Confused as to how to study for English in Years 7 and 8? We’ve prepared an article to help you get started!

English can be a challenging subject, especially if you’re unsure how to prepare for those dreaded English assessments. 

That’s why we’ve created a 3-step plan to studying for English in Years 7 and 8 so you can ace your English study!

We’ll firstly walk you through key English concepts, then onto assessment expectations and lastly communicating with your teacher so you can study effectively for Years 7 and 8 English!

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

Step #1: Understand Key Concepts
Step #2: Know What’s Expected
Step #3 Communicate With Your Teacher

Step #1: Understand Key English Concepts

To kick us off, here are a few key concepts that you need to familiarise yourself with for Stage 4 (year 7 and 8) English:

  • Vocabulary and Grammar
  • Literary techniques
  • Context
  • Textual form

Vocabulary and Grammar

Vocabulary and grammar are the skills you have learnt from primary school. However, to prepare for English effectively in high school, expanding your knowledge of words and sentence structure is essential!

An important way to do improve your vocabulary and grammar is to read widely and regularly. This means reading novels from different genres and contexts.

To get started on reading, see our Year 7 and 8 English  reading list here!

Literary Techniques

Literary techniques and devices are how composers (the creator of the text) convey meaning in their texts. You may already be familiar with techniques such as a simile and metaphor and there are many more for you to learn.

Why is this important?

English requires you to look at a text and pick out how the composer communicates meaning. This is called textual analysis.

To be able to analyse texts and study for English effectively, knowledge of a wide range of techniques and how they are used is essential!

Studying for English also means practice. Reading widely and regularly is important and so is putting your skills to use by analysing texts. 

We’ve got a literary techniques cheat sheet that you can check out right here!

Why not give identifying literary techniques a go now?

Here is a quote from ‘Oh, the Places You’ll Go!’ by Dr Seuss, see if you can identify the techniques he uses to communicate meaning!

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

Context

Context is the circumstances that surround a particular text and its composer. For now, you only need a basic understanding of context but in senior English, context is an important concept.

In general, context is the situation during the time the text was produced.

It can include:
  • Historical events
  • Culture
  • The place the text was produced in
  • The personal situation of the composer

Why is this important?

Context is important in English because it tells us why any text was created. It informs us of the composer’s purpose, motivation and inspiration behind their text.

Textual Form

Textual form refers to the specific medium the text is created in. For example, ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ by J. K Rowling is a third-person novel and ‘Oh, the Places You’ll Go!’ by Dr Seuss is a prose poem

Some more key forms to familiarise yourself with:
  • Essay
    • Writing that explores an idea or discusses a topic
  • Feature article
    • A discussion piece on an event or person; usually found in magazines or newspapers
  • Biography/Autobiography
    • An account of an individual’s life
  • Film
  • Photograph
  • Short story

See if you can identify the textual form of your texts at school and check them with your teacher!

Step #2: Know What’s Expected

To prepare for English effectively, it is important to know what is expected of you in terms of assessments and independent learning.

Assessments

Years 7 and 8 English have a range of long-response assessments that test skills and knowledge.

Some common ones are:

    • Creative writing: often in response to a stimulus (i.e. an image or extract)
    • Essay: in response to an essay question on your English texts
    • Persuasive essay: in response to a statement that you can agree or disagree with
    • Speech: a formal spoken address, often to your teachers or class on a given topic

Independent Learning

High school English requires independent learning, and you are usually expected to read (and often analyse) texts in your own time. Although it can be challenging, it’s good practice to set aside time at home for English work. 

How you spend this time looks different for everyone depending on where you’re at with Years 7 and 8 English.

Some suggestions could be:
  • Reading and/or re-reading your given English texts
  • Analysing sections of your text
  • Picking out important quotes or key points in your text
  • Reading widely outside of your English texts (your English teacher or Librarian will have great suggestions!)
  • Revise class work
  • Revise key concepts (i.e. literary techniques, textual form)

The NESA Stage 4 outcomes can be found here.

Step #3: Communicate With Your Teacher

Lastly, but certainly not the least, talk to your teacher!

Ask questions in class, make an effort to participate in class activities and complete the work your teacher assigns you. Your teacher will often encourage active discussion in class, and participation in these will help improve your critical thinking and public speaking skills!

When assignments or assessments are given, ask for a marking guideline if you aren’t given one to know what the teacher expects of you. 

Ask for specific feedback from your teacher when you receive an assessment or homework assignment back. This can help you see what areas of English you need to work on, and what areas that you’re excelling in!

If you’re not sure how or what to ask your teacher when you’re looking for feedback, check out our article on it here!

English can be a difficult subject to know how to study for, but there are plenty of people in the same boat as you.

We hope that this article can help you get a start on studying for Years 7 and 8 English!

Looking for some extra help with English?

We pride ourselves on our inspirational English coaches and mentors!

We offer tutoring and mentoring for Years K-12 in a variety of subjects, with personalised lessons conducted one-on-one in your home or at our state of the art campus in Hornsby!

To find out more and get started with an inspirational tutor and mentor get in touch today! 

Give us a ring on 1300 267 888, email us at [email protected] or check us out on Facebook!


Millicent Tai hopes to one day become a full-time teacher and is currently studying a Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Science at UNSW. She enjoys tutoring students at Art of Smart in English and Maths and has loved reading and writing for as long as she can remember. In her spare time, you can find her avidly reading Christian biographies or fishing in Animal Crossing.