BlogStudyHow Anika Secured a Band 6 in HSC English! 

How Anika Secured a Band 6 in HSC English! 

With the current HSC English syllabus, the subject has become even more of a challenge. Don’t worry though, we’ve sat down and spoken with Anika who’s achieved a Band 6 with the current HSC English syllabus!

Not being able to memorise essays for the subject isn’t as bad as it seems. It also came as a shock to her that she could no longer memorise her essays but she ended up learning to enjoy the process and powered on.

She managed to score a Band 6 in Advanced English, achieving an impressive 94%.

Anika shares her advice and tips with us for HSC English so you too, can feel confident walking into that exam and come out with a Band 6!

Preparation from Week to Week
Before the Exam 
How to Develop an Argument Under Pressure in the Exam
The Timing in the Exam
Receiving Support from Art of Smart
Final Advice from Anika

Preparation from Week to Week

That’s right, Anika was constantly practising and reworking her English paragraphs from week to week.

Unfortunately, you can’t just memorise them as the current English syllabus has changed so it really tests your understanding of the texts. Anika told us she would continually edit her paragraphs until she “drove [herself] crazy”.

She would always start off by preparing her TEE table which is where you have a column for your quotes, then the techniques and analysis. Anika mentioned that she always linked her TEE tables back to context but that was often the basis for her paragraph.

Check out how to create a TEE table here!

Now while this was a longer process, Anika had basically done all the hard work already by the time she came to actually write her paragraph — this TEE table was essentially a deconstructed paragraph.

Once Anika got feedback on her paragraph, she would make those changes within the paragraph but she also had back-up quotes in her TEE table so if something wasn’t working, she could rework one of them into the paragraph instead. The idea was to have as many different examples as she could within her TEE table so she had options. 

Before the Exam 

Anika tried to memorise three to four paragraphs for the exam. But always made sure she had some extra quotes and analysis from her TEE tables in the back of her head in case the question was completely unexpected.

I would essentially deconstruct them [the paragraphs] again to different questions and make them so ultra flexible, that I could adapt them to anything,” Anika told us. That meant Anika had lots of practice with reshaping her paragraphs to fit whatever question came her way. 

Let’s go through the steps Anika took in preparation for her exams:

  1. Memorise a couple paragraphs 
  2. Learn extra quotes, techniques and analysis/context from TEE tables 
  3. Understand everything really well, like full-on understand what you’re writing about 
  4. Four practice exams: which meant in the exam, it was her fifth essay! 
    • First and second exam: open book
    • Third exam: partial open book
    • Fourth exam: closed

But how did Anika memorise everything she had to know for the exam? 

Anika told us that writing was her main way of memorising. Speaking out loud and teaching someone were also two other useful methods to help her memorise everything. 

I would pace my driveway and basically deconstruct the essay and sort of read it, not word for word… but like the idea within each sentence and I would say it enough times to then be able to repeat back to myself and know that that was right,” she said.

How to Develop an Argument Under Pressure in the Exam

There’s no magic trick for this! Anika told us that it was “purely practice”. As she had overlapping themes and/or ideas for her paragraphs, it meant she was able to easily adapt them to the suit the question but learning how to do that of course means you have to practice! 

“If I didn’t write out my whole essay, each time, I would just practice with an introduction, or just write dot points and write the thesis statement, then the topic sentence for each paragraph and that helps me the best to  think on my feet and do it really quickly,” Anika explained.

The Timing in the Exam

Anika never had a problem with timing in her exams because she had done her practice exams under timed conditions and also gave herself less time. She tried to aim to finish with five minutes leftover, which is the 10% rule.

Anika also mentioned how if she knew her Module B essay was going to be a little bit longer, she would cut a little bit of time out from one of the other essays because you have three sections! So you can afford to work out a bit of a strategy. 

Receiving Support from Art of Smart

Anika was only allowed to hand in one essay per term and as someone who relied on getting feedback on her work to improve, she knew getting that extra support from Art of Smart would make the difference. 

Just having that constant feedback, I was able to send it to the tutor as much as I wanted and that was awesome for me. Just having one on one attention to be able to bounce ideas off each other,” Anika said. 

Final Advice from Anika

“I know you can avoid this as much as you want but you just have to practice and try and do it in exam conditions as much as you can,” Anika told us. 

She said that it’s really important to “know your ideas” and have “backup options” so that you can feel confident walking into the exam no matter what question comes your way. 

And most importantly: practise with really hard questions! 

“The fact that I had practised with really hard ones made me more confident going in, like what can be worse than this?” Anika explained. 

And that’s it 

Practise, practise, practise! You too can get a Band 6 in the current English syllabus following these tips and preparing well before the exam comes around.

Doing a HSC Module in Creative Writing? Here’s the ultimate guide to achieving a Band 6!

Looking for some extra help to ace HSC English?

We pride ourselves on our inspirational HSC 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 one of our state of the art campuses in Hornsby or the Hills!

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 TikTok!

Yasmin Hasan is a current first year psychology student at UNSW. She loves making art, playing piano or reading in her spare time. She graduated from high school in 2021 so her memories of her own high school experience are still quite fresh. She would love to use her own experiences to help other students build their confidence and improve in their academics!

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