later in the year, but at this point, please don't stress yourself out by thinking you should be at an end of year standard already. You wouldn't expect yourself to be able handle any other exam by the end of February; English is no different. You still have content to learn, strategies to develop, and ages to work all this stuff out :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on February 25, 2015, 06:18:02 pm
I started writing an essay at 3 and now it's 6 and I still haven't finished my essay (expository). I know it's my first time and all but I have a SAC next week and I am kinda blank on how I am going to write a full essay in like an hour. What do I do?

As I said just before, you're not alone :) I and many others like me have struggled exactly like that.

Try identifying what it is that makes you slower; do you:
 - just sit there staring at the page and hating yourself?
 - try a million ways to write a sentence because the vocab/expression isn't good enough?
 - have no clue where your essay is heading?
 - struggle to come up with any evidence/quotes?
 - have no ideas of what to say?

Then ask yourself/others how best to eradicate that issue(s).

Always write a plan first; this way you don't just land up stuck with no clue. 

Remember, though it's really really hard, it's often better to just write.  Writing nothing gets 0; writing something that sounds stupid may get 4-6/10.  Don't try to come up with better words/expression; just write what you've got!

But also essays don't have to be finished (unless you want 10/10) - I think I finished in one SAC only, and only completed one of my pieces in the exam ::)  Look, if you write 3 good paragraphs, the teachers tend to expect you could have continued well :P .

If you get stuck in a paragraph, start the next paragraph on a new page (always remembering to number pages so the teacher doesn't get lost), you can come back later.  A technique I often used when I had NO CLUE what I was going to discuss - write an impressive-sounding sentence in the intro/topic sentence, but then don't write any of the paragraph, since you have no idea.  You can leave multiple paragraphs unfinished, but always ensure you complete one just to show you know how :)

This is of course only if you really struggle with time/getting stuck/ideas... and only for the SAC, not for when you're practising.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on February 25, 2015, 06:26:40 pm
If you get stuck in a paragraph, start the next paragraph on a new page (always remembering to number pages so the teacher doesn't get lost), you can come back later.  A technique I often used when I had NO CLUE what I was going to discuss - write an impressive-sounding sentence in the intro/topic sentence, but then don't write any of the paragraph, since you have no idea.  You can leave multiple paragraphs unfinished, but always ensure you complete one just to show you know how :)

On a smaller scale, this can also work well if you've having serious expression issues.

In one of my SACs (Text Response, I think...) I was about halfway through paragraph two when I stumbled on a word; one of those tip-of-the-tongue situations, and I ended up wasting close to ten minutes just trying to think of this word.

What I should have done, and what I recommend others do, is to write a simple word in its place. Let's say I was trying to think of the word 'magnanimous' and it just wasn't coming to me: I'd write 'generous' or 'nice' or 'kind-hearted' in its place, and then put an asterisk on the side of the page next to that line. Then continue writing as normal, as it's more important to get the content out. At the end, if you have a few minutes to spare, you can scan through the margins of your piece and look for those asterisked areas. Then you could either look something up in the dictionary in the hopes that there's a synonym listed that will trigger your memory, or just stare into space until an epiphany hits you in the face.

The same should be done if you're a bad speller; rather than crossing out a word half a dozen times or pondering the spelling of a difficult word, get something out, even if it's a synonym or an obviously wrong version of the word you're going for, asterisk the side, and come back to it at the end.

A single misspelled word, or some slightly repetitive vocab isn't going to detract from your mark as much as an entirely missing paragraph could, so focus on content first, and refine little things like spelling and expression later :)

Bit off-topic, but little strategies like this may be of some use to those struggling with timing etc.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on February 25, 2015, 08:17:16 pm
Thank you so much banga_lok and literary lauren, although im still not confident :(

Can you have a quick read of my introduction, from the play Medea, its a text response:

Euripides’ play, ‘Medea’, explicitly explores the instant repercussions that betrayal and guilt may lead to. The author’s depiction of the justice system is made evident, as the protagonist of the play, Medea, gets away from her barbaric actions unharmed, and guarded by the gods. Throughout the course of the play, both Jason and Medea demonstrate a degree of social injustice, as they both contribute to the corruption that Euripides condemns. However, after the concluding events, Medea’s guilt exceeds that of Jason’s, as she commits the most ‘unholiest of all deeds.’ Despite Jason instigating the conflict between them, Medea took it one-step further and surpassed Jason’s guilt, as her egocentric nature would not tolerate humiliation.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on February 25, 2015, 09:40:06 pm
Thank you so much banga_lok and literary lauren, although im still not confident :(
That's alright, but turn that lack of confidence into something constructive, rather than allowing it to work to your detriment. In my book, not feeling confident is a better motivation for work that feeling confident; just give yourself some tangible targets to reach and those feelings will become more manageable.

If you're posting essays, please use the Submissions sub-forum instead, but I might start making an exception for practice paragraphs...
Euripides’ play, ‘Medea’, explicitly explores the instant this isn't really true of the text; the repercussions of both Jason and Medea's actions take awhile to come to fruition repercussions that betrayal and guilt may lead to. The author’s depiction of the justice system one of the noteworthy features of Medea is that there is no institutionalised justice system, and that Medea must seek her own (vigilante) justice is made evident, as the protagonist of the play, Medea, gets away from expression is a little weak (but at the very least, I know what you're trying to get across, so don't worry too much.) Something like 'escape the consequences of' might work better here her barbaric actions unharmed, and guarded by the gods. Throughout the course of the play, both Jason and Medea demonstrate a degree of social injustice, as they both contribute to the corruption that Euripides condemns. However, after the concluding events, Medea’s guilt exceeds that of Jason’s, as she commits the most ‘unholiest of all deeds.’ Despite Jason instigating the conflict between them, Medea took it one-step further and surpassed Jason’s guilt, as her egocentric nature would not tolerate humiliation. Everything else up until this sentence is okay, but you want to end your intro on a strong/ contention-driven note, rather than a specific piece of evidence. Since I don't know what prompt you're writing on, I can't really give you an example, but try and round this off so you don't end up repeating arguments (ie. 'Medea exceeds/surpasses Jason's guilt')

I think understanding the Text Response criteria might help put your mind at ease.

The number one thing teachers are looking for is your relevance to the prompt. If you're continually answering and exploring the question, you're on the right track, and you've pretty much already secured yourself a 6 or so. Secondly, they're looking for the quality of your ideas. If your only argument is that Medea did a bad thing by killing her children, therefore her character is worse - you're unlikely to score well in this area. Comparing and contrasting characters is usually a good starting point for adding sophistication (eg. yes, Medea commits multiple murders, but why is Jason's murdering of Medea's hopes less significant? What is Euripides saying about the two characters' actions? Do they cancel out?)
Lastly, you're assessed on your use of language and expression. This won't sway the mark as much as you think; it can definitely be an inhibiting factor for breaking into the A+ range, but if you're communicating solid ideas sufficiently, this criterion isn't really a big deal. Your language has to be fit for purpose; it doesn't have to comprise of stellar "ten-dollar" words that the assessor's never heard of.

Just based on this introduction, it seems like vocab is an issue for you, since you'll either lean on paraphrasing yourself, or using slightly colloquial language to get your point across. BUT YOU ARE GETTING YOUR POINT ACROSS! I can read that intro and have a good sense of your contention, and your main arguments, which is more than I can say for a lot of "high-scoring" responses in the Assessor's Reports that score 8s and 9s. I'm not saying that's how highly you'd score - especially since this is only an intro, and a minor part of the marking scheme, but I'm saying good clarity and sophisticated ideas are more important than sounding sophisticated. Don't beat yourself up about your writing not sounding like it's a profound explication of a classic text. It's a high school essay, and it's barely the start of the year.

Chances are, your teacher will be marking with leniency at this point since you're not expected to have the entirety of Text Response under wraps and ready for the exam right now. And in the even s/he's a strict marker, everyone at your school will be in the same boat, and the marks will be moderated in scaling.

Keep at it, and don't let a lack of confidence stop you from becoming more confident :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: vella97 on February 25, 2015, 10:06:16 pm
Hi Lauren,

I am a little bit stuck on how exactly to generate my ideas and get them down onto paper. Also with the styles, I am really confused as to which direction to take for my context piece (my SAC is in two weeks :l).
How did you generate discussion when you began to write? Would you recommend doing a full expository length piece or should I mix it up with a personal anecdote or example?

I am so stuck and don't really know how to prepare for my SAC!
Any tips?
(My context supporting text is Death of a Salesman for Whose Reality? by the way.)

Thank you so much :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on February 25, 2015, 10:07:58 pm
That's alright, but turn that lack of confidence into something constructive, rather than allowing it to work to your detriment. In my book, not feeling confident is a better motivation for work that feeling confident; just give yourself some tangible targets to reach and those feelings will become more manageable.

If you're posting essays, please use the Submissions sub-forum instead, but I might start making an exception for practice paragraphs...
I think understanding the Text Response criteria might help put your mind at ease.

The number one thing teachers are looking for is your relevance to the prompt. If you're continually answering and exploring the question, you're on the right track, and you've pretty much already secured yourself a 6 or so. Secondly, they're looking for the quality of your ideas. If your only argument is that Medea did a bad thing by killing her children, therefore her character is worse - you're unlikely to score well in this area. Comparing and contrasting characters is usually a good starting point for adding sophistication (eg. yes, Medea commits multiple murders, but why is Jason's murdering of Medea's hopes less significant? What is Euripides saying about the two characters' actions? Do they cancel out?)
Lastly, you're assessed on your use of language and expression. This won't sway the mark as much as you think; it can definitely be an inhibiting factor for breaking into the A+ range, but if you're communicating solid ideas sufficiently, this criterion isn't really a big deal. Your language has to be fit for purpose; it doesn't have to comprise of stellar "ten-dollar" words that the assessor's never heard of.

Just based on this introduction, it seems like vocab is an issue for you, since you'll either lean on paraphrasing yourself, or using slightly colloquial language to get your point across. BUT YOU ARE GETTING YOUR POINT ACROSS! I can read that intro and have a good sense of your contention, and your main arguments, which is more than I can say for a lot of "high-scoring" responses in the Assessor's Reports that score 8s and 9s. I'm not saying that's how highly you'd score - especially since this is only an intro, and a minor part of the marking scheme, but I'm saying good clarity and sophisticated ideas are more important than sounding sophisticated. Don't beat yourself up about your writing not sounding like it's a profound explication of a classic text. It's a high school essay, and it's barely the start of the year.

Chances are, your teacher will be marking with leniency at this point since you're not expected to have the entirety of Text Response under wraps and ready for the exam right now. And in the even s/he's a strict marker, everyone at your school will be in the same boat, and the marks will be moderated in scaling.

Keep at it, and don't let a lack of confidence stop you from becoming more confident :)

Thank you so much for that Lauren!

So do you think my language/vocab is a little weak? If so, how can I improve on this?

Thanks once again, i really appreciate the effort you put into this!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on February 25, 2015, 11:32:47 pm
Hi Lauren,

I am a little bit stuck on how exactly to generate my ideas and get them down onto paper. Also with the styles, I am really confused as to which direction to take for my context piece (my SAC is in two weeks :l).
How did you generate discussion when you began to write? Would you recommend doing a full expository length piece or should I mix it up with a personal anecdote or example?
There's a fair bit of Context-related stuff on the previous page of this thread, and the very first page has a collection of FAQs for each area, so check those out first and see if your questions have already been answered.

How to generate ideas will depend on the style you're writing, and your chosen style will be dependent on your strengths, and your teacher's preferences (though not necessarily in that order :P) There are some explanations in earlier posts, but ultimately, since SACs are internally marked, you want to be catering to your teacher's whims.

I would definitely recommend writing an fully expository piece for practice, but if you want to vary it up with some imaginative paragraphs or creative anecdotal intros, go for it. There are no strict rules for Context aside from what your teacher assigns.

'Preparing' for the SAC is also a matter of preference. Much like the previous few questions, not everyone will find churning out essays to be the most helpful exercise. Reading, discussing, and even simply thinking can be much more useful exercises, and then you can start writing full pieces once you're comfortable.

My usual first response is to get someone to identify their worst-case scenario. What kind of prompts would screw you over completely? What sort of areas would leave you totally lost? Are there any key words in particular that you think you're totally ill-equipped to deal with? (eg. for WR: maybe you could handle anything to do with subjectivity and perception, but anything about truth or clashes of realities would be too hard to deal with.)

After that, you know where to start angling your study so you're not just aimlessly writing on prompts with no real direction.

So do you think my language/vocab is a little weak? If so, how can I improve on this?
Like I said above, start with the words and phrases you know you need to improve upon. For a text like Medea, you know you'll probably be dealing with concepts like vengeance and justice in almost every essay, so it's worth finding some synonyms for these. Brainstorm these (with the help of a thesaurus) and then consciously implement these words in your writing. You'll have to make this a deliberate process at first, but it'll become automatic before too long.  Going through some general 'good word' lists for Year 12 English can't hurt either.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: appleandbee on February 26, 2015, 12:38:15 pm
Should I categorize examples for my context, eg. subjectivity, memories, illusion/perception and conflicting realities? I find that some of my examples suit illusion-related prompts and not memory-related prompts. I've seen some students manage to mould their examples to suit a range of prompts, but I'm personally more comfortable with examples for specific prompts.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on February 26, 2015, 02:46:18 pm
Should I categorize examples for my context, eg. subjectivity, memories, illusion/perception and conflicting realities? I find that some of my examples suit illusion-related prompts and not memory-related prompts. I've seen some students manage to mould their examples to suit a range of prompts, but I'm personally more comfortable with examples for specific prompts.

Yes, but be flexible.

Most examples should link to three or four key areas (try and minimise the amount of highly specific ones that only relate to one minor area.) You should also have a few 'generalisable' ones up your sleeve that can be adapted to several vastly different prompts.

It depends what kind of writer you are; you could memorise 20 and then pick five that work on the day, or memorise seven broad ones and tailor the four or five most relevant ones to the prompt.

In fact, the process of grouping them can be a very helpful exercise in and of itself. Rather than just writing
eg. leadership spill --> deception; power; subjectivity
give yourself an opportunity to explore the potential of your examples. It won't just be about linking them in different ways - your essay should be examining the evidence from different perspectives depending on the point you want to make. And whilst there may be a couple of sentences here and there that can be the same, a fair chunk of your discussion will have to be altered each time to suit the prompt.
Whether you want to do this in the form of dot-point/sentences for each example, or a mindmap of connecting arrows linking the ideas together is up to you.

But yes, sorting through examples is definitely worthwhile, and it'll help you work out where the gaps are in your exploration. Don't be too strict with the categories though, and be prepared to add more throughout the year as you uncover more prompts and examples :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: kimmytaaa on February 26, 2015, 03:06:45 pm
can someone help me?
Right now I am doing mainstream English, but I want to do Lit next year. Does it matter if I didn't take unit 1/2 of Lit ? And whats the difference between English and lit?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on February 26, 2015, 04:29:47 pm
Lit 1&2 is of some benefit, but you don't need it to do 3&4.

Simply put, English consists of 3 essay types (and an oral) and each of these three essays will be tested in the exam. It's 3 essays in 3 hours, but there's a bigger, more evenly spread cohort, so it's technically not as hard to score well.

Literature is 5 different essay types, only one of which you'll have to do in the exam. The exam is 2 essays in 2 hours, but a higher standard is expected, and the cohort is more competitive.

Essentially if you're English-inclined, you'll enjoy Lit more, but English objectively easier to score well in, especially if you consider yourself more maths/science-y. Lit is a little trickier to get a handle on unless you enjoy the idea of analysing texts and language.

In terms of assessment, I'm assuming you're at least a little familiar with mainstream English (exam = 1 Text Response, 1 Context piece, 1 Language Analysis.) Literature is a whole other kettle of fish: you have to do what's called a 'Passage Analysis' where you're given three extracts from the text you studied (you can see the VCAA Past Exams website for examples) and your task is to discuss how the language of the text is used to create meaning. So it's essentially the opposite of a Text Response essay:
TR: you're given a prompt/focal point and told to find evidence to back yourself up
Lit: you're given the evidence, and have to impose your own focus, analysing as you go.

There's a breakdown of Lit assessment with some comparison between how you'd approach English as well here. I know this is a pretty broad overview, let me know if you need any more clarification :)
 
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: [email protected] on February 26, 2015, 05:50:18 pm
Can someone guide me on how I write expository pieces? I'm spending hours staring at a prompt trying to make 'ideas' but they are always so weak. I have the sac on monday, my teacher can't help me the slightest. I have a very high level of understanding of my set text, I have external references up my sleeve - plato's cave, anecdotes, stanford prison experiment, etc and etc. I understand the context whose reality but I can't get anyone to tell me what the hell you have to do with the prompt. I've been told to agree/disagree, generate ideas (although i have no clue what it means to generate ideas from a prompt), and when i do come up with something and try to write on it nothing comes to mind. Like i study for methods and I got 100%, studied for chem and got 99% but i'm spending freaking ages on this silly context expository practice and am getting literally nowhere  ::)

EDIT: Looking at my english book now i have 8 prompts to which I have tried to explore and create a piece on but all I have to show for it is a bunch of shitty comments i have made about the prompt
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Cogglesnatch Cuttlefish on February 26, 2015, 09:12:42 pm
Regarding prompts, what's the difference between a "do you agree?" and "discuss"?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on February 26, 2015, 09:38:19 pm
Can someone guide me on how I write expository pieces? I'm spending hours staring at a prompt trying to make 'ideas' but they are always so weak. I have the sac on monday, my teacher can't help me the slightest. I have a very high level of understanding of my set text, I have external references up my sleeve - plato's cave, anecdotes, stanford prison experiment, etc and etc. I understand the context whose reality but I can't get anyone to tell me what the hell you have to do with the prompt. I've been told to agree/disagree, generate ideas (although i have no clue what it means to generate ideas from a prompt), and when i do come up with something and try to write on it nothing comes to mind. Like i study for methods and I got 100%, studied for chem and got 99% but i'm spending freaking ages on this silly context expository practice and am getting literally nowhere  ::)

EDIT: Looking at my english book now i have 8 prompts to which I have tried to explore and create a piece on but all I have to show for it is a bunch of shitty comments i have made about the prompt

In half-joking defense of English: yes you can get 100% on the methods test you study for, but that doesn't mean you'd necessarily get 100% every time. Nor does it mean you're going to get 100% on every other test.

You have to think of English essays (especially Context) as an entire area of study; you'll be gradually developing your abilities in a variety of ways; writing essays is only one of them.

In my experience, as much as Methods practice exams are an excellent way to assess your knowledge, 'spamming' them wouldn't actually help you learn new concepts; you'f have to make the effort to use sample answers or text book explanations etc. in order to refine your approach. Similarly, even if you understand the content, taking the test and actually demonstrating your knowledge is an entirely different skillset.

So in English terms, you can memorise the formulae, but you need to know how they work. And you can break this question this up between 'what is the purpose of a Context piece' and 'what does a good essay look like?'

For the first question, your aim is to conduct an interesting discussion using the prompt as your foundation. Be interesting, get marks.
There are a whole lot of other finicky criteria that teachers recommend, but what it comes down to is your ability to demonstrate an understanding of the implications of the prompt, drawing upon a variety of evidence and ideas to do so.

What might help at the moment (if you're not doing it already) is to focus on getting a contention together. Your piece must have an argument; it doesn't have to be overly persuasive, but it has to be concise and complex. With regards to agreeing/disagreeing, don't do either. No good context piece will 100% agree or disagree, and you're also not meant to fence-sit, (ie. two paragraphs = agree, two paragraphs = disagree) since that makes your discussion seem really weak. Ideally you'll be ~75% one way or the other (ie. either 'Yes, I mostly agree with the prompt, but I think there are important exceptions' or 'No, not necessarily, I think >this< is the case instead.') Only then can you hope to tie together your understanding of the text, your examples, and your sub-arguments.

Regarding what your essay should actually look like, consult some of the sample high-scoring responses in the Resource thread, or the colourful paragraphs in the previous page or two. But there are a hundred ways to do this right, so don't be disheartened if it takes some experimentation for you to find an approach that works for you; it's worth it in the end :)


Regarding prompts, what's the difference between a "do you agree?" and "discuss"?
There is no difference :) In every essay you will be discussing whether or not you agree, so it's just a way of VCAA to change up the questions slightly.
You could argue 'Do you agree'-type prompts invite contrary opinions more often (eg. things like 'This text is from the '70s and has no relevance to today's society' - you'd kinda be expected to say no) but there are massive exceptions, so focus on the ideas in the prompt rather than the framing.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Apink! on February 27, 2015, 07:43:23 am
Hello!
If anyone has the time, could you please have a look at my context essay I uploaded yesterday on the marking thread?
I need to improve, but am not sure which areas I need to.

Thank you! :) :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: kimmytaaa on February 27, 2015, 10:41:25 am
Lit 1&2 is of some benefit, but you don't need it to do 3&4.

Simply put, English consists of 3 essay types (and an oral) and each of these three essays will be tested in the exam. It's 3 essays in 3 hours, but there's a bigger, more evenly spread cohort, so it's technically not as hard to score well.

Literature is 5 different essay types, only one of which you'll have to do in the exam. The exam is 2 essays in 2 hours, but a higher standard is expected, and the cohort is more competitive.

Essentially if you're English-inclined, you'll enjoy Lit more, but English objectively easier to score well in, especially if you consider yourself more maths/science-y. Lit is a little trickier to get a handle on unless you enjoy the idea of analysing texts and language.

In terms of assessment, I'm assuming you're at least a little familiar with mainstream English (exam = 1 Text Response, 1 Context piece, 1 Language Analysis.) Literature is a whole other kettle of fish: you have to do what's called a 'Passage Analysis' where you're given three extracts from the text you studied (you can see the VCAA Past Exams website for examples) and your task is to discuss how the language of the text is used to create meaning. So it's essentially the opposite of a Text Response essay:
TR: you're given a prompt/focal point and told to find evidence to back yourself up
Lit: you're given the evidence, and have to impose your own focus, analysing as you go.

There's a breakdown of Lit assessment with some comparison between how you'd approach English as well here. I know this is a pretty broad overview, let me know if you need any more clarification :)
 


Thanks Lauren
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: scarletmoon on February 27, 2015, 10:15:26 pm
What are some websites that are similar to "The Conversation" and "The Age" ?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Apink! on February 28, 2015, 08:34:37 am
Hello!
I have a sac on Lit next week and I have no idea how to approach it. I know the structure in general terms: make language your central focus. I learn through examples and I tried reading them but I can't understand it (yes, that's how bad I am)
Please help me. The lit thread doesn't have the Q & A thread like here so I'm posting it here. Hopefully someone can help me? By the way, the text we are studying is Kinglake 350

Thank you!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: AllG_ on February 28, 2015, 09:46:59 pm
Hi guys,
In terms of study guides, which companies produce the best ones? I'm stuck on getting either Insight or VATE. Also, are study guides for context theme useful? I'm doing Whose Reality if that helps.
Thanks!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on March 01, 2015, 12:21:06 pm
What are some websites that are similar to "The Conversation" and "The Age" ?
What do you mean by 'similar to?' If you're just looking for general news sites, the Google News browser feature is a good way of comparing sources. Or if you're looking for similar opinions/ biaises, perhaps googling similar issues covered by these papers would be useful. Sorry, not entirely sure what you're looking for, but Google is probably better than me here :)

Hello!
I have a sac on Lit next week and I have no idea how to approach it. I know the structure in general terms: make language your central focus. I learn through examples and I tried reading them but I can't understand it (yes, that's how bad I am)
Please help me. The lit thread doesn't have the Q & A thread like here so I'm posting it here. Hopefully someone can help me? By the way, the text we are studying is Kinglake 350
You can make a new thread on the Lit boards if you need to ask something specific. I'm guessing your first SAC is the Adaptations and Transformations one? Make sure you're clear what the task is asking you to do first, and then it'll be easier to determine what you need to work on.

Hi guys,
In terms of study guides, which companies produce the best ones? I'm stuck on getting either Insight or VATE. Also, are study guides for context theme useful? I'm doing Whose Reality if that helps.
Thanks!
Definitely VATE, 100%. Insight is marginally helpful with the really basic textual stuff (plot, character maps/development, sometimes themes) but VATE is basically all analysis. Even their summaries are filled with good analysis, so unless you're struggling with the comprehension of your text, you''ll get much more use out of a VATE guide than Insight or NEAP or TSSM if they're still running.
(^That said, some of these companies produce the odd good guide every so often, it just depends on the text. Maybe suss out a sample first, or get a bunch of friends from school to pitch in $2 and you can share it around like clever cheapskates ;) )

Tbh my first resort would just be to google 'text name vce english resources/analysis/prompts' and you should get a fair few bits and pieces to use. If you're doing some of the more popular texts, then sites like English Works should have some good discussion. Otherwise you might have to rely on all those wonderful schools who upload resources and don't require you to have a school login to access them.
<3 Mentone Grammar and Brunswick Secondary ;D

In my experience, the Context guides are less helpful just because of the sheer enormity involved in Context studies. The published materials are either too rigidly diagnostic (if you're not doing a straight expository essay with the exact textual/external examples they're using, you're on your own,) or they try to cover everything and end up being too broad (eg. a single A5 page devoted to each different form and style, meaning you'll have about 30 pages that are fairly useless to you, and only ~400 words that you'll use form that section.)
Context is very much about originality, and although observing and adapting other people's approaches is important, you're better off working out where you sit first, and then using resources to build up your weaknesses, rather than starting someone else's method from scratch. More than any other essay in English, Context is really a matter of individual strengths, and you could attempt the exact same approach as someone else, but fall flat because it simply doesn't suit you.
If you've been dependent on study guides in previous years, and money is no issue, then these might help give you some groundwork in the early months. But if you're using them properly, guides will overstay their welcome before long, and you'll need to go beyond and develop your own interpretation and approach.

And in my incredibly un-biased opinion, you can get way better stuff from ATAR Notes anyway :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: [email protected] on March 01, 2015, 12:37:20 pm
Hey Lauren, I don't want to come across rude but could you take a look at my expository piece I posted in the work submission and marking board? I'm saying this because I've tried to use your advice to get my head around context and prompts, and I think i'm getting the grasp of it...

BTW, the teaching of context so far at my school was:

2 lessons on prep for english speech
1 lesson on whose reality
1 lesson on whose reality in relation to our text
1 lesson on expository writing
1 lesson on collecting examples

and wait for it.....

3 bloody useless lessons listening to damn speeches...........  ::)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: [email protected] on March 01, 2015, 04:22:57 pm
Does anyone know an example in real life where because someone had been lured into believing a false memory, that it led to that person getting a false version of reality?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Joseph41 on March 01, 2015, 07:56:53 pm
Does anyone know an example in real life where because someone had been lured into believing a false memory, that it led to that person getting a false version of reality?

Hi Callum,

Have you come across Loftus and Palmer's studies on reconstructed memory? I didn't do English, so I'm not sure if it will be relevant, but it seems to fit the bill.

P.S. Grouse school!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: [email protected] on March 01, 2015, 08:19:04 pm
Hi Callum,

Have you come across Loftus and Palmer's studies on reconstructed memory? I didn't do English, so I'm not sure if it will be relevant, but it seems to fit the bill.

P.S. Grouse school!
Oh wow, that's exactly the sort of thing I was looking for! Thank you very much for finding it!  ;D
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on March 01, 2015, 10:04:02 pm
Does anyone know an example in real life where because someone had been lured into believing a false memory, that it led to that person getting a false version of reality?

See also:
- Confirmation bias though this can occur in many forms and isn't necessarily 'luring' someone into falsehoods. Perhaps this could lead into talking about journalism ethics and the idea of 'leading questions' (the most extreme versions being things like 'Have you stopped beating your wife?')
- Drinking the Kool-Aid - best to just read up on this whole saga, but it makes for some interesting studies in group delusion and psychological manipulation.
- For a less sinister discussion, perhaps consider how we ourselves can alter memories, intentionally (suppression) or unconsciously (repression) which in turn affects how we view the past, present, and future.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: [email protected] on March 02, 2015, 07:15:51 am
Yeah - those examples are good as they are based off confabulation.

ahahahahha - hey lauren have you stopped beating children?  ;D x1000
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Apink! on March 02, 2015, 08:03:17 am
Hi Lauren!
Could you please have a look at my context essay as well on the thread?
I also tried to incorporate your advice into mine but I am not sure whether I did a good job of it or not.
It's been on there for a couple of days but no one answered :'(

Thank you! :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: JackSonSmith on March 02, 2015, 05:16:11 pm
How important is the inclusion of film techniques when writing an essay on Mabo? I was told that I wouldn't get over 14/20 if I did not include a plethora of detailed film technique analysis in my essays.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on March 02, 2015, 06:00:52 pm
Instead of repeating myself and say 'In Euripides' play, 'Medea',..'
Is there any other good ways to start an introduction? And, after saying the above, what should I continue with?

Thank you
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on March 02, 2015, 06:58:33 pm
Hi Lauren!
Could you please have a look at my context essay as well on the thread?
I also tried to incorporate your advice into mine but I am not sure whether I did a good job of it or not.
It's been on there for a couple of days but no one answered :'(

Thank you! :)
Will do. It seems everyone has a big round of SACs at the moment so I haven't had much time, but I'll get there :)

How important is the inclusion of film techniques when writing an essay on Mabo? I was told that I wouldn't get over 14/20 if I did not include a plethora of detailed film technique analysis in my essays.
Fairly important, but you don't need to go overboard. Most teachers like to overemphasise film techniques or metalanguage because it's better to overdo it than underdo it. Just stick to whatever your teacher is suggesting for your SAC; if they say you must include seven film techniques in every paragraph, then that's exactly what you should do. Or maybe include eight if you're looking to challenge yourself :P After awhile, you'll probably get a sense for how necessary it is to delve into close, technique-based detail. If it feels like it's stunting your analysis, then maybe cut down, but if you feel like you're being to general, fit more in. It really depends on the essay, and the prompt.

Also, point of interest, the word 'plethora' is meant to mean 'too much of something' in a bad way (ie. you can't have a plethora of chocolate, but you can have a plethora of health problems as a result of said chocolate,) though nowadays it's used interchangeably with 'abundance,' unfortunately. :(

Instead of repeating myself and say 'In Euripides' play, 'Medea',..'
Is there any other good ways to start an introduction? And, after saying the above, what should I continue with?

Thank you
Just varying the sentence structure in your intro should be enough,
- 'Throughout Medea, Euripides...'
- 'Euripides' tragic play Medea...'
- 'In the tragic play Medea, Euripides...'
You'll only be doing this once per essay, so it's not like you'd lose marks for repetition. Alternatively, you could open with some historical/contextual information, and then segue into the prompt.

After that, your priority is to convey your contention, and perhaps sub-arguments. So long as your assessor can get to the end of your intro and know what you're arguing, you're fine. Some people like the obvious sign-posting (ie. '>first argument.< Furthermore, >second argument.< Moreover, >third argument.< However, >challenge.<') I tend to advocate for something smoother if you can manage it, but this method gets the job done. Try not to do the really obvious rewording-of-each-topic-sentence-in-the-intro since that can look lazy or repetitive.

Clarity is key, just get your ideas across, and open up the discussion for your body paragraphs.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: vanessa14 on March 02, 2015, 07:01:02 pm
Hello!

I was just wondering, if you could give me some tips on how to make my analysis more critical? And I was wondering how you structured your essay paragraphs and maybe if you have an example to show me? Im always repeating myself and not doing much analysis...

Tips would be most helpful! Thank you.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on March 02, 2015, 07:08:15 pm
Hello!

I was just wondering, if you could give me some tips on how to make my analysis more critical? And I was wondering how you structured your essay paragraphs and maybe if you have an example to show me? Im always repeating myself and not doing much analysis...

Tips would be most helpful! Thank you.

What do you mean 'more critical?' I'm guessing this is something your teacher has told you that you need to work on, in which case it's probably worth sitting down with them and getting a clearer picture of where you're going wrong.
Like, are your essays at the moment just summarising the text? Or are you taking too much knowledge for grated and not going into detail? Or are you just agreeing with the prompt and don't develop a complex contention? All of these things could be classed as 'not critical,' but you need to be specific if you want to know how to improve.

Essay structure is a matter of personal preference. I usually recommend opening with a general idea or concern in your Topic Sentence; interweaving discussion, analysis, and evidence throughout, and then ending by linking back to your contention. But there's a whole lot of room for originality in there, so it's just a matter of practicing to find your strengths and weaknesses.

With regards to repeating yourself, are you saying the same ideas over and over again, or are you just using the same words? The first is a problem with your understanding of the content, meaning you have to go back to the book and expand your knowledge. The second is a problem with expression, meaning you should consult some resources and start building up your vocabulary so you can tackle more analysis.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: vanessa14 on March 02, 2015, 07:15:40 pm
What do you mean 'more critical?' I'm guessing this is something your teacher has told you that you need to work on, in which case it's probably worth sitting down with them and getting a clearer picture of where you're going wrong.
Like, are your essays at the moment just summarising the text? Or are you taking too much knowledge for grated and not going into detail? Or are you just agreeing with the prompt and don't develop a complex contention? All of these things could be classed as 'not critical,' but you need to be specific if you want to know how to improve.

Essay structure is a matter of personal preference. I usually recommend opening with a general idea or concern in your Topic Sentence; interweaving discussion, analysis, and evidence throughout, and then ending by linking back to your contention. But there's a whole lot of room for originality in there, so it's just a matter of practicing to find your strengths and weaknesses.

With regards to repeating yourself, are you saying the same ideas over and over again, or are you just using the same words? The first is a problem with your understanding of the content, meaning you have to go back to the book and expand your knowledge. The second is a problem with expression, meaning you should consult some resources and start building up your vocabulary so you can tackle more analysis.

I have a good understanding of the text but when It comes to analysing quotes, I seem to just be rewording it somehow and not doing critical analysis. I've tried sitting with my teacher but my essay marks are always the same, and no matter how I change my style of writing, it doesn't seem to get into that A band. I know my expression needs working on- so any advice for that?  ::) And yes I guess I don't go into as much detail as I'd like too while explaining quotes. And when I said repeating myself, I'd provide a quote, then explain it and then I write another sentence underneath all that, rewording what I wrote the first time, and it just goes downhill   :'(

Im just a little nervous for my SAC on wednesday!


Oh and one more thing  ::) Im not quite sure how to explain the metalanguage the author uses while i'm explaining the quotes I've chosen... any ideas?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on March 02, 2015, 09:54:20 pm
Alrighty, let's break this up:
I have a good understanding of the text but when It comes to analysing quotes, I seem to just be rewording it somehow and not doing critical analysis.
A little trick you might find helpful is nominalisation, which basically means noun-ifying things.
Rather than saying: 'The character suggests she "does not love Romeo."'
Try instead: 'The character's suggestion that she "does not love Romeo"...'
See how that second sentence makes you keep going? Using the verb form for words like said, suggests, implies, confides, reveals, etc. can lead to lapsing into summary. Whereas, if you stop and force yourself to discuss the suggestion/ implication/ confidence/ revealing, etc. you're also forcing yourself into analysis.
It's only one minor change, and of course not every sentence should look like this, but if you get into the habit of analysing on a small level, it'll be easier to adapt to other kinds of helpful sentence structures.
I've tried sitting with my teacher but my essay marks are always the same, and no matter how I change my style of writing, it doesn't seem to get into that A band.
Assuming you're in Year 12, tough it out. Even if you think your teacher's advice is unhelpful, or wrong, they're still the ones marking your SACs! Most students in this position will be learning two courses; one is the methods for essay writing that their teacher mandates, and the other is what is objectively safe to write in the end of year exam. If you're lucky, there will be a lot of overlap, but for now, you have to focus on catering to your teacher.
If you want to improve, be as specific as possible!
There's a reason you can't just move into the A band by wanting to; numerical goals don't help you study. They might motivate you, but they don't give you anything tangible to work towards. Put yourself in a teacher's shoes and imagine a student came to you and said they wanted to go from a 6 to a 10. What would you say?
You might be able to point them in some general directions, but to actually help, you need to know what the problem is. Likewise if you're going to a teacher for help, make sure you have a clear purpose in mind, like 'I need to know how to structure my Topic Sentences, and whether I should make them really broad, or really specific.' Not 'I need to make this 7/10 essay a 10/10.'
I know my expression needs working on- so any advice for that?  ::)
What about your expression needs work? Are your sentences too long? Is your syntax all over the place? Is your vocab really weak? If you ask a specific question, you'll be able to get a more specific answer,
eg. 'My expression needs work.'
--> 'My ideas flow, but not my writing.'
--> 'I can't write long sentences.'
--> 'I'm not using enough conjunctive words (eg. 'and,' but,' 'therefore,' 'contrarily,' etc.)'
--> 'I should try using those words to combine similar ideas.'
And yes I guess I don't go into as much detail as I'd like too while explaining quotes. And when I said repeating myself, I'd provide a quote, then explain it and then I write another sentence underneath all that, rewording what I wrote the first time, and it just goes downhill   :'(
If you're aware of the problem, then just stop yourself from doing this :) Consciously remind yourself to discuss the quote, not just paraphrase it. Assume your marker has read the text - you don't need to contextualise quotes and go into heaps of detail before or after - just give them sufficient information so that they know what you're talking about, and move straight into analysing the significance of the quote on a broader level.

Oh and one more thing  ::) Im not quite sure how to explain the metalanguage the author uses while i'm explaining the quotes I've chosen... any ideas?
Not quite sure what you're asking here, but if it's just a general vocab issue, going through some sample word lists is probably your best bet. As a last minute thing, go through the essays you're writing/ have written and find instances where you haven't been able to explain a word properly. Look these words up in a thesaurus, and take note of any viable synonyms that you could use. Although you can acquire words passively, going out of your way to expand your vocab is often more productive. You don't want to be spending several minutes in a SAC just trying to word your response properly; sophisticated language is efficient language, so build it up early so you have a wealth to draw from if you need it :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: wmstudent on March 02, 2015, 10:03:31 pm
Just a quick question, can we use 'readers' in text response essays? Or is it not recommend if so why not? :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on March 02, 2015, 10:11:44 pm
Just a quick question, can we use 'readers' in text response essays? Or is it not recommend if so why not? :)
It depends on the format of the text you're studying.
If it's a novel, or a collection of short stories, then you can say 'readers' and 'author.'
If it's a play, then it's 'audience' and 'playwright.'
For films, 'audience' and 'director.'
For poetry, 'audience' and 'poet.'
Don't know if there are any other forms currently on the lists, but it's just a conventions thing. You won't be instantly marked down, but it's the sort of teensy-weensy thing than annoys English pedants, so you want to get it right just to avoid their wrath :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: vanessa14 on March 02, 2015, 10:45:43 pm
If you ask a specific question, you'll be able to get a more specific answer,
eg. 'My expression needs work.'
--> 'My ideas flow, but not my writing.'
--> 'I can't write long sentences.'
--> 'I'm not using enough conjunctive words (eg. 'and,' but,' 'therefore,' 'contrarily,' etc.)'
--> 'I should try using those words to combine similar ideas.'If you're aware of the problem, then just stop yourself from doing this :) Consciously remind yourself to discuss the quote, not just paraphrase it. Assume your marker has read the text - you don't need to contextualise quotes and go into heaps of detail before or after - just give them sufficient information so that they know what you're talking about, and move straight into analysing the significance of the quote on a broader level.

Okay so consciously reminding myself not to paraphrase it might just work! :) thanks for that suggestion. And yes I am in year 12 (: My expression needs some working on because (for example) I was referring a character doing something beneficial and I wrote, 'its gives out a positive image' Saying that out loud to myself does make me realise that the expression is funny, but how do I avoid doing this during my SAC? Sometimes I read over my essays but under exam conditions and with 2 minutes left, things like this slip my mind.  :(
I also tend to write things that are too informal... Are these minor errors? If so and if not, how do I avoid such things?

ps: thank you so much for the help you've provided me with already (: you're awesome!  ;D
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on March 02, 2015, 11:06:56 pm
Okay so consciously reminding myself not to paraphrase it might just work! :) thanks for that suggestion. And yes I am in year 12 (: My expression needs some working on because (for example) I was referring a character doing something beneficial and I wrote, 'its gives out a positive image' Saying that out loud to myself does make me realise that the expression is funny, but how do I avoid doing this during my SAC? Sometimes I read over my essays but under exam conditions and with 2 minutes left, things like this slip my mind.  :(
I also tend to write things that are too informal... Are these minor errors? If so and if not, how do I avoid such things?

ps: thank you so much for the help you've provided me with already (: you're awesome!  ;D
Two options:

1) Reread your work constantly. This is probably better in the long run since it teaches you to pick up on mistakes as you're making them, or just after. Perhaps make yourself reread every three or four lines depending on how bad the problem is, and then you can edit as you go.
I'd also recommend writing on every second line, since it'll let you make the necessary adjustments in a much neater way.

2) Allow yourself editing time after you've finished. This is what people usually do in timed constraints, though it has some drawbacks. For one, you might not get time to edit - then it becomes a question of 'is it better to have 3/4 of a really good essay, or a finished piece that's rushed and kind of average?' To which I would answer, the first one.
But if you find it easier, allocate maybe 10 minutes before your SAC finishes to go through your sentences with a fine toothed comb, even if you need to silently mouth the words or read really slowly; you'll get faster, and it'll get easier.

The fact that you know your grammar is iffy is actually a good sign. If you didn't know what the problem was, then you'd have issues with your understanding. But if, when you read your work, you know a sentence sounds clunky or has some letters/ words it shouldn't have, you'll probably be able to correct yourself. This may take some getting used to, and you may even want to go back to your old essays and correct those for practice, but the more you do it, the more likely you are to pick up on these sorts of errors as you're writing --> thereby cutting down on your editing time --> thereby giving you more writing time --> thereby letting you write more, and better :)

For formality, that's probably just a vocab concern. Usually the reason people use informal language is because they don't have a formal alternative up their sleeve; or they do, and they just don't spend time thinking about it. Go through your practice pieces and find instances of this informal language, and see if you can find a better word or phrase to communicate your point. If not, thesaurus.com :) Wherever possible, brainstorm some other possible words that could convey the same, or a slightly different point. Even if you don't use these in the very next essay you write, you have no way of knowing whether they'll come up in the next essay, or later in Context studies, or even in the exam.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: vanessa14 on March 02, 2015, 11:55:05 pm
Two options:

1) Reread your work constantly. This is probably better in the long run since it teaches you to pick up on mistakes as you're making them, or just after. Perhaps make yourself reread every three or four lines depending on how bad the problem is, and then you can edit as you go.
I'd also recommend writing on every second line, since it'll let you make the necessary adjustments in a much neater way.

2) Allow yourself editing time after you've finished. This is what people usually do in timed constraints, though it has some drawbacks. For one, you might not get time to edit - then it becomes a question of 'is it better to have 3/4 of a really good essay, or a finished piece that's rushed and kind of average?' To which I would answer, the first one.
But if you find it easier, allocate maybe 10 minutes before your SAC finishes to go through your sentences with a fine toothed comb, even if you need to silently mouth the words or read really slowly; you'll get faster, and it'll get easier.

The fact that you know your grammar is iffy is actually a good sign. If you didn't know what the problem was, then you'd have issues with your understanding. But if, when you read your work, you know a sentence sounds clunky or has some letters/ words it shouldn't have, you'll probably be able to correct yourself. This may take some getting used to, and you may even want to go back to your old essays and correct those for practice, but the more you do it, the more likely you are to pick up on these sorts of errors as you're writing --> thereby cutting down on your editing time --> thereby giving you more writing time --> thereby letting you write more, and better :)

For formality, that's probably just a vocab concern. Usually the reason people use informal language is because they don't have a formal alternative up their sleeve; or they do, and they just don't spend time thinking about it. Go through your practice pieces and find instances of this informal language, and see if you can find a better word or phrase to communicate your point. If not, thesaurus.com :) Wherever possible, brainstorm some other possible words that could convey the same, or a slightly different point. Even if you don't use these in the very next essay you write, you have no way of knowing whether they'll come up in the next essay, or later in Context studies, or even in the exam.

Thank you so much! I'll definitely take these suggestions on board and try give myself 10 minutes to read through my SAC!  ::)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: appleandbee on March 03, 2015, 12:38:32 am
Hello

How text- centric does my context piece have to be? Is one paragraph enough,  I'm just wondering because I've seen some pretty text dense ones out there.

Also can someone help me dissect the prompt 'It is difficult to look objectively at our lives because we are always looking from inside out'. I'm not too sure about whether I'm interpreting the prompt correctly.

Thanks!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on March 03, 2015, 10:01:53 am
Hello

How text- centric does my context piece have to be? Is one paragraph enough,  I'm just wondering because I've seen some pretty text dense ones out there.

Also can someone help me dissect the prompt 'It is difficult to look objectively at our lives because we are always looking from inside out'. I'm not too sure about whether I'm interpreting the prompt correctly.

Thanks!
The text-centricity of your SAC pieces is at your teacher's discretion. They want you to use the whole text and nothing but the text, then stick it in every paragraph. Or if they're happy for you to mention it once or just reference the ideas, then that's all you need.
The danger is when you write an exam piece that's only catering to your teacher; for Context in particular you kind of have to learn two ways of writing throughout the year. SAC writing is simple because you have your marker there in front of you, and you can ask him/her whether you should do more or less of something and why.
In the exam, however; you're aiming to write something that could appeal to the majority of assessors, so that's where your understanding of the task requirements is critical.

Broadly speaking, one paragraph should be enough. That's all I did in my exam, and that's usually what I recommend to students. That doesn't mean the text-heavy ones are wrong by any means, just that they're maybe not as efficient as they could be.


For that Context prompt, what do you think you're misinterpreting? Are there words you don't understand, or is it the overall concepts or ideas that you find strange?
See if you can simplify the prompt's point and develop a contention around that :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on March 03, 2015, 10:27:33 am
Can someone read my hopeless intro please :(

Prompt: ‘Medea is ultimately careless of family ties, while the men – Creon, Jason and Aegeus – are obsessively concerned with their family interests’

In the tragic play, ‘Medea’, the perception of family differs accordingly to the characters. Euripides represents the social standards of 400BC, that women are self-centered, as the female protagonist Medea, the ‘loathsome creature’, delivers unholy deeds in the name of ‘moderation’. Although Medea demonstrates some love and compassion towards her family, there is a greater cause that is controlling her thoughts. The social views and values that she follows overthrows her love for her two children to the extent that she ‘sees no joy in seeing them.’ Whilst Medea is alienated in her own desires, Euripides depicts the men as the only civilized people in the play as they demonstrate affection towards their families. Aegeus and Creon display their utmost love for their family; however, Jason’s position is questionable, as he was willing to endure Medea’s exile.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: appleandbee on March 03, 2015, 10:47:25 am
The text-centricity of your SAC pieces is at your teacher's discretion. They want you to use the whole text and nothing but the text, then stick it in every paragraph. Or if they're happy for you to mention it once or just reference the ideas, then that's all you need.
The danger is when you write an exam piece that's only catering to your teacher; for Context in particular you kind of have to learn two ways of writing throughout the year. SAC writing is simple because you have your marker there in front of you, and you can ask him/her whether you should do more or less of something and why.
In the exam, however; you're aiming to write something that could appeal to the majority of assessors, so that's where your understanding of the task requirements is critical.

Broadly speaking, one paragraph should be enough. That's all I did in my exam, and that's usually what I recommend to students. That doesn't mean the text-heavy ones are wrong by any means, just that they're maybe not as efficient as they could be.


For that Context prompt, what do you think you're misinterpreting? Are there words you don't understand, or is it the overall concepts or ideas that you find strange?
See if you can simplify the prompt's point and develop a contention around that :)

My teacher prefers more external examples, but the examiners reports contains text dense context pieces. She doesn't mind if our first context essay doesn't contain much external references because we didn't have that much time but I'm pretty well-versed with the external examples so one paragraph of the text works well for me.

Speaking of teachers, what is your opinion of using books outside the set text. My teacher doesn't like us using books outside of the set text as external examples because 'students too much story-telling as a result'. Obviously I would stick to the set text in my SACS but should I consider using them later on?

As for the prompt, I think I'm misinterpreting the main idea of the prompt. This is my interpretation 'We are looking at reality/the way things are from our own narrow perspective and as a result unable to view things objectively/big picture'
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on March 03, 2015, 12:54:43 pm
Can someone read my hopeless intro please :(

Prompt: ‘Medea is ultimately careless of family ties, while the men – Creon, Jason and Aegeus – are obsessively concerned with their family interests’

In the tragic play, ‘Medea’, the perception of family differs accordingly to the characters. Euripides represents the social standards of 400BC, that women are self-centered, as the female protagonist Medea, the ‘loathsome creature’, delivers unholy deeds in the name of ‘moderation’. Although Medea demonstrates some love and compassion towards her family, there is a greater cause that is controlling her thoughts. The social views and values that she follows overthrows her love for her two children to the extent that she ‘sees no joy in seeing them.’ Whilst Medea is alienated in her own desires, Euripides depicts the men as the only civilized people in the play as they demonstrate affection towards their families. Aegeus and Creon display their utmost love for their family; however, Jason’s position is questionable, as he was willing to endure Medea’s exile.
There's nothing hopeless about it. I would perhaps take issue with your interpretation at the end there, I don't think you could feasibly argue that Euripides is totally pro-men and rejects Medea's potential for caring. After all, this 'greater force' that you mention was born from her love for Jason, was it not? (<-- not rhetorical, this is a genuine debate you could have.)
Just try not to be too definitive with your readings. You don't want to fence-sit either, but you're expected to strike a balance between overly restrictive interpretations and the wishy-washy middle-ground.

My teacher prefers more external examples, but the examiners reports contains text dense context pieces. She doesn't mind if our first context essay doesn't contain much external references because we didn't have that much time but I'm pretty well-versed with the external examples so one paragraph of the text works well for me.

Speaking of teachers, what is your opinion of using books outside the set text. My teacher doesn't like us using books outside of the set text as external examples because 'students too much story-telling as a result'. Obviously I would stick to the set text in my SACS but should I consider using them later on?

As for the prompt, I think I'm misinterpreting the main idea of the prompt. This is my interpretation 'We are looking at reality/the way things are from our own narrow perspective and as a result unable to view things objectively/big picture'

The Assessor's Report does not contain the most effective, 'best' pieces. Quite often those essays will only score an 8 or 9. They're there to prove a point, which is why they're accompanied by some comments (usually) about what they've done right or wrong. Many people around the state are unable to integrate the text properly, so in an attempt to combat this, VCAA publish samples that, if anything, over-use the text.
If you look back through previous years, you'll see them emphasise different things with almost every essay they publish. Learn what you can from them, but definitely don't use them as a be-all-and-end-all formula.

Definitely steer clear of whatever your teacher dislikes, but in the exam, any external reference is fair game. I was notorious for using literary examples, and most of my expository pieces just looked like a massive, conflated series of book reports that vaguely pertained to Conflict. In fairness, I was warned that drawing exclusively from any one discipline or area is problematic, because you open yourself up to obvious loopholes,
eg. 'here's a bunch of fictional examples of my contention!' ...yeah, but they're all fictional
'here's a bunch of historical examples from across the globe!' ... yeah, but they're not current
'here's a bunch of personal anecdotes about my experiences' ... yeah, but you're just one person.
Context is meant to be a broad area of study; you're meant to unearth some universal truths, and you can't do that properly if you restrict yourself too much. Naturally, you don't want to over-correct and cram your essay with all the varied information you can think of, but try and find some solid links that let you explore depth and breadth sufficiently.

That interpretation of the prompt seems fine to me. You should be fine to start exploring sub-arguments and see how you go; if you hit a mental roadblock then perhaps revisit your contention and modify it slightly, but you're definitely addressing the main idea. 'We can't judge ourselves, because we are ourselves' is what it boils down to. 'Are we able to objectively assess our identities/realities, or are we too wrapped up in our own heads?' 'Can we judge our own realities with the same objectivity as we judge other peoples'?'
It's quite a good prompt, actually :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Adequace on March 03, 2015, 04:35:02 pm
Hey Lauren,

I've been trying to read books to expand my vocabulary, but I can't seem to find time to read much of my book unless it is in the holidays. However, I still want to continue expanding my vocab.

Should I just go through lists of words and memorise them and their meanings? Should it be VCE-specific or just any sort of word?

I was planning on learning the words on an image you posted in an EL post. It was a circle with synonyms for particular words, good idea?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: IndefatigableLover on March 03, 2015, 06:03:57 pm
Hi Lauren :)

So I have an oral SAC which needs to be completed for my AOS 1 text (a graphic novel [The Complete MAUS]) and I've chosen a topic which will be "exploring minor characters" within the graphic novel.

What should I be looking for when I'm determining the characters which I will be analysing as well as the type of analysis which I could be doing? Also is a supporting character the same as a minor character (because mainly I've been picking examples where the character at hand is made obvious but only features for 1-2 pages at most-ish compared to a character which occurs throughout the graphic novel as such).

Thanks!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on March 03, 2015, 06:25:55 pm
Hey Lauren,

I've been trying to read books to expand my vocabulary, but I can't seem to find time to read much of my book unless it is in the holidays. However, I still want to continue expanding my vocab.

Should I just go through lists of words and memorise them and their meanings? Should it be VCE-specific or just any sort of word?

I was planning on learning the words on an image you posted in an EL post. It was a circle with synonyms for particular words, good idea?
Maybe it's just me, but I reckon reading would be more efficient than just sitting down and memorising words. There is an element of rote-learning, granted; but you have to acquire the words first.
I guess just be aware that vocab expansion doesn't have to be a 'sit-down-for-an-hour-and-learn-20-new-things' exercise; in fact it's most effective when you integrate the language in your essays or notes. I'd also say synonyms for words are more helpful that actual definitions. If you teach yourself to think in categories, you end up acquiring a bunch of other words along the way, and you'll eventually be able to distinguish between minute differences in connotations or associations.

eg. let's start with the word 'polite.' Instead of memorising the definition 'showing good manners or behaviour towards others,' you'd instead group it with a list like:
- affable
- cordial
- conciliatory
- genteel
- obsequious
- well-mannered
Some of these words are completely synonymous (eg. 'polite,' 'cordial,' and 'well-mannered' express exactly the same sentiment,) but the others have some interesting variations. 'Affable' is like cheerfulness when socialising; being 'conciliatory' means you're trying to reconcile or compromise with someone; 'genteel' is associated with upper-class respectability and refinement; and 'obsequious' is like 'sucking up' to someone, so it's more extreme than just being polite.

Not only does having more words help you write with more precision and efficiency, but this kind of attention to the associations of words is an immense help in Language Analysis.


If you're pressed for time, then stick to the VCE-oriented vocabulary (eg. tone words for L.A. (like that worksheet) or text-specific words for your T.R. texts.) But explore language as much as possible - it's a gradual process, but a worthwhile one.

Hi Lauren :)

So I have an oral SAC which needs to be completed for my AOS 1 text (a graphic novel [The Complete MAUS]) and I've chosen a topic which will be "exploring minor characters" within the graphic novel.

What should I be looking for when I'm determining the characters which I will be analysing as well as the type of analysis which I could be doing? Also is a supporting character the same as a minor character (because mainly I've been picking examples where the character at hand is made obvious but only features for 1-2 pages at most-ish compared to a character which occurs throughout the graphic novel as such).

Thanks!
I'm not sure if you've been given a specific prompt or thematic area to explore, but I'd guess that's what your teacher is expecting you to cover? So angling your exploration around an idea like 'The minor characters in Maus have a significant effect on our understanding of the text, or of theme X.' I guess Francoise
or Vlad and Anja's fathers might be interesting to look at; it depends on your interpretation of 'minor.' (Soz, it's been ages since I read Maus.) Since there are so many characters in the text, you pretty much have your choice of discussion topic. Just ensure you're going into enough depth with a few characters, and giving a sense of the full text as well :)

Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: IndefatigableLover on March 03, 2015, 06:48:13 pm
I'm not sure if you've been given a specific prompt or thematic area to explore, but I'd guess that's what your teacher is expecting you to cover? So angling your exploration around an idea like 'The minor characters in Maus have a significant effect on our understanding of the text, or of theme X.' I guess Francoise
or Vlad and Anja's fathers might be interesting to look at; it depends on your interpretation of 'minor.' (Soz, it's been ages since I read Maus.) Since there are so many characters in the text, you pretty much have your choice of discussion topic. Just ensure you're going into enough depth with a few characters, and giving a sense of the full text as well :)
Thanks Lauren! Great to see you still remember things about Maus LOL xD

The prompt I've chosen is: "It is though the minor characters that the detail of the story is communicated." And yeah that's what I was wondering whether there was a particular definition of "minor" character since there are some which I would definitely like to talk about (provided I can find evidence to back up my points that is)!

Last question (so far that I can think of), but in the prompt, they've stated "that the detail of the story is communicated", what exactly do they mean by 'detail' and 'communicated' because I feel as though 'communicated' is the use of graphic novel techniques (except I'm not too sure if that's right) whilst 'detail' I don't really know what to think of..
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on March 03, 2015, 07:28:25 pm
Thanks Lauren! Great to see you still remember things about Maus LOL xD

The prompt I've chosen is: "It is though the minor characters that the detail of the story is communicated." And yeah that's what I was wondering whether there was a particular definition of "minor" character since there are some which I would definitely like to talk about (provided I can find evidence to back up my points that is)!

Last question (so far that I can think of), but in the prompt, they've stated "that the detail of the story is communicated", what exactly do they mean by 'detail' and 'communicated' because I feel as though 'communicated' is the use of graphic novel techniques (except I'm not too sure if that's right) whilst 'detail' I don't really know what to think of..
I think, if you feel up to it, you could actually conduct an interesting examination of what it means for a character to be 'minor.' You have the obvious surface level meaning which is 'a character that isn't in the text much,' but it's usually more complex than that. Infrequent characters can have a profound effect on the story, or even on other characters who in turn influence the story.
This could even bridge into an even bigger discussion about how characters have importance - is this assigned to them by the author, or just interpreted by the audience, or both? Usually the protagonist/antagonist/love interest etc. are pretty indisputable, but can we debate over the greater significance of a character?

AND you could even go so far as to question what makes a character 'a character.' The Greeks had a nice way of dividing up this concept:
είδος = literal character, as in, the person or thing itself, eg. Harry Potter, or Rodger Rabbit
χαρακτήρας = the spirit of the character, loosely translated today as the ethos of a person, eg. an immoral character, or a character of influence

You don't have to get too far down the rabbit hole of literary theory, but there's always more that can be found in a prompt :)

/nerdiness

For Maus, all the practice companies and VCAA themselves put a huge amount of focus on the fact that it's a non-conventional text form, so you'll see a lot of prompts that ask you to discuss whether the message is enhanced or impeded by the structure, or how the author uses certain features to communicate certain ideas.

The word 'communicated' here is fairly standard, but the word 'detail' has some potential. What is the 'detail' of the text? Is the prompt saying the minor characters just add background/flavour to the story, or that they contribute to the primary plot and concerns in a big way?

The wording is quite ambiguous, and I'd hazard the person writing it may not have considered all these eventualities, but feel free to take this in whichever direction you please. It might be worth asking your teacher whether you're getting too far away from the prompt just to get their feedback, but so long as your discussion always comes back to your contention, you should be golden :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: 99.90 pls on March 03, 2015, 08:11:16 pm
Hi!

A bit of an unorthodox question, but I need help understanding this article about Julian Assange. I'm currently trying to write a practice piece on this article, but I'm not a very cultured person, so the second half of the article beginning with "Arab governments are as concerned as any other..." doesn't make much sense to me. The first half of the article is fine though.

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/julian-assange-is-the-ned-kelly-of-the-digital-age-20101207-18ob0.html

Thanks :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: 2jzgte on March 03, 2015, 09:27:11 pm
Can someone please help me analyse this essay prompt:
No amount of past hurt can condone Medea’s acts of cruelty. Rather than being a feminist hero, she is a vengeful witch. Discuss.
How would I address this prompt?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on March 03, 2015, 09:34:03 pm
Ah yes, I remember this article from last year's round of MHS questions  ::)

Okay so the tricky thing about this article is it's subversion. It spends almost half the piece espousing something that's not the contention, namely, that Assange is an evil criminal.

It's in this second half of the article that you get a clearer picture of what the author is contending.
"So Arab governments are concerned..." <-- this section lists some of the 'revelations' to come from Wikileaks, but mocks how obvious and non-revelatory they are.
The author seems to be suggesting Assange is like Kelly in terms of their role in transporting the spoils of crime, but Assange isn't quite the mega-corporation-toppling-big-bad-outlaw that some might believe him to be.

It can be tricky going back to previous years' SACs since they rely on a lot of relevant-at-the-time understanding that most people, if they did know, have forgotten by now :P You'd probably be better off picking your own opinion pieces from the past few weeks and working with those.
This'll also help you catch up with the most relevant stories at the moment, so if you get something about counter-terrorism or foreign policy, you won't be totally stumped when the author brings up '18C' or 'Tony Abbot's shirt-fronting.'

Can someone please help me analyse this essay prompt:
No amount of past hurt can condone Medea’s acts of cruelty. Rather than being a feminist hero, she is a vengeful witch. Discuss.
How would I address this prompt?
The first half of this is badly worded, but essentially it boils down to 'We can't justify Medea's actions, regardless of her past. She's not a hero of women, she is a vengeful witch.'
First step: do you agree, or disagree with that sentiment?
Second step: why? What evidence in the text could you use to support your interpretation?

That should get you started; refer to the links on the first page of this thread for general advice on exploring and unpacking prompts :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: 2jzgte on March 03, 2015, 11:10:10 pm
Could someone please critique this introduction I just wrote.
No amount of past hurt can condone Medea’s acts of cruelty. Rather than being a feminist hero, she is a vengeful witch. Discuss.
Through the tragic play “Medea’, Euripides elicits the worst of Medea. Euripides was known to challenge the norms and bend the rules; this was clear cut in the composition of Medea’s fabricated personality which does not come together as a coherent and believable character. There is no doubt that revenge would have been a suitable path for Medea to take, but the way it was exacted and the ferociousness of Medea in doing so transcends all human limits. Considering the role of women in ancient Greece, Medea was not one to conform to society’s expectations; this however does not make her a feminist hero in any way. The injustices that Medea commits in the process of avenging herself are injudicious in comparison to the “sting of injustice” she has endured at the hands of the “arch-criminal” Jason.  The act of shedding kindred blood is by no means justifiable, her “lust for blood” is driven by her fury, “wrong a woman in love and nothing has a heart more murderous”. Her concern for the inequality of genders was merely a ruse which she uses to bind the Corinthian women in an oath of silence. Through manipulation and shear brutality Medea challenges the boundaries of monstrosity within human actions, driven by a clear ulterior motive, revenge.
Thanks for the reply earlier Lauren :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Escobar on March 04, 2015, 01:33:15 pm
In text response, when a quote is given in the question, how should it be used in your essay?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on March 04, 2015, 02:53:28 pm
In text response, when a quote is given in the prompt, how should it be used in your essay?

No strict rules, but I'd advice at least mentioning it in your first b.p.
There's a tendency for people to forget about the quote and just answer the question/statement for ~600 words, then you see them go 'oh shit, there was a quote' around about the third body paragraph where they try to cram it in. It looks clunky, and it stands out, so just blend it in whenever seems natural.

Dealing with the context of the quote is also a good idea; don't just briefly use it for evidence, actually delve into who said it, what precipitated it, what consequences came about as a result, that sort of thing.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Escobar on March 04, 2015, 04:16:02 pm
thanks  :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: vanessa14 on March 04, 2015, 07:28:07 pm
sometimes i have trouble coming up with topic sentences  :-X  I dont know where to start and what words to use  :'( any help?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on March 04, 2015, 07:58:03 pm
sometimes i have trouble coming up with topic sentences  :-X  I dont know where to start and what words to use  :'( any help?

Do you not know what to write, or do you not know how to write it?

^That should always be the first question you ask yourself for problems like this.
For starters, don't think about the words. Don't worry about making it sound pretty and essay-ish, just get the ideas out as plainly as possible. It can be as clunky as 'This character does a lot of bad stuff in the book, but we still like him.' You'd obviously never want to write something that bad in an essay, but at the very least, you know what you want to express. Focus on the ideas you want to communicate, and then build it up piece by piece rather than all at once.

eg.
'The character does' --> are we talking about acts he perpetrates, or dark thoughts he has, or evil desires he harbors...? What does he 'do,' exactly?
'lots of bad stuff' --> 'Bad' how? Physically repulsive? Morally dubious? Psychologically confronting? Are these things bad for himself, or others? What kind of 'bad' are we talking about? (Looking up words like 'bad' in a thesaurus gives you an idea of just how broad the definition can be)
'but in the end we still like him' --> Do we admire him? Do we sympathise with him? Do we pity him? Do we only like him compared to other, worse characters? Do we like him in spite of his flaws, or because of them?

So after thinking about each of these weak areas ('does,' 'bad stuff' and 'we like him,') we can turn an embarrassingly simple sentence into a sophisticated one:
Character X commits many morally dubious acts throughout the text, however audiences are still inclined to sympathise with him because of his self-awareness and constant feelings of regret.

On the surface, it's as simple as that, but admittedly it does take practice and exposure before these words start coming to you naturally. I'm yet to meet a good writer who isn't also a good reader, so try and read widely so things like sentence structures and vocab can be naturally acquired, rather than painstakingly laboured over.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: paper-back on March 04, 2015, 08:08:32 pm
Does anyone have any non-copyright "The White Tiger" prompts?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on March 04, 2015, 08:19:34 pm
Some original ones in the Prompts thread.
Otherwise your best bet is to pester your teacher, since I haven't found very many resources for most of the new texts.
You could always write your own, too. It's quite a helpful exercise :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: vanessa14 on March 04, 2015, 10:47:30 pm
On the surface, it's as simple as that, but admittedly it does take practice and exposure before these words start coming to you naturally. I'm yet to meet a good writer who isn't also a good reader, so try and read widely so things like sentence structures and vocab can be naturally acquired, rather than painstakingly laboured over.

once again thank you so much  :) :) this is really helpful.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Adequace on March 04, 2015, 10:56:05 pm
Hey Lauren,

Do you mind giving me feedback on my oral? If you have time of course. University Deregulation Oral Feedback
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: theBRENDAN97 on March 05, 2015, 11:51:52 am
Hi Lauren, :)
This Friday at school we are watching a performance for the play No Sugar, just wondering what i should look out for in terms of construction, like what about stage direction, etc.
Thanks.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on March 05, 2015, 05:26:31 pm
Jason's actions are supported by careful judgement; Medea's actions are supported by selfishness and passion

Can someone help me break down this prompt or look at my interpretation of it, thanks:

Paragraph 1: Initially as the play commences, Jason is depicted as the villain as we see his actions are lead by his desires
Paragraph 2: However, as the play proceeds we see him mature and come to realisation of the importance of family and decides to take care of his children
Paragraph 3: Medea thoroughly displays egocentric actions as they are driven by her fearsome passion

These are my paragraph arguments, any opinions? Thankyou
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: thaaanyan on March 05, 2015, 08:51:18 pm
hi, i was just wondering if anyone could help me with understanding how to weave in authorial/directorial b.ground in an intro?? like in what prompts do you think it's be acceptable and how would you do it?? thank you. i've been raised with stock standard TR formula (which i can do fine) but now im finding variation a bit difficult. i appreciate any help!! :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: JackSonSmith on March 05, 2015, 09:24:34 pm
hi, i was just wondering if anyone could help me with understanding how to weave in authorial/directorial b.ground in an intro?? like in what prompts do you think it's be acceptable and how would you do it?? thank you. i've been raised with stock standard TR formula (which i can do fine) but now im finding variation a bit difficult. i appreciate any help!! :)

It's my belief that things that are not specifically referenced in the text should not be in your essay. For example, in Mabo the director's own father was an activist so she would be able to sympathise with Eddie Mabo's family. However, when writing an essay, I would simply state that ''the director showcases the hardships faced by the Mabo family through...''.

Knowledge of the author's/ director's background can be useful when studying a text, but you should only discuss elements of a text that are at least implicitly implied and certainly not things that never see any mention.

Of course those are just my own interpretations/beliefs, sorry if I am wrong.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Cogglesnatch Cuttlefish on March 05, 2015, 09:42:16 pm
Can somebody help me unpack the following prompt:
"Contrary to expectations, it is the women of Cloudstreet that drive the narrative". Do you agree?
Im especially struggling with what the word "drive" is meant to mean in this context, and how "contrary to expectations" would be considered when formulating a contention/ideas and the like.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: JackSonSmith on March 05, 2015, 09:54:23 pm
Can somebody help me unpack the following prompt:
"Contrary to expectations, it is the women of Cloudstreet that drive the narrative". Do you agree?
Im especially struggling with what the word "drive" is meant to mean in this context, and how "contrary to expectations" would be considered when formulating a contention/ideas and the like.

I'd look at:
Which women drive the narrative?
Is it their story? Their actions? Their words?
What may other expectations be?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: kimmytaaa on March 06, 2015, 12:10:02 pm
Hi
I just want to know your opinions, so I have an English sac on the 16th or 17th but it has been week 6 without any practice essays to do and apparently all we do is summary of chapters of each chapter. On Tuesday next week, we are wasting our time watching the movie instead of doing anything. But the teacher said we are going to to the practise sac on Friday its a bit too late in my opinion, what do you guys think? On Friday next week, she is expecting us to do our practise essays in class and hand it up by the end of the lesson.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: kimmytaaa on March 06, 2015, 12:43:47 pm
You could always do your own practice essays and submit them to your teacher. They're more than likely to correct them and you can always find topics if you ask your teacher, or look around online.
true, but my teachers don't even bother to look tho it so I use my tutors since they are more helpful than school teachers
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: pinklemonade on March 07, 2015, 10:35:04 am
Hey! I don't know if this question has been answered or not but I was wondering how would you write the conclusion for a comparative language analysis?
Would you talk about the first article, second, or both?

Thank you
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: scarletmoon on March 07, 2015, 11:14:46 am
I need help finding some external examples for the promp conflict can discriminate. I already have some examples for racial discrimination just wanting to find examples of other types of discrimination caused by conflict
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on March 07, 2015, 06:32:22 pm
Hey! I don't know if this question has been answered or not but I was wondering how would you write the conclusion for a comparative language analysis?
Would you talk about the first article, second, or both?

Thank you
You could get away with doing either, but it depends on the spread of the material. For something like the 2014 exam where the first piece was definitely the 'core,' you could just have dealt with that one section in your conclusion. However, if you had two articles of around equal length, it would be more conventional to draw on both of them when you wrap things up.
I'd recommend trying to use both anyway like you would in an intro, eg. 'Ultimately author X's appeals to a sense of justice and decency are designed to promote discord amongst people, whereas author Y's aggressive tone and pejorative language is indicative of his attempts to divide the local community...'

I need help finding some external examples for the promp conflict can discriminate. I already have some examples for racial discrimination just wanting to find examples of other types of discrimination caused by conflict
You could go for the typical forms of discrimination, like sexism, ageism, ableism, classism, heteronormativity, etc.
But it might be more interesting to unpack the idea of 'discrimination.' What is it, really? What is it based on? Why does it occur? Do our small judgments contribute to overarching ones (eg. my neighbour Joe is mean, therefore all people called Joe are mean) or do pre-existing stereotypes feed into our personal judgments? (eg. everyone knows people called Joe are mean, therefore my neightbour Joe must be mean.) Or both? Do we need a label to judge people?
And more importantly, when we look at the whole prompt 'Conflict can discriminate' some more important questions arise: how does conflict itself discriminate? Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Are we even aware of this? Is it a process we can fight or reject, or are we powerless to stop the discrimination of conflict.

Perhaps it's just my reading, but I'd see this prompt hinting towards the consequences of conflict more than the specific forms of discrimination. You don't want you piece to turn into a list of examples that illustrate the same point.

If conflict discriminates, that means conflict separates people and assigns them different fates. Some people are strengthened by conflict, some are destroyed by it. This prompt is suggesting that process to be innate; is that something you agree with?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: stockstamp on March 07, 2015, 06:33:48 pm
Hoping someone can clarify this for me:

On the examiners report for English, provided are student examples from the exam that are labelled as "high scoring responses".
What exactly does this mean? Are the examples always a 10/10 - or are they anything from about an 8/10 to a 10/10.

I ask this because example 10/10 pieces seem to be a fairly useful way of identifying the standard of work I should work towards (I understand that english isn't a science and that I'm not following a formula for a perfect essay, but it would still be nice to have some examples of what the examiners like).

As an extension to this, are the example responses on ATAR Notes roughly a 10/10?

Thanks!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Burt Macklin on March 07, 2015, 08:22:45 pm
Hi Lauren,

After doing a practice Context SAC for Encountering Conflict, I've found that I've having difficulty finishing a piece under the time limits because I'm struggling to think of relevant external examples. Do you think it's just a matter of practicing to improve on this?

Also, I also find that my paragraphs are basically being written as arguments for my contention. (My intro is basically like "This is my contention" "Because, X, Y and Z".) Is this the way to go or should I be doing more exploration of the prompt?

Thanks!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: JackSonSmith on March 07, 2015, 09:54:08 pm
Hi Lauren,

After doing a practice Context SAC for Encountering Conflict, I've found that I've having difficulty finishing a piece under the time limits because I'm struggling to think of relevant external examples. Do you think it's just a matter of practicing to improve on this?

Also, I also find that my paragraphs are basically being written as arguments for my contention. (My intro is basically like "This is my contention" "Because, X, Y and Z".) Is this the way to go or should I be doing more exploration of the prompt?

Thanks!

Hello, I'm not Lauren but maybe I can help.
Your ability to write quickly would have a correlation with how well you know your examples. Knowing your external examples well before an essay should increase your confidence  and in turn your speed when writing.

As for paragraph structure, I think the quality of your ideas would be the most important part. There's no set way in which you should structure your piece. At the end of the day, your arguments should be an extension / support of your main contention, so there's nothing wrong with a your approach. 
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: pinklemonade on March 07, 2015, 10:07:42 pm
Hey Lauren,
Just another quick question about comparative LA - how would you structure one with 2 articles of the same length?
I just read one that someone else posted and they had their intro, 6 body paras and conclusion..
This seems like a bit too much, is there another way of doing this?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: 99.90 pls on March 07, 2015, 10:12:07 pm
Hey Lauren,
Just another quick question about comparative LA - how would you structure one with 2 articles of the same length?
I just read one that someone else posted and they had their intro, 6 body paras and conclusion..
This seems like a bit too much, is there another way of doing this?

If you're referring to this essay, I had to analyse a third cartoon as well. But I prefer to keep my ideas separate as opposed to combining them into one big mush. The number of paragraphs doesn't really matter, as long as each paragraph explores an idea thoroughly from start to finish, I suppose

It doesn't seem that bad when you look at it on paper.

(http://i.imgur.com/EZGEnC2.jpg)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: pinklemonade on March 07, 2015, 10:38:32 pm
If you're referring to this essay, I had to analyse a third cartoon as well. But I prefer to keep my ideas separate as opposed to combining them into one big mush. The number of paragraphs doesn't really matter, as long as each paragraph explores an idea thoroughly from start to finish, I suppose

It doesn't seem that bad when you look at it on paper.

(http://i.imgur.com/EZGEnC2.jpg)

Ohh nah I was referring to this essay, but thank you! Just wasn't sure if it was possible to write that much in the restricted amount of time we're given
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on March 08, 2015, 10:41:01 am
Hoping someone can clarify this for me:

On the examiners report for English, provided are student examples from the exam that are labelled as "high scoring responses".
What exactly does this mean? Are the examples always a 10/10 - or are they anything from about an 8/10 to a 10/10.

I ask this because example 10/10 pieces seem to be a fairly useful way of identifying the standard of work I should work towards (I understand that english isn't a science and that I'm not following a formula for a perfect essay, but it would still be nice to have some examples of what the examiners like).

As an extension to this, are the example responses on ATAR Notes roughly a 10/10?
The 'upper-range'/'high band' essays at the end of the year can be anything from an 8 upwards. For the record, 'upper-mid range' usually means between 6-8, though sometimes the exact numbers are debatable. You can occasionally get 'borderline' responses that could be either a 7 or an 8, for instance. In the exam this just evens out to 15/20.

The important thing when working with examples is to work with multiple. There's an obvious danger in only using one or two essays as your point of reference; there are 101 ways of scoring 10/10, so by only studying a few of them, you're severely limiting your abilities.

The essays on ATAR Notes (the ones in the Resource thread at least) usually have their marks listed. If it's a fairly recent piece with a still-active user, you might be able to PM them if you really wanted to find out, but speaking from experience, you can learn just as much from an 8/10 piece than you could from a 10/10. So long as you have a well-developed sense of what separates a god essay from a bad or mediocre one, you'll be able to take what you need from other people's work and incorporate it into your own :)

Hi Lauren,

After doing a practice Context SAC for Encountering Conflict, I've found that I've having difficulty finishing a piece under the time limits because I'm struggling to think of relevant external examples. Do you think it's just a matter of practicing to improve on this?

Also, I also find that my paragraphs are basically being written as arguments for my contention. (My intro is basically like "This is my contention" "Because, X, Y and Z".) Is this the way to go or should I be doing more exploration of the prompt?

Thanks!
Like JackSon said, knowing your stuff will help cut down on time significantly. Are you practicing to an essay-per-hour time limit? Because unless your SAC is under those conditions, there's no reason why you should aim that high at this stage of the year. I know it's easy to get caught in the 'how the hell am I going to do this in an hour, this one essay took me three hours over a week' mentality, but trust me, it's a necessary process.
Look at it this way: in other subjects, you're not expected to complete an exam-level task in February/March. The SACs are modified to suit what you've learned thusfar. English isn't really like that. The prompts you get for a T.R./Context SAC could feasibly be on this year's exam, but that doesn't mean you'll write the same way. Everything leading up to the exam is a formative process, and you should be more concerned with developing your skills than conforming to strict limits.

Yes it's a matter or practice, but you won't be practicing 'cutting down on time.' You'll be practicing how to write well and hit the criteria efficiently; the timing is incidental for now.

The other thing I'd recommend is to work out why you take so much time (idk if you're 10 minutes or an hour over, but this applies either way.) Do you take ages to get started, or spend 15+ minutes on a plan? Do you get stuck after the first few paragraphs and run out of ideas/examples to use? Do you spend ages just putting your thoughts into words, and have to reread every sentence to ensure it makes sense?
Answering 'yes' to any one of these questions gives you a totally different path of study (ie. efficient brainstorming and preparation; idea development and example collecting; and vocab/expression respectively.)

For your second question, it depends what sort of piece you're writing. Your ''Because X Y Z" arguments could work well provided they're fleshed out enough. But you don't want to have three paragraphs that are all arguing the same thing.

eg. Prompt: 'Conflict changes how we view the world.'
--> B.P.1: It changes how we view other people.
--> B.P.2: It changes how we view our environment.
--> B.P.3: It changes how we view ourselves.
^A tad oversimplified, but you'd be surprised how many essays could be boiled down to something that plain. The trick is to have a complex contention that is based on, but not limited to the prompt.

Hey Lauren,
Just another quick question about comparative LA - how would you structure one with 2 articles of the same length?
I just read one that someone else posted and they had their intro, 6 body paras and conclusion..
This seems like a bit too much, is there another way of doing this?
Structure for L.A. SACs should be geared to whatever your teacher wants. Some love many paragraphs that cover as much of the article as possible, others prefer a standard essay format with 3-4 body paragraphs and clearly outlined focus points. I tend to advocate for the bigger paragraphs since the assessors seem more concerned with depth than breadth recently, but both are still important, so go for whatever you feel would give you the best opportunity to demonstrate your skills.
Roughly 800 words is the guideline. How you break this up is totally up to you (...and your teacher) :)

Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on March 08, 2015, 10:43:47 am
Hey lauren

What scores am i looking for a 35 minimum?

I know it depends on my cohort, exams etc.. But surely there's some sort of sac average that would lead to a 35. Thankyou, just worried :3
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on March 08, 2015, 11:00:12 am
Hey lauren

What scores am i looking for a 35 minimum?

I know it depends on my cohort, exams etc.. But surely there's some sort of sac average that would lead to a 35. Thankyou, just worried :3

uuuurrrrgggghhhh numbers -.-

This is the English Board, friend.

Quality > quantity. And that goes for feedback too.

I could tell you that 8/10s usually amounts in a ~40 SS, but that information is useless because averaging 8/10 throughout the year means nothing unless you're aware of what you're doing right and wrong. A kid at my school who was getting solid 10s for everything ended up with a 45 because he got unlucky in the exam. By contrast, one of my friends was hovering around 7s and 8s all year, but got her shit together and pulled of a 48. Numbers are malleable, and somewhat unpredictable. Your understanding isn't. If you go into the exam confident in the knowledge that you know how to handle prompts and best showcase your abilities, then you'll be in a much better boat than someone who strolls in thinking 'I'll be fine, I've been getting 9s since mid-year, I'm almost guaranteed a 40+'

AAAAND... a lot of teachers mark easier early in the year. Getting an 8 right now might only be worth a 6 in the exam. Not all of them do this (I'm certainly not a fan of it,) but it's quite common.

This, all coupled with the fact that you could be getting 8/10 for different reasons every time you write means... well, let's say you had two essays worth 8/10. The first had excellent ideas, but poor expression and quote usage. The second had mediocre ideas, but excellent structure and evidence integration. You figure you can just pick the most relevant parts from each of these essays and apply them to the prompt in the exam. But chance, you pick the ideas from essay 2, and the structure from essay 1, which would bump your mark down to maybe the 5-6 region.
However, if you manage to combine the best parts of both pieces, you might even score higher than an 8.

This is why knowing why you're getting a certain score is infinitesimally more valuable than the score itself.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Splash-Tackle-Flail on March 08, 2015, 12:16:24 pm
With Text response, it seems as though when they give two prompts for a text, that one prompt is harder than the other- would the prompt difficulty have any influence on their marking scheme? Also, for analysis prompts (going by these categories http://www.vcestudyguides.com/types-of-essay-topics) I've been told that my essays for these types of prompts are almost too analytical and explicit in my analysis that it sounds more like a Language Analysis (e.g. "Through the author's use of the metaphor, (insert metaphor here), he/she exemplifies to readers the importance of ___). Do you have any tips on how to more subtly talk about what the author does to convey a certain meaning? Apparently I needed to focus more on the readers concerns and values rather than the language used to show what she is concerned about.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: KingDrogba on March 08, 2015, 04:32:34 pm
With a comparative language analysis piece, what structure would you suggest to write with? Some teachers say analyse them as completely separate pieces (Eg: Analyse the first article on its own, then analyse the second comparing/contrasting to the first) whilst another teacher told me to compare/contrast in the same paragraph
What should i do?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: scarletmoon on March 08, 2015, 04:56:37 pm
When starting essays with a quote, what is the maximum length of the quote? For example is this quote " conflict is the gadfly of thought, it stirs us to observation and memory. It shocks us out of sheeplike passivity and sets us at noting and contriving" too long to put at the start of an essay?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: izzywantsa97 on March 08, 2015, 06:51:39 pm
With Text response, it seems as though when they give two prompts for a text, that one prompt is harder than the other- would the prompt difficulty have any influence on their marking scheme? Also, for analysis prompts (going by these categories http://www.vcestudyguides.com/types-of-essay-topics) I've been told that my essays for these types of prompts are almost too analytical and explicit in my analysis that it sounds more like a Language Analysis (e.g. "Through the author's use of the metaphor, (insert metaphor here), he/she exemplifies to readers the importance of ___). Do you have any tips on how to more subtly talk about what the author does to convey a certain meaning? Apparently I needed to focus more on the readers concerns and values rather than the language used to show what she is concerned about.

My teacher is a VCE marker and she says that they do take into consideration sometimes that some essay topics are harder! And for using metalanguage, generally start with the idea and then how the writer demonstrates it, and end with why the writer wants to send this message to the reader and the effect :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: appleandbee on March 08, 2015, 07:01:42 pm
If I'm doing a feature article for context, for the audience section is it enough to say 'readers of The Age' etc.? On that note, what kind of newspaper/magazine would it be appropriate to have a moderately sophisticated feature article (but with a couple of current/societal examples) focusing on 'how illusions/dreams/ feeling/internal self affect the way one perceives reality'?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: thaaanyan on March 08, 2015, 09:13:10 pm
If I'm doing a feature article for context, for the audience section is it enough to say 'readers of The Age' etc.? On that note, what kind of newspaper/magazine would it be appropriate to have a moderately sophisticated feature article (but with a couple of current/societal examples) focusing on 'how illusions/dreams/ feeling/internal self affect the way one perceives reality'?

is this for your statement of intention????
often i'd suggest adding more depth than "readers of the age," you could still say that but then maybe follow up with something like "who have an interest in understanding the working nature of the realities and the illusions which constitute our identity and also professors of philosophy who wish to enhance their understanding regarding reality as a blah blah" (or something like that) the way i always figure is that if you add in the secondary specification you can also talk about how the language you use impacts your exact specific audience like "complex and jargonistic language in order to appeal to the academic nature of the reader's....."
if you need a magazine i'd make up one; eg. "The Science of Reality" a magazine which looks at the fabric of the universe around us through a rational lens and aims to both morally and scientifically quantify the essence/meaning of reality. totally fine to do that in context.

if i have totally misinterpreted what you're saying please ignore me haha. but yeah hope i helped! goodluck :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Burt Macklin on March 09, 2015, 09:42:44 pm
Hi Lauren - again,

So I've figured out why I'm taking so much time (mostly because of running out of ideas/examples and inefficient brainstorming). I'm in the process of collecting more examples but am not too sure on what exactly I should do.

I've been providing some general overviews on examples, but I seem to have trouble relating them to ideas. I dunno, I feel like they aren't complex enough??  :-X Like I'm not going deep enough with the ideas?

(e.g. for Malala Youfazai - I've related her and the events associated with her to: culture and religion causing conflict, individuals showing courage and bravery amidst/after conflict, "positive" consequences)

Can you give an example of how to extrapolate ideas out of examples well?

Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on March 09, 2015, 11:49:19 pm
With Text response, it seems as though when they give two prompts for a text, that one prompt is harder than the other- would the prompt difficulty have any influence on their marking scheme? Also, for analysis prompts (going by these categories http://www.vcestudyguides.com/types-of-essay-topics) I've been told that my essays for these types of prompts are almost too analytical and explicit in my analysis that it sounds more like a Language Analysis (e.g. "Through the author's use of the metaphor, (insert metaphor here), he/she exemplifies to readers the importance of ___). Do you have any tips on how to more subtly talk about what the author does to convey a certain meaning? Apparently I needed to focus more on the readers concerns and values rather than the language used to show what she is concerned about.
The difficulty of prompts is a matter of preference. Although some are objectively simple or difficult, VCAA are quite good at disguising things. Often a short, to-the-point statement can have a whole lot of hidden implications, while a complex looking structural prompt with an embedded quote or some difficult vocab can actually be boiled down to a very straightforward question. For 'analysis' type questions, you'll pretty much just have to transition between close textual evidence (structural features, language, meta-devices, that sort of thing) and the wider text's messages.
I suppose the best way to force yourself into this is to use the format of the question. Structural ones will usually begin with 'How...' as in 'How does the author's use of X create a sense of Y?' Occasionally some part of the equation will be missing and you'll have to fill in the blanks, eg. 'Discuss the author's use of X' or 'How does the author create Y?'
It all comes down to two questions though: if you've made a statement about the text, how do you know, and why is this important?

eg. Starting point: The character of Marlin in 'Finding Nemo' is initially unsympathetic.
How do I know: He's portrayed as an overbearing, didactic parent who does not allow his son to explore and grow, as is exemplified through the juxtaposition of Nemo with his more liberated peers. (--> seahorse, that other fish... a pink octopus I think?)
Why is this significant: This early representation serves as a contrast to the Marlin we see at the end of the film, thereby highlighting the importance of trusting one's child in order to be a cautious parent, but not overly so.


With a comparative language analysis piece, what structure would you suggest to write with? Some teachers say analyse them as completely separate pieces (Eg: Analyse the first article on its own, then analyse the second comparing/contrasting to the first) whilst another teacher told me to compare/contrast in the same paragraph
What should i do?
For your SAC, do whatever your teacher wants :)
For the exam, (and if your teacher is open to whatever method you prefer) I'd advocate the key player approach (explanation in the first page in this thread if you need.) Simply put, each paragraph focuses on a key idea or argument that the author uses to manipulate the audience. This allows you to transition between each article with ease, provided that's something your teacher is looking for.

So long as you're analysing language, you're in the clear. So comparing the articles isn't technically a part of the criteria; you could simply write a paragraph on each and be fine. It all depends on how fussy your teacher is.

When starting essays with a quote, what is the maximum length of the quote? For example is this quote " conflict is the gadfly of thought, it stirs us to observation and memory. It shocks us out of sheeplike passivity and sets us at noting and contriving" too long to put at the start of an essay?

There are no strict rules for Context essays, so the quote can be as long as you need. That one seems perfectly fine; it'd only be a problem if you were quoting more than three or four sentences. Even then, it's a writing task, not an 'essay' per se. If you want to intersperse your essay with multiple quotes, you can do that too. Just don't make the quotes do the work for you - your own exploration is what the assessors want to see :)

If I'm doing a feature article for context, for the audience section is it enough to say 'readers of The Age' etc.? On that note, what kind of newspaper/magazine would it be appropriate to have a moderately sophisticated feature article (but with a couple of current/societal examples) focusing on 'how illusions/dreams/ feeling/internal self affect the way one perceives reality'?

Assuming this is for your Statement of Intention (?) I guess that should suffice. Mind you, my teacher was pretty chill with the Statement thing, we were just told to write something valid so he could tick it off. However, I know some schools give more credence to the SOI, so it's probably worth checking with your teacher.

If you're looking for a precise publication that you could use, The Age or The Australian would be fine. You could always browse a few major online/print companies until you find one that writes the kind of pieces you're emulating. That would probably help you refine your writing style as well as give you some idea of the format and structural specifics :)

Hi Lauren - again,

So I've figured out why I'm taking so much time (mostly because of running out of ideas/examples and inefficient brainstorming). I'm in the process of collecting more examples but am not too sure on what exactly I should do.

I've been providing some general overviews on examples, but I seem to have trouble relating them to ideas. I dunno, I feel like they aren't complex enough??  :-X Like I'm not going deep enough with the ideas?

(e.g. for Malala Youfazai - I've related her and the events associated with her to: culture and religion causing conflict, individuals showing courage and bravery amidst/after conflict, "positive" consequences)

Can you give an example of how to extrapolate ideas out of examples well?
If that's the case, then make your brainstorming/notes better before attempting essays. It's perfectly fine, especially at this stage of the year, to need a whole heap of exploration for your evidence. In the exam, it'll probably be enough for you to scribble 'Malala,' 'Aztecs' and 'Spiderman' just to jog your memory.

For now though, spend some time unpacking things.
So that you know what you should be relating these ideas to, it's also probably worth going through a list of prompts and finding key thematic areas (eg. causes of conflict, how people's responses to conflict differ, why conflict can unite or divide people, etc.) That way, when you're thinking about your evidence, you'll know what parts of it are most significant.

Most of the research you do for your examples will just be a means of familiarising yourself until you're confident discussing it. In your essay, you'll just be giving your reader whatever is relevant to your discussion, so you should always know a little bit more than what you're writing.

There's also a chance that you're not choosing the right examples. Some are inherently less complex and relatable, which is not to say that you can't use them, but rather that it's better you leave these ones for later in the year after you're comfortable with how evidence integration and Context pieces work.

Try and broaden your discussion as much as possible, and then hopefully things will start to make more sense as you go :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: chansena on March 10, 2015, 05:41:04 pm
Hi ALL!

For context I am looking at writing a Feature Article, and think through a feature article it will allow me to explore context more. But i do not have an example piece. Could someone please post/ PM an example piece of a feature article preferably identity and belonging (but i don't mind if its anything else too ) I just need an example at the moment so i can use it as a guide. :)

Thanks


 
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Eiffel on March 10, 2015, 05:47:17 pm
honestly speaking, if you get 50% on a sac are your chances of 50 gone? lets assume the class overall did well (say 80% ave)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Splash-Tackle-Flail on March 10, 2015, 07:20:38 pm
The difficulty of prompts is a matter of preference. Although some are objectively simple or difficult, VCAA are quite good at disguising things. Often a short, to-the-point statement can have a whole lot of hidden implications, while a complex looking structural prompt with an embedded quote or some difficult vocab can actually be boiled down to a very straightforward question. For 'analysis' type questions, you'll pretty much just have to transition between close textual evidence (structural features, language, meta-devices, that sort of thing) and the wider text's messages.
I suppose the best way to force yourself into this is to use the format of the question. Structural ones will usually begin with 'How...' as in 'How does the author's use of X create a sense of Y?' Occasionally some part of the equation will be missing and you'll have to fill in the blanks, eg. 'Discuss the author's use of X' or 'How does the author create Y?'
It all comes down to two questions though: if you've made a statement about the text, how do you know, and why is this important?

eg. Starting point: The character of Marlin in 'Finding Nemo' is initially unsympathetic.
How do I know: He's portrayed as an overbearing, didactic parent who does not allow his son to explore and grow, as is exemplified through the juxtaposition of Nemo with his more liberated peers. (--> seahorse, that other fish... a pink octopus I think?)
Why is this significant: This early representation serves as a contrast to the Marlin we see at the end of the film, thereby highlighting the importance of trusting one's child in order to be a cautious parent, but not overly so.


Thank you so much! loved the example hah!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on March 10, 2015, 09:53:51 pm
honestly speaking, if you get 50% on a sac are your chances of 50 gone? lets assume the class overall did well (say 80% ave)
Honestly speaking, I have no earthly clue what anyone's chances of a 50 are. 'Assuming the class did well' is pretty vague; you could 100% everything from now on which would bump you up the rankings, but realistically, going from 50% to 100% doesn't happen overnight. Plus, there's so much score-changing behind the scenes, so I can't possibly say definitely yes or definitely no. I wouldn't even be confident guessing even after all the SACs are over, let alone after the very first one :P

So I'll resort to my default response to questions like this: does it matter? If you knew you could work like crazy and the very best you could end up with was a 49, would you stop trying? I get that 50 is the aim, and I genuinely applaud you for aiming so high, but constantly obsessing over whether a 50 is possible throughout the year is not the best way of going about things. By all means be aware of your capabilities, but putting the numbers out of your head and just getting work done is far more efficient, and you'll probably get a pleasant surprise come results day.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Eiffel on March 10, 2015, 10:25:10 pm
Very true haha

I haven't got 50 yet (%) but I just feel bad about my sac haha....
Just gotta put the hard work in , and I guess doing awesome on the exam will help significantly.

Do you think teachers will ever accept bribes? Honest question
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on March 10, 2015, 10:33:51 pm
This is how I feel right now for english. There's no hope for me. It seems as much as I try I just see no improvement haha
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on March 10, 2015, 11:19:30 pm
This is how I feel right now for english. There's no hope for me. It seems as much as I try I just see no improvement haha

Well, Magic worked for me 8) so keep your hopes up
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: izzywantsa97 on March 11, 2015, 04:47:18 pm
We have our first essay sac tomorrow and basically I need help incorporating metalanguage/author's craft in. How are you supposed to do it?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: chansena on March 12, 2015, 05:03:25 pm
We have our first essay sac tomorrow and basically I need help incorporating metalanguage/author's craft in. How are you supposed to do it?

What i find useful is always answering,  how does the author do this? I use this when making a new point.  This allows one to explore metalanguage and give an insightful response

Hope this helps :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Eiffel on March 12, 2015, 11:46:23 pm
how often are you guys doing practice essays etc?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: scarletmoon on March 13, 2015, 03:15:27 pm
how often are you guys doing practice essays etc?

I'm going to aim to do at least 1 essay a week or a fortnight
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: JackSonSmith on March 13, 2015, 09:39:41 pm
Here is a link to my personal favorite essay of all time.  (The first essay in the report)

http://www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/Documents/exams/english/english_assessrep_11.pdf


What would the weaknesses of this essay be? What are your opinions of this essay?

Opinions are welcome from everyone.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on March 14, 2015, 12:50:19 am
I haven't got 50 yet (%) but I just feel bad about my sac haha....
Just gotta put the hard work in , and I guess doing awesome on the exam will help significantly.

Do you think teachers will ever accept bribes? Honest question
This is how I feel right now for english. There's no hope for me. It seems as much as I try I just see no improvement haha
Okay, I know the posts above are at least partly in jest, but I'm going to answer these seriously because I think there's an underlying problem here that's unique to English subjects.

Most subjects consist of a fairly straightforward series of tasks: sit down, do exercises 1-5, Qs. a-g; memorise vocab list from chapter 4; do a practice exam, that sort of thing. Many people would argue you can treat English the same way, and that it's just a matter of finding the right activity to work on.

This approach isn't invalid. Plenty of people have scored very highly by simply understanding the system, writing heaps (/"spamming" essays as I'm told da kidz are calling it) and memorising chunks of whatever works.
I feel like this is perpetuated by a lot of schools, tutors, and even professional companies because it's a comfort. Being told you can write a certain number of essays and be certain of a reasonably good mark is nice to hear. And whilst it's not totally untrue, I do think it's contributing to some serious misconceptions regarding the subject.

The best kept secret, I've found, is that although you may score well if you know what to write, you will definitely score well if you know how to think.

This is an unpopular view for good reasons; it's not like a teacher with a class of 30 can feasibly teach students how to think within 8 months, ~4 hours a week, whilst also conforming to a syllabus and the pressure of exams. I'll admit I've caved to this pressure as well with a few of my students, and end up just focusing on criteria and assessment because of time restrictions or other issues.

But English is a subject that rewards thinking.

You can rote-learn. You can know your texts inside-out and study high-scoring responses and annoy your classroom teacher until they give you so much feedback you can predict what they're going to say. What's more, you're going to feel good about this, because you're physically doing tangible work that your brain associates with progress. Even if you're hitting some mental blockades with the content, it'll still feel like improvement because you're working at it.

For some people this is the only way they learn. Quite a few people in my year level would be writing essays from day one. They were atrocious essays, and were in no way indicative of their abilities, but for them, it was a way of consolidating their knowledge.

But the only reason why this works is because of the (often unintentional) tangential benefits.

Doing the 'class-assigned' kinds of activities is a slow-but-effective way to better your thinking. So why do this when you could go for a fast-but-effective method?

Well, partly because it's going to feel slower. You'll be doing unfamiliar things, and for a long time, you'll probably be doing them badly. However, as someone who's seen the system from both sides now, I've concluded this is a much better way of tackling the course.

For starters, let's clarify what's meant by 'thought.' We all know what it means, but strangely it's not a word that gets tossed around in English classes quite so much as 'juxtaposition' or 'inclusive language' might. This can be attributed to it's abstract-ness: your teacher can't see you thinking, save for seeing the result of the process in essay-form.

So when you're getting essay feedback, you're receiving criticisms for the product of your thinking, right? (-Excluding handwriting issues or minor structural things that you maybe weren't aware of.) Here's where problems start to arise...

For anyone who's worked in retail/ hospitality, you'll probably be familiar with copping blame for things totally out of your control. I used to work in a chicken and chip shop, and I'd have customers who would come in and complain about everything under the sun; chips aren't cooked right, the salt is to salty, the chickens are too small, why does this salad have lettuce in it? etc. etc.
I was but a mere server-girl, and so, realistically, if these bitterly displeased customers actually wanted their problems solved, they would have addressed the root of the problem and not hurled abuse and/or utensils at me.

Your English teachers, in this somewhat tortured metaphor, are akin to my old chicken shop patrons. They're not trained to consider the source of their discomfort, be that a misunderstanding of the text or the fact that our shop was drastically understaffed most nights; instead, their natural inclination is to blame what is made apparent:  the wrong words in a body paragraph, or a slightly dirty fork.

When you get comments on your essay like 'needs development' or 'I'm not sure about this,' what your teachers are actually-sort-of-kinda-but-not-really-trying-to-say is change your thinking! But that sounds weird because it's easier for them to focus on your essay itself, and it's less strenuous for students to obsess over numerical scores or criteria than it is to consider the possibility of mind-altering-drugs-study instead.

Now prepare yourselves for
Lauren's foolproof guide for How to Think Good
To demonstrate this we're going to look at a textual excerpt. You don't have to know anything about it, in fact it's better if you don't. I'm adapting this from an Andrew Bovell play called 'Speaking in Tongues' if anyone's interested.
         VALERIE: [answering machine] John, it's me... Valerie. I wish you'd let me do the message.
                       You sound so... I don't know... distant.

To learn how to think properly for English (/Lit, which is what I usually use this example for, but tomaito tomahto) all you have to do is answer this question: What do you know about Valerie and John?
That's all. But fair warning, my answer to this question is over 2000 words long, and that's all without reference to the play this came from.

Most people will fumble for a starting point at first, like 'well, we know she's talking to John on an answering machine, and that she wants to do the message instead of him.' Later, once you get past the basic, denotative stuff, you'll end up in 'assumptions' territory, eg. maybe they're not getting along, and that's why he sounds distant and she's not allowed to do the message. Keep building on this, and eventually you'll reach full blown implications: John is trying to maintain some semblance of power in their marriage by exerting control over petty things like which of them record an answering machine message. Meanwhile, Valerie is able to undermine his authority through criticism; she is still able to voice her objections, meaning he does not have complete command over her.
That's not to say there is a 'right' answer. You could go in a completely different direction, eg. The fact that the two are communicating via an answering machine - an innately indirect form of conversation - suggests they are not able to engage with one another on any level. Both John and Valerie are "distant," and without artificial conduits like answering machines between them, their relationship has very little holding it together.

Evidently what I'm talking about here is more like overthinking than just thinking, but perhaps that's appropriate.
Let me be clear: this will not directly help you. You should not spend 200 words in an English body paragraph analysing two sentences from the text/article. This is not about a subject-specific skillset, this is about rewiring your brain to look at things differently.

In the above exercise, I extrapolated from two lines of dialogue and concluded that the couple had a serious communication barrier between them, and were likely in the midst of some confusion regarding the power balance between them. I could be wrong, but that's not the point. The point is that I can justify my thinking.

I had a teacher who conducted a similar exercise in class and ended it with 'of course you couldn't say something ridiculous like 'this excerpt suggests John wants to grow a beard' or anything.' But I disagree. 
John's lack of control over Valerie signifies his emasculation ,which is exacerbated by Valerie's implied criticism. She is able to express her wants in no uncertain terms, and her power is marked by a stereotypically feminine "I wish you'd let me" brand of passive aggression. Thus, it seems logical then for John to gravitate towards physicality as a means of reasserting himself with something equally gender codified; perhaps a handlebar mustache, or even a proper, fully-fledged man-beard - an ideogram of his patient but firm dominance.
Note: I would never seriously write that in an essay. This was an exercise in thinking, and taking my analysis further than the surface level. Do this often enough, and you begin to get a feel for what actually belongs in an essay, and what's just conjecture.

I know this is quite text-heavy, but a willingness to read is just important as a willingness to write for English :)

Yes, it's frustrating when you're not making obvious numerical improvements, and yes, working out what constitutes as "useful" study is a lot tough in English than it is in other subjects, but it ultimately boils down to your willingness to engage with the material.

Think about stuff, and learn how to demonstrate this thinking in the best way possible. No magic required :)

Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on March 14, 2015, 01:35:56 am
Here is a link to my personal favorite essay of all time.  (The first essay in the report)

http://www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/Documents/exams/english/english_assessrep_11.pdf


What would the weaknesses of this essay be? What are your opinions of this essay?

Opinions are welcome from everyone.
I'm assuming you mean the Bypass Text Response piece?
so glad that text isn't on the list anymore. The Chief Assessor's buddy (also an English teacher) wrote it. Freaking nepotism man, the system's corrupt -.-

Firstly, this would be a pretty solid 10. I mean, I'd give it a 9-ish (~9.3 to be exact,) but it's very well constructed, well expressed, I just think it has some significant faults.

Let's look at the introduction:
Quote
In his meandering tale Bypass: the story of a road, Michael McGirr leads his readers on a journey down 'Australia's main street,' there's no need to quote this; it accomplishes nothing the Hume Highway ensuring that the stretch of bitumen is seen in a unique and refreshing way. This is a filler sentence. I know a lot of people use these just to kick off their intros, and I know some teachers even advocate for them, but personally I find them kinda irritating. General summations of the text and what it accomplishes don't tell me anything new or interesting, and engaging with the prompt from the outset would have been a much better starting point. From his bicycle saddle, McGirr is able to make use of his keen eye for detail as he this could easily be summed up with a couple of words in a much less clunky manner, eg. 'conveys' or 'hones in on.' It's also teetering on that dangerous brink of fawning! >:( >:( >:( Any sentence that's saying something like 'The author's expert elucidation of the human psyche is skillfully crafted to make readers weep with appreciation and joy' is so pointless it makes me weep with boredom. Admittedly, since this text was actually being marked by the author of the poxy text I guess this might have been a strategic thing, but VCAA have since raised their standards, so I'd advice everyone else to steer clear observes, ponders, and enlightens on w.c. You can't 'enlighten on' something the intricacies of human behaviour. Not only does his unique and honest narrative structure bleh, get to the point detail his journey from Sydney to Melbourne, it also offers an insight into the personal and spiritual journey that McGirr has embarked on. FINALLY we get some facet of the prompt being addressed! This is a good starting point, it's just a shame it's the third sentence instead of the first  ::) His physical journey is accompanied by anecdotes from the past, historical insights and aspects of his immense knowledge of literature, as well as the constant embellishment of self-deprecating humour. It's a bit 'list-y' and I'm squinting to see the relevance, but this is getting better. From all Big no-no. Never use absolutes like this, no matter how confident you are aspects of the journey that McGirr includes in his memoir minor quibble, but I can see it a lot in this piece: it's very inefficient. Here the student has written "the journey that McGirr includes in his memoir" instead of just "McGirr's journey" or even just "the text." There's a lot of redundancy and over-clarification - which admittedly is better than under-clarification, but is still a slight flaw his readers are able to learn more of the man himself. In this way, Bypass: the story of a road proves not only to be a detailed account of a bike ride *sigh* have I mentioned how glad I am that this text is gone? but a collection of opportunities to lean about McGirr's own character.
Based on this paragraph alone: meh/10.
Several redundancy issues, not a whole lot of development of the contention (if you can even call "yes, McGirr's character is revealed in his book" a contention,) and it's really not doing anything promising.

The strength is definitely in the body paragraphs, but even then, not entirely perfect. I think having 4 fairly short paras works to the student's disadvantage here because there's very little opportunity for deeper exploration. The majority of points, especially in the second, third, and fourth paras hinge on one or two examples, which is a shame because some of the exploration is well-handled. But when you're trying to draw big conclusions about the author as a character, just giving a really rough overview of key points of evidence is a bit problematic.

There are some missed opportunities for linking sentences at the ends of body paragraphs, and it kind of leaves too much up to the reader to project the analysis onto the essay. The last line is a rather neat summation of the piece (even though it breaks the stringent rule about never EVER using the word 'prove' in English - nothing is ever 'provable,' just 'inferable.')

Whilst I would definitely recommend reading high-calibre essays often, be careful not to glorify certain pieces. The idea should be to read heaps and take little bits and pieces here and there (like, ooh, that kid writes a mean topic sentence, and wow, this essay has some nice quote integration - *STEAL*)
But you don't want to be replicating any approach or format just because someone else scored well with it, especially because you'll be writing on a different prompt for a different (and invariably in this case, better) text.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: KingDrogba on March 14, 2015, 11:11:58 am
What scores do you generally need to achieve a 40 in English?
Both Sacs and exams.

Cheers
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on March 14, 2015, 01:00:48 pm
What scores do you generally need to achieve a 40 in English?
Both Sacs and exams.

Cheers

Generally, 8/10s.
HOWEVER...
- SAC marks will change depending on cohort & exam performance
- getting 8/10 is much easier with some teachers than others
- some teachers mark harshly to scare you into working, and others mark too easy to boost confidence
- getting two or three 8/10s in a row doesn't guarantee you'll get the same score next time
- most people's performance is dependent on prompts (a.k.a. luck on exam day)
- thinking 'oh sweet, I'm getting 8s/9s, imma end up with a 45' is erroneous, and probably the best way to lull yourself into a false sense of security
- likewise, thinking 'Gosh dangit, I'm only getting 7s; oh well, no hope for me then' is also untrue and unhelpful

I think I've made my point :) If you obsess over scores, it will only work to your disadvantage. Focus on the work, and be pleasantly surprised by the end result.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: xleannenguyen on March 15, 2015, 08:02:07 pm
Hi Lauren,
I have trouble 'analysing' or going more in-depth when it comes to Text Response.
I also have difficulties trying to write with clarity and tightening my expression
Is there some kind of structure/formula when writing with complexity?

Thanks :))
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: chansena on March 17, 2015, 06:43:15 pm
Hi,

I am trying to write sentences with a didactic tone, but i am struggling.

I have this thus far.

Children have become immune to their phones, back in the day we would play outside. Is this an example of a didactic tone ?

Could i also have some more examples please . 

Thanks!!


Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: StupidProdigy on March 18, 2015, 05:55:02 pm
Hi Lauren,
I'm not sure if this sentence makes sense? It's just a topic sentence for a paragraph I'm trying to write but I'm not confident I even understand fully what I have said (mainly the extols the virtue of family bit)
'Adiga extols the virtue that family is the most critical feature to an individual and essentially connotes that a “man” must place family at the foremost of his life.'
Thankyou!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: S33667 on March 19, 2015, 09:44:11 am
Hi Lauren,

I just want to thank you for the recommendation to watch Utopia as part of Whose Reality.   After season 1 I was hooked but couldn't quite work out the relevance to my area of study. 

I've just finished Season 2 - All I can say is WOW, talk about messing with my head and making me see reality from different perspectives.   A brilliant TV series and really thought provoking stuff  :)

I'm devastated there's no Season 3  :-X
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on March 19, 2015, 11:56:02 am
Hi Lauren,
I have trouble 'analysing' or going more in-depth when it comes to Text Response.
I also have difficulties trying to write with clarity and tightening my expression
Is there some kind of structure/formula when writing with complexity?

Thanks :))

Are these two issues related? As in, do you have issues with clarity because you're not going into enough depth?
'Clarity' is a fairly ambiguous terms, so let's try and break that down. Firstly, can you understand your own writing? Is it clear to you and not to your teacher, or can you notice the faults and confusion as you read? If it's the former, then you'll need your teacher to explain why specifically your writing isn't clear, and what you can do to fix it. But if you can tell there's something wrong, great! This means you have the right grammar rules in your head; you just get lost because you're rushing or forget to self-edit when you're following the flow of your ideas. If you know you're doing something wrong, you'll probably also have the same intuition when it comes to fixing your mistakes.

With regards to depth - do you not know what to write, or do you not know how to write it? Again, if it's the former, then perhaps sit down with your teacher and try to discuss the text, or read some online resources incl. other people's essays if they're available to you. Having trouble with what to write is an issue with content and understanding, so go back to the text and even comprehension resources if you have to (eg. depending on your text, you might find it helpful to do chapter summaries or annotations that highlight these points where going in-depth is necessary.)

However, if you've got the ideas sorted and just can't put them into words, then chances are you need to work on your expression and/or vocab. Try and be as specific as possible with where you're having trouble. One question many people find helpful is to ask 'when exactly do I hesitate/stop?' If you find yourself pausing at the ends of sentences with no idea where to go, or you finish a paragraph and feel like you've got nothing else to say next, then that's a problem that could be solved with adequate planning and thinking ahead. Whereas, if you stop mid-sentence and feel you don't have the right words at your disposal, then of course your vocab probably needs work.

Now that you've isolated an area that you need to work on, see if you can hone in on the specifics as to where and why you're going wrong :)

Hi,

I am trying to write sentences with a didactic tone, but i am struggling.

I have this thus far.

Children have become immune to their phones, back in the day we would play outside. Is this an example of a didactic tone ?

Could i also have some more examples please .
Not sure why a didactic tone is necessary, but to break it down: didactic means 'designed to teach,' so the tone you're going for would be a sort of aggressive school teacher barking commandments at you. You want to go for very definitive and informative sentences; I'd imagine most newspaper opinion pieces would be good examples of this :)

Hi Lauren,
I'm not sure if this sentence makes sense? It's just a topic sentence for a paragraph I'm trying to write but I'm not confident I even understand fully what I have said (mainly the extols the virtue of family bit)
'Adiga extols the virtue that family is the most critical feature to an individual and essentially connotes that a “man” must place family at the foremost of his life.'
Thankyou!
Mostly okay, but there are a few little issues. 'extols the virtue' is a little clunky, but understandable. 'Connotes' means 'hints at,' but it's usually meant to be used when referring to single words or phrases (eg. the word 'leader' connotes strength and influence, or the phrase 'deaf as a doorknob' connotes ignorance or being unwilling to consider new ideas.) In this case it might be better to use a word like 'suggests' or 'shows.'

Hi Lauren,

I just want to thank you for the recommendation to watch Utopia as part of Whose Reality.   After season 1 I was hooked but couldn't quite work out the relevance to my area of study. 

I've just finished Season 2 - All I can say is WOW, talk about messing with my head and making me see reality from different perspectives.   A brilliant TV series and really thought provoking stuff  :)

I'm devastated there's no Season 3  :-X
You're very welcome! Hope it didn't scar you too much :s In terms of linking it to WR, I probably wouldn't use it as an expository-type example, but funnily enough it relates really well to the idea of utopia and ideal realities. Without spoiling too much for those who haven't seen it, suffice it to say that the two conflicting groups in the series both believe they're doing what's right, and the show plays with that idea in an interesting way.

You could link it to some of the real world ideologies that take a similar view to The Network, and perhaps even link this into a discussion of terrorism and whether these realities can be effective, or the extent to which their coming into conflict is a beneficial. Mainly just a source of inspiration for you to get started :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: S33667 on March 19, 2015, 12:37:07 pm

You could link it to some of the real world ideologies that take a similar view to The Network, and perhaps even link this into a discussion of terrorism and whether these realities can be effective, or the extent to which their coming into conflict is a beneficial. Mainly just a source of inspiration for you to get started :)

This is exactly how it's helped me !   I've been trying to explore ideas around Daesh and foreign fighters.   I've been really focused on propaganda and was a bit lost how people could buy into it all.   But Utopia has really made me think deeper about the impact of an ideologies on your reality.   (and how easy it is to be swayed to a different belief system ... no spoilers, but there was a point where I was wondering if Leporidae was right and should be successful)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on March 19, 2015, 01:24:54 pm
This is exactly how it's helped me !   I've been trying to explore ideas around Daesh and foreign fighters.   I've been really focused on propaganda and was a bit lost how people could buy into it all.   But Utopia has really made me think deeper about the impact of an ideologies on your reality.   (and how easy it is to be swayed to a different belief system ... no spoilers, but there was a point where I was wondering if Leporidae was right and should be successful)

I think that's the mastery of the series - to take such an unequivocally immoral concept and frame it in such a way that you end up almost aligning yourself with the 'evildoers.' It might also be worth juxtaposing this with some psychological theories about people's beliefs and how rigid realities can be - Justification theory, Fallibilism, and Confirmation bias come to mind as some starting points. In fact, even if you're planning on writing an imaginative piece, this kind of research can really help inform your writing. Wikipedia links above should provide you with a rough outline, but you could always do further reading if something piques your interest; let me know if anything doesn't make sense :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Splash-Tackle-Flail on March 26, 2015, 05:42:59 pm
In text response, when writing a prompt, do we have to cover all major events in the novel? Also, would evidence not covered in class (aka minor evidence i guess) create a better impression of your essay to examiners, rather than just using the events discussed by the teacher? How relevant does our response have to be to a prompt, as far as trying to discuss ideas that may go off on a tangent?

Thanks!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on March 26, 2015, 05:55:18 pm
In text response, when writing a prompt, do we have to cover all major events in the novel? No.  Only evidence relevant to your discussion.
Also, would evidence not covered in class (aka minor evidence i guess) create a better impression of your essay to examiners, rather than just using the events discussed by the teacher? The examiner won't know what the teacher taught you.  Still, using minor events shows deeper, wider knowledge of the text rather than shallow surface level, while turning points/major events show you understand the 'big moments', the crux of what's going on.  So I'd use a mixture.  Definitely analyse in depth at home by yourself, do your own investigation rather than just relying on the teacher.  It'll add complexity and insight to your ideas.
How relevant does our response have to be to a prompt, as far as trying to discuss ideas that may go off on a tangent? Relevance is vital!  You can try to weave in stuff you know well, but still have to make it as relevant as possible.  Every single exam report has stressed 'don't be formulaic', i.e. don't rely on pre-prepared somewhat irrelevant stuff.  Everything you say should be trying to discuss the implications of the prompt, not what you would have liked the prompt to be.

(sorry I'm not Lauren :P)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Splash-Tackle-Flail on March 26, 2015, 06:56:49 pm
(sorry I'm not Lauren :P)

Still really helpful haha! Thank you so much!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: JackSonSmith on March 26, 2015, 07:31:35 pm
I just wanted to clarify something.

So long as you reference ideas in your selected text and respond to the prompt, you can write anything in context?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on March 26, 2015, 08:00:30 pm
I just wanted to clarify something.

So long as you reference ideas in your selected text and respond to the prompt, you can write anything in context?

*suspicious glance* Define "anything."
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: scarletmoon on March 26, 2015, 08:58:13 pm
How do you convert 28/30 into a score out of 10?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: JackSonSmith on March 26, 2015, 08:58:19 pm
*suspicious glance* Define "anything."

Some ideas I had: expository/persuasive essay, opinion piece, speech, collection of short stories, brochure?, cartoons?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: JackSonSmith on March 26, 2015, 08:58:50 pm
How do you convert 28/30 into a score out of 10?

Probably 9/10, as 28/30 = 0.933.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on March 26, 2015, 10:33:06 pm
Some ideas I had:
expository/persuasive essay ✓ this would be absolutely fine, and is the most popular form

opinion piece/ speech ✓ ditto, very common, good opportunity if you're a naturally persuasive writer

collection of short stories ✓ valid, but keep in mind this is a ~1 hour writing task, so don't over-reach

brochure? - not sure how you'd do this without folding up your exam papers (and there's probably some ridiculous rule about that) or needing to format weirdly. You can definitely create an informative/expository style piece that would contain the same information as a brochure, but the idea is to have a cohesive piece of writing rather than little tidbits.
Having said that, I did have a few students last year who wrote newspaper/ opinion pieces and actually wrote in columns down the page (ie. they would have taken up maybe five pages of exam paper, but each one would be vertically divided down the middle with a little gap, so the formatting is permissible provided the content is valid.)

cartoons? - I doubt you'd get away with this. I'd love for it to be allowed, but to be honest VCAA have only recently even acknowledged cartoons and multimodal texts as a form of literature; I don't think they'd accept it for a "writing task."
If the concepts and creative progression in graphic novels inspires you, by all means implement that in your writing, but don't stray too far from the idea of an essay if you want to remain in safe territory.

So I guess I should change my Context motto to: 'Anything* goes!*subject to terms and conditions
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: scarletmoon on March 27, 2015, 04:22:15 pm
Is it bad to start a conclusion with "In essence..."? I like it but my teacher told me to avoid conclusions that start like this and I'm not sure why.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Chang Feng on March 28, 2015, 09:39:00 pm
Just wondering, how would you go about structuring your context notes? like i know for text response, you should do character profiles, and thematic analysis. so for context would you do the same things or, what should you do???
THANKS
if that makes sense
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: JackSonSmith on March 28, 2015, 10:54:23 pm
Just wondering, how would you go about structuring your context notes? like i know for text response, you should do character profiles, and thematic analysis. so for context would you do the same things or, what should you do???
THANKS
if that makes sense

So far, I've been making my context notes and filling them under events. eg. Vietnam war: Conflicts that are in parallel with events in Every Man in This Village is a liar.

Essentially I'm just putting my ideas down and then I plan to group them and organise them into categories at a later date, once I have more confidence with my knowledge.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Escobar on March 29, 2015, 12:11:54 pm
this may seem like a weird question but...
this is from Edrolo:
(http://i.imgur.com/E04yipp.png)
as you can see, the answer is A) and C)
how is the answer A) when it is asking for money, not talking about saving money?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: JackSonSmith on March 29, 2015, 12:54:11 pm
this may seem like a weird question but...
this is from Edrolo:
(http://i.imgur.com/E04yipp.png)
as you can see, the answer is A) and C)
how is the answer A) when it is asking for money, not talking about saving money?

Perhaps they are appealing to the 'hip-pocket' of the team. eg. the team needs donations to stay afloat.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on March 29, 2015, 09:19:59 pm
Is it bad to start a conclusion with "In essence..."? I like it but my teacher told me to avoid conclusions that start like this and I'm not sure why.
It's not inherrently bad, but if your teacher doesn't like it, then avoid at all costs.
You might be using it in a strange way, ie. you use a linking phrase but the ideas themselves don't link; you can't just say 'In essence,' at the start unless you're actually talking about the essence of the author's point or your contention. Otherwise it's just a regular conclusion with an odd starting phrase.
In the exam, no teacher would dock marks just for using a word or phrase like this, you just have to be careful that your usage is appropriate.

Just wondering, how would you go about structuring your context notes? like i know for text response, you should do character profiles, and thematic analysis. so for context would you do the same things or, what should you do???
THANKS
if that makes sense
First, go through a bunch of prompts for your Context (there's a big collection in the Resources thread on the main English page if you need) and pick out the major thematic areas you find

eg. Encountering Conflict
- causes of conflict
- the role of power and its effects
- whether conflict is fair/ justifiable
- the lessons we learn from conflict
        ect.

Under each of these umbrella sections, start fleshing out your examples and research. There'll be some overlap, so it's up to you whether you double up and explain the same examples in different ways multiple times, or whether you just type a big version out once and then put (refer to...) in other sections where relevant.
This'll also be an excellent way of finding out where the gaps in your knowledge/ research are. If you find that you have absolutely no examples for, let's say, 'the victims of conflict,' then if you got a prompt pertaining to this area you'd be in trouble. Not only does this help you collate all your examples, but if can help you brainstorm what else you should be reading and exploring for the sake of covering as much of the context as possible.

this may seem like a weird question but...
this is from Edrolo:
as you can see, the answer is A) and C)
how is the answer A) when it is asking for money, not talking about saving money?
I've never heard of Edrolo before so I have no idea what their quality is like, but this seems like the sort of pedestrian analysis the assessors have been criticising lately. Just looking at a dollar sign and calling it an 'appeal to hip-pocket nerve' is like calling anything with a question mark in it a 'rhetorical question' - even if it's true, it's not analysis!

I guess if you're abstractifying the idea of an appeal to financial concerns to mean 'any technique pertaining to the mere mention of money' then this might be accurate, but I'd say you're more likely to elicit an eye roll from an exam marker if you used the 'hip-pocket nerve' as part of your analysis here.

I'm getting strong vibes from Assessor's Reports and the teacher grapevine that the exam will be gearing well away from this kind of technique-labelling anyway. You'd be much better off practicing commentary on kinds of language (eg. imperative, superlative) or understanding the context of persuasion. Techniques are still a good starting point, but they're just a starting point.

edit: JackSon's suggestion would make sense too, but Answer C seems much more sensible. Idk why they've said that  ::)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Escobar on March 29, 2015, 09:40:14 pm
Thanks for your reply :)
our school paid for access to Edrolo, which is a website with lectures
the person in the video is supposed to be an assessor and have a lot of qualifications so seeing that answer was really strange
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on March 29, 2015, 10:11:28 pm
Thanks for your reply :)
our school paid for access to Edrolo, which is a website with lectures
the person in the video is supposed to be an assessor and have a lot of qualifications so seeing that answer was really strange
Since the question was out of context, maybe their explanation made more sense, but objectively speaking it seems like a fairly weak (if not totally wrong) analysis.
Doesn't mean the rest of the content isn't valuable though - almost all teachers have their own strange preferences and recommendations that don't really gel with an exam-perspective, but they're still capable of giving good advice in other areas.
Still, never hurts to double check here or with your teacher if you're ever unsure about something :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Chang Feng on April 01, 2015, 10:47:56 am
THanks.
and also for context, are we required to have quotes from the set text. Or do we need to only take evidence from set text and then analyse how this is relevant to the broader context ie encountering conflict.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: [email protected] on April 02, 2015, 01:12:33 pm
How should I learn the play Macbeth? We are starting it for T.R week 2 of next term, and I'd like to know the play before then. My problem is with Shakespeare plays, just reading the Shakespearean English confuses me, and if I just read it alongside the modern translation I find it incredibly boring and don't get the 'big picture' of what is happening.

Thanks  :D
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: scarletmoon on April 02, 2015, 09:57:31 pm
I'm not sure what this prompt means "Brooklyn is in essence an exploration of place"
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: JackSonSmith on April 02, 2015, 10:38:49 pm
I'm not sure what this prompt means "Brooklyn is in essence an exploration of place"

Perhaps it's about one's place in society. The importance of belonging to a place. Identifying with a place. Where we place our values. etc.

Just my own interpretations.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: StupidProdigy on April 02, 2015, 11:54:28 pm
I'm not sure what this prompt means "Brooklyn is in essence an exploration of place"
Make it what you want it to mean. As long as it is structured well and obviously relates to the text still. There is often questions out there like this which allow you to show your own interpretation of the prompt and show the examiner (or whoever) an alternate discussion . Just make sure to define the key terms the way you see them and are going to explore them :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Chang Feng on April 04, 2015, 01:03:20 pm
For language analysis.
When they say to analysis the writer's different approach. what does it mean by approach??.
Thanks you.
if you understand what i mean
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Chang Feng on April 04, 2015, 01:06:52 pm
For a text response essay.
for every evidence you provide, such as a specific scene, how much explanation do you need to give it. cause teacher said i have tendency to not explain things in enough detail before i move on to next evidence.
Also for the end of year exam are we required to have multiple interpretation for text response and if so how would you implement it in.Also do we need social, historical context for end of year text response essay to.
thanks
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: JackSonSmith on April 04, 2015, 03:17:42 pm
For a text response essay.
for every evidence you provide, such as a specific scene, how much explanation do you need to give it. cause teacher said i have tendency to not explain things in enough detail before i move on to next evidence.
Also for the end of year exam are we required to have multiple interpretation for text response and if so how would you implement it in.Also do we need social, historical context for end of year text response essay to.
thanks

Generally speaking, it's recommended that you explain why/how a piece of evidence fits into/supports your contention.
When it comes to interpretations, it's always going to be best if you use your own unique interpretation of a text. What do you think/believe, based on the evidence from the text.
It is often beneficial to show an awareness of the time period and setting of a text and how they influence key events and characters. I'd certainly consider attitudes and beliefs at the time.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on April 04, 2015, 09:32:31 pm
THanks.
and also for context, are we required to have quotes from the set text. Or do we need to only take evidence from set text and then analyse how this is relevant to the broader context ie encountering conflict.
Quotes are not essential (unless your teacher says they are.)
In the exam, ideas are what counts, so it's enough to just take a key element or occurrence (or possibly multiple if you prefer the 'breadth over depth' approach) in the text and discuss the relevance of that.
In the SAC, whatever your teacher wants is the priority, so if s/he is saying 'put 7 quotes in your introduction and then 5 per paragraph' then that's exactly what you should do :) If they're flexible, then do whatever you like. Some people find using the language of the text to be a very effective way of branching into discussion, but it depends what you're studying and what kind of writer you are. Suffice it to say: no, it's not a Text Response, so quotes aren't necessarily a necessity :)

How should I learn the play Macbeth? We are starting it for T.R week 2 of next term, and I'd like to know the play before then. My problem is with Shakespeare plays, just reading the Shakespearean English confuses me, and if I just read it alongside the modern translation I find it incredibly boring and don't get the 'big picture' of what is happening.
No Fear Shakespeare do the side-by-side translations, so if you're not a fan of the Bard then I'd either get a copy of their version or just read it online. But unless you're a die-hard-English-fanatic, that whole 'you have to read the text first before you read summaries/resources' is nonsense. Read a summary, watch the sparknotes video, watch a film adaptation if you find an accurate one. Watch this.
Read this.
After a battle three witches tell Macbeth (the 'Thane of Glamis' = kind of like an Earl or Nobleman) that he will become 'Thane of Cawdor' (a higher title) and eventually King; and that his friend Banquo will never be king, but his son will. Later the king declares Macbeth 'Thane of Cawdor,' so Macbeth starts to think the prophecy is true. He talks to his wife (Lady Macbeth) who is more power-mad than he is and ever so slightly a hardcore-sociopath, so she encourages him to kill the current king; he does, then feels immensely guilty because kings are 'chosen by God' so he has committed what he believes to be an 'unnatural' act. Macbeth becomes king and plans to have Banquo and his son killed by murderers. The get Banquo, but his son (Fleance, pronounced 'Flee-anse') escapes. Later at a feast, Banquo's ghost rocks up to scare Macbeth, which is largely interpreted to be a manifestation of his guilt, and foreshadows his eventual madness. The witches come back and tell Macbeth he can't be killed by any man who's born from a woman's lady parts, and that he'll be king until trees can walk - he takes this as assurance that he'll be alive and king forever, but madness and guilt have set in and begin to take their toll. Meanwhile his enemy Macduff is ammasing an army, so Macbeth has his family killed just because. Lady M, also wracked with guilt, sleepwalks and says some wonderfully poetic stuff about having bloodstains on her hands, then dies (possibly... this is debatable - she disappears, let's put it that way.) Macduff and his soldiers sneak up on the castle using tree branches to disguise their numbers (ie. trees are walking, hint hint!) Then:: PLOT TWIST: Macduff was a caesarean and not "of woman born" technically speaking, so he kills Macbeth.
The biggest question you're going to have to answer is 'Who is responsible for the tragedy?' to which my response is usually the metaphor of a weed growing; the witches sowed the seed of jealousy and greed, Macbeth's character was the perfect environment for it to grow, and for his ambition to turn ugly, then Lady Macbeth tendered the plant until it became an all-consuming brambles that destroyed pretty much everyone.
Don't worry if you don't instantly grasp the entire texts; most schools do a read through in class so people aren't lost, and there's no shame in using study guides for texts like these. Or any texts really. But let me know if there are any lines in particular that don't make sense... I've studied this text three times now and my copy is so full of annotations it's coming apart at the seams and I think there's more written on post-it-notes than there is in the actual play  ::) #Englishlyf

I'm not sure what this prompt means "Brooklyn is in essence an exploration of place"
Ergh, this is one of those 'The text is about _____' kinds of prompts that VCAA are really fond of  >:( They're kinda boring and hard to write on, but it can be boiled down to 'Discuss the exploration of place in Brooklyn' if that makes it easier.
BUT this is one of those instances where italicisation is critical!
IMPORTANT: For anyone studying: Brooklyn, Cloudstreet, Henry IV, Mabo, Medea, Stasiland, or Wuthering Heights: There is a world of difference between the title of your text, and what the title refers to!!!
VCAA have tried to trick people in the past with this.
In the example given here, think about how different your contention would have to be if you were arguing
- the place Brooklyn is an exploration of place, meaning that the characters there are able to explore the physical place and come to some sort of conclusion about their identities
vs.
- the novel Brooklyn has 'exploring place' as one of its key themes (which, for those who've read it means you'd be discussing Enniscorthy as well as Brooklyn, the place.)
So the difference between: 'Brooklyn' is an exploration of place and Brooklyn is an exploration of place is potentially huge.

I'm assuming it's the former case here, so you should structure your discussion accordingly :)

Make it what you want it to mean. As long as it is structured well and obviously relates to the text still. There is often questions out there like this which allow you to show your own interpretation of the prompt and show the examiner (or whoever) an alternate discussion . Just make sure to define the key terms the way you see them and are going to explore them :)
I mostly agree, but be careful not to 'topic dodge' by going off on too distant a tangent.Provided you're working within the confines of the prompt, you're fine, and totally free to define words however you like.

For language analysis.
When they say to analysis the writer's different approach. what does it mean by approach??.
Thanks you.
if you understand what i mean
Do you mean when you're given multiple articles and have to contrast their approaches? Because this just means discussing their contentions and the means by which they express them; ie. 'Where Author A contends that ___, Author B, by contrast, argues that ____' and 'Author A uses inclusive language in order to... However, Author B uses...' etc.

For a text response essay.
for every evidence you provide, such as a specific scene, how much explanation do you need to give it. cause teacher said i have tendency to not explain things in enough detail before i move on to next evidence.
Also for the end of year exam are we required to have multiple interpretation for text response and if so how would you implement it in.Also do we need social, historical context for end of year text response essay to.
thanks
a) you need to give as much explanation as is necessary. You can assume your assessor has read the text, but if you jump around too much then it can get confusing. Best to defer to your teacher here because they'll be more familiar with your writing than I am.
b) you should try to acknowledge different interpretations where you can, but this isn't big part of the criteria. It mainly just means not being too definitive with your writing (ie. don't say 'This scene proves that the character is jealous' - there is no 'proof' in English.)
c) no T.R. essay has to have socio-historical stuff, but it can help in certain contexts. It depends on the prompt, mostly. If you're asked to discuss a character's relationship or motivations, then spending ages talking about 1950's America or Jacobean England isn't wholly useful; whereas if you're told to discuss the author's views and values, or look at what the text says about society, then showing some awareness of the life and times of the author might be a good idea.
Just don't get too far away from the text and the prompt :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: stockstamp on April 05, 2015, 09:56:48 pm
Should it matter if you branch out from an essay topic a bit?

I'll give some background to this question - we recently completed our first English SAC at school, and I received a lower mark than I was hoping for, and to be honest, lower than I expected (before you write me off as arrogant, please listen read!).

Below is a fairly generic representation of the topic we were given.

"Event A is driven solely by cause B. To what extent do you agree?
         
             To which I responded with something like this...
  1. Cause B is influential - here's why it's influential - here's how it came about
  2. Though Cause B was influential, Cause B itself was actually the product of something much broader, which due to it's impact on Event A, is of a much higher significance than Cause B
  3. Both of my previous paragraphs are relevant, but here's what I think actually drove Event A

As you can see, the first two paragraphs stuck fairly closely to the topic, and made specific mention of what the topic included, whereas the 3rd paragraph was entirely original - I didn't completely agree with the topic ("To what extent do you agree? ..."), therefore I wrote about what I actually thought, even though it was different to where the topic would lead you.

(If this is a bit ambiguous, I can provide the actual essay topic, and what I actually wrote about if necessary.)

Fundamentally, my question is this: Could that third paragraph be a problem?

The  feedback we got for the SAC was pathetic - all we received were numbers.
The Criteria: (each out of 10)
  1. Close analysis and understanding of the chosen text             9
  2. Ability to interpret text in response to the task                       9
  3. Control of the conventions of the English language                10

Yes, this doesn't look like a bad mark on the surface, but a lot of students got 26+/30 who don't write anything original, and don't usually show much depth of thought. Point and click. (This is not an assumption - I have proof read their work in the past) Typically, Criteria 1 and 2 are my strengths! (based on feedback from past few years) I'm better at thinking about, and exploring a topic than using long and fancy vocab - yet I lost marks for the first 2, and actually got full marks for criteria 3. Both my second and third (especially third) paragraphs were original - something the examiners supposedly look for - no one else would have had the 'same' ideas.

English is meant to reward people who think, and my frustration is that I believe thinking cost me marks here - my argument was original, it was relevant and showed logic and depth of thought. But the marks I got lead me to believe that I was penalised because I branched out from the topic. According to my markers, I didn't 'interpret' the prompt properly.

Again, if specifics are required - either because you don't understand what I'm asking, or because you're sceptical (I'm not concerned if you are) - I will provide.


What is your opinion?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: JackSonSmith on April 06, 2015, 10:52:04 am
Should it matter if you branch out from an essay topic a bit?

I'll give some background to this question - we recently completed our first English SAC at school, and I received a lower mark than I was hoping for, and to be honest, lower than I expected (before you write me off as arrogant, please listen read!).

Below is a fairly generic representation of the topic we were given.

"Event A is driven solely by cause B. To what extent do you agree?
         
             To which I responded with something like this...
  1. Cause B is influential - here's why it's influential - here's how it came about
  2. Though Cause B was influential, Cause B itself was actually the product of something much broader, which due to it's impact on Event A, is of a much higher significance than Cause B
  3. Both of my previous paragraphs are relevant, but here's what I think actually drove Event A

As you can see, the first two paragraphs stuck fairly closely to the topic, and made specific mention of what the topic included, whereas the 3rd paragraph was entirely original - I didn't completely agree with the topic ("To what extent do you agree? ..."), therefore I wrote about what I actually thought, even though it was different to where the topic would lead you.

(If this is a bit ambiguous, I can provide the actual essay topic, and what I actually wrote about if necessary.)

Fundamentally, my question is this: Could that third paragraph be a problem?

The  feedback we got for the SAC was pathetic - all we received were numbers.
The Criteria: (each out of 10)
  1. Close analysis and understanding of the chosen text             9
  2. Ability to interpret text in response to the task                       9
  3. Control of the conventions of the English language                10

Yes, this doesn't look like a bad mark on the surface, but a lot of students got 26+/30 who don't write anything original, and don't usually show much depth of thought. Point and click. (This is not an assumption - I have proof read their work in the past) Typically, Criteria 1 and 2 are my strengths! (based on feedback from past few years) I'm better at thinking about, and exploring a topic than using long and fancy vocab - yet I lost marks for the first 2, and actually got full marks for criteria 3. Both my second and third (especially third) paragraphs were original - something the examiners supposedly look for - no one else would have had the 'same' ideas.

English is meant to reward people who think, and my frustration is that I believe thinking cost me marks here - my argument was original, it was relevant and showed logic and depth of thought. But the marks I got lead me to believe that I was penalised because I branched out from the topic. According to my markers, I didn't 'interpret' the prompt properly.

Again, if specifics are required - either because you don't understand what I'm asking, or because you're sceptical (I'm not concerned if you are) - I will provide.


What is your opinion?

I would be very interested in reading your essay if you have it.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on April 06, 2015, 11:05:59 am
Should it matter if you branch out from an essay topic a bit?
Theoretically: no; so long as you're careful.

I'll give some background to this question - we recently completed our first English SAC at school, and I received a lower mark than I was hoping for, and to be honest, lower than I expected (before you write me off as arrogant, please listen read!).

Below is a fairly generic representation of the topic we were given.

"Event A is driven solely by cause B. To what extent do you agree?
For a prompt like this, I'd say you're meant to question absolutes like "solely." An essay that just takes this statement as fact and provides evidence to support it would be quite weak, regardless of how well the discussion was conducted - it'd still be reductive. Having said that, it may depend on the circumstances, so could you let me know which text & prompt you were dealing with.
(I know I tell people to minimise the text-specific nature of their inquiries, but this is one instance that is highly dependent on each individual case :P)

To which I responded with something like this...
  1. Cause B is influential - here's why it's influential - here's how it came about
  2. Though Cause B was influential, Cause B itself was actually the product of something much broader, which due to it's impact on Event A, is of a much higher significance than Cause B
  3. Both of my previous paragraphs are relevant, but here's what I think actually drove Event A
This seems safe, but it could have come across as contradictory if you didn't have a clear, overarching contention. The trouble with 'challenge' paragraphs is that they can subvert your discussion if you don't do them properly; they're meant to give the illusion of challenging your points whilst in reality strengthening your contention.
eg.
Prompt: The tragic downfall of Charlie the Octopus was solely the result of his pride.
Para 1: Charlie's pride is dangerous - here's how it affects him and other characters.
Para 2: His pride is very complex - here's how and why it came about.
Para 3: The tragedy is actually due to lots of different things, not just his pride.
Contention: ?

A structure like this doesn't allow for much complexity because you're limiting yourself to three separate discussions without giving yourself much chance to tie them all together.

As you can see, the first two paragraphs stuck fairly closely to the topic, and made specific mention of what the topic included, whereas the 3rd paragraph was entirely original - I didn't completely agree with the topic ("To what extent do you agree? ..."), therefore I wrote about what I actually thought, even though it was different to where the topic would lead you.
If this was the case, you probably should have been challenging the prompt from the start rather than going along with it for half an essay and then introducing a contrary point. You are allowed to disagree with the prompt*in the exam

Fundamentally, my question is this: Could that third paragraph be a problem?
Yes, but it's more likely that your contention was problematic rather than one specific paragraph letting you down. (This is just conjecture for the moment, so just based on the plan you've outlined) I think you may have lost sight of the implications of the prompt and just been focusing on individual arguments.

The  feedback we got for the SAC was pathetic - all we received were numbers.
The Criteria: (each out of 10)
  1. Close analysis and understanding of the chosen text             9
  2. Ability to interpret text in response to the task                       9
  3. Control of the conventions of the English language                10
Urgh, I hate it when teachers do this; I feel your pain, man. If possible, maybe sit down with your teacher and ask him/her whether there are any specific areas where you could improve? Most will be open to this, and it's a good way to show them you're committed to improving.
If not, it'll be up to you (/ATAR Notes :) ) to find these areas of weakness.
   1. If you've lost a mark here, it's probably the result of some minor interpretational errors throughout your piece. 'Errors in interpretation' is a kind of strange phrase because you'd assume it means 'you thought this character died and they didn't' or 'you thought these characters were in love when they weren't' but more often it's about precision of wording. If there are two characters having a minor disagreement and I call it a 'fight' or 'clash,' this can fall under the umbrella of being an 'interpretational error' even though what's actually wrong is my word choice. Do this a couple of times in a row, and it all adds up to one mark lost (so you may have to pinpoint several 'mistakes' rather than there just being one easily identifiable paragraph/sentence where the mark was compromised.)
   2. *facepalm* I hate vague criteria so much... This is essentially the same as the first, though I'd say this has more to do with how you conduct your discussion in relation to the prompt. So if, in your teacher's opinion, you've gone off-topic or you lacked a cohesive focus, then that could've put you on the 9/10 side rather than the 10/10.

Yes, this doesn't look like a bad mark on the surface, but a lot of students got 26+/30 who don't write anything original, and don't usually show much depth of thought. Point and click. (This is not an assumption - I have proof read their work in the past)
That sounds frustrating and unjust, but short of some Freaky-Friday-teacher-student-brain-swap, there's nothing you can do to change other people's marks. Most of the time, students like this get the marks they deserve at the end of the year when exam criteria comes into play, so I wouldn't worry about it for now. The only thing that's in your control is your own score, so just do what you can to beat your own record rather than other peoples'.

Typically, Criteria 1 and 2 are my strengths! (based on feedback from past few years) I'm better at thinking about, and exploring a topic than using long and fancy vocab - yet I lost marks for the first 2, and actually got full marks for criteria 3. Both my second and third (especially third) paragraphs were original - something the examiners supposedly look for - no one else would have had the 'same' ideas.
Firstly, your strengths will likely fluctuate, and whilst it's good you're aware of what you're confident in, you won't always be losing marks in the same area every time. Secondly, yes the examiners look for originality (and yes, your method is definitely preferable to the passive 'Yes, because A B and C' approach a lot of other students take) but that's more of a secondary component of the criteria. No. 1 is RELEVANCE! Id what you're writing isn't relevant, you could be doing absolutely everything else perfectly but that wouldn't matter.

My English teacher said he once marked an exam piece on Shakespeare's Richard III, the first line of which was 'Richard III is a tragic play written by William Shakespeare, just like Macbeth' and from there on, it was a Macbeth essay. He said it was the best Macbeth essay he'd ever read, but it was still on the wrong text. From memory he ended up taking it to the Chief Assessor like 'wtf do I do with this?' See- the technical criteria VCAA operate on contains things like 'ability to use language appropriate to the task' and objectively speaking, the student did that perfectly. But relevance rules everything, and that kid got a 1/10 cause at least he got the author right.

Thirdly, you have no idea whether or not other people will have the 'same' ideas; don't rely on this to boost you up. Maybe your class is comprised of sheep who never think independently, but that won't mean the rest of the state will be. Maybe they wrote totally different ideas, but they did it better. Even though you're being compared to the state's standards at the end of the year, for now and for the sake of self-improvement, best to put other people's capabilities out of your mind and concentrate on your own work in a vacuum.

English is meant to reward people who think
English is meant to do a lot of things. Unfortunately English is run by English teachers who are flawed at best and downright petty at worst. I'm not saying this to make you cynical or pessimistic, but you need to be aware of this subject's... subjectivity. For the most part, if you're hitting the criteria then you're safe, but you'll still be relying on the assessors to recognise what you're doing is right.

Given we're now in the 7th year of this study design, VCAA have essentially weeded out any ridiculously biased exam markers and the standards are pretty clear now, but if you really want to do well: you have to think like an assessor, not like whoever wrote the criteria.

and my frustration is that I believe thinking cost me marks here - my argument was original, it was relevant and showed logic and depth of thought. But the marks I got lead me to believe that I was penalised because I branched out from the topic. According to my markers, I didn't 'interpret' the prompt properly. Again, if specifics are required - either because you don't understand what I'm asking, or because you're sceptical (I'm not concerned if you are) - I will provide.
If you want a second/exam-based opinion I'm happy to offer one, but the most helpful thing to do at this juncture would be to talk to your teacher/markers whenever possible. Even if it turns out what you're doing is completely acceptable from an exam point of view, you'll still have three or four more in-house SACs to complete where you're writing for your teachers, not the examiners. It appears you're in the unfortunate situation of needing to learn two ways of writing; one that hits your teacher's preferences, and an objectively 'safe' way to write for the end of the year. Luckily the two shouldn't be too radically different (your teacher hasn't given you fours when you deserved tens) but you'll still need to split your mindset between these two modes of writing.

And even if your teacher is an exam marker - no teacher marks SACs the same way they mark exams. For SACs they're trying to mould how you write, and are allowed to let their inherent biases come to the surface. In the exam, they can't afford to do this.

Let's say you had one of those weirdly restrictive teachers who said 'unless you use 7 quotes per paragraph I'll never give you full marks.' In the SACs they could enforce this, but when they're marking exam papers, there are different standards. Every essay is marked at least twice by two different people, so if the marks are too far apart, it goes to a third assessor and they take the closest of the scores.
eg.
Suppose I wrote an essay that one teacher (A) gave a 5/10 because it pissed her off for some reason, while another teacher (B) gave it a 10/10 because I'm wonderful. My essay would then get sent to a third assessor (C,) who agrees with B that I'm wonderful and gives me a 9/10. My score would end up being 19/20; assessor A's name goes on a 'watchlist' of sorts, and if they're continually assigning suspicious or questionable marks, they're kindly asked to step down from their role as an exam marker. Like I said, most of these wacky markers have been gotten rid of over the years, so nowadays you won't see much disparity, but it still pays to be aware of the process.

You certainly seem like a competent writer, and I'm sure the rankings/SAC scores will even themselves out in the end, so I'd say don't panic too much. Just be clever about how you approach your SACs and be aware of your audience. Some subtle conversations with your teacher about what they like to see wouldn't go astray either :)

But thank you so much for being specific with your question! This is way easier to respond to than 'I only got 28/30! Whyyyy?'

If you want me to be more specific, let me know what that prompt was and I can deconstruct it with you.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: izzywantsa97 on April 06, 2015, 02:03:52 pm
When language analysis articles contain quotes, are we supposed to analyse the persuasive devices within that quote?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: stockstamp on April 06, 2015, 02:34:38 pm
This is outstanding feedback!
After reading it I'm beginning to think that perhaps my biggest problem (among others - including irrelevance) was not having a clearly defined contention. That's essentially because I didn't really have a one-sided view. Considering your feedback, I would say that my SAC did not deserve full marks - but when considering the reasonably high marks that some other students got, I honestly believe I was marked much more stringently.

Usually when I write, I land somewhere in the middle of the given essay topic. Which is sort of what happened in the SAC. But would this be a problem generally - do you need to ultimately agree/disagree with a prompt?

In response to your suggestion about going through it with my teacher - I will do that, but it will be useless. All my teacher will do is point out some areas that she thinks don't have good enough expression. To which I will respond by reminding her that I got full marks for expression....
I actually asked her if I could take the essay to another teacher (who I've had in previous years) - she didn't allow it....

I think at this stage it's probably best to give a specific example; the SAC we completed was done under test conditions in class (though we were given the topic early), so all I have is a rough draft; Although the ideas were essentially the same, the writing changed a lot in test conditions, and the draft itself is very rough.

However, I have an essay characteristically very similar that was done as coursework, but not a SAC. The feedback I got for that suggests a similar issue - perhaps there's a slight irrelevance in my writing, but certainly there is no clear overall contention. I landed on both sides of the argument.
But once again, I would say the strength of this essay is that it's original, and explores the topic with a bit of depth.

This lost marks for the same criteria, and I'm not certainly not saying it deserved full marks, but it suffered similar scrutiny. I'll include it below.

P.S. I understand that you've already vested a lot of time into answering my question so if you don't want to respond then by all means don't. The feedback you already gave was immensely useful.
But - I once heard the almighty Christopher Hitchens say "We should pursue this, we've barely got our trousers off". So if you're feeling a bit that way, my essay is below :)


Medea Text Response
Medea suggests that the world is depressing and chaotic, where evil triumphs and innocence suffers.
To what extent do you agree?


The world created in Euripides’ Medea is one where there is an irrefutable presence of evil and suffering; darkness pervades the play at many points, but whether or not it is the dominant characteristic of the play is less certain. Although Medea is ultimately triumphant in her quest for vengeance on Jason, the idea that ‘evil’ itself is triumphant in the overall sense of the play at its conclusion is much less true. The evidence for this is that despite the turmoil of the play, there is still an obvious existence of love, compassion and grief; emotions which are polarised against evil. Furthermore, while Medea herself is the primary instigator of the most tragic event in the play, she could also be described as an innocent victim, for it was Jason’s betrayal of her that allowed for the ensuing evil in the play. Essentially, this could be attributed to that fact that Euripides appears to have intentionally constructed a somewhat depressing and unjust world within Medea – an idea which can be supported in multiple forms.

Medea is perhaps the only character within Euripides’ tragedy who could be described as triumphant. While all of the characters (including Medea) experience suffering, directly or indirectly, Medea is the only character who actually achieved something. In her sycophantic interactions with Aegeus, Medea secured a safe haven she could flee to after committing her crimes – something of a minor triumph – and her primary triumph; seeking revenge on Jason, the need for which drove her actions throughout the entire play. Jason’s exclamation that “you [Medea] have destroyed me, lady!” [1310] is the moment that ultimately confirms Medea’s triumph. To suggest, however, that because Medea is triumphant, therefore evil is triumphant, implies that Medea is wholly evil, which may not necessarily be true. It was revealed very early in the play that pertaining to Medea was the capacity for acts of an evil nature. She successfully “persuaded Pelias’ daughters to kill their father” [11], she betrayed her own family prior to the beginning of the play and the nurse’s repeated reference to “that savage temperament of hers” [105] are all reasons that the audience may judge her as innately evil. The strongest evidence within the play that seems to suggest Euripides intended for Medea to be perceived as evil is when the chorus become polarised against her (something rather unusual to Greek tragedy) and “beg [her] not to murder [her] children” – a statement that likely reflects Euripides’ view. Yet in spite of this, it is also reasonable for one to regard Medea as not evil, but rather a victim of unforgiving circumstances paired with an overly passionate personality. In the moments leading up to the tragic climax, Medea appears to have a moment of clarity where she exclaims “Ah, stop, my heart, do not do this deed!” [1057] and describes her plan as a ‘terrible’ crime. She continues in this episode of compassion to even comment on how she “loved to hug them!” [1057]. The revelation in this scene is that Medea may not in fact be inherently evil; rather she was traumatised to the extent that she was driven solely by passion. In her own words, “passion is master of my reason” [1079]. So although whether or not Medea should be described as intrinsically evil is decided by the audience, it is clear that the suggestion that she is triumphant is not paired with the statement that ‘evil’ is triumphant.

While most of the characters of Medea are not portrayed as particularly honourable, it is the vehement nature of Medea that allows her to potentially be labelled as evil. And though Medea is the character who experiences triumph, the force of ‘evil’ itself is not triumphant; the contrary is in fact much more probable. Evil is present in a multitude of scenes throughout the play, but presence alone is not enough to evil to be the leading thematic characteristic in the play. The presence of love is far more prominent. Medea’s methods of exacting vengeance are entirely dependent on the reality that love exists between Jason and his children, Jason and Medea and Creon and his daughter; if it did not exist Medea would not be able to cause any emotional suffering. At the moment where Medea confronts Jason, the justification he provides for his actions is the claim that he “wanted to raise my sons in a manner worthy of my house” [562]. Many audiences would doubt the sincerity of this claim, but the sheer anguish and grief found in his exclaims of “O children, my dear, dear children!” [1396] after their death might in fact be sufficient enough evidence to validate his apparent wishes of acting for the benefit of his children, regardless of whether or not selfishness was involved. Whichever perspective one takes however, the conclusion of the play alone makes it undeniable that Jason loved his children. This sense of fraternal love, although it lapses for the majority of the play, is also shown to exist in Medea, despite the horrific nature of her actions. The driving feature of Medea was her passion, which is why this love appeared to be so repressed, but in the moments where Medea’s passion receded to a less influential feature, Euripides showed it still existed. “O how I love to hug them” [1075] she cries in this moment. Love is also to be found in Medea through Creon, and the love he bears for his daughter, which is so strong that upon seeing her death Creon is so devastated that he wishes he could “share your [Glauce’s] death” [1210]; it pained him to the extent that he could not even bear to live. The final obvious reference to love in the play is the love Medea supposedly bore for Jason, but realistically, any feelings she may have once had should be dismissed as a mere extension of her passion, far removed from the concept of deep and genuine love. Yet even with that truth in mind, the sincere despair found within the statements of Creon and Jason display an inherent sense of strong morality and the capability for love and compassion. Without these fundamental values the play could scarcely be labelled a tragedy; they are essential to evoking an emotional response from the audience and their overall relevance effectively disproves the idea that ‘evil’ is triumphant. As a force, the evil in Medea is countermanded by the overwhelming evidence for love in combination with the sense of rancour the audience would regard Medea (undisputably the most ‘evil’ character) with.

The primary feature of Medea that leaves absolutely no ambiguity is that of suffering, and specifically, the unjust suffering of the innocent. The suffering of innocents takes place in the form of Medea’s children, where she murders them out of her own selfish desire for revenge. This was the incident that ultimately polarised both the audience and the chorus against her; the children were innocent in all sense and their murder was a crime that Medea herself described as ‘terrible’. Yet the sense of injustice aligned with these actions permeates the entire play to the extent that these murders may in fact simply have been the materialisation of the generally chaotic and depressing world created by Euripides. The children’s death were but one of many examples of innocence suffering; some would perceive Glauce and Creon as innocent, but furthermore and most significantly, Medea herself may be a victim of this dark world. At the opening of the play, the Nurse explained that “Jason has betrayed my lady [Medea] and his own children for a princess’ bed” [18], causing Medea to feel “the sting of injustice” [110]. In Medea’s acrimonious feministic speech she highlighted the suffering of women as a result of the underlying sexism Greece. The ancient Greek societal paradigm of the ideal woman was one where they were forced to take “a master to play the tyrant with [their] bodies” []; a concept that modern audiences would recognise as appalling. Aside from these specific examples of where innocents suffer, Euripides provided several comments that essentially prove that he intended for the world of Medea to be somewhat depressing. The seemingly pessimistic statement given by the messenger (who existed purely to provide commentary on the play) – “When fortune’s tide flows towards him, one man may surpass another in prosperity, but you should not call him happy” [1231] - suggests that Euripides may have been deliberately attempting to remove happiness from the play; suffering of innocents and the depressing characteristics were an inevitability, designed by Euripides. This may have been done simply to further dramatize the play for the benefit of the audience, or possibly it was a reflection of Euripides’ personal views. Regardless of the reason for the depressing nature of the play, the innocent do suffer in many forms.

Ultimately, it is clear that the world described by Euripides in Medea is one where suffering, evil and darkness have a significant presence. The suggestion that evil is triumphant, however, essentially depends on the interpretation of the context of evil. If ‘evil’ refers specifically to Medea, then it is triumphant, as Medea is the only character who experiences anything that could be described as a triumph. If ‘evil’ is a more generic reference to the concept of ‘evil’ as a force though, it is far from triumphant. Though the play is characteristically dark and depressing, the power of love still seeps through much of the play.

Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on April 06, 2015, 10:57:07 pm
When language analysis articles contain quotes, are we supposed to analyse the persuasive devices within that quote?
You can discuss the fact that the author chooses to include a certain quote, but in terms of conducting an analysis on what the author of the quote was intending, then no.

eg. Article by Author A: In fact, many experts would agree with this assertion, such as Person B who was quoted in The Financial Review as saying "this is a great idea; only morons disagree!"
Your analysis: Author A invokes the opinion of Person B who A describes as an "expert" in order to accentuate the inferred accuracy of the claim that...
Wrong analysis: Author A includes a quote from person B who uses certain rhetorical devices in order to get his point across, like attacking dissenters as "morons" which compels readers to...

-

...considering the reasonably high marks that some other students got, I honestly believe I was marked much more stringently.
This might have been intentional. Again, I'm not your teacher so I don't know what standards they're using, but I do know that not every teacher applies the same objective end-of-year standards to all students. Some people benefit from ridiculously high (even unattainable?) standards as this encourages them to work harder; others prefer to be given credit for every minor improvement they make in order to show them what they need to do to change the mark. (Basically one group of people will prefer to get 6/10 all year from an exam perspective and then gradually work up to 10/10, whereas others like getting 10/10 from a March/April perspective, and then having the criteria and standards change as they do.) To give your teacher the benefit of the doubt, perhaps s/he ismarking you by different standards, but is doing this deliberately for the sake of your improvement  ???
 
Usually when I write, I land somewhere in the middle of the given essay topic. Which is sort of what happened in the SAC. But would this be a problem generally - do you need to ultimately agree/disagree with a prompt?
Think of it like a spectrum:
AGREE l--------*--------l--------*--------l DISAGREE
You don't want to be at either end of the scale, because that makes your essay too reductive (there are never objectively true or false statements when it comes to interpretation: you couldn't say 'Medea's fate is completely and utterly attributable to her inability to forgive; nothing more, nothing less' as though that was a blanket truth about the text with no exceptions.)
But you also don't want to fence-sit! ie. have an interpretation that's right in the middle of the spectrum, because it comes across as noncommittal (eg. 'Medea's fate is slightly sometimes because of this but also lots of other factors but she deserves it, but she doesn't necessarily, but Jason's to blame, but maybe he isn't...' etc. etc.) <-- that's an extremely oversimplified example obviously, but that's how a contention can seem.
Ideally you want to be at the (*) locations where you've got a clearly definied focus but you're not reduced to being blind to alternate points of view.

In response to your suggestion about going through it with my teacher - I will do that, but it will be useless.
Do it anyway.
a) because even if it's a superficial gesture that you don't learn anything from, at least it makes it seem like you're dogged enough to take time out of your life to speak to her about your approach and
b) if you ask the right questions in the right way, it will be at least somewhat useful.

All my teacher will do is point out some areas that she thinks don't have good enough expression. To which I will respond by reminding her that I got full marks for expression.... I actually asked her if I could take the essay to another teacher (who I've had in previous years) - she didn't allow it....
Trust me, I totes know where you're coming from on the 'unhelpful teacher' front; sometimes you just have to swallow your pride and be a tad manipulative. Without sounding too judgmental, is there a chance your teacher took your request to get a second opinion as an insult about her own impartiality or competence? There is a world of difference between approaching a teacher and saying 'Hey Miss, I know I've done fairly well on this SAC but I was wondering if you could clarify a few points for me... you said I've used poor expression in these places: do you have any strategies or examples so I can do this better?' and 'Hey Miss, I don't think this SAC mark is what I deserve; mind if I go next door and consult with this other teacher who I like better?' I'm sure you weren't that obvious, but still, think about the questions you're asking. (Make them as specific as the ones you're asking here - because these are spot on!) Your first priority is remaining on your teacher's good side; your second priority is getting her to answer your questions and help you... but you can't get the second without the first.

I won't correct your whole essay for the sake of time, but just some general notes:
Medea suggests that the world is depressing and chaotic, where evil triumphs and innocence suffers.
To what extent do you agree?
Hmm... this is clunkily worded...
Okay, the way I see it - it comes down to clauses. You could either view this as:
1) Medea suggests the world is depressing and chaotic whereby evil triumphs and innocence suffers
or
2) Medea suggests the world is depressing and chaotic because evil triumphs and innocence suffers.
Frustratingly, both would be feasible from a grammatical point of view, but I think the first meaning is semantically more sound. So where you've interpreted this as conveying a causal link between A and B, the prompt is in fact just one big statement about the world of Medea, ie instead of [world=depressing/chaotic] because of [the triumph of evil and the suffering of innocence]; it's [world=depressing/chaotic/evil-triumph/innocent-suffering]
Does that make sense?

You also seem to be able to use definitive language (eg. 'The evidence for this is that...') without having a very definitive contention which is why your teacher may keep harping on about expression even though you're getting full marks in that criteria. And I know you said this was a rough draft, but I can understand an even-handed assessor docking a few points for expression here and there.

The criteria are not independent! Sometimes screwing up one can have a carry-over effect, and sometimes doing one thing wrong can hide a whole lot of other problems under the surface. This is most often the case for issues of expression; they're the easiest thing in the world for teachers to notice because they don't have to pay attention to what you're conveying - just the grammar, spelling, and syntax you've used to convey it. So you could get a whole page full of corrections regarding expression and think 'oh cool, I'm doing everything else right, I've just gotta fix my shitty writing.' Wrong. That's just the first 'level' you have to address before you start dealing with all the other issues that crop up.

This is what I meant when I said 'you won't always be losing marks in the same area every time.' Not only will your approach vary for every prompt you write on, but you'll also be demonstrating different skills or imperfections each time, so don't be too perturbed if you're suddenly losing marks in an area when you weren't before.

Incidentally: your school might enforce different rules for now, but there's no need to reference page or line numbers in your exam :)

The third paragraph here seems a little out-of-focus, almost as though it's just a discussion of innocence in the text generally and not about how the suffering of innocents pertains to the depressing or chaotic nature of the world of the text (hence why you should always be rounding your points back to the WHOLE prompt rather than just a single aspect of it.)

But once again, I would say the strength of this essay is that it's original, and explores the topic with a bit of depth.
Relevance > Originality every time. You don't want to focus too much on originality because after a point it just gets risky. There's no requirement to blow the assessor's mind with a never-before-seen interpretation; it's enough to talk about the prompt with sophistication and in a way that flows logically. Based on the few Medea essays I've read so far, I'd say your interpretation is pretty standard (which is not in any way a bad thing; it just means that you won't necessarily stand out on that level alone.) And you shouldn't want to. The markers can't give you full credit for all the little things you're doing right if you've totally shell-shocked them with a world view they've never considered before, so rather than reaching for the stars, think of your English essays like neat little criteria-fulfilling devices that are being programmed to do everything the assessor wants. Originality is a very small part of that very big picture.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on April 11, 2015, 10:23:31 am
^ Please post essays requiring feedback in the English Work Submission and Marking board so the questions thread doesn't get cluttered; I'll try to get to it there, if someone else more qualified doesn't mark it first :)

EDIT: Eek, sorry, just realised you did put it there ::)...
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: JackSonSmith on April 13, 2015, 05:40:31 pm
Ways to "spice" up context essays

My English teacher has told me that assessors do not like "straight" essays and that they are pushing more more creative/imaginative pieces.

I was wondering, are there any good ways to integrate some "salt and pepper" into a plain essay, as these are what I am comfortable writing?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on April 13, 2015, 07:32:26 pm
Ways to "spice" up context essays

My English teacher has told me that assessors do not like "straight" essays and that they are pushing more more creative/imaginative pieces.

I was wondering, are there any good ways to integrate some "salt and pepper" into a plain essay, as these are what I am comfortable writing?

I believe the assessors are pushing creativity, but this doesn't necessarily mean they want people to write in a completely imaginative style.

It depends how radically you want to change what you're doing at the moment; if your expository skills are bang on, then it would just be 'salt and pepper' seasoning, as you put it, that could help you stand out. But if your pieces are lacking development or complexity, then these creative elements would require more careful thought and might be trickier to implement straight away.

Some options: (mainly focusing on what to do structurally; let me know if you need clarification with content as well)

If any of these pique your interest and you want more info or some examples of how they work, let me know and I'll try and hunt down some of my old pieces or other links :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: JackSonSmith on April 13, 2015, 09:17:22 pm
I believe the assessors are pushing creativity, but this doesn't necessarily mean they want people to write in a completely imaginative style.

It depends how radically you want to change what you're doing at the moment; if your expository skills are bang on, then it would just be 'salt and pepper' seasoning, as you put it, that could help you stand out. But if your pieces are lacking development or complexity, then these creative elements would require more careful thought and might be trickier to implement straight away.

Some options: (mainly focusing on what to do structurally; let me know if you need clarification with content as well)
  • bookend
    For those who aren't familiar with what a 'bookend' is:
    (http://img.designswan.com/2010/01/bookEnd/2.jpg)
    They're basically devices for keeping a stack of books together on a shelf, with or without stylised designs like above. In essay terms, this translates to doing something at the start and at the end of your piece that 'holds it all together,' so to speak. It could be just a brief quote or idea, or it could be an entire paragraph, but the aim is to have something that frames your piece by being on either end of your essay.
  • 'thread'/weaving
    This is similar to bookending, only it will occur constantly. In essence you have a 'thread' that is continually woven back and forth throughout your piece (which also serves to 'hold things together' and provide cohesion.) For instance, you might maintain a focus on a certain culture, eg. Malaysia, so that all of your examples revolve around this idea.
     --> P1: Dutch colonisation and how their culture changed; P2: military culture (compulsory army service at age ~17 I think); P3: globalisation and its impact on more remote lifestyles ... obvs haven't lined to the context here, and you could use supplementary points where needed, eg. juxtapose their colonisation with more/less brutal ones in other nations.
  • reincorporation
    Kind of the halfway point between a bookend and a thread; this is where you bring up a similar idea/quote/point/metaphor/thing a couple of times, but give it a different meaning each time. It shouldn't be as in-depth as a properly woven 'thread,' but it also doesn't have to occur just at the start and the end like a bookend does.
  • interpolation
    Also known as 'interruption' or 'criss-crossing' where you are essentially writing two pieces (eg. a normal expository essay + a creative POV short story) but you alternate between paragraphs. If done properly, this should result in a dual piece that explores similar concepts in two different ways, ie. the expository sections takes care of the necessary theorisation and links to context, and the creative parts show these ideas in practice.
  • blend
    This one's really open ended, but it essentially just means turning a purely expository piece into more of a hybrid (which is gradable; there are different levels of 'hybridisation' so you don't have to go all in.) Often this is where news feature articles or creative background contexts (as in, pretending you're a war correspondent or a major world leader) come into play.

If any of these pique your interest and you want more info or some examples of how they work, let me know and I'll try and hunt down some of my old pieces or other links :)

Thank-you for your very helpful reply.

Are there any examples of interpolation and blend? They sound interesting but seem somewhat difficult to implement.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: lisax3 on April 15, 2015, 04:42:40 pm
Is it possible to over analyse in language analysis? Such as over analysing what the effect of a particular technique has on the audience?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: HighTide on April 15, 2015, 06:45:31 pm
Is it possible to over analyse in language analysis? Such as over analysing what the effect of a particular technique has on the audience?
I was also wondering the same. My language analysis doesn't really have a grouped structure but instead from top to bottom  to build up the intended effect which positions the readers to do something overall... My teacher said that it depends on the significance of the effect and suggested I pick out the predominant persuasive techniques.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on April 15, 2015, 09:59:26 pm
Is it possible to over analyse in language analysis? Such as over analysing what the effect of a particular technique has on the audience?
Yes, definitely. Though there's a distinction to be drawn between over analysis and wrong analysis.

If you start delving into the audience's psyche and talking about complex mind manipulation techniques - that's over analysis.

But more likely this problem will arise when you're trying to assert something that can't be justified, eg. the author's use of the word 'sad' is likely to make the audience spiral into a state of eternal melancholy from which they will never recover - which would be wrong.

It really depends on the context, and I don't want to say 'steer clear entirely' because getting into an overly analytical mindset is actually really helpful for English as a whole. The trick is to know when to reign it in.
If you post an example of what you mean (or of what your teacher pointed out in your work, as I'm assuming is the case?) I might be able to clarify further.

I was also wondering the same. My language analysis doesn't really have a grouped structure but instead from top to bottom  to build up the intended effect which positions the readers to do something overall... My teacher said that it depends on the significance of the effect and suggested I pick out the predominant persuasive techniques.
If you're looking for a means of structuring things, I can recommend the key player method (check the first post in this thread for links to explanations - then you can get back to me if anything doesn't make sense.)

Structuring by techniques isn't the worst way of doing things, but it sounds like your current approach would be more conducive to building up an overall analytical piece rather than writing something that reads like it's a bullet point list of separate analyses all crammed together in an arbitrary paragraph.

But as usual, listen to your teacher for SACs. Be the system, beat the system  ;D
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: thaaanyan on April 16, 2015, 11:24:37 am
Hey Lauren,
I really like the idea of interpolation and blend, but i'm not sure how to go about analysing a prompt with the format. like with interpolation, does the story have to be connected to the expository? or it completely a different piece? are they any examples? i've been hunting through the resource thread and i can't seem to find any!
thank you :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on April 16, 2015, 12:25:41 pm
Okay turns out the examples I had from Year 12 aren't as great as I remembered :p looking through them now there's so much stuff that looks clunky and out of place, so I might just write up a new one over the weekend so I can demonstrate the different ways of doing things. I'll post it in the Resource & samples thread when I'm done :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: chansena on April 16, 2015, 06:35:00 pm
Okay turns out the examples I had from Year 12 aren't as great as I remembered :p looking through them now there's so much stuff that looks clunky and out of place, so I might just write up a new one over the weekend so I can demonstrate the different ways of doing things. I'll post it in the Resource & samples thread when I'm done :)

Hi,

Did you by any chance have a hybrid essay or a feature article? I'm looking at doing one for context 

If you could upload one or PM me one that would be great :)

Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: HighTide on April 16, 2015, 08:20:31 pm
Okay turns out the examples I had from Year 12 aren't as great as I remembered :p looking through them now there's so much stuff that looks clunky and out of place, so I might just write up a new one over the weekend so I can demonstrate the different ways of doing things. I'll post it in the Resource & samples thread when I'm done :)
Hello, so I take it from "Be the system to beat the system" that you adhered to the structure (assumption) set by your school or was not far off? If so, was your ability to do a comparative analysis much simpler when you followed the normal structure?
The thing is, with my structure of language analysis, there's no comparison of the techniques or key arguments but more a comparison of the approach, intended effect and positioning... Would I be better off trying the standard structure?
Thanks.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on April 16, 2015, 08:37:59 pm
Hi,

Did you by any chance have a hybrid essay or a feature article? I'm looking at doing one for context 

If you could upload one or PM me one that would be great :)
Will upload on Saturday with the other bits and pieces :)
#still writing year 12 essays to procrastinate from writing uni essays.....

Hello, so I take it from "Be the system to beat the system" that you adhered to the structure (assumption) set by your school or was not far off? If so, was your ability to do a comparative analysis much simpler when you followed the normal structure?
The thing is, with my structure of language analysis, there's no comparison of the techniques or key arguments but more a comparison of the approach, intended effect and positioning... Would I be better off trying the standard structure?
Thanks.
I'm not quite sure what you mean by 'normal structure,' but yes, I caved to the recommendations my school provided (though admittedly I got lucky with my teacher and he was pretty chill about our individual approaches) and the way I wrote in the exam was slightly different, but not by much.

In terms of comparison, it really isn't a big deal. There aren't any marks assigned to it, and you should never compare at the expense of analysis. In fact many of the exams in previous years (5/7 in the current study design, actually) haven't involved any comparison between different articles at all - it's just been one core text and then one or two visuals. The only exceptions were 2011 *spits* and 2014 which is probably a better one to practice :)

When you do need to compare articles, you can either do it by transitioning between them by commenting on their overall contention (ie. Author A argues ____, whereas Author B disagrees and instead suggests ____) or you can find a connection on the language/technique level and say 'Author A uses _____ in order to... However, Author B uses a different technique to the same effect//or// uses the same technique to a different effect.'
There's no inherent advantage in doing it one way or the other, and so long as your piece shows an awareness of both levels (ie 1. the broad, big picture contentions and sub-arguments and 2. the close features and language employed by the author(s)) then you should be fine.

Hope that answers your question, though I don't know what 'standard structure' you're referring to. If it's the key player method I mentioned, that's not technically 'standard;' it's just what I wholeheartedly recommend as being the most efficient way to order your essay, whether you need to do comparative analysis or not :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: HighTide on April 16, 2015, 09:15:11 pm
Will upload on Saturday with the other bits and pieces :)
#still writing year 12 essays to procrastinate from writing uni essays.....
I'm not quite sure what you mean by 'normal structure,' but yes, I caved to the recommendations my school provided (though admittedly I got lucky with my teacher and he was pretty chill about our individual approaches) and the way I wrote in the exam was slightly different, but not by much.

In terms of comparison, it really isn't a big deal. There aren't any marks assigned to it, and you should never compare at the expense of analysis. In fact many of the exams in previous years (5/7 in the current study design, actually) haven't involved any comparison between different articles at all - it's just been one core text and then one or two visuals. The only exceptions were 2011 *spits* and 2014 which is probably a better one to practice :)

When you do need to compare articles, you can either do it by transitioning between them by commenting on their overall contention (ie. Author A argues ____, whereas Author B disagrees and instead suggests ____) or you can find a connection on the language/technique level and say 'Author A uses _____ in order to... However, Author B uses a different technique to the same effect//or// uses the same technique to a different effect.'
There's no inherent advantage in doing it one way or the other, and so long as your piece shows an awareness of both levels (ie 1. the broad, big picture contentions and sub-arguments and 2. the close features and language employed by the author(s)) then you should be fine.

Hope that answers your question, though I don't know what 'standard structure' you're referring to. If it's the key player method I mentioned, that's not technically 'standard;' it's just what I wholeheartedly recommend as being the most efficient way to order your essay, whether you need to do comparative analysis or not :)

Sorry, my bad. "Standard" structure was referring to the key argument-based analysis' or technique-based analysis'. I've never heard of one based on key players... Would you be mixing up the arguments and the techniques to show their intended effect on the audience? So like a build up?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: RazzMeTazz on April 16, 2015, 10:57:23 pm
How important is a sophisticated vocabulary, in order to do well on the English exam? :)

If you had a normal vocabulary but well-written pieces with good ideas etc, would the fact that you aren't the most sophisticated of writers, be a major issue?
Because often teachers tell me I am too verbose, and that I would be better off and clearer if I used simpler words, but  when I read  high-scoring sample responses, or even examples from teachers - the wording does tend to be quite sophisticated?

Thanks!

Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: DJA on April 17, 2015, 01:02:06 am
How important is a sophisticated vocabulary, in order to do well on the English exam? :)

If you had a normal vocabulary but well-written pieces with good ideas etc, would the fact that you aren't the most sophisticated of writers, be a major issue?
Because often teachers tell me I am too verbose, and that I would be better off and clearer if I used simpler words, but  when I read  high-scoring sample responses, or even examples from teachers - the wording does tend to be quite sophisticated?

Thanks!



My take on this - from my guide to expression - yes shameless self-promotion ;)
Vocabulary is definitely important to good expression. If you’re using words such as ‘like’, ‘good’, ‘bad’ and ‘shows’ all the time it’s not going to make a good impression on an examiner. You should definitely have synonyms in your mind. Again reading helps a ton as when you read, you unconsciously expand your vocabulary. However, what also helps is actually writing down useful vocabulary. For English, I compiled interesting vocabulary at the back of my writing/note book whenever I read study guides, model essays or critical readings. If I didn’t know what a word meant, I would google it. Then when I wrote essays, I would open to my vocab and challenge myself to use some of the words I had learnt in my writing. Give it a shot!

Remember however that there IS a difference between sophisticated language and excessive and pretentious language. Use words that are appropriate, that you could even use in conversation but that aren’t so hard to understand that you sound like a wanker.
Everyday language: Good
Sophisticated: Magnificent
Pretentious: Splendiferous

Basically a sophisticated vocabulary is good to have but not the be it end all to score well on the English Exam. Honestly if you're using less complex words but convey your ideas and argument with clarity, you're going to do better than that guy or gal who throws around huge words and ties their ideas into knots or worse loops (don't you hate those essays which go round and round and don't actually make a point?)

So yes if you had a normal vocabulary but well-written pieces with good ideas etc - you're going to do well. That being said, it's good to have a few words that are appropriate to the text, the author or the time of the text you are studying that are more 'sophisticated' and that you can use to 'show off' a bit in exams. Lauren has said it already in the past and it's so true - Examiners are ONLY HUMAN - they can be unfortunately swayed by writing that 'sounds' sophisticated.

And yes the highest scoring responses will often have quite sophisticated vocabulary - BUT note that when you read these top scoring pieces, you will see (hopefully) how clear the writing is, how good the ideas are etc.

tl;dr: Know appropriate sophisticated words to the text you are studying and use them in your writing but do not throw in big words for the sake of it - prioritise structure and clarity of ideas and argument over trying to sound sophisticated.

ALSO it's 1 am so forgive me if this is a ramble because it is. DJA out
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: sjayne on April 17, 2015, 02:08:52 pm
How important is a sophisticated vocabulary, in order to do well on the English exam? :)

If you had a normal vocabulary but well-written pieces with good ideas etc, would the fact that you aren't the most sophisticated of writers, be a major issue?
Because often teachers tell me I am too verbose, and that I would be better off and clearer if I used simpler words, but  when I read  high-scoring sample responses, or even examples from teachers - the wording does tend to be quite sophisticated?

Thanks!

The closer you get to the 40+ scores the more important your vocab is.  I personally don't have a thesaurus in my head but that didn't necessarily affect my marks.

You want your work to sound good but you also want to write well so lots of vocab and poor discussion won't get you a high score. Similarly, good writing and  the vocab of a year 7 student isn't going to do anyone any favours. Use your words but use them well.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: JackSonSmith on April 17, 2015, 08:29:51 pm
Open question to everybody.

What are your views/ recommendations about the use of comparisons and analogies in context pieces.

For example, studying encountering conflict, would I be able to successfully compare people to trees. ie. if someone is rooted in the place that they grew up in with their beliefs passed to them by their fore-bearers, they are unlikely to change their views, which in turn leads to long lasting conflict

etc.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: RazzMeTazz on April 18, 2015, 12:57:44 pm
Thanks for the wonderful advice DJA and sjayne!!

:) It really helped me out a lot!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: chansena on April 19, 2015, 01:07:05 pm
Will upload on Saturday with the other bits and pieces :)
#still writing year 12 essays to procrastinate from writing uni essays.....

Hi

I am not sure where to look for the files you have uploaded in particular the hybrid essay / feature article. Could you please direct me to where they are :)
 
 
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: scarletmoon on April 19, 2015, 06:46:12 pm
I need to write a persuasive essay on the prompt, "In conflict, anything is justifiable" I need some help on external resources I can use to support this prompt
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: chansena on April 19, 2015, 07:23:25 pm
I need to write a persuasive essay on the prompt, "In conflict, anything is justifiable" I need some help on external resources I can use to support this prompt

-For encountering Conflict I always liked to use a soldier / child soldier concept as you could always mold the concept to any encountering conflict prompt. (Boko Haram)

-You could also use government leader possibly

- A mother and father figure protecting their child therefore they justify their actions / behavior

Hope this helped  :)





Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: vanessa14 on April 21, 2015, 09:08:47 pm
Hey everyone,

I was just wondering, for language analysis, if I get 4 or 5 texts (short), 2 with the same contention and 2 with the opposing contention, and one that is an image on its own, can I say the image supports both contentions or do I have to choose one?

Just a bit confused on what to do! Im writing a practise essay and I'm not sure if I can use the image for both contentions...

thanks to anyone who chooses to help, it will be greatly appreciated.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on April 22, 2015, 08:53:36 am
I was just wondering, for language analysis, if I get 4 or 5 texts (short), 2 with the same contention and 2 with the opposing contention, and one that is an image on its own, can I say the image supports both contentions or do I have to choose one?

Just a bit confused on what to do! Im writing a practise essay and I'm not sure if I can use the image for both contentions...

With the image, you always have to figure out its own contention (or what you imagine its contention could be).  Spend a while looking at it and thinking what is could be trying to make you feel or think.  It won't be trying to persuade the audience in two totally opposite directions at once!  If you're comparing the image with other articles, you're trying to find how it 'argues' similarly or differently to the other articles. So, you can CONTRAST it with two of the articles (how it argues differently/in opposition to them) and COMPARE it with the other two articles (how it backs up their contention; try to find a quote from these articles that show how the image tries to argue the same thing).

Alternatively, it may be arguing a different thing altogether (or at least have a slightly different way of arguing); if so, you can contrast it with all the articles ;D

Remember, the image doesn't necessarily totally agree with the accompanying article(s) - if you can point out slight differences, your analysis is deeper and better.  Remember to make your links up if you can't figure out what the image is actually showing ;)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on April 22, 2015, 06:06:07 pm
Sorry, my bad. "Standard" structure was referring to the key argument-based analysis' or technique-based analysis'. I've never heard of one based on key players... Would you be mixing up the arguments and the techniques to show their intended effect on the audience? So like a build up?
Yes, it's essentially a 'build up' of analysis so it gives your piece a bit of direction - meaning you don't have to just float between random points of analysis and you can comment on overall persuasion by the end. It's not necessarily like 'mixing up the arguments' though; if anything you're structuring by argument (eg. one para on how the author manipulates the idea of censorship, one paragraph on how he wants us to feel about governmental responsibility, and one on the idea of freedom and security.)
Might be best to check some of the earlier explanations (pg 1 of this thread) and let me know if you're still confused :)

Open question to everybody.

What are your views/ recommendations about the use of comparisons and analogies in context pieces.

For example, studying encountering conflict, would I be able to successfully compare people to trees. ie. if someone is rooted in the place that they grew up in with their beliefs passed to them by their fore-bearers, they are unlikely to change their views, which in turn leads to long lasting conflict

etc.
DO IT!!! I'm a sucker for these kinds of metaphors/puns/all-round-bad-humour, so that sort of stuff can work wonders for making your writing more engaging.
It all depends what kind of piece you're writing; if it's a mega-conventional & formal essay, then this might seem a little out of place, but if it's more hybrid-y then you can get away with a lot more.

And the usual do-as-your-teacher-says-for-SACs-disclaimer-here.

Having said that, making the metaphors too cliched or forced can be problematic. It also depends how much you're utilising the comparison, ie. whether you're just making an offhand reference, or constantly revisiting the metaphor to strengthen the link.

Like most things in Context I'm afraid it just comes down to 'it depends.'  ::) It could complement your style and give the assessors a glimmer of hope as their coffee stained eyes drift to the piles of essays they still have to get through, or it could just make them grumble with irritation.

Ironically, it's best to contextualise these sorts of options because it all comes down to how you write, so I guess see how your teacher reacts when marking your essays? :)

I am not sure where to look for the files you have uploaded in particular the hybrid essay / feature article. Could you please direct me to where they are :)
Yeah, so... my precious little laptop gave itself an aneurysm and so the drafts I had are now on a hard drive I'm desperately trying to recover. Or, more accurately, a hard drive that my tech-inclined mate is desperately trying to recover while I prod him with sticks. I'm on a phone at the moment so writing whole essays isn't really an ideal option.
Suffice it to say that for feature articles, it'd be better to look at actual feature articles (ie. non-Context-based, like in The Australian or an online magazine) to get a sense for how the genre operates. It's a really 'open' form of writing, so having a go yourself and then adapting your method later is probably better than attempting to appropriate someone else's.
As for the hybrid, that is something I want to post an example of just because I know it's not often explained or demonstrated, so hopefully by this weekend I'll have either recovered the one's I was working on before, or will have written a new one :)

It'll be posted here when I'm done: English Resources and Sample High Scoring Responses
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on April 22, 2015, 06:19:23 pm
What exactly goes into an expository essay, and what's the structure like?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on April 22, 2015, 09:03:19 pm
What exactly goes into an expository essay, and what's the structure like?
That's a little like asking 'what exactly goes into a cake'?

Are you baking a sponge cake, or a bedazzled chocolate cake complete with complex layers and fancy swirled icing flowers, or a cake made out of fish skeletons and earwax?

Sponge recipe:
Plain and simple; everyone can make a vanilla sponge essay. It's all about getting the right measurements (ie. a balance between abstract, context-based discussion and close examination of evidence and examples.) Generally speaking it's best to start broad and work your way in, so following a standard introduction that unpacks the prompt, you'll commence with the first of 3 or 4 body paragraphs that begins by outlining a key idea, then gradually moves into a discussion of the examples (textual and otherwise) before finally rounding it all back off to the overall point that is your contention. There are some kind of formulaic ways of doing this, but a sponge cake made properly can be perfectly satisfying, so if you'd rather stick to this recipe then all you'll really have to do is fine-tune your essay writing abilities and collect as many varied examples as you need.

Chocolate cake complete with complex layers and fancy swirled icing flowers recipe:
This is slightly more ambitious for obvious reasons, and usually involves a lot more creative freedom in terms of how you construct things. There are still 'rules' in the sense of not adding 27 bags of chocolate melts (ie. cramming in heaps of external examples and giving your assessor type two diabetes) or forgetting the eggs (ie. not having any links to the prompt and turning your piece into a dry, inedible mess) but on the whole you can do what you like. There are many different ways to make a chocolate cake delicious, and there are many different ways to make the structure of an expository essay interesting.

Cake made out of fish skeletons and earwax recipe: (for disaster)
But it is of course possible to follow every structural 'rule' and still screw things up. I mean, technically if you mix a bunch of stuff in a bowl, pour it into a cake tin and chuck it in the oven for about half an hour, you've followed the instructions... but in reality you need a certain degree of common sense when it comes to what ingredients to include. For example, shredded coconut is fine in theory, but if your guests are allergic to coconut (or there are 7 years worth of Assessor's Reports telling you to stop using coconut unless you can do it properly) then you may have to rethink your approach.
This is why, as much as I hate doing so, I have to answer 'it depends' to so many questions about what Context should be. I could tell you 'don't use quotes; they're clunky, rarely well integrated, and often feel forced' and that'd be true, but there are heaps of examples of students using quotes well and in a way that contributes to the strength of their piece as a whole. Not every rule has exceptions, but there are so few rules anyway that it's tough to know what's appropriate and what crosses VCAA's arbitrary lines.


The best thing you can do at this point is to just start writing! No matter how directionless or 'wrong' it feels, just get some stuff down on paper, give it to your teacher/AN and let someone suggest a direction for you. In my experiences it's easier to make Context suit you - that is, playing to the strengths of your own writing style and manipulating your approach so that you're hitting the criteria in your own way. There are safer ways of doing this and there are risker ways, but overall Context pieces are like this whole spectrum of possible options... and not even a linear spectrum! It's like a 3D graph of different variations and combinations that work in some conditions but not others. So start with what you know and just see where that takes you.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on April 24, 2015, 08:06:00 pm
Thanks so much lauren!!

My sac is next week and I have not yet written any practice essays, nor any form of practice. Where can I start? I mean my teacher hasn't given us any prompts so thats a disadvantage.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: chansena on April 24, 2015, 08:28:09 pm
My sac is next week and I have not yet written any practice essays, nor any form of practice. Where can I start? I mean my teacher hasn't given us any prompts so thats a disadvantage.


You want to start by doing some research into some external examples which you can use in your context. This could include famous people, quotes, poems, songs anything which you can tie into Identity and Belonging. You probably want to know about 6-8 different examples and have a few spares up your sleeve.

From there you need to decide which style of writing you are going to do
Creative, expository or persuasive.


The research stage is really crucial as it forms the backbone I suppose to your context piece.

And then it comes down to doing some practice pieces.

But I also like to practice breaking down prompts as I am quite slow to write context pieces. I practice by doing a plan for several topics.

Also the English Resources Page also has several ways of approaching context  English Resources and Sample High Scoring Responses

Hope this helped :)


Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on April 25, 2015, 08:17:55 am
My sac is next week and I have not yet written any practice essays, nor any form of practice. Where can I start? I mean my teacher hasn't given us any prompts so thats a disadvantage.

I totally understand because (especially for my evil enemy Context >:() I always felt like this soon before English SACs.

Chansena's advice is great.  Firstly you should have some background ideas and examples - from the text and external - about your context, a step that always overwhelmed me so I got into context SACs clueless.  This close to the SAC, I wouldn't stress so much about this, as I think you need to practise planning and writing an essay.  See Lauren's list of examples to help you.  When the SAC is over, please start researching for the future.

For prompts, see Re: Prompts and Sample Language Analysis Articles.  With a really long list of prompts, I never knew which to start with.  So I'd put them in a numbered list, and then use a random integer generator to randomly select one.  I suggest you decide to do say 10 plans + 2 full essays/pieces before the SAC (that was arbitrary, do however many you want/can), and randomly select prompts for these.  (Obviously cross off a prompt once you've done it).

Plans are great.  If you're doing expository, brainstorm the prompt, trying to think of it from all angles, etc. etc., and trying to throw in examples from your text and external examples.  Then gather your notes into a proper plan: write your contention, your 3-4 main ideas, and then dot-point how each paragraph will run - the examples you'll use, and what you'll draw out of them etc.  The more detailed you do it, the more valuable it is.  But it's not as scary or time-consuming as actually writing an essay.  It's crucial to write lots of plans and/or essays, since you'll be exposed to a random prompt in the SAC and have to actually write it.  Doing lots of random samples beforehand really helps boost your confidence and skills :D.

Finally, don't think it's too late to do anything and panic.  Write a list of what you want to achieve before the SAC (i.e. specific things, like 'write 5 detailed plans on randomly selected prompts') and tick them all off as you go.  Remember, anything you do - even if you just write one essay or come up with one external example the night before - is still going to be beneficial.  Try not to feel so overwhelmed that you don't even start.  I totally understand how tempting it is to do this, but breaking it down into small specific steps can help :).  Come up with something to do EVERY DAY between now and then.

EDIT: inserted a couple of smileys to make you feel better :D
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on April 25, 2015, 01:01:59 pm
I totally understand because (especially for my evil enemy Context >:() I always felt like this soon before English SACs.

Chansena's advice is great.  Firstly you should have some background ideas and examples - from the text and external - about your context, a step that always overwhelmed me so I got into context SACs clueless.  This close to the SAC, I wouldn't stress so much about this, as I think you need to practise planning and writing an essay.  See Lauren's list of examples to help you.  When the SAC is over, please start researching for the future.

For prompts, see Re: Prompts and Sample Language Analysis Articles.  With a really long list of prompts, I never knew which to start with.  So I'd put them in a numbered list, and then use a random integer generator to randomly select one.  I suggest you decide to do say 10 plans + 2 full essays/pieces before the SAC (that was arbitrary, do however many you want/can), and randomly select prompts for these.  (Obviously cross off a prompt once you've done it).

Plans are great.  If you're doing expository, brainstorm the prompt, trying to think of it from all angles, etc. etc., and trying to throw in examples from your text and external examples.  Then gather your notes into a proper plan: write your contention, your 3-4 main ideas, and then dot-point how each paragraph will run - the examples you'll use, and what you'll draw out of them etc.  The more detailed you do it, the more valuable it is.  But it's not as scary or time-consuming as actually writing an essay.  It's crucial to write lots of plans and/or essays, since you'll be exposed to a random prompt in the SAC and have to actually write it.  Doing lots of random samples beforehand really helps boost your confidence and skills.

Finally, don't think it's too late to do anything and panic.  Write a list of what you want to achieve before the SAC (i.e. specific things, like 'write 5 detailed plans on randomly selected prompts') and tick them all off as you go.  Remember, anything you do - even if you just write one essay or come up with one external example the night before - is still going to be beneficial.  Try not to feel so overwhelmed that you don't even start.  I totally understand how tempting it is to do this, but breaking it down into small specific steps can help :).  Come up with something to do EVERY DAY between now and then.

EDIT: inserted a couple of smileys to make you feel better :D

Thank you heaps, and many thanks for the smileys too haha :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: tiff_tiff on April 27, 2015, 01:11:15 pm
Does this make sense:
We cannot see ultraviolet radiation, nor x rays, for our cones are not sensitive to thee

don't think I used thee in the right context, but it sounds right :D
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: kimmytaaa on April 27, 2015, 02:42:22 pm
Hi Lauren
I have been having an English tutor that helps me, for my last sac he gave some examples and I did some practice essays for him to correct. When he was correcting it, he added a few notes and give some advice so that I can improve or work on next time, but when it came to the actual sac I did really poorly.But for that sac, we were given the prompt before hand so we got to do our planning at home before the sac date. My school teachers asked everyone to do a practice essay for her to correct but it wasn't compulsory and when I handed it up to her she said it was good but when it came to the actual sac, my teacher said is expected more from me. My tutor said if he didn't correct the practice essay, it won't be that good. I have a really bad habit of writing and writing so I do sometimes repeat things a lot but I don't see that mistake on my own. My tutor does points out those problems but I can't seem to improve on it. Is there a way to improve on this issue?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: [email protected] on April 30, 2015, 08:44:44 pm
Received a B+ on my Language Analysis  :-[ Absolutely devastated.

Can anyone please for the love of god tell me that the comments I received suggest I should have got a much higher grade?

Quote
An intelligent and well constructed Language Analysis that demonstrates a very high understanding of persuasive techniques and how these devices are used to position readers.

Quote
The introduction contains all of the necessary information required in this kind of essay. The contention and tone are clearly and accurately identified.

Quote
The body paragraphs offer a thoughtful analysis of specific words and phrases and the manner in which they are used in an attempt to persuade

Quote
Excellent analysis of the visual material

Quote
The essay does not contain a concluding paragraph. This has affected the overall grade.
This is strange. I have been told before that All marks in language analysis come from the analysis. I did conclude my essay my summarizing the last techniques the author used and how readers were made to feel after they read the opinion piece.
Quote
The written expression is sophisticated and highly fluent

I feel like my teacher has legitimately slapped me in the face...after all that hard work to receive a bloody B+ in a damn year 11 essay...
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on April 30, 2015, 10:01:22 pm
Does this make sense:
We cannot see ultraviolet radiation, nor x rays, for our cones are not sensitive to thee

don't think I used thee in the right context, but it sounds right :D

No, 'thee' means 'you' as an object (e.g. 'I love thee').  'Them' would fit in this sentence, but were you trying to rhyme or something ??? ?

Is there a way to improve on this issue?
I'm literally not Lauren, so wait for her to answer properly :-\  All I can say is to write some essays, and then afterwards imagine you're the tutor and go through and tear it apart.  Don't stress about finding ways to FIX the issues, just try to FIND the issues.  Then go to the tutor, get them to go over your issues, check if you've got them right, and ask for their help in fixing them.  Repeat this again and again - always try to find your own issues before you ask the tutor to point them out.  Before long, you'll be more aware of them as you write.

Received a B+ on my Language Analysis  :-[ Absolutely devastated.

Can anyone please for the love of god tell me that the comments I received suggest I should have got a much higher grade?  I feel like my teacher has legitimately slapped me in the face...after all that hard work to receive a bloody B+ in a damn year 11 essay...

Firstly: year 11, don't be devastated.  Even if your hard work hasn't paid off on this one SAC, it will pay off in year 12.

Secondly, just ask your teacher.  I agree, everything sounds really positive and deserving of something better, but obviously your teacher will have some reason which only he/she can explain, so just discuss it with him/her.  Unless she's one of those ones that has an innate aversion to handing out As and A+es.  In which case appeal to the school for a different teacher next year.  (I had a similar experience in year 12 lang analysis with 15/20 and not a single criticism written, discussed it with them and ended up with 17/20 and rank 1).

Thirdly... I like never, ever finished essays... always ran out of time (or more accurately, ideas, so I pretended I could have finished but ran out of time ;) )  I think the only SAC I finished in year 12 was the lang analysis one, then I didn't finish any of the other SACs or the exam.  Yet my marks ended up A+... I wouldn't have thought not finishing was too bad.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: scandin9 on May 01, 2015, 09:05:34 pm
Hi,

My teacher says that we must mention persuasive techniques in the introduction; how can this be accomplished without listing?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on May 04, 2015, 09:25:56 am
My teacher says that we must mention persuasive techniques in the introduction; how can this be accomplished without listing?

I tended to put in the really major things, the major approaches the author used, the major ways the author tried to persuade throughout the article rather than just in one instance (e.g. the author mocks the opposition, or heavily relies on personal anecdote, or constantly uses experts/statistics etc. to add weight to his argument, or appeals strongly to nostalgia and tradition).  Remember, 'techniques' doesn't necessarily mean those horrible textbook 'named' techniques like 'rhetorical questions', 'appeal to hip-pocket nerve' etc.  I put in up to about 3 major approaches.  Often TONE is a really big factor to look at (you're analysing the LANGUAGE, not just argument techniques).

For instance, normally inclusive language is really minor (and sounds like basic technique identification) so you would end up listing if you put something like that in the intro; so normally you avoid it.  However, the occasional piece might be really really focused on inclusive language, appealing to group solidarity etc. as a major way of trying to persuade the audience, so you might include this in the intro.

So just stick to really major things that shape a lot of the article, and briefly show what their aim is and how they're trying to persuade the audience - you're showing that you understand the big-picture, overall dynamics of the piece.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: StupidProdigy on May 04, 2015, 04:32:24 pm
For context is it bad to have the first sentence being a quote (expository essay)? It's a general broad quote not about my text, but the context and the prompt more generally
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: RazzMeTazz on May 05, 2015, 08:18:26 pm
Could someone please explain what is meant by the persuasive technique of 'rationalisation' in language analysis?

:) Thanks
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on May 05, 2015, 09:07:53 pm
For IDB I'm trying to think of an example for yes ones identity and belong is shaped constantly. 

and an example for yes ones identity does change but for the worst

I cant think of an external / real world example, event / quotes .


Any ideas ?
For the first instance, think about whether you'd consider yourself the same person now compared to who you were three years ago. Now would you say there was a dramatic shift in your identity at some point, or did you just gradually change in little increments every time? And for the second, you could consider any 'good person gone bad' stories or examples whereby someone who was once very moral, considerate, and level-headed then becomes callous, foolish, or naive.
Before looking for very specific examples, try to narrow down what you're talking about exactly so that you end up guiding yourself to an answer. So, instead of saying, 'what examples are there of continuous change,' ask yourself how do I know? Start with your premise or contention (in this case, one's identity is shaped constantly,) and then ask 'how do I know?' You may need to ask this question several times to get to the core of your point, but this'll help open up the discussion for you so that you can begin building upon what you know.

For context is it bad to have the first sentence being a quote (expository essay)? It's a general broad quote not about my text, but the context and the prompt more generally
That would be fine so long as you used it well. Most essays that open with quotes tend to just stick something profound that they googled before the SAC right at the start, and then write a piece that doesn't deal with the kinds of ideas that the quote raised.
Different teachers will have different preferences though; I know some who say 'no, don't, it's clunky and awful' and other's who've said 'it's a wonderful, engaging way to begin and everyone should do it,' so consult your education professional to see if opening-quotes are right for you :)

Could someone please explain what is meant by the persuasive technique of 'rationalisation' in language analysis?

:) Thanks
It depends on the context. The word itself means 'to make rational' (obviously from 'rational' + '-ise' + 'ation') so on the surface it would be used to refer to when the author makes something seem rational. This could be in the form of justification (eg. 'The author rationalises the concept of fearing change and explains that it is a natural human instinct.') Alternatively, the author might be reasoning or showing the logic behind something (eg. the equivalent of 'showing your workings' in maths: 'The government isn't allowing these people access to basic needs, and if those basic needs aren't met, they will die. So how can we support a government that knowingly allows people to die?') This'll usually be present in the form of 'leading logic' where the author creates this chain of A --> B --> C --> D etc. and implies that the final result is a natural, unavoidable consequence of A (eg. if I don't buy a 24 pack of pens for my exam, I might run out of pens, then I won't be able to finish, then I'll fail Year 12, then my parents will disown me, then I'll be forced to live on the streets, then I'll have to eat pigeons to survive. So if I don't buy these pens, I'll have to eat a pigeon. QED.) It's obviously a fallacy, but it's very common in Language Analysis pieces :)

Otherwise, if your teacher was giving you a specific example or told you to use this technique for a certain case, let me know and I might be able to explain it in more detail. Analysis rarely just stops at the technique level, so what you say after you identify the device is much more important.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: scandin9 on May 05, 2015, 11:29:25 pm
Hey Lauren,

Do you have any resources on Year Of Wonders?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on May 05, 2015, 11:49:22 pm
I do!
That was one of my Year 12 texts, though I didn't do it in the exam. I haven't posted anything for it because no Year 12s are studying it and very few schools select it for younger year levels, but I'll have a look through what I've got and see if there's anything worth scanning. I'll certainly have a practice essay or two, and maybe a few articles/ discussion question-answer type things :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: [email protected] on May 06, 2015, 05:17:46 pm
Hey Lauren,

I've finished reading Macbeth for text-response - I used a combination of watching the movie, reading the modern translation while reading the Shakespeare at once and I have a solid understanding of the plot.

What should my next step be? Thanks   :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: scandin9 on May 07, 2015, 08:15:33 pm
Hey Lauren :),

The resources for Year of wonders would be extremely helpful as I can't seem to find many academic articles on it.

Thanks in advance!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: TheAspiringDoc on May 08, 2015, 06:35:55 pm
Hi all :)
So I really like English (i.e. reading, writing, debating and communicating etc.) and was wondering if you guys could give me some tips on how I could further my knowledge in the area. I read texts such as The Da Vinci Code, The Lost Symbol, The Kite Runner, The Hunger Games, Wild Cat Falling, Autobiographies, non-fiction, the newspaper, and AN essays people have posted up. The biggest issue is that while in english class at school, everyone mucks around and I end up being quite unproductive.. I'm also worried that students at selective schools are getting an unfairly large advantage over me and my low-grade private school..
Any tips/ ideas/ advice?
Thanks!! :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on May 08, 2015, 07:17:26 pm
Hey Lauren,

I've finished reading Macbeth for text-response - I used a combination of watching the movie, reading the modern translation while reading the Shakespeare at once and I have a solid understanding of the plot.

What should my next step be? Thanks   :)
For Macbeth, as well as many Shakespeare tragedies, there's only one real question: who's to blame?
You may think you know the answer now, but academics have bickered over this for centuries, so I guarantee there's more to say. See if you can answer that question, and let the discussion take you in different directions rather than concentrating on 'finding' the 'right' answer. For instance, if you think Lady M plays a significant part, then is it because she exerts control over Macbeth's character, or is she powerful in her own right? Does her power enhance or belittle Macbeth's? Does her degree of influence change at all? If so, what does this say about the blame we attribute? ~etc.

Also, there's no shortage of resources out there for Macbeth, so read heaps in order to expand your analysis and interpretation of the text :) Let me know if anything doesn't make sense... I think I've done Macbeth four times now over the course of my English-life  ::)

Hey Lauren :),

The resources for Year of wonders would be extremely helpful as I can't seem to find many academic articles on it.

Thanks in advance!
Sooooo, atarnotes won't let me upload the scans since they're too big  >:(  If you want, I could email them to you, otherwise I'll try and upload them in the actual Notes section (though I have no idea how soon they'll be published/ when you'll be able to access them though) - sorry!

Hi all :)
So I really like English (i.e. reading, writing, debating and communicating etc.) and was wondering if you guys could give me some tips on how I could further my knowledge in the area. I read texts such as The Da Vinci Code, The Lost Symbol, The Kite Runner, The Hunger Games, Wild Cat Falling, Autobiographies, non-fiction, the newspaper, and AN essays people have posted up. The biggest issue is that while in english class at school, everyone mucks around and I end up being quite unproductive.. I'm also worried that students at selective schools are getting an unfairly large advantage over me and my low-grade private school..
Any tips/ ideas/ advice?
Thanks!! :)
Read.
Read read read read read read read.

There's not much need to read VCE-level essays really, though I suppose you could peruse some Language Analysis or Text Response essays if you really wanted to. Those tend to be rather dry reading though (unless you're an oddball like me.)

What'll really help is reading. Novels of any genre, non-fiction texts on any subject matter - just go for whatever you're interested in. I owe at least half of my study score to the contents of my bookshelves.

The best thing you could do for yourself at this stage is to set yourself up with a solid intuition of grammar and sentence composition. Unfortunately, if you try and learn this deliberately, you'll likely just end up confused. Actually "learning" grammar is kind of counter-intuitive; most people are better off picking up on it subconsciously when they take in new information. So as great as it would be if you found a few authors or genres you really enjoy, the more you expose yourself to, the more chances you'll uncover something that will (implicitly) help you later down the line.

If you're really desperate, perhaps suggest a few areas of interest and I might be able to recommend something you like?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: TheAspiringDoc on May 08, 2015, 07:42:45 pm



Read.
Read read read read read read read.

There's not much need to read VCE-level essays really, though I suppose you could peruse some Language Analysis or Text Response essays if you really wanted to. Those tend to be rather dry reading though (unless you're an oddball like me.)

What'll really help is reading. Novels of any genre, non-fiction texts on any subject matter - just go for whatever you're interested in. I owe at least half of my study score to the contents of my bookshelves.

The best thing you could do for yourself at this stage is to set yourself up with a solid intuition of grammar and sentence composition. Unfortunately, if you try and learn this deliberately, you'll likely just end up confused. Actually "learning" grammar is kind of counter-intuitive; most people are better off picking up on it subconsciously when they take in new information. So as great as it would be if you found a few authors or genres you really enjoy, the more you expose yourself to, the more chances you'll uncover something that will (implicitly) help you later down the line.

If you're really desperate, perhaps suggest a few areas of interest and I might be able to recommend something you like?
Anything with an element of uncertainty/mystery or any kind of book that forces you to think, whether it be about the plot or looking at real life society as a whole. I like things related to science but I'm guessing like most people there is a limited amount of pleasure I can draw from pages of chemical formulas and drawn out equations. I autobiographies of doctors in particular and I find adventure fiction pretty neat.
Sorry, that's probably quite a list to take in  ::)
Thanks!!  :D
Spoiler
PS #1 fan
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on May 08, 2015, 08:01:10 pm
 • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
 • The Queen of Spades by Alexander Pushkin
 • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon
 • The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley
 • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
 • Dangerous Book of Heroes (edited by the Iggulton brothers I think... basically a collection of really cool stories from different 'heroes' throughout history)
 • Awakenings by Oliver Sacks
 • The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
 • The House of God by Samuel Shem
 • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
 • Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande
 • How Doctors Think by Dr. Jerome Groopman
 • Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis
 •The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine Madness, and Murder by Charles Graeber
 • Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sherri Fink
 • Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans by Harriet A. Washington
 • And The Band Played On by Randy Shilts


These are just my suggestions from the couple of shelves/piles I have in my eyeline :p Honestly, just wondering around some bookstores when you have the chance should net you a couple of good options. Perhaps google some of the above and see what takes your fancy (fishpond or TheBookDepository are good sites that do free shipping if you want to order some of them.) Otherwise your local library should have some interesting stuff. There's also a really good place at Fed Square every Saturday at about 10/11:00 onwards where vendors come and sell their wares. There's usually a lot to chose from, and I've never walked away empty handed.. though admittedly I do have a slight impulse-control problem when it comes to buying books... Anyway, it's held in 'The Atrium' in Fed Square, near the indoor entrance to the Art Gallery.Alternatively, if you want East from the station along Flinders St. then you should find it :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Chang Feng on May 09, 2015, 06:29:33 pm
what form for context (ie feature article, etc) would be most similar to an essay style expository piece (basically the sample ones on the AN guide or Connect Education guide if seen those)? cause right now all i can write really is a generic expository essay style piece, but this would obviously have no purpose, so i was thinking which would be most similar and easiest to adapt from this essay form.
thanks.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on May 09, 2015, 06:43:55 pm
WIth language analysis, is it okay if we refer to certain devices with more specificity?

For example:

The writer's use of metaphorical imagery causes..

Is it okay to refer to certain devices with verbs?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on May 10, 2015, 10:49:12 am
what form for context (ie feature article, etc) would be most similar to an essay style expository piece (basically the sample ones on the AN guide or Connect Education guide if seen those)? cause right now all i can write really is a generic expository essay style piece, but this would obviously have no purpose, so i was thinking which would be most similar and easiest to adapt from this essay form.
thanks.

Probably a feature article, though you could also write an essay with a purpose (eg. an essay competition where the topic is 'how to prevent the conflict of climate change' or 'what do our actions towards asylum seekers say about our Australian identity?'/ whatever your Context may be.)

Purpose is more important for the SAC than the exam though, so it might be worth experimenting with some different forms and seeing what your teacher thinks suits you.

WIth language analysis, is it okay if we refer to certain devices with more specificity?

For example:

The writer's use of metaphorical imagery causes..

Is it okay to refer to certain devices with verbs?
Actually, I'd be even more specific than that! What kind of 'metaphorical imagery' is the writer using? What metaphor is being called upon? Just labeling something 'metaphorical imagery' doesn't tell us much.
And you can absolutely comment on verbs or other speech forms (eg. 'the author's repeated use of verbs like 'planning' 'thinking' and 'believing' further strengthen his call to action...') Specificity is key, so you should definitely try to zoom into the actual language behind the technique as much as possible (within reason) :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: scarletmoon on May 10, 2015, 11:31:44 am
HELP
I need external ideas for the prompt "Anything is justifiable in conflict"
I need to do an oral presentation on this soon
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on May 10, 2015, 11:53:54 am
Thanks Lauren!

Also what if I can pick up a technique, and I think, for example, it's sarcasm being used to draw attention on how ridiculous something is, what if the examiner/marker does not agree with me or does not think that's the reason of the use of sarcasm in that context?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on May 10, 2015, 12:51:43 pm
HELP
I need external ideas for the prompt "Anything is justifiable in conflict"
I need to do an oral presentation on this soon

Your external ideas can come from anywhere, so there's not much point in me listing random things. Perhaps suggest some areas of interest/recommendations from your teacher to get yourself started.

Or, if you'd rather develop this yourself, first focus on your contention. Are you suggesting that 'yes, for the most part, anything is justifiable in conflict' or 'no, even if conflict is present, we can't say anything is justified'? Once you've got a general outline, ask yourself 'how do I know?' Why do I think this?
When you have these values in your head, it makes sense that they've come from somewhere, right? So when you argue something like 'conflict can have negative effects on people,' you're inclined to draw from what you know, and start sorting through your brain for examples of people suffering negative consequences. These may not be the only or exact examples you end up using, but at least it gives you a starting point.

Some questions to ask yourself that might help formulate ideas:
 - Do people have different ideas or what is and isn't justifiable?
 - Who does the 'justifying?'
 - Does conflict make things justifiable, or do we grant people more leniency in times of conflict?
 - Is it possible for certain things to be morally/ethically justifiable, but not legally justifiable (or vice versa?)
 - Does the fact that 'anytihng is justifiable' mean we are entitled to do anything?
 - Are things dependent on their context, or can we say, as a general rule: this is justifiable but this is not - regardless of the circumstances?

Thanks Lauren!

Also what if I can pick up a technique, and I think, for example, it's sarcasm being used to draw attention on how ridiculous something is, what if the examiner/marker does not agree with me or does not think that's the reason of the use of sarcasm in that context?
If you've argued your point effectively, then it's rare for the assessors to take marks off for disagreeing. Of course, this understanding will be strengthened throughout the year, and it'll get to a stage where you know saying something like 'therefore the author attacks other people to make them more sympathetic' is probably unlikely.

Unlike the other essays, L.A. doesn't leave much room for error. You'd have to be saying something pretty out-there for an assessor to disagree with your analysis. Worst case scenario, if you're not entirely sure about the effect of something, you could use a word like 'may' or 'perhaps' (eg. 'here, the author makes use of sarcasm; perhaps in an attempt to draw the audience's attention to the ridiculous nature of the situation') but this should be done sparingly, as it can make you seem uncertain about your interpretation.

I guess my recommendation would be to practice writing on different articles until you're no longer at risk of making comprehension errors of misconceptions :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on May 10, 2015, 12:58:46 pm
Thanks Lauren, again :P

Where can I get good/interesting (non-pointless) articles where I can read them and annotate so that I can be quick at it!? :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on May 10, 2015, 01:14:27 pm
Thanks Lauren, again :P

Where can I get good/interesting (non-pointless) articles where I can read them and annotate so that I can be quick at it!? :)

It depends what you're wanting to practice.

If you need to get better at comprehending contentions and just understanding the author's arguments, then going for shorter texts will be more efficient. The comments section in The Australian (underneath the cartoon, next to the editorials; not the really short/twitter comments on the far right, but the centre of the page that contains Letters to the Editor and other bits and pieces) is quite good for this.

On the other hand, if you need to practice picking out techniques, then you could go for the longer editorials, or perhaps even online magazine articles. Generally though, for the SACs you should seek materials from your teachers (especially SACs from past year levels) and beyond that, for exam practice, you should just use official practice exams.

There's no shortage of company papers (CSE, Insight, Neap, VATE <-- esp. this one) that are really good for practice purposes, or you could even go through the past VCAA exams and see how you fare.

With regards to annotations, it's not all about being quick, though. You kind of need to develop a plan of attack for how you'll approach the task under timed conditions. Are you going to go through the whole article and highlight every single persuasive device you find? How are you going to structure your essay? Will you write whole words/sentences in your annotations so you can refer back to them, or will  you just write really brief reminders to yourself so as to devote as much time to the essay as possible? Often the people who do extensive annotations aren't actually being as efficient as they could. As a practice exercise, doing heaps of annotations can help you get used to recognising what you need to analyse, but be smart about the process. Don't just annotate for the sake of doing so - work out what's most helpful to you and take things from there :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on May 10, 2015, 01:23:15 pm
It depends what you're wanting to practice.

If you need to get better at comprehending contentions and just understanding the author's arguments, then going for shorter texts will be more efficient. The comments section in The Australian (underneath the cartoon, next to the editorials; not the really short/twitter comments on the far right, but the centre of the page that contains Letters to the Editor and other bits and pieces) is quite good for this.

On the other hand, if you need to practice picking out techniques, then you could go for the longer editorials, or perhaps even online magazine articles. Generally though, for the SACs you should seek materials from your teachers (especially SACs from past year levels) and beyond that, for exam practice, you should just use official practice exams.

There's no shortage of company papers (CSE, Insight, Neap, VATE <-- esp. this one) that are really good for practice purposes, or you could even go through the past VCAA exams and see how you fare.

With regards to annotations, it's not all about being quick, though. You kind of need to develop a plan of attack for how you'll approach the task under timed conditions. Are you going to go through the whole article and highlight every single persuasive device you find? How are you going to structure your essay? Will you write whole words/sentences in your annotations so you can refer back to them, or will  you just write really brief reminders to yourself so as to devote as much time to the essay as possible? Often the people who do extensive annotations aren't actually being as efficient as they could. As a practice exercise, doing heaps of annotations can help you get used to recognising what you need to analyse, but be smart about the process. Don't just annotate for the sake of doing so - work out what's most helpful to you and take things from there :)

Thanks Lauren, again!

What would you recommend for a beginner? Short or long ones? :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on May 10, 2015, 01:42:04 pm
Thanks Lauren, again!

What would you recommend for a beginner? Short or long ones? :)

Probably best to start with short ones and work your way up.

Alternatively, the 2008 VCAA exam is an excellent starting point, and it'd be considered fairly short by current exam standards, so maybe check that one out :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: tiff_tiff on May 11, 2015, 05:20:12 pm
hey lauren,

I'm reading this article:
and i'm not quite sure what the author is trying to say about the 'artificial haemoglobin' in comparison to the new stem cel ideology.
I get that the article is trying to lead readers more into the stem cell version, because they say its the 'new idea', but they didn't really say what's wrong with the 'artificial haemoglobin' version. is it just presented there for the author to seem like she knows her science?

and also, they didn't mention anything about Douay's earlier process?

[i bolded the relevant part]

Could Stem Cells Breathe New Life into the Field of Blood Substitution?
Immature cells' regenerative prowess injects new excitement into the field March 17, 2014 |By Dina Fine Maron

More than a century after scientists embarked on the quest to find an alternative to the blood coursing through our veins, the dream still will not die. Not after a major study dealt a seemingly fatal blow to the field—determining that the top synthetic blood candidates at the time were all more likely to kill you than to save your life. Not after billions of dollars in public and private investments dried up. And not after multiple companies ran aground.
Starting in 2011, however, the moribund field received yet another revival, this time from a group of French researchers with a new approach to boosting blood supplies. Their principal insight: don’t try to re-create millions of years of evolution. Instead, they proposed to piggyback off of what nature already made by coaxing stem cells into taking on the job.
The appeal of creating blood alternatives is obvious. Certainly after a battlefield trauma or a car accident a ready transfusion of artificial blood that could theoretically work with any blood type and not require refrigeration would be a welcome medical tool. A synthetic product outlasting the typical 42-day shelf life of red blood cells and sidestepping even the miniscule risk of transmitting a blood-borne disease would also be high on the medical wish list. But such a product has not yet been created and proved safe in humans.
It’s not for lack of trying. Although blood cells serve multiple roles in the body and have complex interactions with other cellular materials, most synthetic blood products have aimed to just stick to the bare basics—shuttling oxygen from the lungs to different vital organs and then bringing carbon dioxide back to the lungs to be exhaled. When the red cell count gets low, bodily organs may not get the oxygen they need, making a person weak and eventually resulting in serious health problems. The most popular approach taken to replicate that function has been to create artificial hemoglobin- based oxygen carriers, tapping proteins in red blood cells called hemoglobin that act as oxygen’s transport service, and chemically modifying them to increase oxygen-carrying capacity.
But the new idea is to get the body to grow its own substitute—a product that would not be the same as whole blood but could fit the bill in a pinch.

A Paris-based research group, headed up by Luc Douay, professor of hematology at University Pierre and Marie Curie Faculty of Medicine, has already had some success. They culled stemlike cells from blood circulating through a patient’s body and manipulated them into becoming red blood cells nearly identical to those that normally transport oxygen in the body. The team injected two milliliters of the stem-cell derived blood cells back into the patient—an amount far smaller than would be needed in a typical transfusion. The creations had stored well at refrigerated temperatures and circulated in the body with survival time on par with that of original red cells.
It’s an encouraging step forward for a field littered with odd and sometimes cringe-worthy efforts to get at the lifesaving power of blood. Animal to human blood transfusions received a short-lived audition in 1667. But the first human-to- human blood transfusion was not performed until 1818—before we learned about blood types and how and when the body rejects certain transfusions. Blood-product research also included attempts in the late 1800s to hook up ailing patients to infusions of fresh cow’s milk. Milk, like blood, had fats that emulsify in fluid, the reasoning went. Plus, milk would be safer than blood because it would not clot. When patients died, physicians figured it was due to other complications. Needless to say, milk injections, like those from animal blood, never really took off.
Although most people only get transfusions once or twice in their lives (if at all), individuals with conditions like sickle- cell anemia require consistent blood transfusions of red cells. But with each infusion there’s a small risk that the body could develop an infection, reject the foreign blood or form antibodies that will lead to the body rejecting and destroying certain bloods in the future. A key threat, however, is that each transfusion contributes to the risk of iron overload in the body. All red blood cells contain iron, but after the body takes what it needs it has no easy way to dispose of the excess. It gets stored, instead, in organs including the heart, liver and pancreas. That buildup of increased iron with each transfusion can damage the organs and eventually prove fatal.
10004 Article 4
The French researchers hope that using freshly created blood cells made from stem cells could help alleviate those iron buildup concerns. “We think it could be transfused at least three to five times less each year because of the efficiency of the transfusion,” Douay says.
The secret lies in the age of the red blood cells derived from stem cells. Although red cells from donors have a typical shelf life of 42 days, they are a mix of older and newer cells, which means a number of them may not last long in the body. With stem cell–derived options all of the blood product would be new, which could theoretically give patients more bang for each infusion. The only thing that would appear different to a patient receiving the transfusions, ideally, is that he would be receiving them less often. “If you have brand-new cells, you should be able to increase the intervals between transfusions so you can make it longer, says David Anstee, director of the International Blood Group Reference Laboratory in England. “You might be able to improve the quality of life in those situations.” It’s not a perfect fix because it would likely add months, not years, between transfusions, but it could be a start.
Moreover, the idea of using Douay’s earlier process, which involved growing the cells in culture, at a larger scale would be “delusional,” he says. To make just one unit of blood—roughly a pint—it would require growing cells in about 400 flasks that were about 30 centimeters by 20 centimeters, he says. But even with endless space for those flasks it would still be impossible because the constant pH and temperature controls that would be needed would be impossible to maintain. What would be needed, he says, is an automated, stirred large-scale bioreactor (something his team hopes to one day produce themselves). “Even something as seemingly simple as red blood cells that don’t have a nucleus evolved a structure and a function that is much more complicated than we can perceive by looking under the microscope,” says Jason Acker, associate director of development for Canadian Blood Services..
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: KingDrogba on May 11, 2015, 09:23:39 pm
How should you break down a text response prompt and then answer it?
What structure should i be looking as a guideline to my writing?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: InNeedForHelp on May 12, 2015, 10:37:01 pm
Hi Lauren,

Regarding shortening quotes, my teacher says to shorten them to 5 or 6 words but I'm finding it hard to shorten quotes from "Maus". I find that if I try to shorten them, I lose the a lot of the significant of the quote so it doesn't prove the point I'm trying to make.

Also, for remembering quotes, should I write the quotes under categories of themes or categories of what the character says?

Thanks
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: YellowTongue on May 12, 2015, 11:00:41 pm
In general, how do you go about memorizing quotes? Do you just sit down a stare at them for ages, or is there a technique you use? Also, how many quotes should I try and memorise for each text that I'm studying?

Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on May 13, 2015, 06:12:46 pm
hey lauren,

I'm reading this article:
and i'm not quite sure what the author is trying to say about the 'artificial haemoglobin' in comparison to the new stem cel ideology.
I get that the article is trying to lead readers more into the stem cell version, because they say its the 'new idea', but they didn't really say what's wrong with the 'artificial haemoglobin' version. is it just presented there for the author to seem like she knows her science?
That section you've bolded would probably be one of the bits you'd leave out in analysis. That's not to say there isn't some worthwhile language to discuss, but it just doesn't seem very central to the argument. Most of it is just an outline about the history of the process that serves as a backdrop for the 'new idea.' Overall, this doesn't seem like a very persuasive piece though. It's more like the sort of thing you'd see in a scientific journal than a VCAA exam :)

How should you break down a text response prompt and then answer it?
What structure should i be looking as a guideline to my writing?
There is no 'one' breakdown and there is no 'one' structure. In fact, it's better if you build off what you know and try to shape that into something suitable than adopt someone else's methods completely. There are some recommendations on the first page of this thread, and you could always read practice essays to get a sense for what works well and what doesn't, but ultimately there are so many things you could do right and wrong, sometimes it's best to just sump in and work on little things gradually rather than trying to formulate a fool-proof format before you know your own strengths and weaknesses.
Breaking down the prompt should help you open up the prompt and tease out some interesting ideas, and your structure should enable you to explore these ideas. Beyond that, it's pretty much up to you :)

Hi Lauren,

Regarding shortening quotes, my teacher says to shorten them to 5 or 6 words but I'm finding it hard to shorten quotes from "Maus". I find that if I try to shorten them, I lose the a lot of the significant of the quote so it doesn't prove the point I'm trying to make.

Also, for remembering quotes, should I write the quotes under categories of themes or categories of what the character says?

Thanks
In general, how do you go about memorizing quotes? Do you just sit down a stare at them for ages, or is there a technique you use? Also, how many quotes should I try and memorise for each text that I'm studying?


I'll deal with these together since it seems like there's some overlap.

With very few exceptions, no one really gets much of a learning benefit from just staring at words on a page. Association is a much stronger and more efficient way of remembering materials. For starters, grouping quotes is really valuable: try and do so either by themes or characters depending on your text, and then you'll quickly start to link certain ideas together. Plus, when you start writing essays on these ideas, the links get even stronger.
That said, there's no need to be testing yourself too early. No one expects you to simply read a text once, write some notes, and then be able to roll out quotes with complete confidence. The first few practice paragraphs or essays you write should definitely be making use of your resources: have the text open in front of you, refer to your notes as you go, and perhaps even use class discussion or teacher feedback (whatever is more helpful) to compliment your own exploration.

For the more hardcore amongst you, you might even try some more elaborate memory hacks. Like I said, association is the most reliable means of forging mental connections, but it's usually easier to associate unfamiliar material with familiar things. So rather than just listing a whole bunch of quotes and 'associating' it with a character's name or a theme isn't likely to help.

There's a memory contest every year where geniuses the world over try to beat the world record for the amount of shuffled card decks memorised; (I believe it stands at about 60 or so) and when these people are interviewed, they often talk about how they make connections in order to aid their memories. For instance, they'll assign each card a certain person place or thing, so if they have to memorise a sequence like: Jack of Clubs, Two of Diamonds, Nine of Hearts - then they'll tell a little story with the assigned meanings. Let's say the Jack of Clubs = Jack Dawson from Titanic; the Two of Diamonds = my mothers' diamond earings, and the Nine of Hearts = my dog because she's nine years old. In order to remember the sequence, I'd simply picture Jack Dawson wearing my mother's earings, patting my dog.
^That's a way more memorable, vivid image than an objective sequence.

So how would this help you in VCE?
You obviously wouldn't need to go to such an extreme, but the same principles can be applied on a small scale. For instance, one of the books I studied in Year 12 dealt with the theme of identity and self-perception/deception, so I wrote up a list of quotes that related to these concepts and pinned them up on my bathroom mirror (because the mirror is where you see yourself, and reminds me of things like vanity and self-awareness.) Not only did that mean I was seeing the quotes a couple of times a day, but I was also able to connect them to one another under that umbrella of 'identity and perception.'

You could do the same with some of your other themes: perhaps print off a list of quotes about the importance of place and setting and blue-tack them to your front door or bedroom window. Or grab a list of ones about relationships between characters and put them next to your photo frames of your own friends and family. You can get as creative as you want - the important thing is that the immersion works as both a deliberate and incidental form of learning; when you need to memorise more, you can consciously tell yourself to go read the lists and recite them, and when you're just lying in bed exhausted after a long day, your eyes might glance over the list on your bedside table. Gradual absorption is hard to notice, but it does happen, and it does help.

And of course, using the quotes in the context of your analysis (ie. practice essays) is also very beneficial.

In terms of shortening quotes, it does depend on the text. Maus does have a lot more dense sentences, but there should still be a 'core' for most of the quotes that'll be containing most of the critical information you need. There are exceptions, and sometimes you just need to quote about ten words or so, but for the most part, the unimportant stuff can be paraphrased. Also, don't discount the role of quote modification. Altering the grammar of the quote can be an easy way of cutting down irrelevant information. Just use [square brackets] to add new information or replace words/letters that don't fit, and use ... ellipses ... to omit details.

So if I wanted to alter the sentence: "Jimmy, why don't you just go away and abandon your foolish dream"
I could say: Suzie is very critical of her brother's attitudes, and questions why he doesn't "just... abandon [his] foolish dream" to fly an aeroplane.
I'm hoping this is familar to you; if not, let me know and I can explain this in more detail. Otherwise, perhaps give me an example or two of the kinds of quotes you're finding hard to shorten and I can walk you through it :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: InNeedForHelp on May 13, 2015, 06:57:09 pm
Thanks Lauren for the thorough reply,

A couple of the quotes are:

”Friends? Your friends...? If you lock them together in a room with no food for a week...then you could see what it is friends."

"It sounds like you're feeling remorse - maybe you believe you exposed your father to ridicule... And now that you're becoming successful, you feel bad about proving your father wrong."

Also, this might sound silly but do I have to include the page number in the quote and should I remember the entire quoted or a shortened version of the quote?

Thanks again!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on May 13, 2015, 07:13:02 pm
^Not answering, just linking you to another of Lauren's posts for more advice on quotes :): Re: English Q&A

But far more important (:P) is my own question: I want to start reading the news to get some vague understanding of what's going on in the world.  I'm the most ignorant current-events person you've ever met.  But I don't know where to start - I don't know what sites to look at, or how to cope with the fact that I start reading an article and don't have the slightest clue of what's going on because I have no background.  Can you point me to any good (+ free) site or newsfeed or give me any newspaper-reading advice Lauren?

Thought I'd throw the question here because reading the news is great for language analysis and external examples for context (not that I ever did it).  Thankye kindly, your help is always much appreciated!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on May 13, 2015, 07:59:03 pm
Thanks Lauren for the thorough reply,

A couple of the quotes are:

”Friends? Your friends...? If you lock them together in a room with no food for a week...then you could see what it is friends."

"It sounds like you're feeling remorse - maybe you believe you exposed your father to ridicule... And now that you're becoming successful, you feel bad about proving your father wrong."

Also, this might sound silly but do I have to include the page number in the quote and should I remember the entire quoted or a shortened version of the quote?

Thanks again!
So for that first quote, you'd probably want to concentrate on the last part that sounds a bit like a threat: "then you could see what it is friends" and perhaps the bit before that as context. But this is a great idea of where paraphrasing can come in handy, eg. The character declares that "if you lock them together in a room', only then would their true loyalties be revealed. That way, you're capturing the essence of the quote without using the whole thing.

Same goes for the second:
eg. The character implies the other character is plagued by his relationship with his father, and questions whether he "exposed [his] father to ridicule" and as such, "feel[ s] bad about proving him wrong."
Even that simple modification can help minimise what you're quoting.

Ideally you'd want to be familiar enough with the original/whole quote to be able to use it in different contexts and modifying it differently each time, so I'd say memorise the whole thing and just be prepared to chop and change on the go.

No, you don't need page numbers, but I've seen teachers get snarky about not including them in SACs, so check with yours to make sure. But in the exam, no, it's a waste of time and it's not required.

^Not answering, just linking you to another of Lauren's posts for more advice on quotes :): Re: English Q&A

But far more important (:P) is my own question: I want to start reading the news to get some vague understanding of what's going on in the world.  I'm the most ignorant current-events person you've ever met.  But I don't know where to start - I don't know what sites to look at, or how to cope with the fact that I start reading an article and don't have the slightest clue of what's going on because I have no background.  Can you point me to any good (+ free) site or newsfeed or give me any newspaper-reading advice Lauren?

Thought I'd throw the question here because reading the news is great for language analysis and external examples for context (not that I ever did it).  Thankye kindly, your help is always much appreciated!
For a very brief overview, watching the commercial news (probably Channel 9, or The 7pm Project or w/e it's called nowadays) will give you a quick and often slightly skewed run-down of current stories. However, on busy news days, this often isn't sufficient to get a full sense of the interesting stories, and on slow news days, you have to watch a lot of dull filler like 'studies have shown brunettes are more likely to be good at tennis' or 'this family bought a puppy today' shout-out to the first 30 seconds of this

ABC is your best bet for more in-depth coverage; the 7:30 Report have pretty good exposés, and whilst they get criticised for their left-wing bias, I honestly don't notice it much, if at all... or maybe that's just my own leftist perspective talking :p

SBS is definitely the forerunner for international news, and they take a much more journalistic approach to major stories than, say, Channel 7. It's a tad drier than most other sources, but it's probably the most reliable.

When it comes to written material, it might be worth reading around and finding a few journalists whose writing style you like, or whose views you consider engaging.
I'm very partial to satire myself, so now that Shaun Micallef's Mad as Hell is over for this season, I tend to read a lot of SBS' Comedy paper 'The Backburner'
some really amusing examples here :)

It's also a matter of personal interest levels: you can't really go wrong if you're just reading heaps of different materials (Andrew Bolt notwithstanding) but if you're not interested in the subject matter, it's likely to lose you quite early on. Personally, I've never been a fan of commerce or business-based news, so financial discussions usually bore me unless they're linked to an intriguing political or legal situation. By contrast, I'm quite fascinated with diplomatic relations, especially when it comes to cultural differences or linguistic barriers, so whilst the Bali executions were circling around in the media, I  was reading heaps about Indonesia's attitudes to prisons and drugs, and why the Australian government's approach put them between a rock and a hard place. Even this latest Budget discussion; there've been some interesting critiques of the language Abbot and Hockey have employed - most notably the x100 repetitions of 'a fair go' in the past 24 hours - which is rather amusing.

I definitely wouldn't call myself well-informed when it comes to current events; I kind of just read enough to get by for the sake of VCE English which is kind of tragic  ::) but I consider the ability to make connections just as important as what you're discussing. So I may not have an intricate understanding of the machinations of the Labour party, but I've written quite a few paragraphs comparing the Gillard-Rudd-Gillard metaphorical backstabbing with the literal backstabbing of Caesar by Brutus.
Basically, a passable grasp on Australian politics and famous Roman betrayals is more preferable, to me, than a really in-depth grasp on just Australian politics.

Also, if you're reading for the purposes of getting a quick overview of an issue or event: read the title, the first paragraph, and then the first and possibly last lines of every other paragraph. This often works for books too, provided it's not anything like Pynchon or Wallace where 'paragraphs' can go on for entire chapters :p

I guess it's best to find something that makes 'news' as well as individual news stories interesting on a personal level. Failing that, just befriend someone who's news-minded and make conversation with them so you can leech of their knowledge  :D
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: KingDrogba on May 16, 2015, 05:52:32 pm
What's been the usual A or A+ cut off for unit 3 and 4? Just wondering and cant seem to find it anywhere
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on May 16, 2015, 05:59:04 pm
What's been the usual A or A+ cut off for unit 3 and 4? Just wondering and cant seem to find it anywhere

Search for 'vcaa grade distributions [year/subject]'.  Here are 2013 and 2014 distributions.  A+ seems about 84-85, A more like 74-75%.

P.S. Thanks Lauren for your help above!  Wery much obliged to ye.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Chang Feng on May 18, 2015, 09:06:57 pm
what form best suits the below purpose of writing (for context):
so i'm writing an expository piece in which i am explaining the reasons for different ideas of the topic (ie conflict occurs between the powerful and powerless). -so some of my ideas are that since the powerful wants to maintain power they will dismiss any ideas that contradict them, and these ideas of contradiction usually come from the powerless individuals of society. so i would go on and explain why this happens, since like it is human nature to have a greed for power.... and then use set text to provide evidence of this. and then provide an evaluation of the consequences of such conflict. Then provide a solution/ action of what we individuals should do in the future/ why thus conflict cannot be erased and will keep lingering on in society and thus the consequences we individuals have to face.
(thanks for the advice).
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Chang Feng on May 18, 2015, 09:17:37 pm
and is it acceptable to write an expository essay for context?? Since the audience, form, language choice and purpose must relate.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: HighTide on May 19, 2015, 08:18:56 am
what form best suits the below purpose of writing (for context):
so i'm writing an expository piece in which i am explaining the reasons for different ideas of the topic (ie conflict occurs between the powerful and powerless). -so some of my ideas are that since the powerful wants to maintain power they will dismiss any ideas that contradict them, and these ideas of contradiction usually come from the powerless individuals of society. so i would go on and explain why this happens, since like it is human nature to have a greed for power.... and then use set text to provide evidence of this. and then provide an evaluation of the consequences of such conflict. Then provide a solution/ action of what we individuals should do in the future/ why thus conflict cannot be erased and will keep lingering on in society and thus the consequences we individuals have to face.
(thanks for the advice).
It does depend on which type you are better at doing. It is likely that most people will do expository essays in the exam or for SACs. So less individuals will do imaginative and persuasive styled essays. I have heard from our school that an ordinary expository will get less marks than an ordinary creative or persuasive. However, saying that the other two forms are also tough. And also, remember that a good essay is a good essay regardless of the style that you use. If you write a good expository essay, you will get a good mark. Simple as that   :)
If you are in your final year, it's probably recommended that by this time of year, you choose the style that you will do for the exam and improve at it.
and is it acceptable to write an expository essay for context?? Since the audience, form, language choice and purpose must relate.
You certainly may write an expository. Just ensure that you state your audience, form, language choice and purpose clearly in the statement of intention, and also refer to your text and key ideas. As long as you follow your SOI, your essay should be good given that it does explore the key ideas in the text.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: biy on May 19, 2015, 08:53:18 pm
Can anyone give me some oral topics please? My oral presentation is in the first week of term 3 and I have not yet started :(
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: scarletmoon on May 19, 2015, 08:54:39 pm
Can anyone give me some oral topics please? My oral presentation is in the first week of term 3 and I have not yet started :(


http://www.vcestudyguides.com/oral-presentation-topics-for-2015
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Apink! on May 20, 2015, 12:43:12 pm
How can I improve in English if I have no one to mark my essays?
I could post them on AN but I've noticed that it is not very active (the marking board) and I can't really ask my school teacher all the time.

If I don't know where I need to improve on and don't know what I have done well, is simply just writing an essay a day will help me?

I would appreciate your advice. Is there a way for my essays to be marked without annoying anybody?

p.s I can't get a tutor because I can't afford it!
p.p.s any advice will be appreciated


Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on May 20, 2015, 01:57:51 pm
^ I decided a couple of days ago to start marking stuff (that is, from now onwards, not catching up on past ones); I've always thought I wasn't good enough, but while my marking won't be high calibre, hopefully it'll be still helpful in pointing out major issues.  So go for it occasionally, I'll give it a go if I have time.  Can't hurt if you post and don't get a response, anyway.  How about you try giving bits of feedback to others?  You'd learn a lot out of that yourself, and give the board a boost! :D

Anyway, PLEASE READ ALL THIS ADVICE as it is the most important thing I could ever say to a year 12.  You get way more out of the year if you work actively for yourself, rather than relying on being spoonfed or giving up because you're 'disadvantaged' by your SES/school/teachers/parents/situation.  I followed this advice for my 3 best subjects (which was why they became my top subjects), and felt totally on top of them; but I didn't for English ==> was completely unsure, confused and terrified; I kept harping on the fact that "I didn't know" and "I didn't have enough resources" (I hadn't really looked at AN, unfortunately).

OK, so.  I understand it's frustrating having limited resources (I couldn't afford to pay anything other than school fees for English), but the most valuable skill you can learn is being able to teach yourself with the resources you've got (actually, you have access to more than you think, it just depends on how you use it).  Because if you can learn what is required of a good essay, you'll then be able to see your own strengths and weaknesses by yourself.


Essentially what I'm saying is, actively use your resources.  If you really try, you can teach yourself how to write a good essay, and what things to avoid.  You can teach yourself how to mark your own work and find your own issues.  (Never just write an essay without critically self-marking).  If you find a problem you can't solve, ask about it in this thread.  And use that occasional 'true' feedback from other experts to help you become even more of an expert!

Finally, try essay-swapping.  Give your friend an essay to mark, and you mark one of theirs.  Sure, it won't be the best feedback, but you'll be able to help each other; and actually, marking other people's work really helps you discover faults and try to come up with ways to fix them.

tl;dr (though I hope you did read >:( :P): RELY ON YOURSELF, and actively use the resources you already have to teach yourself: AN, high-scoring essays, feedback on essays in the WM&S board, Lauren's Q&A threads, etc.

P.S. Some day I will learn the skill of writing a short post.  Some day.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Apink! on May 20, 2015, 02:54:51 pm
Hi
I read everything!
You made me realise how much resources are actually floating on AN. Yes, I realise now that not being able to afford resources is just an excuse.
I will go on the English question thread now and take notes!

Thank you so much for an insightful advice. I couldn't have asked anything more
p.s you're awesome! :P
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Adequace on May 20, 2015, 05:13:24 pm
^ I decided a couple of days ago to start marking stuff (that is, from now onwards, not catching up on past ones); I've always thought I wasn't good enough, but while my marking won't be high calibre, hopefully it'll be still helpful in pointing out major issues.  So go for it occasionally, I'll give it a go if I have time.  Can't hurt if you post and don't get a response, anyway.  How about you try giving bits of feedback to others?  You'd learn a lot out of that yourself, and give the board a boost! :D

Anyway, PLEASE READ ALL THIS ADVICE as it is the most important thing I could ever say to a year 12.  You get way more out of the year if you work actively for yourself, rather than relying on being spoonfed or giving up because you're 'disadvantaged' by your SES/school/teachers/parents/situation.  I followed this advice for my 3 best subjects (which was why they became my top subjects), and felt totally on top of them; but I didn't for English ==> was completely unsure, confused and terrified; I kept harping on the fact that "I didn't know" and "I didn't have enough resources" (I hadn't really looked at AN, unfortunately).

OK, so.  I understand it's frustrating having limited resources (I couldn't afford to pay anything other than school fees for English), but the most valuable skill you can learn is being able to teach yourself with the resources you've got (actually, you have access to more than you think, it just depends on how you use it).  Because if you can learn what is required of a good essay, you'll then be able to see your own strengths and weaknesses by yourself.

  • Read VCAA exam reports and know the criteria inside out
  • Read through advice threads in the Eng resources thread, and at VCE study guides etc. (there's a ridiculous amount of free stuff if you just search for it!), and watch vTextbook; don't just read/watch, actively take notes
  • Critically go through high scoring responses; break down their arguments into detailed dot-points; watch how they do topic sentences; steal phrases or ways of expressing themselves really clearly; go through how they're different to yours; and so on.  Pull 'em apart.
  • Go through feedback given to other essays (i.e. read through the Compilation of Text Response/Context/Lang Analysis Feedback stickies in the Work Submission board).  In all probability, you will have fallen into the same pitfalls or have the same high points as some of the markers point out to other people.  You can learn SOOO much to apply to yourself!!! TAKE NOTES.  It's almost as good as direct feedback on your own, since Ned Nerb and Darvell gave great feedback.
  • Read through Lauren's 50 in English, available for queries :) and this year's Q&A; sure, skip irrelevant stuff, but I tell you there is sooo much gold that you don't want to miss like I did last year.  And again, taken notes.

Essentially what I'm saying is, actively use your resources.  If you really try, you can teach yourself how to write a good essay, and what things to avoid.  You can teach yourself how to mark your own work and find your own issues.  (Never just write an essay without critically self-marking).  If you find a problem you can't solve, ask about it in this thread.  And use that occasional 'true' feedback from other experts to help you become even more of an expert!

Finally, try essay-swapping.  Give your friend an essay to mark, and you mark one of theirs.  Sure, it won't be the best feedback, but you'll be able to help each other; and actually, marking other people's work really helps you discover faults and try to come up with ways to fix them.

tl;dr (though I hope you did read >:( :P): RELY ON YOURSELF, and actively use the resources you already have to teach yourself: AN, high-scoring essays, feedback on essays in the WM&S board, Lauren's Q&A threads, etc.

P.S. Some day I will learn the skill of writing a short post.  Some day.
Well said!

Is this applicable to a Year 10 student? I've been trying to do what you've stated above and tried using their language used within their essays but I find that I'm trying to drastically write an essay that I'm capable right now. I also find that I can't fully understand interpret VCE study guides and then applying the knowledge becomes essentially impossible.

Additionally, I have an english exam in a week and it's a text response. I've decided to prepare earlier than my class since I don't think I'll be prepared if I go at my teachers pace. I've found a T.R structure Essay Formula- Text Response and will probably just follow this until the end of VCE. Good idea?

I've also lost my trust in my teacher and now find myself disregarding her information about essay structure as I think she's just trying to teach us how to write like a normal Year 10 student. Although, this could obviously work against me, should I just listen to her?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on May 20, 2015, 05:56:17 pm
Well said!

Is this applicable to a Year 10 student? I've been trying to do what you've stated above and tried using their language used within their essays but I find that I'm trying to drastically write an essay that I'm capable right now. I also find that I can't fully understand interpret VCE study guides and then applying the knowledge becomes essentially impossible.

Additionally, I have an english exam in a week and it's a text response. I've decided to prepare earlier than my class since I don't think I'll be prepared if I go at my teachers pace. I've found a T.R structure Essay Formula- Text Response and will probably just follow this until the end of VCE. Good idea?

I've also lost my trust in my teacher and now find myself disregarding her information about essay structure as I think she's just trying to teach us how to write like a normal Year 10 student. Although, this could obviously work against me, should I just listen to her?

This was intended for year 12 not year 10, but it's always an important thing, to take control of your own learning :)  However, you don't have to be at year 12 level until guess when... year 12.  Until then, you should be building up a solid foundation of smaller skills, rather than trying to jump beyond yourself immediately.  Don't try and be impressive before you've learnt the basics, this is what I did because I couldn't bear to turn out something boring/shallow/substandard.  It doesn't work.

These could include:
- Read more.  In general, i.e. I'm not telling you to read a million year 12 English essays.
- Vocab, expression, grammar etc.  Build up a vocab you're totally familiar with - i.e. you know exactly where it should be used and the shades of meaning.  Get teachers to criticise clunky or unclear expression.
- Writing with conciseness.  Learn to express yourself clearly and neatly; an exercise I found fun was writing a normal essay, recording the wordcount, and then editing it, trying to get the word count down as low as humanly possible while still retaining the same ideas.  You get to this mindset of 'come on, just onnneee word more...' and you learn lots of tricks for expressing things more concisely.
- Learn to embed quotes nicely. (1-6 words only).
- Learn effective methods of learning quotes, annotating a text, and researching and generating ideas.
- Analysis.  Make your stuff less descriptive and more meaty/insightful.  Develop skills with analysing quotes, characters, themes, literary techniques, and authorial values.
- Develop good time management.

I'm sure that formula is fine, but there's no set-in-concrete way.  Be willing to be flexible.  In the future, you'll learn a lot from reading other essays with different structures.  You can do whatever is best for you as long as it covers all aspects of the topic and involves deep analysis.  But for now, I'd stick to whatever structure your teacher gives.  Instead, make your essay stand out through deeper analysis (e.g. analyse literary techniques/structures, the author's values and message, and make more insightful discussion round themes and characters).

So, 'when in Year 10, do as the Year 10s do.'  There's no specific 'Year 12 Structure', and you're probably just learning a 'yes-yes-no' formula with TEEL in each paragraph.  That's fine.  It's not like that's a "wrong" structure and you'll need to do a sudden snap change when you hit year 12; you'll probably gradually develop your own more complex style of dealing with topics over time :).

Hope I kinda answered your questions, I don't think this really did everything you asked ::)
... anyway, if I'd had your perspective back in year 9-10, my year 12 life might have been a bit different.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Apink! on May 21, 2015, 08:49:00 am
Hi everyone!

I’m in some serious, deep black hole right now that it sucking my life out. I am completely pathetically lost. I can’t develop paragraphs that will lead to the main contention I am arguing on. I don’t even realise what is wrong. I would really appreciate  it if you could give me a hand. I really wanted to succeed in English but it’s not as easy as I thought… btw, I’m trying to write an expository essay for Context.

So, this is a prompt I was working on which made me have a mental breakdown
Shared experience does not mean that people see things the same way.{VCAA 2011}

My contention: “Experience[ing]” and “[see]ing” things are two different ideas. Experiencing implies a passive flow of events that have come across a person whereas “see[ing]” is an active process in which we apply our filtered ideas and values to view our experiences.  Although people may across same situations in life and experience “shared” memories, it is inevitable that we as human beings cannot remember the same events in the identical manner because of this.


First paragraph:
T.S: ?
Second paragraph
T.S: ???
Third paragraph:
T.S:  *insert confused look here*

What can include in my first, second and third paragraphs so that my essay “builds up” to my contention and not just have each paragraph assigned for one evidence each to reinforce my contention? (I’m really lost on how I can do this, and an example might really clear this up)

Also what could I talk about with the contention I have?

I used to be those students who would designate main paragraph 1,2 and 3 just finding difference evidence all leading to the same idea which led to my contention. Now I find myself unconsciously doing this (even though I don’t  want to) and it’s really difficult to get it out of my system.  Even though I know what is required of me, I don’t know the how part and I would really appreciate your help!

Also I realised that one of my most problematic area in context is not having a contention or not really basing my essay on a contention. I do “explore” but without a contention which will probs guarantee a pretty bad mark. For example if I had this prompt:  “powerful control reality”

Paragraph 1: even though a powerful figure may “influence” reality, they cannot “control” it because there are realities in which others cannot change

Paragraph 2: Sometimes it is not even clear who is more “powerful”. Often, people control each other’s realities and it’s not necessarily influenced only by those who the society views as “powerful”

Paragraph 3:  Powerful people change people’s realities all the time! Hey just look at the government and stuff…

So I have ideas and I “explore” them. But as you can see it doesn’t lead to a CONTENTION ):(or at least I don’t think so) unless… unless… these three points all somehow magically combine together leading to a jaw-dropping contention which I didn’t know about because I’m just subconsciously an English genius (no).  So what my question is what am I doing wrong and how can I fix it?

I’m sorry for asking you this question, because I should know but I don’t… ): ):

p.s I finally understood weaving today! So thanks for that (:
p.p.s You probably realised I liked using p.s. btw I am sincerely sorry for asking so many questions ):
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Apink! on May 21, 2015, 07:06:44 pm
Bump! :P
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: vanessa14 on May 23, 2015, 09:35:43 pm
Does anyone have a structure for persuasive writing for context? I have no idea how to write a persuasive essay, and it seems like I've forgotten everything to do with context because I don't know where to start.

And for an imaginative/creative piece, how do we relate it to the main text we discussed in class? Does it have to relate to it, and be of a characters point of view, or can we just write a creative story relating to the prompt alone?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Coffee on May 23, 2015, 11:01:38 pm
Does anyone have a structure for persuasive writing for context? I have no idea how to write a persuasive essay, and it seems like I've forgotten everything to do with context because I don't know where to start.
The structure of a persuasive piece will depend largely on what form you choose to write in (e.g. speech, opinion piece, etc.) However, you will be required to create and build upon an argument so it should contain the following:

Introduction:

Body Paragraphs:

Rebuttal:

Conclusion:

Remember to also use your persuasive language techniques!

And for an imaginative/creative piece, how do we relate it to the main text we discussed in class? Does it have to relate to it, and be of a characters point of view, or can we just write a creative story relating to the prompt alone?
For a creative piece, such as a short story, you should be drawing on your selected text in some capacity. For example, if you were studying Identity & Belonging and your selected text was 'Skin' you might choose to draw on this through the use of symbolism (e.g. doll, white/black, segregation, etc.) However, you should never explicitly state your text (e.g ...like in Skin where...) but rather represent the 'big ideas' overtly - make it obvious that your story relates to the context and the ideas studied in your selected text.

In relation to what you can write about, it's pretty open. You might choose to write an additional scene or rewrite a scene or write an alternative ending. You might choose to write through the eyes of another character or object. (Apparently a girl wrote a creative piece on 'Skin' through the eyes of Sandra's doll - it was very well received too!) Alternatively, you may choose to write on your own concept or idea while exploring the themes represented in your context (eg. For 'Skin' you might write a narrative piece about two chess pieces, perhaps a king and queen, who want to be together but are on opposite sides) - It's quite clear how this relates to 'Skin'!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: vanessa14 on May 24, 2015, 03:15:18 pm
Thank you so much! That was really helpful!

Remember to also use your persuasive language techniques!

Is there a specific way to include my techniques? I've only used a rhetorical question so far :'( ... Can you give me a quick example of any other techniques I could include and how to do it?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: TheAspiringDoc on May 24, 2015, 03:21:53 pm
Thank you so much! That was really helpful!

Is there a specific way to include my techniques? I've only used a rhetorical question so far :'( ... Can you give me a quick example of any other techniques I could include and how to do it?
emotive language, repitition, facts, opinions, quotes, triple construction, metaphor, real life examples and placing people in the situation (sort of like retorical questions?)
I dunno though, there's probably more..
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Coffee on May 24, 2015, 04:12:32 pm
Is there a specific way to include my techniques? I've only used a rhetorical question so far :'( ... Can you give me a quick example of any other techniques I could include and how to do it?

Here's a list of persuasive language techniques with examples: http://www.vcestudyguides.com/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2010/09/Persuasive-Techniques-Insight-Outcomes1.pdf

In terms of how to incorporate these PLTs into your piece, think back to the skills you have learnt in language analysis and your oral. If you're writing an opinion piece, editorial or speech; these skills are easily translatable. The only difference is rather than analysing the piece, you're writing it. In order to help generate ideas ask yourself:


Remember the purpose of a persuasive piece is to convince the reader that your point of view is correct.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: biy on May 24, 2015, 09:17:48 pm
Hey everyone

Where/when/how do i start with my oral presentation? I have a topic chosen but have no idea where to start, and how.. :(
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: HighTide on May 24, 2015, 09:29:21 pm
Hey everyone

Where/when/how do i start with my oral presentation? I have a topic chosen but have no idea where to start, and how.. :(
I'm not sure if you meant how to begin the presentation or begin preparation. Anyway...
I take it you have also adopted a persona. So, begin by establishing your persona, the setting, the audience, the issue and your contention.
This was mine this year:

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. As the economic analyst for the Federal Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, I thank you, Premier Daniel Andrews, for allowing me this opportunity to address the Victorian Cabinet regarding the East-West Link contract.
I hope to convince you that the East-West Link is an essential piece of infrastructure which must go ahead. I will start by reminding Premier Andrews that despite choosing to present in this way, he was not elected with a clear mandate to abandon the East-West Link but instead, was voted in, due in a considerable part, to preferential voting.

If you meant, where to begin... then try researching your topic. Get more arguments than you need and choose the strongest in a way that it still flows and covers the issue. Also ensure it meets the rubric (if your school gave you one).


Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Adequace on May 25, 2015, 12:47:11 pm
Hey,

I have a text reponse exam next week and I'm confused since my teacher says I have to address this hidden question no matter what. "How does the author create meaning", do I address this in all of my paragraphs including the introduction or do I only have to mention it once?

Should each of my body paragraphs be saying how the author uses characters and their actions to imply a message or can I talk about a character or theme specifically?

My teacher said to sign post my arguments in my introduction, but obviously at VCE level I shouldn't, or do it so obviously? Do I have to mention what I'll be saying in each paragraph in my intro, or can I just start off with a broad idea in my intros and then focus on specific events in each of my body paragraphs?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on May 25, 2015, 04:49:18 pm
@Apink!, I didn't answer because it looks kinda silly to state, 'I don't know' :P

I have a text reponse exam next week and I'm confused since my teacher says I have to address this hidden question no matter what. "How does the author create meaning", do I address this in all of my paragraphs including the introduction or do I only have to mention it once?

Should each of my body paragraphs be saying how the author uses characters and their actions to imply a message or can I talk about a character or theme specifically?
That's a weird way to put it... essentially, it just means that you've got to keep referring to the author and how they are intentionally doing things.  They intentionally structure the book the way they do, intentionally choose language, intentionally set up characters in certain ways (e.g. they might make a poor person very likeable, heroic and strong while a rich person is harsh and horrible, to challenge the upper classes' focus on money) etc etc.  They also probably have messages to that society or humankind in general.  Basically you've just got to be always showing awareness that the author is the driving force behind everything, and they're carefully creating their text to convey their views/values to the audience as powerfully as possible.  Though I bet the authors didn't mean 1/100 of the things that students attribute to them :P. Read this post.

So it's not a requirement of 'PUT THIS ONCE IN THE INTRO AND ONCE IN EACH PARAGRAPH', it's more changing your overall way of writing to constantly acknowledge authorial intent and reference the messages the author is trying to convey.

Quote
My teacher said to sign post my arguments in my introduction, but obviously at VCE level I shouldn't, or do it so obviously? Do I have to mention what I'll be saying in each paragraph in my intro, or can I just start off with a broad idea in my intros and then focus on specific events in each of my body paragraphs?
Huh!?  I know I wasn't great at English, but I signposted paragraphs' arguments in the intro...  Obviously that doesn't mean writing bland formulaic 'firstly, secondly, finally' statements in the intro and then rehashing them at the start and end of your body paras and in the conclusion; you should mix it up a bit more... but I don't think there's anything terribly wrong with it, I think you'll find yourself getting more and more subtle as you go so don't stress yet.

I feel like Lauren's mentioned that she wrote pretty vague intros without too much signposting because the ideas just flowed from her mind as she went, but that's just coz she's Lauren ::) :P.  Check here for her intro hints.

And note that paragraphs shouldn't be centred so much round EVENTS as IDEAS, read this post for a couple of hints. The events support the ideas.

EDIT: hoping I haven't said anything too badly wrong here :P
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Adequace on May 25, 2015, 05:07:35 pm
@Apink!, I didn't answer because it looks kinda silly to state, 'I don't know' :P
That's a weird way to put it... essentially, it just means that you've got to keep referring to the author and how they are intentionally doing things.  They intentionally structure the book the way they do, intentionally choose language, intentionally set up characters in certain ways (e.g. they might make a poor person very likeable, heroic and strong while a rich person is harsh and horrible, to challenge the upper classes' focus on money) etc etc.  They also probably have messages to that society or humankind in general.  Basically you've just got to be always showing awareness that the author is the driving force behind everything, and they're carefully creating their text to convey their views/values to the audience as powerfully as possible.  Though I bet the authors didn't mean 1/100 of the things that students attribute to them :P. Read this post.

So it's not a requirement of 'PUT THIS ONCE IN THE INTRO AND ONCE IN EACH PARAGRAPH', it's more changing your overall way of writing to constantly acknowledge authorial intent and reference the messages the author is trying to convey.
Huh!?  I know I wasn't great at English, but I signposted paragraphs' arguments in the intro...  Obviously that doesn't mean writing bland formulaic 'firstly, secondly, finally' statements in the intro and then rehashing them at the start and end of your body paras and in the conclusion; you should mix it up a bit more... but I don't think there's anything terribly wrong with it, I think you'll find yourself getting more and more subtle as you go so don't stress yet.

I feel like Lauren's mentioned that she wrote pretty vague intros without too much signposting because the ideas just flowed from her mind as she went, but that's just coz she's Lauren ::) :P.  Check here for her intro hints.

And note that paragraphs shouldn't be centred so much round EVENTS as IDEAS, read this post for a couple of hints. The events support the ideas.
Thanks for clearing up my misconceptions.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: biy on May 25, 2015, 05:58:55 pm
Hi guys

Im having troubles with how to write up language analysis paragraphs :( I know what to write, but I dont know how to write it
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Coffee on May 25, 2015, 06:07:13 pm
Hi guys

Im having troubles with how to write up language analysis paragraphs :(

What are you caught up on? Can you be more specific?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: biy on May 25, 2015, 07:06:21 pm
What are you caught up on? Can you be more specific?

Sorry about that :3

Well I am in the process of writing one up now. We have to compare multiple articles with each other. I have never done this before so I do not know how to structure my paragraphs, and what do I say in the introduction and conclusion?

Thank you coffee (nice name haha :P)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on May 25, 2015, 09:54:50 pm
Hey,

I have a text reponse exam next week and I'm confused since my teacher says I have to address this hidden question no matter what. "How does the author create meaning", do I address this in all of my paragraphs including the introduction or do I only have to mention it once?

Should each of my body paragraphs be saying how the author uses characters and their actions to imply a message or can I talk about a character or theme specifically?

My teacher said to sign post my arguments in my introduction, but obviously at VCE level I shouldn't, or do it so obviously? Do I have to mention what I'll be saying in each paragraph in my intro, or can I just start off with a broad idea in my intros and then focus on specific events in each of my body paragraphs?
From the sounds of things, your teacher seems to be pushing the 'text as a construct' angle that's explained in the post bangali linked above
(Incidentally I was just about to write an explanation of that until I clicked and realised I already had :p ty!)
Essentially it just means the focus is on the text and not what happens in the text if that makes sense? It's not really a matter of consciously telling yourself to stop and write a painful sentence like 'Therefore this contributes to the author's overall message that >blah<' every paragraph; it's something that should be woven throughout your discussion.
Broadly speaking, the starts of your paragraphs can involve a 'views and values statement' about the author's intent; the bulk of your paragraphs should avoid it; and the last few sentences in your paragraph should definitely include some. The good message-analyses tend to need a bit of discussion building up to the overall point, ie. you can't just go into a sentence, guns blazing, and think 'right! I'm going to say something about the author's deepest darkest values.' Imagine if your body paragraph was that jarring:

In 'Goings on at Number Thirty-Two,' Paddington Bear awakes from his nightmare about being unable to open a jar of marmelade which can be seen as the author's attempt to distill a sense of simultaneous relief at the dream being over, and fear for what it may portend.

Not only is the first part of that section just pure summary, but the conclusion it draws is a little shaky. I haven't said anything about how the author creates a sense of relief/fear, or what it is about the chapter that contributes to this impression. That's something I've just left to the reader to infer - and examiners tend to take a 'snooze ya'lose' approach to this sort of thing. Students who are content to just mash together a point from the text with a point of analysis/V&V without making the reason for that link clear... well, they won't lose marks exactly, but they certainly won't score as highly as someone who justifies their thinking.

Well I am in the process of writing one up now. We have to compare multiple articles with each other. I have never done this before so I do not know how to structure my paragraphs, and what do I say in the introduction and conclusion?

Thank you coffee (nice name haha :P)

Essay structure-wise:

Intro:
- mention the titles, authors, and contentions of each piece (pretty much compulsory)
- dates/publication details are optional, but some teachers prefer them, and they're easy to include
- a brief statement about the issue or 'spark' is usually good to start with
- audience or tone can be mentioned, but it's more important that you bring them up in your body paragraphs for analysis
- don't mention specific techniques
- don't quote anything

Body paragraphs:
- you don't have to include every text in every paragraph, but every paragraph should include more than one text (my rule; not an official one, but highly recommended)
   eg. P1: Article 1 + Article 2
         P2: Article 2 + Article 3 + visual
         P3: Article 1 + Article 3 + visual
- language is always the focus, but think about how you might contrast the arguments in the different pieces. Where do they differ? Remember, differences are better to comment on than similarities. --> because if things are different, you get to discuss both of them (eg. Where Author A suggests that the decision was misguided and foolish, Author B instead contends that it was the best possible option...) whereas saying 'these two contentions are the same' doesn't give you much else to say. Also, schools tend to pick significantly different articles to give you more to discuss anyway :)
- Never compare at the expense of analysing. You don't have to be constantly flipping back and forth between articles. Discuss one for a little while (~100 words or so) then transition when you feel you've said what you need to.

Concl.
- revisit contentions if needed, and try to say something about how language has been used overall
- don't analyse anything new
- don't rank the articles (ie. 'this article is more persuasive because of its use of statistical evidence') That's worth nada.
- ending by saying something about the audience is a popular option, though other things can work too.

And as always, because this is marked internally, your teacher will likely have their own expectations or at least recommendations, so it's worth having a chat with them if you're still unsure :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Chang Feng on May 25, 2015, 10:15:17 pm
How do you make an expository essay less text response like. Like how is an expository essay different from a text response. Also how would you go about making an expository less dry, and more interesting to the reader so that they are captivated by it. (cause apparently my expository essays are to text response like, but not sure how to change it and also a bit dry.
THanks for the advice. 
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: [email protected] on May 27, 2015, 06:15:33 pm
For the play macbeth, do I refer to the audience as 'viewers', 'playgoers', 'audience' or something else?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: vanessa14 on May 27, 2015, 08:45:32 pm
Just a quick question  ::) For Context, how do I explain a quote I've chosen that relates to my prompt as an example?... I know I have to mention the author's name but is there a specific amount about what I have to say about the author or do I just mention his/her name and write the quote and then explain how it relates to the prompt?

And is a single quote enough for one paragraph? (I know that examples arent meant to take up the whole paragraph)

Any ideas?

Oh and if it helps, im writing a persuasive speech!  :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Alter on May 27, 2015, 10:12:24 pm
Also a very straightforward question (though quite urgent)...

I have my English Oral SAC tomorrow. I feel very prepared as I've been refining and practising my speech since the beginning of the term. As a result, I can recite my entire piece without fault (i.e. I've memorised it quite well) to the extent that I can perform it without any cue cards/notes at all. With this being said, I would like to know which would be preferable of two possibilities: should I perform my speech without any aids at all, or should I perform it with cue cards in my hand without necessarily referring to them? I understand this might seem like a ridiculously stupid question, but could the skill of being able to interact/articulate your ideas without any aid make it seem to the assessor as if you're of a higher calibre, or does it make your presentation seem arrogant/disorganised?

The reason I ask it is because, while I would've gone with cards in hand to the actual speech to begin with, I was present at a VCAA Plain English speaking competition today. The winner was commended on his prepared speech above all, particularly for the fact that he did so without any notes. Is this a subjective assessment that the assessor will make, it is objectively better to be able to perform in this manner if you have very good interaction abilities when speaking? Thanks in advance and sorry for the unusually niche nature of this question.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on May 27, 2015, 10:47:15 pm
How do you make an expository essay less text response like. Like how is an expository essay different from a text response. Also how would you go about making an expository less dry, and more interesting to the reader so that they are captivated by it. (cause apparently my expository essays are to text response like, but not sure how to change it and also a bit dry.
THanks for the advice.

A Context piece uses a text for evidence in order to say something about the Context itself. In Text Response, you're given a prompt that relates only to your chosen text, and told to discuss the ideas within that text.
So Context has no limits, because you're talking about the entirety of the Imaginative Landscape/ Whose Reality/ Conflict/ Identity and Belonging. But Text Response is just about the text itself, and you can't just go off on tangents about other themes or ideas.

For instance, the sentence: 'The desire for revenge is a fundamental part of human nature, even though we don't often like to admit it' would be perfectly fine in a Context essay, because it's dealing with a general concept. However, you couldn't use this in T.R. because it's not telling us anything about the book/film/play etc.

By contrast, something like: 'This character's quest for revenge can be seen as emblematic of his flawed, but relatable nature' would be fine in both Context and T.R. The difference here is that, after this sentence, a T.R. essay would stick with the character and link the discussion to the overall message of the book - while a Context piece would start to zoom out from the text and try to say something about IL/WR/C/Id&b.

In terms of 'spicing up' essays and making them more interesting, there's some general stuff here and here that might help get you started, but ultimately it just depends on your writing style and how 'creative' you want to get.

For the play macbeth, do I refer to the audience as 'viewers', 'playgoers', 'audience' or something else?
'Audience' is the conventionally accepted term, with 'playwright' (preferred) or 'author' being used for Shakespeare. You could use 'playgoers'/'theatre-goers' if you wanted, but only in moderation. This'd more likely be the case if you were saying something about Jacobean society at the time, and how those specific theatre-goers in Shakespeare's day would've responded to something; in contrast to how 'audience' members (read: anyone who is viewing the play) could judge a certain character or infer a certain idea.

Just a quick question  ::) For Context, how do I explain a quote I've chosen that relates to my prompt as an example?... I know I have to mention the author's name but is there a specific amount about what I have to say about the author or do I just mention his/her name and write the quote and then explain how it relates to the prompt?

And is a single quote enough for one paragraph? (I know that examples arent meant to take up the whole paragraph)

Any ideas?

Oh and if it helps, im writing a persuasive speech!  :)
It depends how well known the person is. If you're quoting, say, John Lennon, then you probably don't have to clarify which John Lennon you're talking about, so specifications like 'Renowned British pop singer, and counter-culture activist John Lennon who was born on...' is going to sound superfluous. However, a brief adjective or two can be a good way to sum up a certain person; eg.
In her monumental address to the United Nations summit, then political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi said "quote"
The same can be done for lesser known figures, or even completely random people you found by searching 'quotes about conflict/reality/identity.' We've all done it :P
So long as it doesn't detract from the flow of your speech, you should be fine.

As to the ratio of quotes to examples/explanation, I'm afraid your teacher will have to answer that because it's very subjective. Technically you don't need any quotes at all in Context - you just need 'evidence' of some kind. The most important thing is that your essay is able to find a balance between Context-based discussion, and example-based discussion - how exactly you do this is totally up to you.

I've heard some teachers say things like 'you have to have three or more quotes in every paragraph' while others say 'never use quotes; they're clunky and awful' so definitely check with your teacher to see if they have a hard-and-fast-rule either way. If you're lucky, they'll be cool with whatever you choose, and so it'll be up to you to determine whether your speech feels balanced or not.
ie. does it seem like
a) there are two many quotes and you can't explore them in enough depth, meaning the rest of the speech is compromised because you don't have enough time to talk about the bigger ideas?
b) there aren't enough quotes, so you end up stretching out the ones you do have to the point where you're reading too much into them, or they become sort of over-worked - OR - there aren't enough quotes and the whole thing feels like a stack of huge, lofty ideas with nothing supporting it underneath
or c) none of the above, so pretty much fine :)

Also a very straightforward question...

I have my English Oral SAC tomorrow. I feel very prepared as I've been refining and practising my speech since the beginning of the term. As a result, I can recite my entire piece without fault (i.e. I've memorised it quite well) to the extent that I can perform it without any cue cards/notes at all. With this being said, I would like to know which would be preferable of two possibilities: should I perform my speech without any aids at all, or should I perform it with cue cards in my hand without necessarily referring to them? I understand this might seem like a ridiculously stupid question, but could the skill of being able to interact/articulate your ideas without any aid make it seem to the assessor as if you're of a higher calibre, or does it make your presentation seem arrogant/disorganised?

The reason I ask it is because, while I would've gone with cards in hand to the actual speech to begin with, I was present at a VCAA Plain English speaking competition today. The winner was commended on his prepared speech above all, particularly for the fact that he did so without any notes. Is this a subjective assessment that the assessor will make, it is objectively better to be able to perform in this manner if you have very good interaction abilities when speaking? Thanks in advance and sorry for the unusually niche nature of this question.
I'm of the opinion that having cue cards in front of you is fairly sensible, even if you feel like you've memorised everything entirely... it's a good security blanket in case your brain just flies out the window when you need it most. Also, for someone who never knew what to do with her hands whilst giving a speech unless I had something to hold, it can kind of detract from the awkwardness in a weird psychological-boundary-between-you-and-the-audience sort of way.
But, assuming public speaking isn't too terrifying a prospect for you, then you could go either way. You definitely won't be penalised for having cue cards (unless your teachers are especially cruel, but I've never heard of this happening) and whilst you would get some credit for being able to speak confidently without them, ultimately the marks come down to how good your content is and how well you present it. Things like body language and tone of voice are way mroe influencial factors in the marking scheme than whether you have the speech in front of you.

Ultimately it comes down to what kind of public speaker you are. If your speech is suited to a more personal, perhaps even borderline colloquial delivery where you talk directly to the audience (eg. 'Imagine you were in this situation...' or 'How can we abide this?') then a lack of cards might work in your favour. Whereas, if it's a very formal speech and you're suited to a very formal delivery style, then having your speech there is probably best.

Incidentally, it's kind of like how newsreaders today still have sheets of paper on their desks and occasionally shuffle them around a bit, even though they're almost completely reliant on teleprompters and ear-feeds. It's partly in case everything goes wrong and they need to rely on the hardcopy, but it's mostly about the way they deliver and transition between points.

If you're still undecided, wait and see what others in your class do tomorrow. If it seems like everyone's using cue cards, then maybe just stick with the system, but if there are a few solid speeches delivered without them, then by all means test that memorisation-prowess!

Good luck!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: vanessa14 on May 27, 2015, 11:11:29 pm

It depends how well known the person is. If you're quoting, say, John Lennon, then you probably don't have to clarify which John Lennon you're talking about, so specifications like 'Renowned British pop singer, and counter-culture activist John Lennon who was born on...' is going to sound superfluous. However, a brief adjective or two can be a good way to sum up a certain person; eg.
In her monumental address to the United Nations summit, then political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi said "quote"
The same can be done for lesser known figures, or even completely random people you found by searching 'quotes about conflict/reality/identity.' We've all done it :P
So long as it doesn't detract from the flow of your speech, you should be fine.

As to the ratio of quotes to examples/explanation, I'm afraid your teacher will have to answer that because it's very subjective. Technically you don't need any quotes at all in Context - you just need 'evidence' of some kind. The most important thing is that your essay is able to find a balance between Context-based discussion, and example-based discussion - how exactly you do this is totally up to you.

I've heard some teachers say things like 'you have to have three or more quotes in every paragraph' while others say 'never use quotes; they're clunky and awful' so definitely check with your teacher to see if they have a hard-and-fast-rule either way. If you're lucky, they'll be cool with whatever you choose, and so it'll be up to you to determine whether your speech feels balanced or not.
ie. does it seem like
a) there are two many quotes and you can't explore them in enough depth, meaning the rest of the speech is compromised because you don't have enough time to talk about the bigger ideas?
b) there aren't enough quotes, so you end up stretching out the ones you do have to the point where you're reading too much into them, or they become sort of over-worked - OR - there aren't enough quotes and the whole thing feels like a stack of huge, lofty ideas with nothing supporting it underneath
or c) none of the above, so pretty much fine :)

thank you so much! you're awesome honestly! :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Alter on May 28, 2015, 07:53:32 pm
Whew, my SAC went relatively well. I ended up deciding to do my speech without any cue cards/notes and I didn't go blank/make any crucial mistakes, so I'm glad I made the decision in retrospect. I didn't have a chance to see if anyone else would present it like this before I did it (I was the first up of my group of ~8), but of the rest I've seen today (20ish) nobody else did this. Hopefully it can help separate it me from others who relied a ton on prepared material. Thanks a bunch :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: InNeedForHelp on May 28, 2015, 08:57:32 pm
I'm wondering if I should remember ideas of our studied text before heading in to an exam or is there something that just sparks your memory in the exam? It seems that I don't fully retain what I read on a less so obvious important part of the novel which may be an issue since I want to write an original essay.

Also, should I be learning the context of the quotes I'll be using in my essay? I found some good quotes on the Internet but have a vague understanding of the context but I do think I can link the quote up to a major theme.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Coffee on May 29, 2015, 07:14:45 pm
I'm wondering if I should remember ideas of our studied text before heading in to an exam or is there something that just sparks your memory in the exam? It seems that I don't fully retain what I read on a less so obvious important part of the novel which may be an issue since I want to write an original essay.

Also, should I be learning the context of the quotes I'll be using in my essay? I found some good quotes on the Internet but have a vague understanding of the context but I do think I can link the quote up to a major theme.

You should definitely be prepared when going into an exam so you should have a thorough understanding of the ideas and themes presented in the text. If you're struggling to retain information it's important you're employing good study habits. What works will obviously vary from person to person but you should be revising regularly. Making summary sheets based on characters, plot, themes, etc can be very helpful as are completing practise questions/essays. I personally find mind maps to be very helpful in displaying connections between characters/themes as I can visualise it in the exam. But experiment and see what works for you! Also, it is important you understand the context of the quotations so you're using them appropriately.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on May 30, 2015, 06:45:02 pm
Guys, stressing over my oral :(

Alcohol advertisements should be banned from being publically viewed. But i have absolutely no ideas/arguments :( Someone pls help me, my oral is in 3 days!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: HighTide on May 30, 2015, 07:32:20 pm
Guys, stressing over my oral :(

Alcohol advertisements should be banned from being publically viewed. But i have absolutely no ideas/arguments :( Someone pls help me, my oral is in 3 days!
Hi cosine,
Currently, the use of alcohol advertisements entices younger generations. As such you can look preventing the broadcasting of a negative message by the use of alcohol advertisements. This will probably be the key message but it can have a flow-on effect.
Example, the government and TAC are strongly condemning drink driving. Currently, alcohol advertising in public would hinder their attempts to discourage such behavior.
You can speak of building a better, alcohol-free life for the younger generations. To speak of this you can refer to role models in sport etc. For example, Would you show advertise alcohol publicly at a sports event? I.e. People disapproved of Shane Warne's actions following the 2015 World Cup where he asked many questions relating to alcohol...

Overall, the main idea is building a better future, and to do that you can paint a positive picture of the benefits of reducing alcohol consumption in youth. In other words, CONSIDER THE RIPPLE EFFECT.

Hope it helps.  :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Floatzel98 on May 31, 2015, 08:22:32 pm
I have a couple of articles that i need to compare which are mainly comprised of just an anecdote the whole way through, and i don't really know how this is persuasive and/or effects the reader.  I know this effect is something i should have learned in year 10/11, but i just don't really know what to write about these articles.

Thanks guys :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Coffee on May 31, 2015, 08:58:14 pm
I have a couple of articles that i need to compare which are mainly comprised of just an anecdote the whole way through, and i don't really know how this is persuasive and/or effects the reader.  I know this effect is something i should have learned in year 10/11, but i just don't really know what to write about these articles.

Thanks guys :)

Can you identify any PLTs within the anecdote? Has the author used emotive language or hyperbole in his/her retelling of a story? What about sensationalism or irony? Evidence? Bias? Has the author praised or attacked a specific group? Take a look at this PDF http://www.vcestudyguides.com/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2010/09/Persuasive-Techniques-Insight-Outcomes1.pdf that explains PLTs and their intended effect with examples.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Floatzel98 on May 31, 2015, 09:14:06 pm
Can you identify any PLTs within the anecdote? Has the author used emotive language or hyperbole in his/her retelling of a story? What about sensationalism or irony? Evidence? Bias? Has the author praised or attacked a specific group? Take a look at this PDF http://www.vcestudyguides.com/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2010/09/Persuasive-Techniques-Insight-Outcomes1.pdf that explains PLTs and their intended effect with examples.
Okay thanks :) For one of them, i can't really identify any link to his contention in his anecdote. It does still relate to the issue though. Can i still talk about how he is propositioning  the readers to feel about the issue for when he does reveal his contention? It might not make sense without the article here, but thanks for the help anyway. I had that PDF last year and i used it all the time, so thanks for showing me that again :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Coffee on May 31, 2015, 09:59:46 pm
Okay thanks :) For one of them, i can't really identify any link to his contention in his anecdote. It does still relate to the issue though. Can i still talk about how he is propositioning  the readers to feel about the issue for when he does reveal his contention? It might not make sense without the article here, but thanks for the help anyway. I had that PDF last year and i used it all the time, so thanks for showing me that again :)
You can discuss the use of anecdotal evidence as long as it is relevant to the author's attempt to persuade. So if the author uses anecdotal evidence but it doesn't quite relate to the overall contention, but it's essentially setting the audience up to agree; then it is an attempt to persuade the reader to agree with his/her contention. Does that kind of make sense?

It's a bit hard to know what you mean without having read the article and I feel as though I've misunderstood your question so apologies if I've gone on a complete tangent.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: knightrider on June 01, 2015, 01:37:17 am
Hey literally Lauren.

Just wondering what will you be covering in the unit 4 headstart lectures for english.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on June 01, 2015, 05:42:33 pm
Okay thanks :) For one of them, i can't really identify any link to his contention in his anecdote. It does still relate to the issue though. Can i still talk about how he is propositioning  the readers to feel about the issue for when he does reveal his contention? It might not make sense without the article here, but thanks for the help anyway. I had that PDF last year and i used it all the time, so thanks for showing me that again :)
Coffee is right, so long as you can link the technique to the contention, you're fine. Language Analysis isn't just about pointing out the devices that the author is using; in fact the examiners have recently been *subtly* reminding students that they have to do more than just state 'the author uses a rhetorical question as seen in this quote: "_____".' It's way more important that you make an attempt to talk about how this language is used to persuade. On their own, techniques aren't persuasive. So, an 'analysis' that does nothing but point out a list of techniques with no concept of the overall arguments is going to be literally pointless :)

Let's take a sample bit of mediocre analysis as an example:

In order to further his contention that the government's proposal is a bad idea, the author uses inclusive language like "we don't want this" to make readers agree with his argument and reject the proposal.

The reason this wouldn't score well is because it's just too broad. For starters:
In order to further his contention that the government's proposal is a bad 'bad' in what way? What part of the contention are we talking about here? Is the proposal inefficient? Costly? Misguided? Exploitative? Useless? You should never just use generic words like 'bad,' because no technique can support an entire contention - it might help you argue a single point, but you can't say 'the author's contention can be seen in this technique'  idea, the author uses inclusive language like "we don't want this" this might be similar to what you're talking about; yes, it's inclusive language, but there's more to say about this language (much like how there's more to say about anecdotes than just 'this is an anecdote.') For instance, what group is the author including the audience in? Why might this be important? If you know something about the audience (eg. local community, group of schoolkids, parents, etc.) then how might they, in particular, be affected by this? to make readers agree with his argument ALWAYS avoid this sort of thing. If you're ever writing something that's so plain, it could fit into any language analysis essay; YOU NEED TO BE MORE SPECIFIC! Expressions like 'thus making the readers agree with him' or 'thereby strengthening his contention and making the audience see his point of view' are worth nothing! and reject the proposal. Why??? What has this language done to bring about this result? I've stated the author includes the reader... but I haven't done anything with that fact.

Instead, something like:

The author's use of inclusive language, as seen in the phrase "we don't want this," seeks to encompass readers in his own disapproval of the proposal. Furthermore, the sharp, laconic sentence acts as a matter-of-fact assertion, intended to compel readers to agree with the idea of the proposal being unwanted and harmful to the community.

is way more likely to be looked upon favourably because it takes you through a thought process, step by step.

Don't assume your marker will do the thinking and fill in the gaps for you, because they won't. :)

Hey literally Lauren.

Just wondering what will you be covering in the unit 4 headstart lectures for english.
We're still working out the time-breakdown so I don't know how long I'll be spending on different areas (most likely 3x45 minute sessions, but idk) so at the moment it's looking like:
- One session dealing with 'sophisticated' interpretations of Section A texts and how to better your analysis (in both Sections A and C) in order to increase your understanding beyond the surface-level stuff.
- One session about what makes a good contention, incl. how to write proper topic sentences and get a reliable essay structure for all three Sections (though less of Section B since not everyone will be writing a conventional essay with topic sentences; I'll touch on it briefly since I recommend writing a few normal essays even if you do plan to write creatively/persuasively/hybrid-ly, but the focus will again be on A&C primarily)
- On session on improving expression and essay flow; making your writing 'better' regardless of what level you're at and how confident you feel. This'll be geared more so towards Sec. B since 'quality of writing' is a fairly major part of the marking scheme, but it'll have trickle-down effects for the other sections too.

I've been trying to incorporate all of the suggestions people have been sending me, and I'd welcome any more recommendations you have! There'll be time for questions and queries on the day, of course, but judging by the February lectures, I probably won't get a chance to address everyone's concerns - so the more I know beforehand, the more I can cover.

And please don't hesitate to shoot me a message if you think 'oh, it's only a problem for me' or 'she'll probably think this is a stupid question.'
Because a) if you're having trouble with something, chances are, someone else is too. And they're going to be so grateful to know that someone else brought it up and that they're not alone :p Also, you may be aware of a problem that others are experiencing without realising it - so I don't consider it 'time wasted' even if we're dealing with a seemingly small concern.
And b) I spent the first half of Year 12 English in a state of 'meh, this is fine, I'll get by' before caving and asking my teacher 'how the hell do I do any of this??' Then I just spent the next few months asking as many questions, stupid and otherwise, until I reached a point where I felt like I understood the task and how I could best meet the requirements. Self-study can get you far, but unless you know what to do and how to do it, you'll end up kicking yourself at the end of the year - trust me.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Apink! on June 02, 2015, 02:49:11 pm
If I had a prompt:
"one has little control over one's reality"
What would I discuss in each paragraph, and what would be a good contention?
I can't think of a sophisticated contention, and how to develop this contention coherently in each paragraph.
It's a context expository essay

Thank you in advance! (:
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: knightrider on June 02, 2015, 06:18:11 pm

We're still working out the time-breakdown so I don't know how long I'll be spending on different areas (most likely 3x45 minute sessions, but idk) so at the moment it's looking like:
- One session dealing with 'sophisticated' interpretations of Section A texts and how to better your analysis (in both Sections A and C) in order to increase your understanding beyond the surface-level stuff.
- One session about what makes a good contention, incl. how to write proper topic sentences and get a reliable essay structure for all three Sections (though less of Section B since not everyone will be writing a conventional essay with topic sentences; I'll touch on it briefly since I recommend writing a few normal essays even if you do plan to write creatively/persuasively/hybrid-ly, but the focus will again be on A&C primarily)
- On session on improving expression and essay flow; making your writing 'better' regardless of what level you're at and how confident you feel. This'll be geared more so towards Sec. B since 'quality of writing' is a fairly major part of the marking scheme, but it'll have trickle-down effects for the other sections too.

I've been trying to incorporate all of the suggestions people have been sending me, and I'd welcome any more recommendations you have! There'll be time for questions and queries on the day, of course, but judging by the February lectures, I probably won't get a chance to address everyone's concerns - so the more I know beforehand, the more I can cover.

And please don't hesitate to shoot me a message if you think 'oh, it's only a problem for me' or 'she'll probably think this is a stupid question.'
Because a) if you're having trouble with something, chances are, someone else is too. And they're going to be so grateful to know that someone else brought it up and that they're not alone :p Also, you may be aware of a problem that others are experiencing without realising it - so I don't consider it 'time wasted' even if we're dealing with a seemingly small concern.
And b) I spent the first half of Year 12 English in a state of 'meh, this is fine, I'll get by' before caving and asking my teacher 'how the hell do I do any of this??' Then I just spent the next few months asking as many questions, stupid and otherwise, until I reached a point where I felt like I understood the task and how I could best meet the requirements. Self-study can get you far, but unless you know what to do and how to do it, you'll end up kicking yourself at the end of the year - trust me.

Some wisdoms:
(http://www.dailythoughts.in/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/confucius-quotes-2.jpg)

Thanks very much Lauren  :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: [email protected] on June 02, 2015, 08:05:44 pm
If I had a prompt:
"one has little control over one's reality"
What would I discuss in each paragraph, and what would be a good contention?
I can't think of a sophisticated contention, and how to develop this contention coherently in each paragraph.
It's a context expository essay

Thank you in advance! (:
I guess the way you tackle the prompt is no defined way.

I think a good way to develop your contention is to start with a really basic idea say:

 - Everyone has a different reality and we jumble up our own with others.

Then advance it a bit more by saying something like:

 - Sometimes our reality however is not manipulated by others, but our own mind tends to change it

Then finish off with a stronger idea:

 - The implications of the prompt, e.g Losing touch with an objective reality can be dangerous

Hope I helped!  :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: KingDrogba on June 02, 2015, 08:54:28 pm
I am genuinely struggling to find examples of Identity and Belonging within the play 'The Summer of the Seventeenth Doll' i've read the play twice, and i need examples for an expository piece, does anyone have an ideas they are worth sharing?

I have an example to do with Roo, but struggle to discuss it.

Thank you!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: [email protected] on June 03, 2015, 05:09:22 pm
Hey Lauren,

In regards to exploring the possibilities of a prompt, where can we go when we have that 'type' of prompt that has about 3 elements in it, e.g 'Reality is influenced by place, time and people', rather than those ones which are more of a central focus like 'Reality is an ever changing concept'

While I have put a lot of effort this year on focusing of my ability to explore the prompt and not just say I agree because a,b and c, I feel those one's with numerous elements are just forcing me to write:

 - Reality is influenced by place
 - Reality is influenced by time
 - Reality is influenced by people

How can I avoid doing this? Can I just be like stuff you teachers I'm gonna talk about place and then lead that onto another facet of the prompt, but not time or people?

Thanks  :D
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: thaaanyan on June 04, 2015, 09:08:44 pm
Hey Lauren,

In regards to exploring the possibilities of a prompt, where can we go when we have that 'type' of prompt that has about 3 elements in it, e.g 'Reality is influenced by place, time and people', rather than those ones which are more of a central focus like 'Reality is an ever changing concept'

While I have put a lot of effort this year on focusing of my ability to explore the prompt and not just say I agree because a,b and c, I feel those one's with numerous elements are just forcing me to write:

 - Reality is influenced by place
 - Reality is influenced by time
 - Reality is influenced by people

How can I avoid doing this? Can I just be like stuff you teachers I'm gonna talk about place and then lead that onto another facet of the prompt, but not time or people?

Thanks  :D

Hey! How's it going :)
Not Lauren but I hope I can help!
The prompt does generally provide for the easy three paragraph split which you've outlined above, and while simplistic if well executed it can still provide a powerful and captivating essay. You must address all aspects of the prompt though, no matter how you do it, so I wouldn't advise going down that hypothetical route.

Ultimately though your prompt is a springboard, it provides the basis for your discussion rather than dictating the confines within which your ideas must operate.
For example, you could contend that while, reality is a byproduct of facets of  individual's external environment (time, place, people) it can also be further influenced by our own introspection and the unique ability individuals have to develop/grow through challenging their own ideologies and pre-conceived notions of what reality means to them. What about the impact of social expectation and social norms or even the way our understanding of the world we live in is limited in accordance to the info we have of the  world?
What i'm trying to say is while you must to some degree discuss time, place and people the prompt is not limiting you from discussing other factors which influence someone's reality, or the way in which you split your ideas: e.g you may draw connections between time and place and the nature of reality in one paragraph and then in the second/ third para may focus on two different ideas regarding people.

good luck! hope this helps! :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on June 04, 2015, 10:45:38 pm
Anyone ?
We'll get to it (I can try to tomorrow) but please don't bump like that after only an hour, people round here do their best to answer quickly but remember it's free help! (and I've got to go to bed -.- :P)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Vexna on June 05, 2015, 10:23:27 am
For an expository essay, do I have to actually mention the text that it is based around?

Thanks.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on June 05, 2015, 11:44:15 am
For an expository essay, do I have to actually mention the text that it is based around?

Thanks.

Technically, no. Actually, yes.

The requirement is that you draw ideas from the text in order to aid your discussion; so long as you're dong that, you're fine. The trouble is that this criterion is stupidly vague and I doubt even VCAA could provide a concrete example of what they mean by this. So for safety's sake, I'd advise most people to use an overt link like

'Similar ideas are reflected in Barry Levinson's film 'Wag the Dog' when...' or 'As can be seen in Bertolt Brecht's play 'Life of Galileo'...'

especially for an expository essay where those sorts of links can be done smoothly, without disrupting the flow of something like a creative narrative of a speech.

If you're in the same position I was in that you don't want to write about the set text, or find other ideas waaaaaaaay more interesting, just get it out of the way really quickly. Unpack some key ideas from the text in your first paragraph, then you can move on to better territory afterwards :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Vexna on June 05, 2015, 12:09:07 pm
Technically, no. Actually, yes.

The requirement is that you draw ideas from the text in order to aid your discussion; so long as you're dong that, you're fine. The trouble is that this criterion is stupidly vague and I doubt even VCAA could provide a concrete example of what they mean by this. So for safety's sake, I'd advise most people to use an overt link like

'Similar ideas are reflected in Barry Levinson's film 'Wag the Dog' when...' or 'As can be seen in Bertolt Brecht's play 'Life of Galileo'...'

especially for an expository essay where those sorts of links can be done smoothly, without disrupting the flow of something like a creative narrative of a speech.

If you're in the same position I was in that you don't want to write about the set text, or find other ideas waaaaaaaay more interesting, just get it out of the way really quickly. Unpack some key ideas from the text in your first paragraph, then you can move on to better territory afterwards :)


By first paragraph, do you mean the body paragraph or the introduction?  ;D
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on June 05, 2015, 01:03:29 pm
First body paragraph :)

Bur if you're doing something slightly creative, you're free to use the text in your intro as well. Many students like to adopt the voice of the author or a character and do a mini-imaginative piece for the intro and conclusion.

In 'traditional' expository pieces, the intro is just for opening up your ideas, but starting off with examples is a great way of capturing the reader's interest; it just depends what your strengths are and what you're willing to experiment with. :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Vexna on June 05, 2015, 01:18:47 pm
First body paragraph :)

Bur if you're doing something slightly creative, you're free to use the text in your intro as well. Many students like to adopt the voice of the author or a character and do a mini-imaginative piece for the intro and conclusion.

In 'traditional' expository pieces, the intro is just for opening up your ideas, but starting off with examples is a great way of capturing the reader's interest; it just depends what your strengths are and what you're willing to experiment with. :)

Thank you very much!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Apink! on June 06, 2015, 07:38:48 am
Hi!

Do you know any real-life and current examples of Context- Whose Reality?
Also, is there any short stories or articles that are useful? I have an English exam in 3 days and I'm freaking out!
Please help me :P
Thank you :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: MathsNerd203 on June 06, 2015, 08:30:09 am
When I did my context SAC (Unit 1/2) a few weeks ago, I aced it and received full marks. I wrote it as an Imaginative/Expository TV interview, which worked really well for me.

However, on my English exam the other day, I wrote a standard expository essay, and I feel like it limited my ability to express my ideas; resulting in a poor performance.

As I progress through VCE English, should I stick with the TV interview format, or should I experiment around a little?

Also, if I were to stick with the interview/dialogue format, how should I start the piece. On my SAC I wrote a little paragraph at the start, something like:

The following is a television transcript from an interview conducted between (Person 1) and (Person 2), originally broadcast on the (Television Network) on (Current affairs program) at (Time) on the (Date):

This intro didn't feel right. Should I alter it, or just leave it out altogether?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: JackSonSmith on June 06, 2015, 10:59:35 pm
In context, how much of our nominated text do we need to draw from?

I was very confused, do we need to have at least 25% of our writing to be based on our selected text?

Are a few references enough?

How much do we need to 'satisfy requirements' ?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: StupidProdigy on June 09, 2015, 07:21:17 pm
When analysing and writing about the visual in language analysis, say I have 3 articles in the piece (one main one and two comments), what do i have to include? Like do I need to only write about the main article and it's relation to the image (since it would have been published to aid their argument/persuasion)? Thankyou!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: HighTide on June 09, 2015, 09:16:30 pm
When I did my context SAC (Unit 1/2) a few weeks ago, I aced it and received full marks. I wrote it as an Imaginative/Expository TV interview, which worked really well for me.

However, on my English exam the other day, I wrote a standard expository essay, and I feel like it limited my ability to express my ideas; resulting in a poor performance.

As I progress through VCE English, should I stick with the TV interview format, or should I experiment around a little?

Also, if I were to stick with the interview/dialogue format, how should I start the piece. On my SAC I wrote a little paragraph at the start, something like:

The following is a television transcript from an interview conducted between (Person 1) and (Person 2), originally broadcast on the (Television Network) on (Current affairs program) at (Time) on the (Date):

This intro didn't feel right. Should I alter it, or just leave it out altogether?
Hi, I'm not overly sure about the introduction, but I would think that that is allowed as it does give the examiner insight to what you'll speak of since they don't have any prior information about it. I would personally have started mine of with dialogue in an interview transcript.
As for your other question, you are in year 11 so you have time to play around and find the writing style that suits you. However, saying that, if you're good at something in year 11, such as the imaginative transcript, I would think it would be better if you chose your style now and perfected it for year 12. By the way, considering you aced an interview transcript, I would personally practice it and stick with it till next year, as schools in year 12 rightfully tend to encourage students to pursue something other than the overused expository essays or articles.

In context, how much of our nominated text do we need to draw from?

I was very confused, do we need to have at least 25% of our writing to be based on our selected text?

Are a few references enough?

How much do we need to 'satisfy requirements' ?
It depends on your style of writing.
For imaginative pieces, you can take core-text elements, characters, themes and ideas and explore them within your piece. You don't need to make direct reference, but rather just exploring the same or similar ideas is fine.

For a persuasive or context pieces, you can make direct links to the text. However, I don't think that's a must. Instead you can also just explore the ideas. You can use quotes, history and evidence from the text.
Overall, you can't really define the extent to which they want you to refer to the text. You do have to, but as told by my own school, I think it's okay if you use indirect references, instead of saying "As seen in this book... blah blah".

When analysing and writing about the visual in language analysis, say I have 3 articles in the piece (one main one and two comments), what do i have to include? Like do I need to only write about the main article and it's relation to the image (since it would have been published to aid their argument/persuasion)? Thankyou!
You definitely have to include an analysis of the visual with respect to its accompanying article. As for the other two comments:
- If they seek to elicit the same feeling in parents, i.e. concern, then you can refer to the image. The image and the comment may have the same key argument, or position readers to feel or do something specific.
- If the comments contradict the ideas of the image, you can say "In stark contrast...." and compare. In this case, you can refer to the key arguments as they will contradict each other. Similarly, as such, the illustration and the writer of the comment would be seeking to position readers differently.
I'm not 100% sure about this, but I think you can and should compare the articles and images.
Hope this helps  :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on June 11, 2015, 09:04:20 pm
In an exam, is it wise to include quotes form the article, into the introduction of a language analysis essay?
Also how long does the english exam go for, and we need to write 3 essays right?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: StupidProdigy on June 11, 2015, 09:10:21 pm
In an exam, is it wise to include quotes form the article, into the introduction of a language analysis essay?
Also how long does the english exam go for, and we need to write 3 essays right?
Don't have anything too big quoted in the intro, maybe one or two quoted words/phrases, but try to keep most stuff for the analysis.
The english exam goes for three hours and there is 15 mins reading time. Yep 3 essays, so people try to do one per hour, or one per 50mins so they have editting time or whatever time allocation works for them they use
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on June 11, 2015, 09:10:46 pm
In an exam, is it wise to include quotes form the article, into the introduction of a language analysis essay?
Also how long does the english exam go for, and we need to write 3 essays right?
My teacher said to include a couple of quotes, I think Lauren says not to.  Take your pick :P (lol love the way I'm starting to quote Lauren at every turn).  In the end I think it's a matter of personal choice, but don't put in more than 1-2 and make sure they're integrated very smoothly.

15 mins reading time, 3 hours writing.  Yes - one TR, one context, and one LA.  Definitely check out a couple of past exams to get a feel for the layout and how it all works.

EDIT: beaten by SP :(
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on June 11, 2015, 09:54:21 pm
My teacher said to include a couple of quotes, I think Lauren says not to.  Take your pick :P (lol love the way I'm starting to quote Lauren at every turn).  In the end I think it's a matter of personal choice, but don't put in more than 1-2 and make sure they're integrated very smoothly.

15 mins reading time, 3 hours writing.  Yes - one TR, one context, and one LA.  Definitely check out a couple of past exams to get a feel for the layout and how it all works.

EDIT: beaten by SP :(

Thanks guys :D

How can I prepare myself for the english exam? What can I do now to ensure I can improve that when come exam time, or study periods, I don't panic (hopefully) and will feel optimistic about the exam?

Also do you recommend on doing the essay that im the weakest on during the exam first, or the one im best at?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on June 12, 2015, 12:34:45 am
In an exam, is it wise to include quotes form the article, into the introduction of a language analysis essay?
Also how long does the english exam go for, and we need to write 3 essays right?
My logic is that the only time you should be quoting in L.A. is to analyse. If you're not analysing a quote, then it's there for summary, and summary is useless. (Note: not wrong, just useless. You don't lose marks for it, but you don't gain any either.) But you're not meant to be analysing anything in the intro, you're just introducing the piece and its contention. So if you were bringing up quotes and analysing them, then it's no longer an intro... more of a body paragraph.

And yes, Prodigy is right; the exam time averages to one essay per hour, but that doesn't mean you have to stick to the same time breakdown. If you only need 50 minutes to write a good Context piece, then you can give yourself an extra 10 minutes to deal with Language Analysis, if that was your weakness.

Thanks guys :D

How can I prepare myself for the english exam? What can I do now to ensure I can improve that when come exam time, or study periods, I don't panic (hopefully) and will feel optimistic about the exam?

Also do you recommend on doing the essay that im the weakest on during the exam first, or the one im best at?
Know what you're doing well and badly at the moment. Use teacher feedback, but also be your own critic. What do you find easiest or most difficult? And as always, be as specific as possible if you want to be efficient with your improvement.

Exam order should be either CAB or CBA (where Section A is T.R., B is Context, C is L.A.) I am yet to hear a convincing argument for any other order.
The majority of your reading time will be spent on the L.A. material, since you only have three other half-sentences to read: two T.R. prompts, of which you will choose one, and then the Context prompt. So if you spend ~13 minutes going through the L.A. material, and then write a T.R. essay first only to go back to L.A. second/third, you're essentially wasting time just transitioning between the different pieces. Get L.A. out of the way while it's all fresh in your mind; what you do after that is up to you. I usually advocate doing T.R. first since you have to use memorised quotes, whereas Context is a lot more fluid. AND if you're severely running out of time, you don't have to abide by any formal structure for Context, unlike in T.R. where you're expected to have 3 or 4 paragraphs + an intro and concl. But in the end, I went with CBA just because the Section B prompt was atrocious and I wanted to get it out of the way  ;D

Ideally you'll be able to get all three essay forms up to a stage where you feel confident enough with each of them, and then you can decide on the day which prompt you want to tackle first. But all the essays equally weighted, so there's no sense putting all your eggs in one basket :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on June 12, 2015, 07:24:49 am
My logic is that the only time you should be quoting in L.A. is to analyse. If you're not analysing a quote, then it's there for summary, and summary is useless. (Note: not wrong, just useless. You don't lose marks for it, but you don't gain any either.) But you're not meant to be analysing anything in the intro, you're just introducing the piece and its contention. So if you were bringing up quotes and analysing them, then it's no longer an intro... more of a body paragraph.

And yes, Prodigy is right; the exam time averages to one essay per hour, but that doesn't mean you have to stick to the same time breakdown. If you only need 50 minutes to write a good Context piece, then you can give yourself an extra 10 minutes to deal with Language Analysis, if that was your weakness.
Know what you're doing well and badly at the moment. Use teacher feedback, but also be your own critic. What do you find easiest or most difficult? And as always, be as specific as possible if you want to be efficient with your improvement.

Exam order should be either CAB or CBA (where Section A is T.R., B is Context, C is L.A.) I am yet to hear a convincing argument for any other order.
The majority of your reading time will be spent on the L.A. material, since you only have three other half-sentences to read: two T.R. prompts, of which you will choose one, and then the Context prompt. So if you spend ~13 minutes going through the L.A. material, and then write a T.R. essay first only to go back to L.A. second/third, you're essentially wasting time just transitioning between the different pieces. Get L.A. out of the way while it's all fresh in your mind; what you do after that is up to you. I usually advocate doing T.R. first since you have to use memorised quotes, whereas Context is a lot more fluid. AND if you're severely running out of time, you don't have to abide by any formal structure for Context, unlike in T.R. where you're expected to have 3 or 4 paragraphs + an intro and concl. But in the end, I went with CBA just because the Section B prompt was atrocious and I wanted to get it out of the way  ;D

Ideally you'll be able to get all three essay forms up to a stage where you feel confident enough with each of them, and then you can decide on the day which prompt you want to tackle first. But all the essays equally weighted, so there's no sense putting all your eggs in one basket :)

Wonderful, thanks!!

How do the assessors mark? Like say if you didnt have time to write the last essay, but like absolutely smashed the others as you devoted the 3 hours to it, would they really take off the whole 10 marks off the essay?

Also say you didn't have enough time to write up the conclusion of the last essay, what happens? In terms of marks :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on June 12, 2015, 12:45:05 pm
How do the assessors mark? Like say if you didnt have time to write the last essay, but like absolutely smashed the others as you devoted the 3 hours to it, would they really take off the whole 10 marks off the essay?

Also say you didn't have enough time to write up the conclusion of the last essay, what happens? In terms of marks :)

Well, if you've written nothing, you've addressed none of the criteria for that essay - so you deserve 0 marks for that essay.  Simple.

About how long to devote to each - it depends on your situation and what works for you.  For me, I left my weakest to last and gave it very little time (~35 mins), in the hope that I'd wing it.  It meant I could maximise my marks for TR and LA, sections I was better prepared for.  If I'd spent more time on context, I wouldn't have done much better (let's face it, I was utterly hopelessly unprepared for it) and would have freaked out even more.  So while this seems ridiculous, it actually worked best for my circumstances.  Be flexible based on your needs.  Hopefully you won't let yourself get in that situation, though, so you can do approx 60-60-60.

I don't think I finished any of my pieces in the exam (actually maybe finished TR?) but got decent enough marks, better than deserved.  For a 10, finish; for a lower but still decent mark, I don't think you have to.  Better to write 4 decent paragraphs that impress the assessor and hit all the criteria, than 5 lower-quality paragraphs.

(All this is IM(ignorant)O).
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: chocolatecupcakes on June 15, 2015, 07:23:44 pm
How would I respond to a context prompt in an expository essay? I was told not to answer the prompt like a question (yes/no) but rather 'explore'.

For example using the 2012 conflict prompt "The experience of conflict changes people's priorities", I was told not to write my expository essay using 'the experience of conflict changes people's priorities and the experience does not change people's priorities' as my points because I'm responding to the prompt as if I'm answering a question. But how would I explore? 
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: MathsNerd203 on June 16, 2015, 06:47:31 pm
(I'm not sure if this is the best way of approaching the context prompt, but it works for me, so it may work for you too  ;) )

My teacher said to ask questions of the prompt, to help form 'big' ideas that relate to the set context. I will show some example questions for the prompt you mentioned: The experience of conflict changes people's priorities.

I like to use the words, who, what, when, where, why and how to ask questions.

1. Who's priorities are affected by conflict?

2. What about conflict changes people priorities?

3. When can one's experience with conflict influence their priorities?

4. Where does conflict occur that influences the priorities of people?

5. Why does conflict influence peoples' priorities?

(These are pretty rubbish questions, but I'm just using them as an example for what you should try and do)

Once you've come up with these questions, answer them, and use your answers as your big ideas for your essay. (Of course, for expository, make sure you ask questions that will allow you to fully explore all sides of the prompt, don't write a biased expository essay)

Anyway, this is my strategy, and it works well for me. I'm sure there are other strategies out there that work well for others.

I hope this has been of some assistance  :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on June 16, 2015, 08:30:40 pm
Wonderful, thanks!!

How do the assessors mark? Like say if you didnt have time to write the last essay, but like absolutely smashed the others as you devoted the 3 hours to it, would they really take off the whole 10 marks off the essay?

Also say you didn't have enough time to write up the conclusion of the last essay, what happens? In terms of marks :)

Your exam isn't just marked globally by one or two people. At the end of the year, you'll have (at least) six different assessors. None of them speak to each other; each essay is marked by two different people independently, then they add the two marks per essay together for all three essays to get a score out of 60.

For example:
Section A essay: {Assessor 1: 8/10} {Assessor 2: 9/10}
Section B essay: {Assessor 3: 7/10} {Assessor 4: 7/10}
Section C essay: {Assessor 5: 5/10} {Assessor 6: 9/10} --> this would be a special case. Since there is a disparity of three or more between the marks, this essay will be given to a third assessor to mark. If they said it was an 8/10, then they'd take the 8 and the 9 and add those together. But if they thought it was only a 6, then they'd take the 5 and the 6 since they're closer. In the rare event this third assessor also gives you a widely different mark, like a 2/10 or something, then your piece just goes to the Chief Assessor and he gets the final say.
So assuming that final piece got given an 8/10 by its third assessor, your overall exam score would equate to 48/60.


To answer your question, it doesn't matter how good a single essay is; if you've left a whole section blank, you can't get any marks for it. Don't think about it as 'taking 10 marks off;' you haven't done anything to earn those marks in the first place :p The assessors don't know how well you've done on your other essays - all they see is that one piece which might be brilliant or blank, and they'll mark it accordingly. I would think that if you do end up with vastly different scores for each one (eg. A:9+10/10, B:9+9/10, C:3+4/10) then the Chief Assessor might give things a look over just to make sure you weren't marked unfairly, but this is quite a frequent occurrence so they might not worry about it so much nowadays.

With regards to conclusions, they're structural requirements in T.R. and L.A. so if you leave them out, it's possible you could lose a mark, though usually only if you've done other things wrong as well (eg. vocab was mediocre, spelling was pretty bad, some parts were repetitive AND you were missing a conclusion)
Context has no formal structure, so if you're just writing a journal article or a speech or something, you don't have to have a specific paragraph that concludes your piece, but you should still be wrapping things up at the end. For the typical expository essay, not having a conclusion can sound a bit odd.

How would I respond to a context prompt in an expository essay? I was told not to answer the prompt like a question (yes/no) but rather 'explore'.

For example using the 2012 conflict prompt "The experience of conflict changes people's priorities", I was told not to write my expository essay using 'the experience of conflict changes people's priorities and the experience does not change people's priorities' as my points because I'm responding to the prompt as if I'm answering a question. But how would I explore? 

MathsNerd beat me to it, but questioning is definitely what I'd recommend too.

You never want to argue that something in Context is completely true or totally false; you can say something is often true or generally false however. Think about it - if you're reading an essay and a student writes: 'Conflict changes peoples priorities,' then it's as though they think that statement has no exceptions, which isn't necessarily the case (--> these exceptions are where we get the really interesting discussion! So what is it about a conflict or a person that determines whether or not the priorities change? Maybe we have to have an open mind, or be aware of our circumstances? Or maybe it is people who unintentionally become the victims in a conflict who are forced to alter their priorities?...) Likewise if someone says 'Conflict doesn't change priorities - ever,' you only have to think of one exception, and their whole argument falls apart. It's much safer to have a contention like 'Although conflict can bring about a change in our values, the degree to which this change affects us depends on much more...'
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Apink! on June 25, 2015, 11:15:05 am
Hi Lauren (or anyone else)

I need help with this poem called "The owl and the pussycat" by Edward Lear, which is basically about a cat and an owl in love and getting married. Somehow I need to connect the poem (which is a pretty childish poem, I think) to the values of Victorian era such as marriage, courtship etc.

I'm completely blank. I was wondering if you could help me out?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Apink! on June 25, 2015, 11:25:19 am
These are the things I need to address:
- Consideration of the context of the poem: for example: era, gender or place.
*Understanding of the author’s message
*Analysis of how language is used to create meaning and the form of this particular poem
*Presentation skills: preparation, engagement of the audience, voice and eye contact
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on June 25, 2015, 12:12:14 pm
Hi Lauren (or anyone else)

I need help with this poem called "The owl and the pussycat" by Edward Lear, which is basically about a cat and an owl in love and getting married. Somehow I need to connect the poem (which is a pretty childish poem, I think) to the values of Victorian era such as marriage, courtship etc.

I'm completely blank. I was wondering if you could help me out?

Aww, I love that poem!  (Yeah, it was written for kids, but it's so cute, right?).  Some ideas

Some ideas about the values of that era:
--> respect for each other is important in courtship
--> the point of courtship is the romance, love and joy they share, rather than a physical relationship
--> courtship and marriage were about becoming one and sharing together - unity and sharing were important, marriage wasn't there to fulfil their own individual needs, but to share together
--> courtship in that era was serious, not just a random date or two, and intended to end in marriage - they couldn't dance/hold hands/share completely until they were actually married

EDIT: didn't see your next post.  Message: emphasis on love, joy and sharing in relationships.  Just looked at the poem - this is most strongly shown in the bit
'And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
   They danced by the light of the moon,
             The moon,
             The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.'

Sorry I can't give more, typing this in the middle of class when I'm kinda supposed to be reading about oedema ::)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Apink! on June 25, 2015, 12:23:17 pm
Thanks! (:
I think I have a clearer Idea now!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Apink! on June 25, 2015, 12:53:59 pm
Hi,

I have made some very good notes following your advice! Thanks!
However, I am having trouble figuring out the overall message/ contention that the poet was trying to say in this.

Could I have your help again?
Much appreciated!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on June 25, 2015, 02:10:59 pm
Hi,

I have made some very good notes following your advice! Thanks!
However, I am having trouble figuring out the overall message/ contention that the poet was trying to say in this.

Could I have your help again?
Much appreciated!

In reality, the author was writing a nice cute poem.  So your guess is as good as mine!
Stabbing randomly at it, I'd say something about love = unity, sharing and togetherness; love and relationships should bring joy, because of this love is worth waiting for.  Or something.  I'd draw this from the 'hand in hand on the edge of the sand they danced in the light of the moon' - like, 'hand in hand' suggests togetherness, 'danced' sounds beautiful  and joyful, 'in the light of the moon' sounds romantic, beautiful, shining etc.  Just think about how that line makes you feel!

(Can't be bothered thinking of good ways to express stuff so this is pretty basic, that's your job :P).

And, all that stuff about courtship I did draw (loosely) from the poem, I just didn't specify the links.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: chocolatecupcakes on June 27, 2015, 02:13:42 pm
When researching external examples to use in my context essays what should I be looking for? My context is encountering conflict.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: tashhhaaa on June 27, 2015, 10:42:15 pm
Hey Lauren (or anyone else),

I read some of your language analysis essays that I found on AN a while ago and I was in absolute awe of your amazing vocabulary.

How do I expand mine to get to even a tenth of yours? Even though I'm averaging A+, I don't write anything like that. I know you did incredibly well in English, but I don't want to write mediocre essays in the exam -- I'd really like to impress my assessors with the language I use lol.

Teachers and the like always say read to have a better vocabulary but I find that a little passive I don't really learn anything from it. Do you have any other tips to improve?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: HighTide on June 28, 2015, 09:20:50 am
When researching external examples to use in my context essays what should I be looking for? My context is encountering conflict.
Look for stuff other than the standard war, physical brutality or the overused ones going around. You can use like any issue as a conflict but it depends on your text and the prompt given. Some ideas would be stuff like domestic violence, rivalries and arguments between individuals,societies or groups. Whatever you decide to use, remember that it does not have to effect wide scale.
I.e. You can have conflicts ranging from small scale to large scale. So like sibling rivalry, to the tension between countries.
Most people will research online to find conflicts. This would be good but, if you want to find smaller scale conflicts which give variety to your arguments, there's heaps in the newspapers.
Hey Lauren (or anyone else),

I read some of your language analysis essays that I found on AN a while ago and I was in absolute awe of your amazing vocabulary.

How do I expand mine to get to even a tenth of yours? Even though I'm averaging A+, I don't write anything like that. I know you did incredibly well in English, but I don't want to write mediocre essays in the exam -- I'd really like to impress my assessors with the language I use lol.

Teachers and the like always say read to have a better vocabulary but I find that a little passive I don't really learn anything from it. Do you have any other tips to improve?
Hi, not Lauren but I hope I can help.
I was in a similar situation at the start of the year. I needed to make my essays more sophisticated. It really helped to read the sample text responses, language analysis' and context pieces on both Atarnotes, VCAA past exams and on other websites. The best method of improving is through writing essays, trying out new words, and then asking your teachers or people on AN to read your essay.
However, saying that, in your attempt to impress the assessors by using new words and all that, it's probably not recommended to add new words just for the "flare" (as in, no thesaurus.com, but rather checking each and every word in a dictionary). Just consider, that by the time you do your exam, you want words that will stand out but also ensure that your arguments are short and concise.
Hope this helps  :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: anat0my on June 28, 2015, 01:34:35 pm
Hi what's the best way to go about reading/rereading a book?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: tashhhaaa on June 28, 2015, 02:52:30 pm
Hi, not Lauren but I hope I can help.
I was in a similar situation at the start of the year. I needed to make my essays more sophisticated. It really helped to read the sample text responses, language analysis' and context pieces on both Atarnotes, VCAA past exams and on other websites. The best method of improving is through writing essays, trying out new words, and then asking your teachers or people on AN to read your essay.
However, saying that, in your attempt to impress the assessors by using new words and all that, it's probably not recommended to add new words just for the "flare" (as in, no thesaurus.com, but rather checking each and every word in a dictionary). Just consider, that by the time you do your exam, you want words that will stand out but also ensure that your arguments are short and concise.
Hope this helps  :)

thank you for your advice :) Do you know where I could find really good samples to download? I'm fine with going through the forums but it's really time consuming (and fuels my tendencies to procrastinate), especially having to read everything to find quality work :s
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Coffee on June 28, 2015, 03:06:51 pm
Hi what's the best way to go about reading/rereading a book?
Read the book first so you can take everything in. Don't take notes/highlight/etc, just focus on the material. Everyone has a different idea as to how many times you should read a book (because it really depends on you) but I think the majority would agree that 2-3 times is sufficient. The second and third time should be for highlighting key points/quotes/etc.

thank you for your advice :) Do you know where I could find really good samples to download? I'm fine with going through the forums but it's really time consuming (and fuels my tendencies to procrastinate), especially having to read everything to find quality work :s
I'm not HighTide but I thought I might just pop in and help you while I'm at it.
Here are some essays from the VCAA Examination Reports: http://www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/Pages/vce/studies/english/englishexams.aspx
Sample High Scoring Responses: English Resources and Sample High Scoring Responses
There's quite a few essays there so hopefully it's enough to get you started. :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: tashhhaaa on June 28, 2015, 03:21:23 pm
Read the book first so you can take everything in. Don't take notes/highlight/etc, just focus on the material. Everyone has a different idea as to how many times you should read a book (because it really depends on you) but I think the majority would agree that 2-3 times is sufficient. The second and third time should be for highlighting key points/quotes/etc.
I'm not HighTide but I thought I might just pop in and help you while I'm at it.
Here are some essays from the VCAA Examination Reports: http://www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/Pages/vce/studies/english/englishexams.aspx
Sample High Scoring Responses: English Resources and Sample High Scoring Responses
There's quite a few essays there so hopefully it's enough to get you started. :)

thank you, you guys here are amazing  ;D
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on June 29, 2015, 01:44:39 pm
Hey Lauren, I feel bad asking questions to help me out with tutoring... but I'm totally stuck on conclusions.  I used the foolproof method of never getting far enough in an essay to reach the conclusion, but can't exactly teach this to my students :P

People always say conflicting things:
> 'Don't just summarise - say something new and profound'
> 'Don't ever introduce new information'

When you question this, the response is impossibly vague: 'Just try to find the right balance'.  Since in general, I finish my intros with about the most 'profound' sentence I can come up with, the conclusion is a sad and sorry rehash as I have nothing left to say.  So any hints on conclusions - mainly TR, but context and LA would be nice too? :D
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: thaaanyan on June 29, 2015, 03:52:20 pm
Hey Lauren, I feel bad asking questions to help me out with tutoring... but I'm totally stuck on conclusions.  I used the foolproof method of never getting far enough in an essay to reach the conclusion, but can't exactly teach this to my students :P

People always say conflicting things:
> 'Don't just summarise - say something new and profound'
> 'Don't ever introduce new information'

When you question this, the response is impossibly vague: 'Just try to find the right balance'.  Since in general, I finish my intros with about the most 'profound' sentence I can come up with, the conclusion is a sad and sorry rehash as I have nothing left to say.  So any hints on conclusions - mainly TR, but context and LA would be nice too? :D

not Lauren, but maybe something i say will strike a chord and help :)
when i look at my conclusions they're often very similar to my introductions but theyre 'backward.' Like if you go for the standard intro of :
my conclusion will always end up starting with the third topic sentence and working its way back to the broader starting contention. i'd then sort of use the final statement to discuss my contention holistically, in reference to my broader interpretation of the text.

this is basically my default position, but honestly it depends on the prompt and the type of essay i want to write. some times i find it helpful not to bother with a recap and to instead examine different textual interpretations. other times i'm more interested in the central thematic concerns which pervade my essay. most of the time it's a combination of all these things. perhaps get your student to go with the basic model then try out different styles?? good-luck! hope this helps :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on June 29, 2015, 04:39:41 pm
Thanks, much appreciated and definitely helpful, I forgive you for not being Lauren :D

One thing:

i'd then sort of use the final statement to discuss my contention holistically, in reference to my broader interpretation of the text.
I'm afraid I don't get what this actually means, in concrete terms.  That was my problem with English - you know, the teacher just waves their hands artistically, kinda abracadabra style, and they're like, 'So then just draw that to an holistic profound summation'.

Do you have any examples?  What do you mean exactly by 'holistically' - do you mean the crux of your overall argument (so, essentially repeating how I finished the intro)?  And 'broader interpretation'?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: thaaanyan on June 30, 2015, 01:36:40 pm
Thanks, much appreciated and definitely helpful, I forgive you for not being Lauren :D

One thing:
I'm afraid I don't get what this actually means, in concrete terms.  That was my problem with English - you know, the teacher just waves their hands artistically, kinda abracadabra style, and they're like, 'So then just draw that to an holistic profound summation'.

Do you have any examples?  What do you mean exactly by 'holistically' - do you mean the crux of your overall argument (so, essentially repeating how I finished the intro)?  And 'broader interpretation'?

ok so i was sort of thinking of lit when i wrote that, it's a very literature thing to do, but sometimes i sort of do it in english as well. like, holistically is sort of mean look at the bigger picture - for example looking at the 2014 topic on mabo about pride mabe i would conclude through examining the deeper consequences of the idea. how is pride a intrinsic facet of human nature?
so like, my 'holistic' summation of the central argument in my essay would mainly focus on:
what the intricacies of eddie's personality reveal about pride/ his struggle

and then my conclusion (if i went with the 'broader interpretation' idea) would just briefly highlight something about the way pride is clear in the human condition, or just generally what i think pride reveals about people's intrinsic humanity.

i just sort of made the 'broader interpretation' model of conclusion up - it's not something i know other people to do.
my teacher's typically go with the 'general summary' model but i get tired of writing essays the same way over and over (though it's a perfectly valid method), mostly i just vary it however i would like to, though it also really depends on the stuff you've argued in your body paragraphs.
it's not so much 'mystical' as kind of made up on the spot, like you look at the flow of your paragraphs, see what your writing style is like and then conclude depending on how lazy your feeling or what you had for breakfast.
ultimately there's no right or wrong way to do a conclusion as long as you provide a sense of finality and closure in your essay. i do it by extending the scope of my argument, but you could still do it equally as well through following the "backward general summary" style.
hope this helpsss :)
thank - you for your forgiveness!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on June 30, 2015, 05:12:28 pm
hope this helpsss :)

Surrreee thing, I gotcha.  Thanks!

(what does this show about me, as a tutor, asking current yr 12s for help ::) that's why I'm tutoring people who are struggling, not people like you who are gonna get 50s, I'm soooo ignorant)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: thaaanyan on June 30, 2015, 06:48:36 pm
Surrreee thing, I gotcha.  Thanks!

(what does this show about me, as a tutor, asking current yr 12s for help ::) that's why I'm tutoring people who are struggling, not people like you who are gonna get 50s, I'm soooo ignorant)

whether or not i get a 50 or a 20, i think it shows a level of humility and humbleness to approach others on behalf of your students needs. i think it highlights a sense of modesty and a lack of ego, which are likeable facets of any individual's personality. and i've read your posts, i have no doubt you're a very skilled english tutor. your students are very lucky. :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Apink! on July 01, 2015, 10:33:33 am
Hi,

I just confused about connotation of some words. For example, in Language analysis, I often use words like "the author, [utilizes, employs, uses, apply, employ] technique a,b,c...
But what are the difference between these words (utilise, employ, use, ? I heard that used incorrectly, you can sound quite off and weird. I also read somewhere that it's better not to use "latter, former" kind of writing in my writing because there are so many ways to do it wrong. Is this true? Also what is the difference between Assume, presume and postulate? I always treated them as same things.

Also what the hell are doubled up auxiliary verbs...

Are there any common errors such as these, where students misuse words (because they don't understand the connotation of the words attached to it?)

Thank you in advance!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on July 01, 2015, 02:20:23 pm
To utilise, employ and use can be used completely interchangeably; apply is a bit different, like it just doesn't quite sound right to say, 'the author applies inclusive language to create a sense of…'.  I can’t quite explain why, it’s just that apply =/= use.
   
Presume and assume can be used interchangeably, but postulate is a bit different - it means more to present a new idea or suggestion – to pose, suggest, present.

Latter/former lends itself to complex, confusing and cumbersome sentence structures.  Avoid it, in general - especially you personally, because you have a bit of an issue with big long tangled unwieldy sentences.  And unless you're really comfortable with it (I am coz it's used commonly in the books I tend to read, older ones like Dickens) you really risk making mistakes.

No clue what doubled up auxiliary verbs are.  Google ‘em :)

Anyway, it's often just about what 'feels' right (though that's based on grammatical reasons generally).  Try this example that you'll easily get: 'mention' and 'refer'.  'The author mentions Jim Carey' sounds right; 'The author refers Jim Carey' you just know is wrong (I hope :P).  You know that you have to put a 'to' in there - refers to - because you've absorbed it.  But if you just learnt it off a list of synonyms, how would you know that they need to be used slightly differently?  Or, 'suggest' (in some senses) = 'present'. 'The author suggests that...' - fine, 'The author presents that...' - wrong.  You need 'the idea that...' or something for it to make grammatical sense.  This is why assessors often encourage people to stick to ‘small’ words they're comfortable with, because nothing grates more than a ‘big’ word crammed in incorrectly where it doesn't fit.

So.  You honestly can't sit and learn a list of what words to use exactly where, and how exactly they fit into the structure.  Never learn a new word from a vocab list without trying to find some examples of where it's used in proper sentences.  Read over a number of different sentences a number of times, you gradually get used to the 'feel' of words, exactly how they're used, and exactly how they make sense in a sentence.  This is why wide reading for the sake of it gets you a long way :))



... oh and thanks thaaanyan, encouraging :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Apink! on July 01, 2015, 02:34:27 pm
Thanks bangali_lok!

Great help as always (: I guess the real solution to these kind of questions is just reading :P

It may be that English isn't my first language, but sometimes I have trouble identifying connotations in words :P
Thank you! (:

Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on July 01, 2015, 02:43:54 pm
No matter how long you've known a language for, still it takes time to get that 'feel' for any new words - like if I tried to use some of the words Lauren does...  Don't despair, the more you read you really will pick it up, and maybe ask anyone reading over your work to point out EVERY time you use a word slightly incorrectly, and what you should have used instead.  And as I said always look for sentences with the words in them - try Googling 'define _word_', it generally supplies a sentence or two, plus lots of synonyms to give you a feel for the word.  PM me if you ever want some sample sentences with specific words in them, or to check if you can use a certain word in a certain way. It's definitely harder as a second language learner, though :(
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on July 02, 2015, 06:11:57 pm
Urgent help needed.

I am sitting on a B+ average for english. For my school this is not bad, but for the state this is honestly around a low C. My concern is, every year the people who even average A+ at my school do not end up with anything above 37.. So I am a bit worried. I took on bangali_lok's and literally lauren's help, to just write and even if it doesnt make sense, just put pen to paper. This has helped me improve of course, but there is still a LOT more room for improvement. I will leave this here for anyone to answer so all of us can benefit. I really want to improve and am willing to work for it, so please anyone, I have a text response SAC in 5 weeks. I am GOING to start now, what should I do?

Thank you
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: iNT on July 02, 2015, 06:27:21 pm
Urgent help needed.

I am sitting on a B+ average for english. For my school this is not bad, but for the state this is honestly around a low C. My concern is, every year the people who even average A+ at my school do not end up with anything above 37.. So I am a bit worried. I took on bangali_lok's and literally lauren's help, to just write and even if it doesnt make sense, just put pen to paper. This has helped me improve of course, but there is still a LOT more room for improvement. I will leave this here for anyone to answer so all of us can benefit. I really want to improve and am willing to work for it, so please anyone, I have a text response SAC in 5 weeks. I am GOING to start now, what should I do?

Thank you

Apart from reading your text i recommend to read other books as well, this might help improve your vocabulary. Apart from that why dont u post one of your sample essays so i can look at it? I am no expert but maybe i can give u a tip or something
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Coffee on July 02, 2015, 06:42:58 pm
Urgent help needed.

I am sitting on a B+ average for english. For my school this is not bad, but for the state this is honestly around a low C. My concern is, every year the people who even average A+ at my school do not end up with anything above 37.. So I am a bit worried. I took on bangali_lok's and literally lauren's help, to just write and even if it doesnt make sense, just put pen to paper. This has helped me improve of course, but there is still a LOT more room for improvement. I will leave this here for anyone to answer so all of us can benefit. I really want to improve and am willing to work for it, so please anyone, I have a text response SAC in 5 weeks. I am GOING to start now, what should I do?

Thank you

Hi, cosine!

What are you having trouble with in particular? Are you having trouble with formulating ideas or is it more the writing side of it (expression/sophistication)? If it's a case of the latter, this is something that takes time and practise but can easily be worked upon. It's important you can write well and express yourself well. So this is going to be your focus for the next few weeks. For now, I wouldn't worry about time or exam conditions. Keep your texts out, notes, thesaurus, etc and refer to this while writing. When you've perfected this and you're hitting that A+ standard, you can start writing under exam conditions. What you learn from writing without timed responses you will (hopefully) retain in exam conditions. Basically, learn to write well and then you can work this down into a shorter time frame.

If it's the former though, this boils down to not knowing your texts well enough. Re-assess your study techniques and we can help you from here. Alternatively, maybe you're fine with both of the above and I've gone on a tangent. :P Let us know how you get on.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on July 02, 2015, 06:54:17 pm
Apart from reading your text i recommend to read other books as well, this might help improve your vocabulary. Apart from that why dont u post one of your sample essays so i can look at it? I am no expert but maybe i can give u a tip or something

Prompt: "Jason's decisions are based on reason and careful judgement; Medea's decisions are based on passion and selfishness"

Here is my introduction and first paragraph only from my first text response. I got a B+ (77%) for it. Just by reading this, any specific improvements can be made to the into structure and paragraph?

In the tragedy, 'Medea', Euripides distinctively explores the social differences between men and women in their era, particularly through the actions of the female protagonist, Medea. Throughout the play, she is constantly bewailing the disadvantages that women have because of men, imploring their 'wretched' existence. Euripides further portrays this view by representing the men as the logical ones, carefully analysing their decisions before they act, whereas the women are deeply are 'deeply concerned' with their reputation. However, through the Nurse and the Chorus, it is also evident that Jason was initially led by his desires for a more advantageous marriage, this abandoning his family.

In the early stages of the play, Jason's egotistic actions are made clear, as he is depicted to be the villain. Euripides thoroughly explores gender inequality as the play proceeds, and the main reason for the tragedies in 'Medea' are because of the social differences between men and women. As the Nurse alludes to the prior events that consequently lead to the conflict between Medea and Jason, she emphasises the fact that Jason dishonoured Medea, thus stands 'plainly convicted as a traitor to his friends.' Jason's irrational passion to live a 'royal' life disallows him to act morally, eventually abandoning his family to seek a 'royal match'. As Medea confronts him with a 'swarm of words', Jason claims that he left her to 'produce royal offspring', so that they could live a life without being in need, but later admits to having left for a better personal life. Jason's neglect of Medea's feelings and well-being emphasises Euripide's depiction towards gender antagonism, that women must be 'obedient to their husbands, and must not refuse a man his rights'. Jason's egocentric desires eventually lead him to commit irrational and regretful actions.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on July 02, 2015, 06:55:27 pm
Hi, cosine!

What are you having trouble with in particular? Are you having trouble with formulating ideas or is it more the writing side of it (expression/sophistication)? If it's a case of the latter, this is something that takes time and practise but can easily be worked upon. It's important you can write well and express yourself well. So this is going to be your focus for the next few weeks. For now, I wouldn't worry about time or exam conditions. Keep your texts out, notes, thesaurus, etc and refer to this while writing. When you've perfected this and you're hitting that A+ standard, you can start writing under exam conditions. What you learn from writing without timed responses you will (hopefully) retain in exam conditions. Basically, learn to write well and then you can work this down into a shorter time frame.

If it's the former though, this boils down to not knowing your texts well enough. Re-assess your study techniques and we can help you from here. Alternatively, maybe you're fine with both of the above and I've gone on a tangent. :P Let us know how you get on.

I usually know the texts I read and enjoy reading them. I understand most/some of the themes that appear. My main problem I think is just interpretting it into an english sentence that actually 'expresses' the ideas i am trying to portray.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Coffee on July 02, 2015, 07:18:54 pm
Just read the above response. I studied Medea as well (and loved it!) That prompt was also on my sac. Did you by any chance have the option of "Medea claims that all women are afflicted with the most 'wretched' existence on earth. How is gender explored in the play?" (I wrote on this one) :P

I usually know the texts I read and enjoy reading them. I understand most/some of the themes that appear. My main problem I think is just interpretting it into an english sentence that actually 'expresses' the ideas i am trying to portray.
I would recommend gaining a better understanding of the themes first. Do you think you've covered all of them/the most important. I definitely found myself in trouble with this text when I was given a prompt on fate and destiny. Obviously I considered these themes and I did cover them, but not well enough. I was focused on other themes that I was sure would be on the exams/sacs but they didn't end up on it. So if you feel like you know 'some' or even 'most' of the themes, think about what you might have missed.

As for interpreting, I assume you mean you don't know how to say it/get it across to the audience. As I said previously, keep writing without exam conditions. Use all the resources you need and spend as much time as you need learning how to word things properly. Get feedback from teachers, peers, or from the AN community. It doesn't matter if it takes you 6 hours or even a day to write an A+ standard essay. Once you know how to write one and you can do this consistently, we can learn to cut down on the time it takes you.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on July 02, 2015, 07:24:36 pm
Just read the above response. I studied Medea as well (and loved it!) That prompt was also on my sac. Did you by any chance have the option of "Medea claims that all women are afflicted with the most 'wretched' existence on earth. How is gender explored in the play?" (I wrote on this one) :P
I would recommend gaining a better understanding of the themes first. Do you think you've covered all of them/the most important. I definitely found myself in trouble with this text when I was given a prompt on fate and destiny. Obviously I considered these themes and I did cover them, but not well enough. I was focused on other themes that I was sure would be on the exams/sacs but they didn't end up on it. So if you feel like you know 'some' or even 'most' of the themes, think about what you might have missed.

As for interpreting, I assume you mean you don't know how to say it/get it across to the audience. As I said previously, keep writing without exam conditions. Use all the resources you need and spend as much time as you need learning how to word things properly. Get feedback from teachers, peers, or from the AN community. It doesn't matter if it takes you 6 hours or even a day to write an A+ standard essay. Once you know how to write one and you can do this consistently, we can learn to cut down on the time it takes you.

Thank you coffee xD

Nah the other prompt was something about Euripides.. doesn't even make sense..

I am doing 'The Complete Maus' now by Art Spiegleman, did you also read this comic book?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Coffee on July 02, 2015, 07:32:08 pm
Thank you coffee xD

Nah the other prompt was something about Euripides.. doesn't even make sense..

I am doing 'The Complete Maus' now by Art Spiegleman, did you also read this comic book?

I didn't actually. My school did 'War Poems & Others' by Wilfred Owen (much to the dismay of my classmates who disliked poetry :P).
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: iNT on July 02, 2015, 07:37:48 pm
I LOVE THIS TEXT :D 

In the tragedy, 'Medea', Euripides distinctively explores the social differences between men and women in their era, particularly through the actions of the female protagonist, Medea. The actions of Medea defy the conventions of that era, while you do explain that Euripides explores the social inequities between men and women you leave unclear whether or not Medea was trying to emancipate herself or exalt herself to a position where it was possible to commit an act of revenge/justice. This ties in with the prompt - were her actions based on passion? Keep in mind you can argue against the prompt, and in this case I personally would (Hint = there was careful planning from her) Throughout the play, she is constantly bewailing the disadvantages that women have because of men, imploring their 'wretched' existence. Euripides further portrays this view by representing the men as the logical ones, carefully analysing their decisions before they act, whereas the women are deeply are 'deeply concerned' with their reputation. Excellent use of a quote. Your contention is rather ambiguous; on one note you mention that Medea is constantly complaining, while this is true, it is best to go deeper, such as her being the spokeswomen for women, on the other note men are shown to make logical decisions... however did they allow themselves to be manipulated? (Hint - consider how she managed to get refuge)Keep in mind it is about Jason though.
However, through the Nurse and the Chorus, it is also evident that Jason was initially led by his desires for a more advantageous marriage, this abandoning his family. Its good to mention Euripedes here, maybe best starting the sentence with 'EURIPIDES however, through the USE the Nurse...' This shows that you understand what Euripides is doing. The word 'this' would be replaced with 'thus'.

So you provided an excellent quote. :) I think in order to improve your introduction has to be taken a notch higher. For me, its the most important part of the essay. Its the first thing the examiner will judge. Think of it as a first date; chances are you arent gonna get a 2nd date if you arrive unclean or misbehave during it. You want to impress in that date :) Just like an essay.. a well versed introduction will make the examiner NOT look for mistakes but the look for the things that emulate your excellent intro.

Your vocabulary is very good, word choice could be better though. Your not in a bad state though, it wont take much to get better at that aspect :)

Your contentions need to more clear. Think about your 3/4 paragraphs and try to summarize into a sentence or two to put in your intro. It is important to include Euripides as well, as you make the ready acknowledge that you understand what he is conveying across.

The structure isn't A+. You go around a point. As i mentioned its best to go directly with Euripides, or Medea/Jason did this blah blah :) 
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on July 02, 2015, 07:55:30 pm
I LOVE THIS TEXT :D 

In the tragedy, 'Medea', Euripides distinctively explores the social differences between men and women in their era, particularly through the actions of the female protagonist, Medea. The actions of Medea defy the conventions of that era, while you do explain that Euripides explores the social inequities between men and women you leave unclear whether or not Medea was trying to emancipate herself or exalt herself to a position where it was possible to commit an act of revenge/justice. This ties in with the prompt - were her actions based on passion? Keep in mind you can argue against the prompt, and in this case I personally would (Hint = there was careful planning from her) Throughout the play, she is constantly bewailing the disadvantages that women have because of men, imploring their 'wretched' existence. Euripides further portrays this view by representing the men as the logical ones, carefully analysing their decisions before they act, whereas the women are deeply are 'deeply concerned' with their reputation. Excellent use of a quote. Your contention is rather ambiguous; on one note you mention that Medea is constantly complaining, while this is true, it is best to go deeper, such as her being the spokeswomen for women, on the other note men are shown to make logical decisions... however did they allow themselves to be manipulated? (Hint - consider how she managed to get refuge)Keep in mind it is about Jason though.
However, through the Nurse and the Chorus, it is also evident that Jason was initially led by his desires for a more advantageous marriage, this abandoning his family. Its good to mention Euripedes here, maybe best starting the sentence with 'EURIPIDES however, through the USE the Nurse...' This shows that you understand what Euripides is doing. The word 'this' would be replaced with 'thus'.

So you provided an excellent quote. :) I think in order to improve your introduction has to be taken a notch higher. For me, its the most important part of the essay. Its the first thing the examiner will judge. Think of it as a first date; chances are you arent gonna get a 2nd date if you arrive unclean or misbehave during it. You want to impress in that date :) Just like an essay.. a well versed introduction will make the examiner NOT look for mistakes but the look for the things that emulate your excellent intro.

Your vocabulary is very good, word choice could be better though. Your not in a bad state though, it wont take much to get better at that aspect :)

Your contentions need to more clear. Think about your 3/4 paragraphs and try to summarize into a sentence or two to put in your intro. It is important to include Euripides as well, as you make the ready acknowledge that you understand what he is conveying across.

The structure isn't A+. You go around a point. As i mentioned its best to go directly with Euripides, or Medea/Jason did this blah blah :)

Alright so the introduction is the most important part, how can I improve it then? Like what is the basic structure to follow?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: iNT on July 02, 2015, 08:06:16 pm
Alright so the introduction is the most important part, how can I improve it then? Like what is the basic structure to follow?

Most basic structure

1- author, text, (type) you mentioned in yours a 'tragedy'

2- background to topic - otherwise know as the ' big picture'

3- Your contention/argument about the topic - (smaller picture)
Has to be in 3 parts (depends if you write more or less than 3 paragraphs) . Each 'part' signifies one argument towards the prompt
 Part 1 will be what you will talk about in your 1st paragraph, Part 2 = 2nd paragraph Part 3 = 3rd Paragraph.
It is best to have 4 paragraphs that signify more depth in your SAC which will most likely be 2 periods.. in the exam you will be pushed for time so its your decision if your want 3 or 4.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Coffee on July 02, 2015, 08:19:16 pm
Alright so the introduction is the most important part, how can I improve it then? Like what is the basic structure to follow?
A basic structure is as follows:
You can deviate from this a little though. It doesn't have to be so formulaic. So something I wrote on one of the prompts I mentioned earlier was:
Euripides' play 'Medea' was first presented to the Ancient Athenian audience during the festival of Dionysus and tells the tale of a woman scorned. Despite it's reception it was ultimately unsuccessful and Euripides was the first Greek poet to suffer the fate of so many of the great modern writers. Rejected by his contemporaries, however now admired by many, modern audiences can learn from both the characters and themes as demonstrated in John Davie's translation. This explores the politics of gender within patriarchal Greek society and the power of patriarchal ideologies, constructs and conformity. Euripides enquires into the peril implicit with patriarchal views on women in Ancient Greek society.
^ By no means an amazing piece but it addresses the criteria/structure.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: iNT on July 02, 2015, 09:10:23 pm
A basic structure is as follows:
  • Introduce the title of the text and the author in the first sentence.
  • Include background information on the text.
  • State your opinion on the topic and outline the main points that will contribute to your argument.
You can deviate from this a little though. It doesn't have to be so formulaic. So something I wrote on one of the prompts I mentioned earlier was:
Euripides' play 'Medea' was first presented to the Ancient Athenian audience during the festival of Dionysus and tells the tale of a woman scorned. Despite it's reception it was ultimately unsuccessful and Euripides was the first Greek poet to suffer the fate of so many of the great modern writers. Rejected by his contemporaries, however now admired by many, modern audiences can learn from both the characters and themes as demonstrated in John Davie's translation. This explores the politics of gender within patriarchal Greek society and the power of patriarchal ideologies, constructs and conformity. Euripides enquires into the peril implicit with patriarchal views on women in Ancient Greek society.
^ By no means an amazing piece but it addresses the criteria/structure.

I know but he asked for a basic structure. If one is struggling with structure then there is no reason to deviate from a basic structure that does its job. Once he gets better at it he may create his own structure, or a deviation just like u have :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Coffee on July 02, 2015, 09:17:22 pm
I know but he asked for a basic structure. If one is struggling with structure then there is no reason to deviate from a basic structure that does its job. Once he gets better at it he may create his own structure, or a deviation just like u have :)
The above is a basic structure and the example deviates very little from what's listed above. And I wasn't trying to contradict what you posted. You just replied quicker than me. :P
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: iNT on July 02, 2015, 09:32:28 pm
The above is a basic structure and the example deviates very little from what's listed above. And I wasn't trying to contradict what you posted. You just replied quicker than me. :P

sorry if i sounded harsh :( my bad
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on July 02, 2015, 09:34:45 pm
Here's a long discourse on your BP - note: it was totally solid and functional, I've just pulled it a bit to pieces.  Please don't stress, as I said, getting this solid stuff down is really important, and you seem to have the solid basics for a decent enough mark.

Prompt: "Jason's decisions are based on reason and careful judgement; Medea's decisions are based on passion and selfishness"

In the early stages of the play, Initially, Jason's egotistic actions are made clear, as he is depicted to be the villain. Euripides thoroughly explores gender inequality as the play proceeds, and the main reason for the tragedies in 'Medea' are because of the social differences between men and women. Look back at the prompt.  Now I know you can always stray a bit from the prompt a bit, but I can't see the link very well - you need to 100% spell out the relevance to me, even if it's crystal clear in your own head.  This sort of sentence is probably more for later in the essay though, as it's a conclusion you draw from the prompt about Euripides' views and values which he shows through how he presents these two characters.  As the Nurse alludes to the prior events that consequently lead to the conflict between Medea and Jason, she emphasises the fact that Jason dishonoured Medea, thus stands 'plainly convicted as a traitor to his friends.' Jason's irrational passion to live a 'royal' life disallows him to act morally, eventually abandoning his family to seek a 'royal match'. As Medea confronts him with a 'swarm of words', Jason claims that he left her to 'produce royal offspring', so that they could live a life without being in need, but later admits to having left for a better personal life.  All that underlined region is a bit too ‘story-telly’ – the last sentence especially.  Stuff like "As Medea confronts him with a ‘swarm of words’" feels like you put it there JUST to show that you have a quote available.  See how I've stripped it down a bit:
‘Nurse labels him a 'traitor' for dishonouring Medea.  Jason's irrational desire to live a 'royal' life is not compatible with maintaining his morality. While originally Jason claims that he left Medea to ‘produce royal offspring’, his later admission that he left for a better personal life REVEALS... '   
So, this cuts out unnecessary detail and story-telling (though it then doesn't flow well, I'm just showing how to cut out unnecessary description; avoid having a whole sentence that just describes what happens, the description should be a 'jumping off' point at the start of the sentence that leads on to some analysis).  The noun, 'his later admission', forces you to continue the sentence with some analysis.  I underlined the verb, because verbs like that bridge between description of the story and analysis of what that actually shows, what the whole point of your evidence is.  Try to use as many verbs like that as possible! reveals, conveys, demonstrates, exposes, highlights, underscores, illustrates etc.
  Jason's neglect of Medea's feelings and well-being emphasises Euripide's depiction towards gender antagonism, that women must be 'obedient to their husbands, and must not refuse a man his rights' Again, specify exactly what you mean.  Like, you haven't actually said exactly what Euripides thinks; you've only stated (I think) that he's against the notion that women must 'be obedient'.  Unpack it a bit more; explain to me how exactly this neglect shows Euripides' values. Jason's egocentric desires eventually lead him to commit irrational and regretful regrettable actions.  P.S. You should probably discuss a bit in this paragraph about how, through these actions, Jason shows that he ISN'T being rational/using careful judgment.  In what way does Euripides show him as rash?

Anyway, as Coffee said, it's about finding your specific issues and working on them.  Rather than saying, 'I'm going to sit down and improve my mark from a 7 to a 9', you should be going, OK, let's look over my work and see what some of my mistakes are.  What little tiny things am I getting wrong that I could focus on and fix up?  Maybe the best way of studying is searching through your work for your errors.  Just reading through feedback on other people's essays on the English Work Submission and Marking board can really help you to find out common errors that you might make too.  Once you know a really specific error you make, you can pay attention to fixing it up!

Feel free to throw a full piece in the marking board :D
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Coffee on July 02, 2015, 09:37:10 pm
sorry if i sounded harsh :( my bad
No, no. I just didn't want you to think I was trying to contradict what you said. It's all good, man. :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Annalise_jackson on July 03, 2015, 05:17:19 pm
Hi Lauren,
I am doing literature and was wondering how I should structure an adaptions and transformations SAC on amadeus?
 :D
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on July 03, 2015, 05:26:26 pm
Hi Lauren,
I am doing literature and was wondering how I should structure an adaptions and transformations SAC on amadeus?
 :D

Hey Annalise!
Could you post any lit questions in Literature?  Thanks, and I hope you get heaps out of this site!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: anat0my on July 03, 2015, 10:40:06 pm
Hi :)

I was wondering what is the best way to re-read a text?
Also how can I focus on the current area of study my school is focusing on and also study back other t.r texts, context and language analysis all at the same time?

Thanks!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: lisax3 on July 05, 2015, 10:09:16 am
What would be the structure for an expository context essay body paragraph?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on July 06, 2015, 08:49:37 pm
I was wondering what is the best way to re-read a text?
Also how can I focus on the current area of study my school is focusing on and also study back other t.r texts, context and language analysis all at the same time?
If you have a pretty complete grasp of the plot, characters, and basic major themes, you're dissecting for the details here.  (If not, read like the first time, just reading it like a 'story').  Have a couple of Word documents open and add to them as you go through; mainly it's up to your intuition, but some pointers:

> Quote bank.  As you read, when you hit anything notable in some way, write out the quote, and a couple of brief notes on context/who said it if you think you need it.  Later, you can go through and organise it - by character or theme - and throw in any ideas about how you'd discuss/analyse them in essays.  This is the MOST important.
> Characters.  List any important events, turning points, quotes, etc. that show their characteristics and development.
> Themes.
> Random ideas.  When you hit on a metaphor you can use, or any insight, scribble it down.

Don't trust yourself to remember anything you stumble on, WRITE IT DOWN.  And don't just skim lightly without thinking analytically.

Doing what the class is doing and keeping up with other stuff is simply a general study skill/time management skill.  Maybe try compiling a list of ways you can study/things you can do for each of 3 essay types.  Then, if you're doing context in class, spend an hour doing stuff on that list for language analysis each week.  It's up to you, ultimately.

What would be the structure for an expository context essay body paragraph?
Hard question, because there are no rules and exact structure in context!

My guess, but look I don't know:
> broad, zoomed-out, wide opening couple of statements
> zoom in to nitty-gritty details and examples, repeating as often as you see fit:
------> assert or suggest some theoretical idea
------> give some evidence/example(s)
------> explain what you draw out of this evidence, the messages/theoretical ideas it proves
> zoom back out to another broad statement, the cumulation of what you've discussed in the paragraph rather than a rehash of the TS; stuff like what your discussion shows about the prompt/mankind/human condition
> link to next para (optional, but of course you want flow)

Try going through some sample high-scoring expositories (e.g. in English Resources and Sample High Scoring Responses) and deconstruct their paragraphs into brief dot-point sentences; that'll give you an idea of their structure and flow.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on July 07, 2015, 05:31:15 pm
You guys always tell me to 'just' write, and so I have been following that and there has been improvements, so very grateful (bangali_lok youre the best...)

But it's time for some serious business. I don't just want 'slight' improvements, its time for seriousness. What do you guys recommend, writing in pencil or typing up practice essays, be honest with me please xD

Also would reading random books really improve my essays? And my teacher says I need to enhance my vocabulary, which ways can I take to ensure this is achieved?

Please offer serious help, and even if it sounds too hardcore, I am willing to follow the advice, be it reading the dictionary in my spare time :P
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: _fruitcake_ on July 07, 2015, 05:36:57 pm
You guys always tell me to 'just' write, and so I have been following that and there has been improvements, so very grateful (bangali_lok youre the best...)

But it's time for some serious business. I don't just want 'slight' improvements, its time for seriousness. What do you guys recommend, writing in pencil or typing up practice essays, be honest with me please xD

Also would reading random books really improve my essays? And my teacher says I need to enhance my vocabulary, which ways can I take to ensure this is achieved?

Please offer serious help, and even if it sounds too hardcore, I am willing to follow the advice, be it reading the dictionary in my spare time :P

Writing in pencil helps, first it improves your handwriting.. and it simulates what your sacs and exam will be like. Examiners loveee to see clear handwriting and good ideas after spending the last hour squinting at hard-to-read essays
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on July 07, 2015, 05:56:55 pm
You guys always tell me to 'just' write, and so I have been following that and there has been improvements, so very grateful (bangali_lok youre the best...)

But it's time for some serious business. I don't just want 'slight' improvements, its time for seriousness. What do you guys recommend, writing in pencil or typing up practice essays, be honest with me please xD

Also would reading random books really improve my essays? And my teacher says I need to enhance my vocabulary, which ways can I take to ensure this is achieved?

Please offer serious help, and even if it sounds too hardcore, I am willing to follow the advice, be it reading the dictionary in my spare time :P

Do you have a list of your problems?  Do you know exactly what some of your issues are? Please, I haven't said 'just write' - I've said, write, then identify a problem, then write again fixing up that problem.  If you haven't got a list of your specific specific problems, then tomorrow, I assign you homework: sit down with a couple of your essays/feedbacks, and try to write a dot-point list of little things you can do to improve.  If you don't get anywhere, feel free to post an essay for feedback in the work submission forum; I'm willing to work on pointing out little specific issues and ways to improve them, if you tell me whether you want me to be harsh or gentle.

EDIT: Another thing is brainstorming and detailed plans - they save a lot of time since writing a whole essay is really time-consuming.  Then show the plans to your teacher to point out your overall flaws.  Or try just practice paragraphs, rather than whole essays.  You can generally find your issues even in just one paragraph.

Write in pen, ideally. :P

Vocab: (copy-pasted from a big post I'm compiling on vocab/expression in my worst procrastinating moments, stay tuned):
1.   Write something.
2.   Go through it, or get someone else to go through it, and list any ‘problem’ words – words that are commonly repeated (e.g. ‘the’… no not that), don’t quite express what you wanted, or are vague and generic (e.g. ‘good’).
3.   Thesaurus it.  I love verbising.
4.   From this, build a bank of synonyms.
5.   Similarly, read other people’s writing and steal any great words you see them use.
6.   Stick up sticky notes or mindmaps of good synonyms on your wall, in your locker, anywhere you’ll look at them.
7.   Practice writing the words in single (ideally analytical) sentences to get used to them.  Get other people to check them to make sure they make sense.
8.   When writing essays, have the bank there and refer to it as you go, trying to incorporate new words.  Or, write ‘closed-book’ essays, and go over them afterwards, replacing weaker words with stronger ones from your bank.
9.   If you have especial trouble with repeating one word, focus the next time you write an essay on NEVER using that word, and always trying to put in a synonym.
10.   Repeat.  Ad infinitum.

And yes, wider reading will help just with better expression.  Probably, at this point in the year, I'll break it to you that it won't have much impact on your essays because it's more a long-term gradual change.  BUT, it will really help you with EVERYTHING you ever write in the future, at uni or whatever.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on July 07, 2015, 06:06:25 pm
Do you have a list of your problems?  Do you know exactly what some of your issues are? Please, I haven't said 'just write' - I've said, write, then identify a problem, then write again fixing up that problem.  If you haven't got a list of your specific specific problems, then tomorrow, I assign you homework: sit down with a couple of your essays/feedbacks, and try to write a dot-point list of little things you can do to improve.  If you don't get anywhere, feel free to post an essay for feedback in the work submission forum; I'm willing to work on pointing out little specific issues and ways to improve them, if you tell me whether you want me to be harsh or gentle.

EDIT: Another thing is brainstorming and detailed plans - they save a lot of time since writing a whole essay is really time-consuming.  Then show the plans to your teacher to point out your overall flaws.  Or try just practice paragraphs, rather than whole essays.  You can generally find your issues even in just one paragraph.

Write in pen, ideally. :P

Vocab: (copy-pasted from a big post I'm compiling on vocab/expression in my worst procrastinating moments, stay tuned):
1.   Write something.
2.   Go through it, or get someone else to go through it, and list any ‘problem’ words – words that are commonly repeated (e.g. ‘the’… no not that), don’t quite express what you wanted, or are vague and generic (e.g. ‘good’).
3.   Thesaurus it.  I love verbising.
4.   From this, build a bank of synonyms.
5.   Similarly, read other people’s writing and steal any great words you see them use.
6.   Stick up sticky notes or mindmaps of good synonyms on your wall, in your locker, anywhere you’ll look at them.
7.   Practice writing the words in single (ideally analytical) sentences to get used to them.  Get other people to check them to make sure they make sense.
8.   When writing essays, have the bank there and refer to it as you go, trying to incorporate new words.  Or, write ‘closed-book’ essays, and go over them afterwards, replacing weaker words with stronger ones from your bank.
9.   If you have especial trouble with repeating one word, focus the next time you write an essay on NEVER using that word, and always trying to put in a synonym.
10.   Repeat.  Ad infinitum.

And yes, wider reading will help just with better expression.  Probably, at this point in the year, I'll break it to you that it won't have much impact on your essays because it's more a long-term gradual change.  BUT, it will really help you with EVERYTHING you ever write in the future, at uni or whatever.

Cheers xD

I will write some paragraphs (extended answers) tomorrow and post them, but what if you haven't read the book (The Complete Maus) ?

I really love that synonym idea, will definitely do it! xD Can you start me off with a good word that I have used more than once in this interview with you (:P) and provide me with a synonym for it? No, not testing your vocab skills haha

But seriously, thank you for the constant help and encouragement!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on July 07, 2015, 06:14:13 pm
Y'welcome bro, it's called procrastination from doing paid/necessary work XD

Cheers xD

I will write some paragraphs (extended answers) tomorrow and post them, but what if you haven't read the book (The Complete Maus) ?
It won't be optimal, but I can still point out some stuff, probably.  I hain't read Medea, either.

Quote
Can you start me off with a good word that I have used more than once in this interview with you (:P) and provide me with a synonym for it?
Yes - 'synonym'. :P
'similar word' (can't think of anything better).

By 'write something', though, I meant, like write a language analysis, and go through and find that you're using the word 'positions' too often.  Or something.

Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on July 07, 2015, 06:36:28 pm
Cheers xD

I will write some paragraphs (extended answers) tomorrow and post them, but what if you haven't read the book (The Complete Maus) ?
I'll happily jump in if there are any interpretative errors or comments about the text that you're not sure are completely accurate, but the majority of essay feedback will centre on things like relevance, clarity, and idea development (as well as grammar and general good expression) so an inside-out knowledge of the text isn't completely necessary.

I really love that synonym idea, will definitely do it! xD Can you start me off with a good word that I have used more than once in this interview with you (:P) and provide me with a synonym for it?

Start with 'said.' It's one of the worst and most overused words in English since it's just so generic. You never want to say 'the author says...' in your essays - there'll always be a way better option available.

General verbs about what the author is doing can also be a good starting point.
For instance, if you want to say the writer >makes us think good things< about a certain idea, then you could explore words like 'celebrates' / 'extols' / 'glorifies' / 'venerate' <-- each of which have their own subtleties in terms of when you'd use them.
Then you can explore the reverse, ie. the author 'condemns' / 'denounces' / 'rebukes' / 'inveighs' ...etc.

The best starting point is going to be your own writing though. Go back over old essays and look for the kinds of words you rely upon often, and then find some alternatives you can keep up your sleeve :)
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: angelrox00 on July 07, 2015, 10:15:05 pm
Hi everyone, How important is the length of essays in the english exam? Approximately, how many words do you think will be typical of a high scoring essay?

Thanks
May God Bless
~Angel Raju
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: Alter on July 07, 2015, 10:51:08 pm
I think I read on this forum previously that one would want to aim for ~1000 words, ideally. However, you could still get a 10/10 essay by going 900 or 1100 words, for example. As far as I know, there is no magic number. The only thing that's important is that you meet the criteria of each specific task A/B/C and aim to write up about 3-4 body paragraphs (very generalised rule) for your pieces. Overall, the cliche of 'quality over quantity' definitely applies, and you should always aim for clarity and sophistication over length for VCE English. Obviously, quality can be hampered if there is too little quantity, but this is where you just use common sense.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on July 10, 2015, 06:19:03 pm
It's not an essay, so I don't think I should post it on the essay marking, but could someone have a look on the extended response question I answered, please?

Book: The Complete Maus

1. What makes someone a survivor like Vladek?

To become a survivor, much like Vladek, an individual must have endured, and essentially have overcome such challenging experiences. The events that Vladek went through can be seen as incomparable, the inhumane treatment, scarce supplies and the deadly diseases that the Jews had to witness overall, just to suffer another day. The conditions so bad and the food so scarce, that it was the perfect recipe to "die even more slowly". To give up and “to die, it is easy”, “But you have to struggle for life!” A person is classified as a survivor when they overcome situations where it is much easier to give up, then to persist and conquer. Surviving situations like this requires not only physical strength, but, more importantly, one must have the correct mindset and emotional stability to endure the conflict. That is what it takes, to become a survivor like Vladek.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: TheAspiringDoc on July 10, 2015, 06:41:51 pm
Cheers xD

I will write some paragraphs (extended answers) tomorrow and post them, but what if you haven't read the book (The Complete Maus) ?

I really love that synonym idea, will definitely do it! xD Can you start me off with a good word that I have used more than once in this interview with you (:P) and provide me with a synonym for it? No, not testing your vocab skills haha

But seriously, thank you for the constant help and encouragement!
There's your word! :P
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on July 10, 2015, 08:29:34 pm
There's your word! :P

xD

It's not an essay, so I don't think I should post it on the essay marking, but could someone have a look on the extended response question I answered, please?

Book: The Complete Maus

1. What makes someone a survivor like Vladek?

To become a survivor, much like Vladek, an individual must have endured, and essentially have overcome such challenging experiences. The events that Vladek went through can be seen as incomparable, the inhumane treatment, scarce supplies and the deadly diseases that the Jews had to witness overall, just to suffer another day. The conditions so bad and the food so scarce, that it was the perfect recipe to "die even more slowly". To give up and “to die, it is easy”, “But you have to struggle for life!” A person is classified as a survivor when they overcome situations where it is much easier to give up, then to persist and conquer. Surviving situations like this requires not only physical strength, but, more importantly, one must have the correct mindset and emotional stability to endure the conflict. That is what it takes, to become a survivor like Vladek.

Anyone ?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: _fruitcake_ on July 10, 2015, 08:37:57 pm
It's not an essay, so I don't think I should post it on the essay marking, but could someone have a look on the extended response question I answered, please?

Book: The Complete Maus

1. What makes someone a survivor like Vladek?

To become a survivor, much like Vladek, an individual must have endured, and essentially have overcome such challenging experiences. The events that Vladek went through can be seen as incomparable, the inhumane treatment, scarce supplies and the deadly diseases that the Jews had to witness overall, just to suffer another day. The conditions so bad and the food so scarce, that it was the perfect recipe to "die even more slowly". To give up and “to die, it is easy”, “But you have to struggle for life!” A person is classified as a survivor when they overcome situations where it is much easier to give up, then to persist and conquer. Surviving situations like this requires not only physical strength, but, more importantly, one must have the correct mindset and emotional stability to endure the conflict. That is what it takes, to become a survivor like Vladek.

not the best..i been doing homework since  9am.. just a different idea

The events that Vladek went through can be seen as incomparable, the inhumane treatment, scarce supplies and the deadly diseases that the Jews had to witness overall, just to suffer another day. The conditions so bad and the food so scarce, that it was the perfect recipe to "die even more slowly". Surviving situations like this requires not only physical strength, but, more importantly, one must have the correct mindset and emotional stability to endure the conflict. To become a survivor, much like Vladek, an individual must have endured, and essentially have overcome such challenging experiences. A person is classified a survivor when they have overcame situations where it is much easier to give up, than to persist and conquer.

Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on July 11, 2015, 11:04:36 am
not the best..i been doing homework since  9am.. just a different idea

The events that Vladek went through can be seen as incomparable, the inhumane treatment, scarce supplies and the deadly diseases that the Jews had to witness overall, just to suffer another day. The conditions so bad and the food so scarce, that it was the perfect recipe to "die even more slowly". Surviving situations like this requires not only physical strength, but, more importantly, one must have the correct mindset and emotional stability to endure the conflict. To become a survivor, much like Vladek, an individual must have endured, and essentially have overcome such challenging experiences. A person is classified a survivor when they have overcame situations where it is much easier to give up, than to persist and conquer.

Cheers fruitcake, but do you have any specific improvements for me?

6. What changes do people experience, if any, after they have lived under tyranny for so long?

When people live under tyranny for so long, they start reform their lifestyles and habits, adjusting them just to survive the oppression. Vladek constantly stated that he remains a "strong man" throughout the Holocaust, “I was still strong, I could sit through the snow all night”. The war took a toll on Vladek, however, after the war had ended, Vladek had changed forever. The skills and ideas that Vladek developed during the war to survive became permanent, and he continued to express them in New York. The reason behind Vladek's substandard behaviours is because of the scarce conditions he endured, and the only way that he could preserver through the war was to cherish and hold on to anything he could get his hands on. Although the war made Vladek stronger and more respectable, it was slowly destroying Anja’s life. Anja was not as strong as Vladek, and so her post-war experience was a dark and depressing one. Anja fell victim to depression and was in a world of confusion, which eventually lead to her death. Anja committed suicide because she could not handle the stress of the war, the overflowing drama and paranoia.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: _fruitcake_ on July 11, 2015, 11:52:02 am
Cheers fruitcake, but do you have any specific improvements for me?

6. What changes do people experience, if any, after they have lived under tyranny for so long?

When people live under tyranny for so long, they start to reform their lifestyles and habits, adjusting them just to survive the oppression. 'Adjusting themselves' would be a better phrase. When you  reform your lifestyle and habits, it means that you  are adapting to the situation. You change your mindset, personality..ect. So its best to summarise all this by 'Adjusting themselves'. It tackles the reform question through a holistic approach.

Vladek constantly stated that he remains a "strong man" throughout the Holocaust, “I was still strong, I could sit through the snow all night”. Good use of embedding quotes

The war took a toll on Vladek, however, after the war had ended, Vladek had changed forever. Very ambiguous sentence. Your vocabulary and structure is letting your ideas down. Its best to make the ideas clear then work on vocabulary. For example, a more clear way of expressing yourself here would be - The war took such a toll on Vladek, that it transformed him forever. Yes you get marked on vocabulary, but you lose way more if your ideas aren't clear. Keeping things short and clear allows you to write more, which means more ideas and concepts to talk about later.

The skills and ideas that Vladek developed during the war to survive became permanent, and he continued to express them in New York. The skills and ideas that Vladek had adopted to survive have become perpetual throughout his later life. The reoccurring problem with your answers is the subtle repetition of ideas. We know from your before sentences that he was in the Holocaust, which means that you dont have to explain later that 'during the war'. You still demonstrate solid ideas which is good.

The reason behind Vladek's substandard behaviours is due to  the scarce conditions he endured, and the only way that he could persevere throughout the war was to cherish and hold on to humanity. Although the war made Vladek stronger and more respectable, it was slowly destroying Anja’s life. Anja was not as strong as Vladek, and thus her post-war experience was dark and depressing. Anja fell victim to depression and was in a world of confusion, which ultimately lead to her death. Anja committed suicide because she could not handle the stress of the war, the overflowing drama and paranoia.Good ideas here... i feel like though your vocabulary is lacking in flair. This might just be me.. however it seems a bit dry. For example i bolded what could be change. This is just some ideas and by no means correct, its just me :) And by all means it could be wrong

What i would say of it is that its got very good content but vocabulary is at times lacking profoundness .
What I would recommend is to read complex-written books to expand on your vocabulary. Otherwise good effort. I did criticize heavily though and by no means all of what i wrote is correct, i am not an English teacher and i could be mistaken :P
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on July 11, 2015, 12:11:14 pm
What i would say of it is that its got very good content but vocabulary is at times lacking profoundness .
What I would recommend is to read complex-written books to expand on your vocabulary. Otherwise good effort. I did criticize heavily though and by no means all of what i wrote is correct, i am not an English teacher and i could be mistaken :P

Thank you so much _fruitcake_ that was actually very helpful, I will definitely be posting more soon!

Yah I know, my vocabulary needs improvements, my teachers tell me this too, so you're not mistaken :P
What books do you recommend me reading? Cheers.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: _fruitcake_ on July 11, 2015, 01:02:59 pm
Thank you so much _fruitcake_ that was actually very helpful, I will definitely be posting more soon!

Yah I know, my vocabulary needs improvements, my teachers tell me this too, so you're not mistaken :P
What books do you recommend me reading? Cheers.

If you are doing conflict - Every man in this village is a liar is great one for conflict - very poetic as well in nature

- A People's Tragedy - very historical, its about the Russian revolution - a good book for revolution students but you can get good insight into language/conflict

In Cold Blood - complex themes and language in this novel

Charles Dickens - author

Frederick Forsyth - author

Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on July 11, 2015, 07:25:04 pm
1. What makes someone a survivor like Vladek?

To become a survivor, much like Vladek, an individual must have endured, and essentially have overcome such challenging experiences. The events that Vladek went through can be seen as incomparable, the inhumane treatment, scarce supplies and the deadly diseases that the Jews had to witness overall, just to suffer another day.  Rephrase: 'The inhumane treatment, scarce supplies and deadly diseases Vladek faced daily were incomparable in their brutality.' The conditions were [need a verb or else the sentence is incomplete/a fragment] so bad and the food so scarce, that it was the perfect recipe to "die even more slowly". To give up and “to die, it is easy”, “But you have to struggle for life!” Never write sentences that are solid quote.  Something more like: "While dying is presented as 'easy', [author] underscores the need to 'struggle for life'."  You are writing the sentence, not relying on quotes to write it for you; you should just pinch a word or phrase here and there and integrate them smoothly into your own sentence.  P.S. A person is classified as a survivor when they overcome situations where it is much easier to give up, then to persist and conquer. Surviving situations like this requires not only physical strength, but, more importantly, one must have the correct mindset and emotional stability to endure the conflict.  That is what it takes, to become a survivor like Vladek.

Notes:
> Tense.  Not important, but people often slip between tenses in essays which is bad, so practising writing ENTIRELY in present tense is helpful.

> Until the second-last sentence (which was your best sentence), you didn't actually fully address the question!  Boiling it down, you've said - to be a survivor, you must... er... survive.  You've more defined what a survivor is, than explained how one becomes a survivor, what characteristics someone must have to survive.  You should be delving more into what specific qualities the author is upholding, as qualities important for survival (be even more specific and use quotes/evidence/events to back it up).  Can you contrast him with another character who doesn't survive?  Just because it says 'like Vladek' doesn't mean you're restricted to solely discussing him, like you can say 'X character WASN'T a survivor like Vladek because, unlike Vladek, he...'

> Stick more closely to the text.  Extended responses aren't essays, sure, or phrased like essays (though, while Idk the text, there could actually possibly be an essay question based on this idea!), but you should still treat them like text response essays since that's what you're practising for.  In a text response, you CAN'T come to conclusions without referencing them through the lens of the text, like you can't say, 'surviving situations like this requires not only physical strength, but...' - you have to say 'Vladek's blah blah blah demonstrates that surviving situations...', or '[author] suggests that surviving situations...'.  This is why in text response those verbs, reveals, demonstrates, conveys, illustrates etc. are REALLY REALLY vital; they help you to move between evidence from the text, and what message that shows.  In context, sure, you're discussing the ideas, and the text is just a vehicle, but in text response, you can't ever make statements about life except in as far as the author or text demonstrates that.

> You need MORE specific textual evidence, exact examples where a certain quality of Vladek helps his survival or something.

> P.S. Picking on your quoting from the other ext response: Vladek constantly stated that he remains a "strong man" throughout the Holocaust, “I was still strong, I could sit through the snow all night”.  The 'strong man' quote is perfectly embedded, you see how it fits smoothly into your own sentence?  BUT, the second quote isn't embedded; to be grammatical, you'd need a semi-colon before the quote, but even then that's just tacking on a chunk without fitting it into your flow.  "Vladek's claim that he 'could sit through the snow all night', and constant statement that he remains a 'strong man'..."
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: cosine on July 11, 2015, 07:35:03 pm
Notes:
> Tense.  Not important, but people often slip between tenses in essays which is bad, so practising writing ENTIRELY in present tense is helpful.

> Until the second-last sentence (which was your best sentence), you didn't actually fully address the question!  Boiling it down, you've said - to be a survivor, you must... er... survive.  You've more defined what a survivor is, than explained how one becomes a survivor, what characteristics someone must have to survive.  You should be delving more into what specific qualities the author is upholding, as qualities important for survival (be even more specific and use quotes/evidence/events to back it up).  Can you contrast him with another character who doesn't survive?  Just because it says 'like Vladek' doesn't mean you're restricted to solely discussing him, like you can say 'X character WASN'T a survivor like Vladek because, unlike Vladek, he...'

> Stick more closely to the text.  Extended responses aren't essays, sure, or phrased like essays (though, while Idk the text, there could actually possibly be an essay question based on this idea!), but you should still treat them like text response essays since that's what you're practising for.  In a text response, you CAN'T come to conclusions without referencing them through the lens of the text, like you can't say, 'surviving situations like this requires not only physical strength, but...' - you have to say 'Vladek's blah blah blah demonstrates that surviving situations...', or '[author] suggests that surviving situations...'.  This is why in text response those verbs, reveals, demonstrates, conveys, illustrates etc. are REALLY REALLY vital; they help you to move between evidence from the text, and what message that shows.  In context, sure, you're discussing the ideas, and the text is just a vehicle, but in text response, you can't ever make statements about life except in as far as the author or text demonstrates that.

> You need MORE specific textual evidence, exact examples where a certain quality of Vladek helps his survival or something.

> P.S. Picking on your quoting from the other ext response: Vladek constantly stated that he remains a "strong man" throughout the Holocaust, “I was still strong, I could sit through the snow all night”.  The 'strong man' quote is perfectly embedded, you see how it fits smoothly into your own sentence?  BUT, the second quote isn't embedded; to be grammatical, you'd need a semi-colon before the quote, but even then that's just tacking on a chunk without fitting it into your flow.  "Vladek's claim that he 'could sit through the snow all night', and constant statement that he remains a 'strong man'..."

Thank you so much!! xD

Key things to work on:
- Embedding quotes into sentences, and ensuring they flow
- Vocabulary, mainly verbs to describe certain events
- Relate the ideas explored more to the text and use more examples from the text

Got it, cheers!
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on July 11, 2015, 07:47:35 pm
Yes (love that you're listing it out, a brilliant exercise), and just delve deeper in to the topic in general.  Spend longer brainstorming the different implications, trying to be deeper and more specific and seeing it from different angles.  This one's harder to fix up, because it's a bit intangible - it's more about your THINKING than your writing.  (This was my comment about addressing the question more fully - not just saying what a survivor is, but how one becomes a survivor, what qualities they need.  And looking at other characters.)

Especially relate to the AUTHOR's perspective, btw - show awareness that the author presents the character Vladek in a specific way convey (verb <3) a message about what qualities one needs to be a survivor.
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: tashhhaaa on July 13, 2015, 12:19:26 am
Hey,

I feel like I'm all out of ideas for context (ID&B) and I want to shake things up a bit.

Are we allowed to discuss controversial or explicit material? For example (not that I will do this exactly), can we write a creative about a drug-affected drag queen? (totally random I know)

I go to a "religious" school so probably not in a SAC, but would this be ok for the exam? Or are examiners really conservative?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on July 13, 2015, 08:47:35 am
Hey,

I feel like I'm all out of ideas for context (ID&B) and I want to shake things up a bit.

Are we allowed to discuss controversial or explicit material? For example (not that I will do this exactly), can we write a creative about a drug-affected drag queen? (totally random I know)

I go to a "religious" school so probably not in a SAC, but would this be ok for the exam? Or are examiners really conservative?

I don't actually know, but I personally would say - do the bold, daring thing, rather than trying to play it safe (except, as you say, on SACs).  In general, I think examiners quite like something provocative, interesting and different because they're bored so sick of 'Identity is a key multidimensional aspect of our lives...'.  You want to wake them up and stand out.  Controversial is definitely fine; they've said before in exam reports that they can totally disagree with what you say as long as you write it well and it thoroughly relates to the prompt (avoid something super controversial like gay marriage though).  And most of them would be fine with explicit - you might by chance get someone conservative, but look, when are English teachers conservative?
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: tashhhaaa on July 13, 2015, 02:36:12 pm
I don't actually know, but I personally would say - do the bold, daring thing, rather than trying to play it safe (except, as you say, on SACs).  In general, I think examiners quite like something provocative, interesting and different because they're bored so sick of 'Identity is a key multidimensional aspect of our lives...'.  You want to wake them up and stand out.  Controversial is definitely fine; they've said before in exam reports that they can totally disagree with what you say as long as you write it well and it thoroughly relates to the prompt (avoid something super controversial like gay marriage though).  And most of them would be fine with explicit - you might by chance get someone conservative, but look, when are English teachers conservative?

I personally have a mix of teachers at my school: A couple who are very open minded (younger) and a couple who are ultra-conservative (do I need the hyphen lol) and biased...

I'd have to do a lot of research to write creatives or essays about things I've never experienced so I'm hoping it's worth it...
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: literally lauren on July 13, 2015, 08:09:16 pm
Hey,

I feel like I'm all out of ideas for context (ID&B) and I want to shake things up a bit.

Are we allowed to discuss controversial or explicit material? For example (not that I will do this exactly), can we write a creative about a drug-affected drag queen? (totally random I know)

I go to a "religious" school so probably not in a SAC, but would this be ok for the exam? Or are examiners really conservative?

I'm inclined to say no, because 'being controversial' just for the sake of being controversial doesn't get you any marks :p

If you had a valid reason for exploring a prompt from the perspective of a drugged-up transsexual, then by all means go for it. But if you're just writing a standard piece that shows how some people choose not to belong, or how sometimes our identity changes over time, then there's no real reason to be using that distinctive character or voice.

The question isn't really about whether the examiners will be on-board with more liberal ideas, or if they'll just faint at the mere mention of anything more scandalous than an ankle, but rather what your response has to gain by mentioning certain examples, or writing from a certain point of view! If you think you can offer a more profound insight by using an example that's a bit left-of-field, then I can't imagine too many assessors having a problem with it.

HOWEVER ( ;) ) the aim of the exam is to write what is safe. If you're like me and don't care too much about your score, then you can take some risks here and there (...pretty sure my Context piece contained more than a few silly puns) but ultimately, you don't know who will be reading your piece! I wrote in a completely different way for most of my SACs because I knew who my teacher was and what he was looking for. In the exam, though, you're writing what should suit the majority of teachers around the state.

This is why I generally advise against bringing up any religious or political examples unless they're purely expositional. The last thing you want is to write a piece about why Buddhism is a poor way of dealing with conflict, or why Julia Gillard had a weak sense of self... only to find out your assessor is the most hardcore Labour Buddhist in the state :p

The assessors are MEANT to put aside their biases when marking - and the good one's will - but they're only human, and it's hard for them not to be more critical if you've offended their sensibilities.

But it sounds like you're quite committed to fleshing out this idea and not doing what my friends did by thinking 'imma write from the point of view of a drunk hobo for the lolz' and provided you're doing the research and writing it in a sophisticated way, you should be absolutely fine.

Some optional reading, if you're looking for some different perspectives. Reading things like this can also help you get a sense of the 'voice' in a creative piece, which is just a fancy way of saying 'the pretend person you create as your writer.' Obviously you can't just open the story by saying 'Well as a drag queen junkie, I think identity is a fluid concept' because that would be ridiculous... so you have to find away of creating a character as well as telling a story or reflecting on certain ideas- that's the true challenge of imaginative writing.

Let us know if you've had any thoughts about how you'll go about this - I'd be interested to see how things turn out for this hypothetical cross-dressing drug addict (or whichever character you create) :P
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: heids on July 13, 2015, 08:30:59 pm
^ I always dive in and give it a go, figuring I'll assume Lauren's too busy to answer all questions and she'll contradict me when I'm wrong :P so take my answers with a teaspoon of salt
Thanks Lauren :D
Title: Re: VCE English Question Thread
Post by: tashhhaaa on July 13, 2015, 08:54:00 pm
I'm inclined to say no, because 'being controversial' just for the sake of being controversial doesn't get you any marks :p

If you had a valid reason for exploring a prompt from the perspective of a drugged-up transsexual, then by all means go for it. But if you're just writing a standard piece that shows how some people choose not to belong, or how sometimes our identity changes over time, then there's no real reason to be using that distinctive character or voice.

The question isn't really about whether the examiners will be on-board with more liberal ideas, or if they'll just faint at the mere mention of anything more scandalous than an ankle, but rather what your response has to gain by mentioning certain examples, or writing from a certain point of view! If you think you can offer a more profound insight by using an example that's a bit left-of-field, then I can't imagine too many assessors having a problem with it.

HOWEVER ( ;) ) the aim of the exam is to write what is safe. If you're like me and don't care too much about your score, then you can take some risks here and there (...pretty sure my Context piece contained more than a few silly puns) but ultimately, you don't know who will be reading your piece! I wrote in a completely different way for most of my SACs because I knew who my teacher was and what he was looking for. In the exam, though, you're writing what should suit the majority of teachers around the state.

This is why I generally advise against bringing up any religious or political examples unless they're purely expositional. The last thing you want is to write a piece about why Buddhism is a poor way of dealing with conflict, or why Julia Gillard had a weak sense of self... only to find out your assessor is the most hardcore Labour Buddhist in the state :p

The assessors are MEANT to put aside their biases when marking - and the good one's will - but they're only human, and