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Author Topic: VCE English Question Thread  (Read 404935 times)  Share 

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Apink!

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Re: VCE English Question Thread
« Reply #120 on: February 24, 2015, 09:46:30 am »
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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

« Last Edit: February 24, 2015, 09:52:38 am by Apink! »
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Re: VCE English Question Thread
« Reply #121 on: February 24, 2015, 10:05:30 am »
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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
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Re: VCE English Question Thread
« Reply #122 on: February 24, 2015, 03:46:06 pm »
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Where can I post my practice essay for someone kind to read? Thanks
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Re: VCE English Question Thread
« Reply #123 on: February 24, 2015, 04:11:56 pm »
+1
VCE 2014: HHD, Bio, English, T&T, Methods

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Re: VCE English Question Thread
« Reply #124 on: February 24, 2015, 04:31:54 pm »
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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
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Re: VCE English Question Thread
« Reply #125 on: February 24, 2015, 05:26:26 pm »
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Is it bad to memorise a good introduction and keep using that throughout all your text responses whilst just changing the arguments?

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Re: VCE English Question Thread
« Reply #126 on: February 24, 2015, 05:59:19 pm »
+2
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.
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Re: VCE English Question Thread
« Reply #127 on: February 24, 2015, 06:52:04 pm »
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'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
  • 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  ::) ::) ::)
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Re: VCE English Question Thread
« Reply #128 on: February 24, 2015, 07:30:15 pm »
+1
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!
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Re: VCE English Question Thread
« Reply #129 on: February 24, 2015, 08:34:51 pm »
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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.....
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Re: VCE English Question Thread
« Reply #130 on: February 25, 2015, 10:46:38 am »
+1
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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 :)
« Last Edit: December 07, 2015, 12:47:24 pm by literally lauren »

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Re: VCE English Question Thread
« Reply #131 on: February 25, 2015, 04:43:46 pm »
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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  :'(
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Re: VCE English Question Thread
« Reply #132 on: February 25, 2015, 05:10:00 pm »
+1
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 :)

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Re: VCE English Question Thread
« Reply #133 on: February 25, 2015, 05:17:00 pm »
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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 :(
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Re: VCE English Question Thread
« Reply #134 on: February 25, 2015, 05:24:13 pm »
+4
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!
VCE 2014: HHD, Bio, English, T&T, Methods

I love you, AN. Keep being cool. <3