Starting off my HSC, I found myself consistently underestimating the work and effort I would have to contribute to HSC Society & Culture. External affirmations such as, “It’s not a tough subject, you’ll be fine!” became a sense of motivation to ignore the broad content, demanding consistency and the 4000 to 5000-word interest project waiting right around the corner. Time and time again, I find that students struggle to uphold consistency with the subject and inevitably find themselves confined by the four walls of their room as they type up an overnight PIP (definitely would not recommend).
As a former Society & Culture student who achieved a Band 6, here are my top tips and tricks for you to ace the subject:
I am sure you have heard your teacher say this word enough but allow me to do the same: CONCEPTS. It’s an overused word in the Society and Culture world but that’s because it is important. Initially, you have to learn to APPLY the concepts and dump them (literally) in any writing you do for the subject. It is absolutely vital for you to use them and use them properly because they are your best friends.
Consistently adding to your notes throughout the year will definitely not put you at a disadvantage, plus when Chemistry, Economics or Legal are making you anxious, you’ll be comforted by having Society under your belt!
When it comes to assessments, a lot of people tend to forget that there is a reason Society isn’t English or Legal. Overly written assessments with clunky language and flowery points are not the gateway to a Band 6 here. Keeping assessments simple and concise is essential, initially following the simple instructions on your assessment sheet or the very suspiciously simple advice of your teacher is more than enough.
I repeat my point here but your assessments should also be (literally) showered with appropriate concepts, simply put: go big or go home.
This project, demanding 40% of your final HSC mark is extremely crucial to underpin from the first day of your HSC. As frightening as it sounds, resources are available across all kinds of platforms, from the shelves (both literal and online) of the state library, sample PIPs from schools to a Society student’s online best friend, Pippa.
Choosing the topic –
Initially, your chosen topic can (quite literally) make or break your PIP. Don’t let this frighten you though, chances are a topic that makes you seem like a socially aware individual who intends to provide NESA with an unbiased point of view will get you somewhere near that 40/40. Now I would love to write 4000-5000 words on how One Direction should adopt rock music but chances are that’s not exactly what NESA is looking for. To enforce my point further, choosing a topic that is impacting society and deserves research is the way to go but don’t forget to make sure it also interests you!
A common mistake one can make when choosing their topic is making it too broad or narrow for effective research. Choosing a topic such as “feminism in my household” or “feminism: east and west” will definitely not put the best impression on markers.
Once you have the topic, it is not for you to keep until the hour before the project is due. Extensive research and understanding of complex topics is a necessity because I can certainly assure you, it is obvious to see your lack of understanding when you write on a topic that you have no knowledge of. Simply put, draft and redraft until NESA knocks on your door, after all, no one has regretted spending a few hours each day to do their major work or staying an hour after school to attend their lovely teacher’s PIP help class…
Oh and… don’t forget your fair share of appropriate and well-applied concepts for that 40/40!
Now I haven’t forgotten about the traumatising HSC exam and the 60% still overshadowing you. In preparation, I would recommend focusing on your weakest points, whether that includes the daunting 8 multiple choice questions, the weirdly confusing short or long responses. For these, past papers will be your absolute best friends, going from NESA’s 2010 HSC past paper onwards, paying particular attention to the chosen responses put as the samples will guarantee you top results.
Continuing through the papers, you will notice a similar trend of repeated questions and if your notes already cover the sample answers NESA has provided you, that is definitely an advantage.
Sharing notes with classmates can also be an advantage, sharing knowledge and understanding is essential in Society. This can also save you time and make sure all topics are properly covered for the big final exam!