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December 05, 2021, 01:25:51 pm

Author Topic: 50 in English, available for queries :)  (Read 273090 times)  Share 

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walkec

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Re: 50 in English, available for queries :)
« Reply #480 on: September 07, 2014, 09:28:11 pm »
+3
walkec:
I'll address these two issues separately, since effective study and maintaining self-confidence require different skillsets to deal with.
It can be really frustrating when you feel like your effort:results ratio is out of balance. When you say you've been working hard in English, what exactly does that mean for you? Perhaps there's been too much practice essay drilling and not enough exploring the texts/ideas? Or maybe you've been doing so many class activites on themes and workbook questions that you haven't had the chance to actually implement your knowledge?
What most of this comes down to though, is identifying where you're losing marks. At this stage of the year, it's crucial to know your weak spots, so go through your teacher's comments (if they're helpful) otherwise post some stuff on the Submissions thread for some alternate input. Let's assume you're getting 8/10 on your essays; there's a hell of a lot of different ways to lose 2 marks. A few of your ideas might be sketchy, your expression could be all over the place, etc. If you're making the same mistakes over an over again, then it might be more of a chore trying to fix an ingrained habit.
With regards to quelling the doubt-monster, positive thinking never goes astray. Some perspective can be useful to (English is notorious for messing with the marking system; a 40/50 sounds scarier than 8/10 :P) Also, numerical scores are often the best way to freak yourself out. Don't get me wrong, the feedback is important, but obsessing over numbers can get to your head. Instead, concentrate on what you got wrong, qualitatively speaking, ie. 'oh no, I had a wonky contention' as opposed to 'oh no, I lost 10 marks.'
Be aware that your abilities are constantly developing, unlike some subjects where you either know something or you don't, English relies more so on your capacity to continually better your understanding throughout the year.
So yeah, being aware of where you're at without stressing about it is the main thing. If you need help rationalising your approach or interpreting the feedback I'm happy to help with that too :)

Everyone praise Lauren - she is so good at giving advice!
Thanks for your input. Over the weekend I've had a flick through some of my previous practice pieces and I think my weakness is clarity of expression under pressure. So I think I just need to practice more at this and including more subtle but still powerful examples in my writing  :)
In regard to bettering yourself, my teacher has this analogy for that with yoga. He started doing yoga this year and said his experience with yoga is like a Year 12 student's experience with English. You are getting better but you don't actually realise it. So I guess I should keep that advice and your words of wisdom in mind. Thanks  :)

scandin9

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Re: 50 in English, available for queries :)
« Reply #481 on: September 09, 2014, 05:33:13 pm »
0
Hi Lauren,
I have heard that VCAA sets each topic in such a way to allow for other, perhaps less obvious, interpretations and students who capitalise on this tend to do better.I am not sure what this means; can you clarify this? How would one use such an idiosyncratic interpretation for this question: "Lady Macbeth is the real villian in the play?
Thanks in advance! 

literally lauren

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Re: 50 in English, available for queries :)
« Reply #482 on: September 09, 2014, 11:37:25 pm »
+5
scandin9:

My understanding of the VCAA exam/T.R. prompt writing process is this:

Examiner 1: So, what should we focus on for this text (let's say Macbeth)
Examiner 2: Well, all the practice prompts we/other companies released focused on tyranny, madness, and relationship issues.
Examiner 3: And I've spoken to a bunch of teachers who're doing Macbeth this year. They say they've extensively covered madness, gender roles, and kingship.
Examiner 1: Let's make the prompt about supernatural forces and weather patterns.
Examiners 2/3: Agreed!
Examiner 1: Awesome, now let's go kick some puppies.

This pattern is always worse for texts towards the end of their 4 year cycle {consult this list for 2014 and this one for 2015.}
Also, something you may have noticed if you've gone through exam papers, there tends to be one character/structure based prompt, and one thematic/Views&Values style prompt. Not always(!) but most years/texts. This is kinda nice of them because it means you get to play to your strengths, whether you do better writing on the little details or the 'big picture' stuff.
But ultimately, VCAA are going out of their way to ask you something fresh and new in order to get a genuine response to the text and not a rote-learned answer regurgitated at them.

These 'idiosyncratic interpretations' you keep mentioning aren't exactly hard to come by, just keep questioning the prompt. For a text like this, so many responses will simply contend that either 'yep, Lady M is the villain and she does bad stuff like this...' or 'nah, she wasn't as bad as Macbeth/the Witches, or at least she was only one force contributing to the villainy.' Whilst it can be good to develop a more sophisticated reading, the people who argue this well and substantiate it with good evidence can still score really highly. VCAA don't expect you to totally revolutionize their understanding of the text in the hour that they give you, they just want you to demonstrate your relevant understanding in an engaging way.

24bauer12

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Re: 50 in English, available for queries :)
« Reply #483 on: September 12, 2014, 12:02:01 pm »
0
Hi Lauren,
How do you avoid talking about one character in your topic sentences for T.R?

Vermilliona

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Re: 50 in English, available for queries :)
« Reply #484 on: September 12, 2014, 12:23:52 pm »
0
Stupid question, but will not referring directly to a quote that forms part of a prompt but referring to the moment/sentiment it conveys lose me many marks in an essay? Just did my last English SAC, and I think I managed a relatively complex discussion of the prompt, but forgot to put the quote from the prompt in and now am worried... But I did talk about the moment the quote was from, so maybe not all is lost?
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JackSonSmith

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Re: 50 in English, available for queries :)
« Reply #485 on: September 12, 2014, 09:21:34 pm »
+1
Hi Lauren,
How do you avoid talking about one character in your topic sentences for T.R?

I find that talking about ideas in my topic sentences helps me to avoid falling into the funnel of one character.
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walkec

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Re: 50 in English, available for queries :)
« Reply #486 on: September 13, 2014, 12:57:58 pm »
0
Hi Lauren,

I have my SAC for The Reluctant Fundamentalist and this week it has become apparent that my weakness is opening paragraphs. What do you advise on doing/not doing in an opening paragraph?

literally lauren

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Re: 50 in English, available for queries :)
« Reply #487 on: September 13, 2014, 10:53:02 pm »
+3
Hi Lauren,
How do you avoid talking about one character in your topic sentences for T.R?

This depends on the prompt and the text, but usually you can just restructure your sentence to focus more so on the author or broader themes. However, I don't see much of a problem with using a single character as an entry point for discussion; the danger is when you start of talking about one, then switch to another that doesn't explicitly relate to your topic sentence.
Not grouping paragraphs by character would be a start. Or if you are, try to use a couple at a time as points of comparison or contrast. For instance, if you have a prompt like 'No characters in this book are redeemable,' rather than just exploring them one at a time, group them thematically. eg. 1. characters that are completely irredeemable. 2. characters with many problematic qualities, but are nonetheless redeemable. 3. characters that are not only redeemable, but admirable.
After that, you should find your topic sentences become more general, even if the majority of your discussion centres on one character.

Stupid question, but will not referring directly to a quote that forms part of a prompt but referring to the moment/sentiment it conveys lose me many marks in an essay? Just did my last English SAC, and I think I managed a relatively complex discussion of the prompt, but forgot to put the quote from the prompt in and now am worried... But I did talk about the moment the quote was from, so maybe not all is lost?

Provided you've discussed the moment and sentiment, no it shouldn't. However, if your marker feels like this was only superficial then you can potentially lose marks for ignoring a portion of the prompt. But generally the ideas embedded within the quote and the question in the prompt will be very closely linked. For instance: ' ďIt seems an obvious thing to say, but you should not imagine that we Pakistanis are all potential terrorists, just as we should not imagine that you Americans are all undercover assassins.Ē Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist suggests that prejudicial judgement can be incredibly damaging. Discuss.' Here you'll probably be looking at the idea of racial prejudice anyway, but incorporating the quote would still be highly recommended.
Occasionally the quote-based prompts can be a tad trickier though. eg. 'I am a lover of America.' To what extent is this true of Changez?' Here it would be a lot harder to ignore.
Either way, it sounds like you've addressed it in some capacity so you should be fine :)
Better to make these mistakes now than in the exam room.

Hi Lauren,
I have my SAC for The Reluctant Fundamentalist and this week it has become apparent that my weakness is opening paragraphs. What do you advise on doing/not doing in an opening paragraph?

What is it that makes your paragraphs 'weak' exactly? If it's an issue with your structure (ie. the para feels directionless or messy) then some more detailed planning might help order your ideas in a more logical way. Alternatively, if it's a problem with your ideas then some further dissection of the prompt should give you something more interesting to discuss.
Strangely most people seem to have problems with their last body paragraph because they feel they've run out of ideas or end up redundantly reiterating their points. I suppose you might be trying to tackle too much too early (eg. if you're structuring your paragraphs around themes, don't put something too big at the start if you feel like you need to build up to it.) For TRF I'd recommend leaving any comments on structure or narrative devices till later so that you have enough backing to justify closer analysis. Other than that, go through your paragraphs and work out what makes them good or bad. Is there too much summary? Not enough V&V? Too far away from the prompt, or too close and lacking sophistication? Expression? Vocab? Handwriting?
Now that you've found which part of your essay you need to improve upon, see if you can isolate exactly what needs improving :)

literally lauren

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Re: 50 in English, available for queries :)
« Reply #488 on: September 13, 2014, 11:31:19 pm »
+4
Also, friendly reminder that I've finally updated this thread and turned the first post into a proper directory.
Link in my sig if you need :)

Paulrus

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Re: 50 in English, available for queries :)
« Reply #489 on: September 14, 2014, 12:11:16 am »
0
hey lauren,
is it better to prepare both text response texts for the exam, or just stick with one?
i'm more familiar with war poems and i feel like i'd be able to write a better essay on it (particularly cos mabo is a pretty simple text). is it worth devoting less time to old wilfy and spending some time on mabo just in case i end up with some really nasty prompts, or should i just ignore mabo and try my best to prepare for anything they could possibly throw?

trying to work out how i should ration out my time with the exam coming up haha
thanks heaps!
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DJA

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Re: 50 in English, available for queries :)
« Reply #490 on: September 14, 2014, 11:36:43 am »
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Also, friendly reminder that I've finally updated this thread and turned the first post into a proper directory.
Link in my sig if you need :)

It's awesome!! Thank you - makes it so much easier to navigate haha :)

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literally lauren

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Re: 50 in English, available for queries :)
« Reply #491 on: September 14, 2014, 01:14:48 pm »
+7
hey lauren,
is it better to prepare both text response texts for the exam, or just stick with one?
i'm more familiar with war poems and i feel like i'd be able to write a better essay on it (particularly cos mabo is a pretty simple text). is it worth devoting less time to old wilfy and spending some time on mabo just in case i end up with some really nasty prompts, or should i just ignore mabo and try my best to prepare for anything they could possibly throw?

trying to work out how i should ration out my time with the exam coming up haha
thanks heaps!

I would highly highly recommend choosing one beforehand. You'll be wasting a lot of time studying for two texts if you know you won't be using one of them. In the end, you'll be preparing to such an extent that they won't be able to throw anything unmanageable at you; even the nasty prompts can be molded to suit your knowledge of the text. Also, if they are scary-looking, the whole state will be in the same boat trying to untangle the question, so preparing adequately beforehand can give you a huge advantage. To me, studying two just seems futile, so in most circumstances, streamlining your study will make everything a lot less strenuous.
I agree Mabo is a fairly surface-level text, though it can be made complex in your analysis. But having read your Wilfred Owen work I think that's definitely your strength.

Re: time rationing, I should be finished with the end-of-year-study-suggestions-guide-thing by tomorrow. I'll put a link to that below too. But the tl;dr version is basically know what you need to work on. I'll explain how to know and what do do once you know later :)

Edward Elric

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Re: 50 in English, available for queries :)
« Reply #492 on: September 14, 2014, 03:48:02 pm »
+1
I would highly highly recommend choosing one beforehand. You'll be wasting a lot of time studying for two texts if you know you won't be using one of them. In the end, you'll be preparing to such an extent that they won't be able to throw anything unmanageable at you; even the nasty prompts can be molded to suit your knowledge of the text. Also, if they are scary-looking, the whole state will be in the same boat trying to untangle the question, so preparing adequately beforehand can give you a huge advantage. To me, studying two just seems futile, so in most circumstances, streamlining your study will make everything a lot less strenuous.
I agree Mabo is a fairly surface-level text, though it can be made complex in your analysis. But having read your Wilfred Owen work I think that's definitely your strength.

Re: time rationing, I should be finished with the end-of-year-study-suggestions-guide-thing by tomorrow. I'll put a link to that below too. But the tl;dr version is basically know what you need to work on. I'll explain how to know and what do do once you know later :)

Hey Lauren

And just expanding on Paulrus's question, is t better to write on a book that has been out for the past 3-4 years like A Christmas Carol or risk writing an essay on some of newer novels this year? I'm not quite sure as I heard this years questions of ACC will be really difficult due to it being its final year. Thanks

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Re: 50 in English, available for queries :)
« Reply #493 on: September 14, 2014, 05:18:37 pm »
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Hi Lauren,

For an introduction in text response, my tutor has always taught me to begin with a 'contextualising sentence', in which we discuss the background or setting or theme of the prompt before jumping into answering the prompt. As such, I was taught an intro would have roughly 5 sentences; one for contextualising, one to answer or challenge the prompt, one or two to list the ideas to be discussed in body paras, and lastly one to summarise up contention and overall intro. Do you believe this method is appropriate and effective for an introduction? Is it possible to avoid a 'contextualising sentence' and dive right into introducing the text and author? And finally, should we always list the ideas to be discussed separately or can we group them into one broader sentence?

Example of what I mean by contextualising sentence: "With the rise of Berlin Wall, the Stasi regime attained supremacy through communist ideals in East Germany. The consequential effects on its victims were so profound, they are still dealing with ramifications today..."

If otherwise, what do you recommend doing, other than jumping directly into "In her non-fiction narrative Stasiland, Anna Funder endeavours to expose the profound tragedies behind the Wall..."

Thank you in advance!

walkec

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Re: 50 in English, available for queries :)
« Reply #494 on: September 14, 2014, 06:28:49 pm »
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Hey Lauren

And just expanding on Paulrus's question, is t better to write on a book that has been out for the past 3-4 years like A Christmas Carol or risk writing an essay on some of newer novels this year? I'm not quite sure as I heard this years questions of ACC will be really difficult due to it being its final year. Thanks

I was about to ask the same question - I'm leaning more towards The Reluctant Fundamentalist for the exam but I'm concerned about some of the possible prompts. My other option for text response is Stasiland, which I feel would require more work to get my analysis skills up to exam standard, mainly because I studied it in Unit 3.