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September 27, 2021, 06:59:19 am

Author Topic: Getting a 50 in English  (Read 28166 times)  Share 

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Surgeon

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Getting a 50 in English
« on: January 28, 2012, 09:10:01 pm »
+4
Hey guys :)

I was just after some advice as to how I can maximize my study score in English in order to achieve the highest ATAR possible.

I'm currently a relatively strong English student and I'm already getting ~48/60 for practice end of year English exams.

My question is how should I go about trying to get 60/60.

Thanks :)
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Mech

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Re: Getting a 50 in English
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2012, 09:19:44 pm »
+6
Practise those essays. Make sure you have an exam method - such as reading and doing your Language Analysis first. Pick your strongest text to do in the exam and make sure you know it inside and out; if you have a passion for it, let it flow into your creative piece. Be open to new interpretations and show that you understand the delicate nature of interpretation by suggesting dualities and allusions. Know the background of your author so that you can glean subtle nuances and possibly contextualize things better.

Most of all, keep writing those essays building up to writing each section of the exam in 45-55 mins, depending if it is your strong section or not. Work to make all your best.

(I did not study throughout the year and crammed essays in at the end; my teacher said I would not get a 45. I got a 46. ;) )
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werdna

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Re: Getting a 50 in English
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2012, 09:29:21 pm »
+40
Hey! To clarify a few things:

- Don't be misled by the practice exams you've been doing so far - unless you've studied EVERY text on your year 12 text list this year, this won't really count... Your focus for now should be on really understanding your texts and context properly, knowing how to write really sophisticated essays and then doing loads of practice exams and essays. Without doing proper work prior, your essays will be limited in depth.

- Attaining a score of 60/60 on the exam will be very, VERY difficult, but I know you're keen so definitely go for it. If I remember correctly, hardly anyone (or no one) in the state gets full marks on the English exam because it's just so subjective and it's hard to give out 10/10 scores. In saying this though, you don't have to get full marks on the exam to get a 50, I'm pretty sure you can get a 50 with maybe 57 or 58+ out of 60 (if you have strong SACs and a good ranking). At the 40+ level, generally speaking 1 mark lost on the exam would equate to roughly 1 study score point lost. So during the year, your goal should be to minimise the amount of marks lost and focus on the small, minor things once you have the big things like structure, ideas etc down pat.
 
Some tips I pulled from one of my old posts:

1. Do a sufficient amount of essays progressively throughout the year and get them marked.
English is a language and so you've got to put all your learnt material into action - in the form of a piece of prose. Essay writing not only draws together the grammar, linguistics, punctuation and spelling you've come to learn over the years; it also gathers together your ideas and views on specific novels/films in a literary sense. An essay puts all of this into action - and it's therefore critical that you practice, practice, practice! Keep writing essays progressively until you reach a point of satisfaction. But also make sure you proofread these essays straight after writing, or even better, one or two days later. Get your teacher/tutor to mark it as well.

2. Get into the habit of reading the newspaper frequently.
If you're not confident reading The Age, at least have a crack at the Herald Sun on a frequent basis. There are some parts of the daily newspapers that can really boost your understanding of current events on a national and international scale. This could be of good use come oral presentation time - or even better, for a more definitive grasp on your context study. Also have a read of the opinion pieces and editorials every now and again - have a look at how writers use 'persuasive techniques' and how you yourself are impacted by what they write and what you read. Reading newspapers can really benefit you in all 3 aspects of the English course.

3. Annotate your book... don't be Asian and worry about the book's sales prospects.
Highlight every single piece of information and dialogue that you think might have some deeper meaning behind it.. after a few minutes you'll notice something about that line and this is something abstract that you'll be able to include in essays. No one else will have these pieces of evidence, as you interpreted it all yourself, and that's one of the key criteria in text response - creating your own sophisticated perceptions and interpretations of the text. Annotating things like thematic ideas, character development, symbols, motifs, linguistic/filmic features, structure, narrative voice etc will allow you to really explore the text and how the author/director creates meaning. Include these types of evidence in your text responses! By annotating your book, you'll have a really good resource that is far, far better than any commercial study guide!

4. Question absolutely everything in VCE English - ask 'why?' at all times!
Why did the writer use the derogatory terms 'idiotic' and 'ineffectual' in his opinion piece? Why did Susie act the way she did in front of Anna? Why does our identity change in a different setting? Why is the reader positioned to feel receptive towards the editor's stance? Why did the film director use photomontages and vignettes in their film, and in what way were the characters therefore perceived? Asking 'why' is really important because in so many ways, VCE English is the art of bullshitting... keep questioning things and in 2 minutes you'll have a sophisticated line of interpretation and analysis. When you're having trouble, stop for just a moment and ask 'why' things are the way they are in that editorial, in that film scene, in that sentence, and so on. By asking 'why', you will inadvertently develop your own perceptive view of everything you study!

5. The last one - learn to manage your time!
I learnt this the hard way - you really have to learn to manage your time in both SACs and the final exam. Do practice exams in conditions that resemble examination conditions as closely as possible. When writing practice pieces, do them under time constraints. You have to be able to write effective, detailed, complex pieces of writing in a very limited amount of time. In time though, you'll get used to it and writing these essays will become second nature to you. Also, another really important thing is that you expose yourself to a variety of resources for every section of the course - being on this site is a good starting point!

And one more thing, feel free to post up any of your essays on the forum whenever you need help, you will gain a lot from the critique etc. Hope this helps!
« Last Edit: January 28, 2012, 09:31:25 pm by werdna »

Mech

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Re: Getting a 50 in English
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2012, 09:31:28 pm »
+4
Werdna has to just show me up.  :P I kid, you are great, mate.  8)
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oliverk94

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Re: Getting a 50 in English
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2012, 10:46:05 pm »
+1
Hey! To clarify a few things:

- Don't be misled by the practice exams you've been doing so far - unless you've studied EVERY text on your year 12 text list this year, this won't really count... Your focus for now should be on really understanding your texts and context properly, knowing how to write really sophisticated essays and then doing loads of practice exams and essays. Without doing proper work prior, your essays will be limited in depth.

- Attaining a score of 60/60 on the exam will be very, VERY difficult, but I know you're keen so definitely go for it. If I remember correctly, hardly anyone (or no one) in the state gets full marks on the English exam because it's just so subjective and it's hard to give out 10/10 scores. In saying this though, you don't have to get full marks on the exam to get a 50, I'm pretty sure you can get a 50 with maybe 57 or 58+ out of 60 (if you have strong SACs and a good ranking). At the 40+ level, generally speaking 1 mark lost on the exam would equate to roughly 1 study score point lost. So during the year, your goal should be to minimise the amount of marks lost and focus on the small, minor things once you have the big things like structure, ideas etc down pat.
 
Some tips I pulled from one of my old posts:

1. Do a sufficient amount of essays progressively throughout the year and get them marked.
English is a language and so you've got to put all your learnt material into action - in the form of a piece of prose. Essay writing not only draws together the grammar, linguistics, punctuation and spelling you've come to learn over the years; it also gathers together your ideas and views on specific novels/films in a literary sense. An essay puts all of this into action - and it's therefore critical that you practice, practice, practice! Keep writing essays progressively until you reach a point of satisfaction. But also make sure you proofread these essays straight after writing, or even better, one or two days later. Get your teacher/tutor to mark it as well.

2. Get into the habit of reading the newspaper frequently.
If you're not confident reading The Age, at least have a crack at the Herald Sun on a frequent basis. There are some parts of the daily newspapers that can really boost your understanding of current events on a national and international scale. This could be of good use come oral presentation time - or even better, for a more definitive grasp on your context study. Also have a read of the opinion pieces and editorials every now and again - have a look at how writers use 'persuasive techniques' and how you yourself are impacted by what they write and what you read. Reading newspapers can really benefit you in all 3 aspects of the English course.

3. Annotate your book... don't be Asian and worry about the book's sales prospects.
Highlight every single piece of information and dialogue that you think might have some deeper meaning behind it.. after a few minutes you'll notice something about that line and this is something abstract that you'll be able to include in essays. No one else will have these pieces of evidence, as you interpreted it all yourself, and that's one of the key criteria in text response - creating your own sophisticated perceptions and interpretations of the text. Annotating things like thematic ideas, character development, symbols, motifs, linguistic/filmic features, structure, narrative voice etc will allow you to really explore the text and how the author/director creates meaning. Include these types of evidence in your text responses! By annotating your book, you'll have a really good resource that is far, far better than any commercial study guide!

4. Question absolutely everything in VCE English - ask 'why?' at all times!
Why did the writer use the derogatory terms 'idiotic' and 'ineffectual' in his opinion piece? Why did Susie act the way she did in front of Anna? Why does our identity change in a different setting? Why is the reader positioned to feel receptive towards the editor's stance? Why did the film director use photomontages and vignettes in their film, and in what way were the characters therefore perceived? Asking 'why' is really important because in so many ways, VCE English is the art of bullshitting... keep questioning things and in 2 minutes you'll have a sophisticated line of interpretation and analysis. When you're having trouble, stop for just a moment and ask 'why' things are the way they are in that editorial, in that film scene, in that sentence, and so on. By asking 'why', you will inadvertently develop your own perceptive view of everything you study!

5. The last one - learn to manage your time!
I learnt this the hard way - you really have to learn to manage your time in both SACs and the final exam. Do practice exams in conditions that resemble examination conditions as closely as possible. When writing practice pieces, do them under time constraints. You have to be able to write effective, detailed, complex pieces of writing in a very limited amount of time. In time though, you'll get used to it and writing these essays will become second nature to you. Also, another really important thing is that you expose yourself to a variety of resources for every section of the course - being on this site is a good starting point!

And one more thing, feel free to post up any of your essays on the forum whenever you need help, you will gain a lot from the critique etc. Hope this helps!

That's some good stuff right there, thank you sharing your awesome tips with us. +1

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Re: Getting a 50 in English
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2012, 12:33:46 am »
+3
I don't know how you are doing proper practice exams right now...

but yeah werdna has said it all.

to put in perspective what scores you will need.

I got 56/60 and got 49. 57 is a 50.

stonecold

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Re: Getting a 50 in English
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2012, 12:38:01 am »
+6
^Not necessarily true.  I got 56/60 and ended up with a 46.  A friend of mine also got 56/60 and ended up with a 42.

Unless you go to a good school, it is almost guaranteed that your SACs in English will fuck you over.
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Re: Getting a 50 in English
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2012, 01:01:25 am »
+2
^Not necessarily true.  I got 56/60 and ended up with a 46.  A friend of mine also got 56/60 and ended up with a 42.

Unless you go to a good school, it is almost guaranteed that your SACs in English will fuck you over.



They should get rid of SACs for that very reason.

@OP, regarding Text Response, the following are extracts from the past 3 Assessors Reports :

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2010: The highest mean score for Section A was achieved by students who wrote on Hard Times, Richard III, A Human Pattern, Selected Poems (Slessor) and A Farewell to Arms
2009: The highest mean scores for Section A were achieved by students who wrote on Hard Times, Richard III, Selected Poems (Slessor) and Collected Stories (Farmer)
2008: The highest mean scores were achieved by students who wrote on Hard Times, King Richard III, Selected Poems (Slessor) and Collected Stories (Farmer)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

There is an obvious pattern there, right ?
My tip: if you have a choice of texts, pick the 'Classic'. There is stronger and more scholarly material out there to pick your ideas from.
For less classic books you end up using inferior material from Study Guides etc
« Last Edit: January 29, 2012, 01:04:25 am by argonaut »

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Re: Getting a 50 in English
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2012, 01:07:34 am »
+8
3. Annotate your book... don't be Asian and worry about the book's sales prospects.


LOL or be curry and use pencil in hopes of being able to erase the annotations, because it really doesnt matter.

Quote
Why did Susie act the way she did in front of Anna?

LOL Just coz you changed the z in Suzie to an s doesnt mean SPDHD and I wouldnt recognise it
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werdna

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Re: Getting a 50 in English
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2012, 11:08:13 am »
+17
What I said before about:

Quote
VCE English is the art of bullshitting...

Is actually quite true, to an extent. Obviously you'll have to get used to writing and thinking really analytically, but a lot of the things you come up with are things that would get you a 9/10 or 10/10 essay, but they're also things you would never say in real life. :) But like I said, if you're able to spin stuff around particularly for text response and word it nicely, you'll be fine.




Surgeon

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Re: Getting a 50 in English
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2012, 11:34:26 am »
0
Thanks very much for the in-depth responses, everyone.

I'll be sure to take all of your suggestions into consideration.

For those who are wondering how and why I am already doing end of year practice exams, I started studying my texts and film in detail as soon as the holidays began abd have a pretty solid understanding of them at all, at the moment. I figured it would be beneficial for me to begin writing essays as soon as possible. :)
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Re: Getting a 50 in English
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2012, 11:45:35 am »
+2
Thanks very much for the in-depth responses, everyone.

I'll be sure to take all of your suggestions into consideration.

For those who are wondering how and why I am already doing end of year practice exams, I started studying my texts and film in detail as soon as the holidays began abd have a pretty solid understanding of them at all, at the moment. I figured it would be beneficial for me to begin writing essays as soon as possible. :)

I actually think you should spend more time analysing the novels and texts rather than having a go at essays straight away. WRiting essays is good when it comes closer to assesment, but really have a sound undesrtanding of the major themes etc, before you jump straight in. I think you might be getting a bit too enthusiastic.

burbs

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Re: Getting a 50 in English
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2012, 11:51:17 am »
+2
^Not necessarily true.  I got 56/60 and ended up with a 46.  A friend of mine also got 56/60 and ended up with a 42.

Unless you go to a good school, it is almost guaranteed that your SACs in English will fuck you over.



They should get rid of SACs for that very reason.

@OP, regarding Text Response, the following are extracts from the past 3 Assessors Reports :

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2010: The highest mean score for Section A was achieved by students who wrote on Hard Times, Richard III, A Human Pattern, Selected Poems (Slessor) and A Farewell to Arms
2009: The highest mean scores for Section A were achieved by students who wrote on Hard Times, Richard III, Selected Poems (Slessor) and Collected Stories (Farmer)
2008: The highest mean scores were achieved by students who wrote on Hard Times, King Richard III, Selected Poems (Slessor) and Collected Stories (Farmer)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

There is an obvious pattern there, right ?
My tip: if you have a choice of texts, pick the 'Classic'. There is stronger and more scholarly material out there to pick your ideas from.
For less classic books you end up using inferior material from Study Guides etc

A lot of those books are the ones selective schools do, which probably has something to do with the consistently high scores. I agree though.

aiming_95

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Re: Getting a 50 in English
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2012, 12:13:54 pm »
0
^Not necessarily true.  I got 56/60 and ended up with a 46.  A friend of mine also got 56/60 and ended up with a 42.

Unless you go to a good school, it is almost guaranteed that your SACs in English will fuck you over.


CAE didn't have a strong cohort ?

stonecold

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Re: Getting a 50 in English
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2012, 12:40:15 pm »
0
^Not necessarily true.  I got 56/60 and ended up with a 46.  A friend of mine also got 56/60 and ended up with a 42.

Unless you go to a good school, it is almost guaranteed that your SACs in English will fuck you over.

CAE didn't have a strong cohort ?

No.  The cohort there is very weak.  I wouldn't say it is any different to your average school though.

The problem with English at CAE is that every class studies different texts/topics.  So whilst it is not that hard to get to the top of your own English class, there are about 8 other classes and how they integrate your marks with other peoples makes getting the top rank nigh impossible.  Not to mention there is no cross marking which means you will get even more screwed if your teacher is tight or hates you.
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