Whether you’re choosing subjects soon or currently in Year 11 or 12, the question on a lot of students minds is: “Is Standard English going to drag down my ATAR?”

If you’ve been thinking like this a lot lately, it’s important that we introduce you to Campbell.

Campbell was struggling with Standard English, however, he was able to improve his marks by 12% by his HSC exam!

That’s why in this article, we’re going to find out exactly what he did to turn his results around throughout Year 11 & 12. We’ll also show you how to stop Standard English from ruining your ATAR once and for all!

Let’s jump right in…

About Campbell:

Campbell is an AOS Alumni who graduated from Barker College in 2019. At first, he was worried that Standard English would drag down his final HSC marks!

However, from the start of Year 11 to the end of his HSC Exams, he was able to turn his studies around and raise his English results from 75/100 to 87/100. That’s an improvement of 12%!

Throughout the 18 month period, he implemented strategies to systematically lift his English results.

So what are we waiting for, let’s find out his key tips for making sure that Standard English doesn’t ruin your HSC.

Get Feedback From the Get-Go!

Campbell struggled greatly in his first term of Year 11. The new syllabus had just been introduced, and he received a mark of 75 in his first assessment. 

He wasn’t happy at all with this mark, and he knew he wanted to do better further down the track. It’s at this point he did something really important:

He actually redid his assessment!

This is key to improving your HSC English marks. So many students get back their results and just chuck it in the bin!

Not only did Campbell read his assignment, but he took it to his teacher, did it again the RIGHT way, and learnt from his mistakes!

Getting this feedback and doing the extra work in the first term of Year 11 helped Campbell fill the holes in his knowledge and gave him a far greater understanding of his HSC English text.

How to Ace Your Multimodal

The next assessment that Campbell had was a multimodal presentation. This is a new assessment type introduced by the most recent syllabus, and Campbell has some great tips for students who want to ace it:

  1. Start early
  2. Get all of your technology ready!

Much of your multimodal presentation is your typical English assessment. You need to know your texts, do your analysis etc.

However, you also need to be super conscious and organised in regard to the format you’re presenting it in. Campbell believes that you should start working on this the week that you are notified about the assessment.

Campbell used Windows Media Player, however, he believes that if he had gotten on top of the technology side of his presentation earlier, it would have been much better quality as it takes a while to learn how to edit and refine.

Term 3: Essays

In term 3 for Year 11 Standard English, you finally hit essay writing as an assessment.

According to Campbell, this is one of the most content-heavy times of the year!

Due to this, there’s a steady increase in workload and stress levels, and Campbell has some awesome suggestions on how to deal with this.

1: Stay Calm

Everyone says it, but when you stay calm you’re able to recall more, so it’s super important. 

This is especially key when you’re in exam conditions as the time limit adds extra pressure.

2: Build Your Memorisation Skills

It’s really important to have an examplar essay prepared before you go into your exam.

Campbell had a few pre-prepared essays before his Year 11 exam, however, rather than learning the essays off by heart, he would memorise:

  1. The quotes
  2. The techniques

MEMORY HACK: As soon as Campbell would sit down to do his exam he would write down the first letter of each of his quotes. The association between the letter and the full quote would help him memorise it quickly as he was writing his essay!

Memorisation worked great for Campbell, but this might not be what suits you necessarily. It’s important to use this time in Year 11 to find out what works for you.

This way, when you get to Year 12, you’ll be prepared to ace the HSC. 

3: Find a Middle Ground

With the introduction of the new syllabus, it’s far harder to rote learn, so you can’t just rely on pre-prepared essays.

Campbell was able to find a middle ground where he still created exemplar essays in case they were applicable in the exam, however, he also focused on memorising quotes and techniques rather than things like a thesis or conclusion. 

These elements are far more adaptable and can be manipulated to suit a bunch of questions. Campbell also made sure to memorise quotes that can work with a lot of different questions or topics.

Don’t be Scared to Get Help

One thing that Campbell really struggled with on his own was his vocabulary and writing skills.

To make sure that Standard English didn’t drag his ATAR down, Campbell sought extra help in the form of 1 on 1 lessons with Art of Smart tutor Hannah!

Hannah helped him build a database of English terminology and improve his sentence structure so he could finally bump up his English marks. 

He was able to improve the sophistication of his writing, but most importantly work out how to communicate succinctly and get straight to the point.

Remember, not everything has to be tackled alone. If you need extra help, check out our tutoring options for 1 on 1 and group classes here.

Year 12 – Trials and HSC:

When it comes to preparing for the key Standard English exams of Year 12, Campbell has a few tips for current students…

Step #1: Give Yourself a Break

It’s easy to get overwhelmed before your exams. It’s important to give yourself regular study breaks to clear your head.

However, you should also give yourself a break in a mental sense. Don’t keep thinking: “Oh I should be doing more work right now”. 

Do what you can and give yourself a breather. What’s important is that you go into that exam confident that you know what you have studied really well rather than briefly looking over your entire years’ worth of content.

Step #2: Memorise Quotes

When you actually get close to exams, you have to study what’s most important as there’s a time pressure now.

Once your a few weeks out, you should really have a strong quote bank. Choose these wisely as you want the ones that have the most links to a wide range of topics.

Step #3: Practice Essays

As time is of the essence now, you don’t have to write out ALL of your practice essays.

Rather, you can go through a wide range of different essay questions and answer them in dot point form.

Basically, you write out the structure of what your essay would be using quotes and techniques from the bank you’ve already established. 

This will help solidify the malleability of your responses.

On top of this, get used to writing essays in a timed response!

What’s the Key Advice for HSC Standard English Throughout all Year 11 & 12?

Throughout both of his HSC years, Campbell made sure that whenever he got a mark back for an essay, he would take it to a teacher to get feedback.

If he wasn’t happy with the mark he recieved, he would redo the essay until he received full marks.

This means that by the time he got to Year 12 and the HSC he had a bunch of 20/20 responses to draw upon in preparation.

Essentially, you need to constantly get feedback and build an essay folder of perfect examples!

So there you have it, by following these key steps as Campbell did, you can make sure the Standard English isn’t the anchor that drags down your overall HSC mark.

Looking for some extra help with HSC English?

We have an incredible team of HSC English tutors and mentors who are new HSC syllabus experts and can provide online classes!
We can help you master your analysis of HSC English texts and ace your upcoming HSC assessments with personalised lessons conducted one-on-one in your home or at our state of the art campus in Hornsby!

We’ve supported over 5,000 students over the last 10 years, and on average our students score mark improvements of over 19%!

To find out more and get started with an inspirational HSC English tutor and mentor, get in touch today or give us a ring on 1300 267 888!