BlogEnglishThe Ultimate Guide to QCAA English Unit 3: Textual Connections

The Ultimate Guide to QCAA English Unit 3: Textual Connections

Books on a shelf - QCE English Unit 3

Just finished Unit 2 of QCAA English and are about to begin studying Unit 3?

To make studying English a little easier for you, we’ll be breaking down each of the topics that you’ll be diving into and tips for your assessments.

Keen to know what’s ahead? Keep scrolling!

What is Unit 3 in QCAA English all about?
What will you be tested on?
Topic 1 and IA1: Conversations About Concepts in Texts
Topic 2 and IA2: Conversations About Issues in Texts
Skills You Should Keep in Mind for Your EA

What is Unit 3 in QCAA English all about?

Unit 3 of QCAA English in Year 12 is all about studying multiple, different texts that represent the same ideas, despite using two different literary approaches! Typically, you will study a normal literary text, as well as a multimodal text, that will deal with very similar themes and ideas, albeit communicated across different mediums. 

This explanation makes little sense without a practical example, so consider this: the exam is centred around two texts that communicate the same ideas in different ways.

As the first example, let’s take a series of comic books titled ‘Maus’, drawn by the exceptional artist Art Spiegelman. The comics deal with the trauma that his mother and father experienced during World War 2, being both Jews escaping from Poland.

The second example ‘text’ is a great movie starring Elijah Wood, called ‘Everything is Illuminated’. The story revolves around the American grandson of a Ukrainian Jew escapee, who travels to Ukraine in order to find out more about his grandfather and the woman who saved his life.

As you can see, the modes of communicating the same ideas are extremely different. Yet, you will be asked to respond to both types of texts in your analysis!

What will you be tested on?

You’ll have to use your analytical skills to break down a number of vastly different texts. One of your texts will surely be traditional, meaning it will be a novel or a representation on paper, like the early example of the movie.

The other will be multimodal. There is no telling whether it will be a comic book, a documentary, a news report, or a vlog even.

Below you can see the official description of the texts from QCAA:

Unit 3 QCE English Requirements

Be open to the possibility that you will have to analyse a format that you haven’t analysed before. You’ll be required to respond in different ways depending on the IA that you’re doing, which leads us into the next section…

Topic 1 and IA1: Conversations About Concepts in Texts

Magazine Article

Before we begin with breaking down your first assessment, it’s worthwhile to note that schools can choose whether to assign the IA1 or IA2 first. Chances are your school will not be doing the same assessment at the same time as another. 

If you’re stuck doing your real IA1 at the end of Year 11, you better read these 5 tips!

Written Response for a Public Audience

For IA1, you’ll be asked to write a media text (an essay, blog, column or article) responding to the two texts studied. Remember, these texts will be different in the way they express their ideas, but will express the same ideas.

It is an open ended task, meaning you are choosing the ‘question’ or ‘theme’ of your work. 

How can you do well?
  • Make sure you stick to the conventions of your chosen style
  • Have good analysis ready — just because you are not writing an essay, analysis is still central to all the formats 
  • Take advantage of the draft period by giving the draft your best shot

Furthermore, make sure your IA includes the following. These parameters come straight from QCAA:

  • Represents and analyses a concept from two texts.
  • Contains perspectives on said representations (such as the personal, social, historical, cultural or contemporary importance of them), and their connections to one another. The perspective has to be focussed, with an appropriate scope.
  • The audiences are positioned to feel how the writer intends them to feel about the concepts, through textual features.
  • Contributes to ongoing ‘conversations’ about representations in literary texts.

For more tips on how to tackle this IA, check out our guide to creating a written response for a public audience here!

Topic 2 and IA2: Conversations About Issues in Texts

Speech Bubbles

IA2 is a little different from IA1 — be prepared to persuade your audience with your words verbally.

Persuasive Spoken Response

You will have to produce a persuasive speech (albeit with some technological aid like a powerpoint), essentially where you will be asked to change or guide audiences to your specific point of view through persuasion.

In class, you’ll carry out some work on conventions and how to structure this speech, however, a useful tip to get into your head early is: PERSUASION is key. 

The reason for this is that your speech will be based around an issue on the news, according to QCAA, that is contemporary and debatable. The issue, as long as it meets these two criteria, will be of your own choice.

Most students tend to repeat exactly what the stimulus says in their speech. Make this minimal instead, and focus on the persuasion part.

How can you do well?
  • Have a clean and simple structure: Problem > Why should I care? > Practical steps that my peers can carry out to solve it (the least part is the one worth most marks!)
  • Focus on the Persuasion: Not only is this the part with the most marks, it is also the most difficult to achieve. Make sure you suggest realistic actions your classmates can take to tackle or raise awareness around your chosen issue.
  • Try to contain your nerves when you deliver your speech — practise, practise, practise.

Make sure your IA includes the following from QCAA: 

  • Presents a contention or thesis in relation to the chosen issue and develop an argument that reflects a particular perspective and makes use of the ways cultural assumptions, attitudes, values and beliefs underpin perspectives and representations.
  • Generates the argument from critical engagement with media texts about the issue.
  • Employs and synthesises nuanced rhetorical and persuasive strategies to position an audience
    to accept the perspective constructed in the text.
  • Chooses a contentious issue (or a perspective about a contentious issue studied) that has appeared in the media within the previous year. Issues of contemporary social relevance may be drawn from, e.g. the broader topics of gender, power, race, religion, age, class and sustainability.

Check out our guide to completing your Persuasive Spoken Response task here!

Skills You Should Keep in Mind for Your EA

Writing in a notebook

The main objective for this unit is for you to develop your ability to organise ideas cohesively, persuasively and in a succinct but structured manner.

It is all so you can have the writing skills to not just do well in your EA, but also to develop your writing skills for resumes, cover letters, reports, and even creative writing for some, that you will undoubtedly have to deal with in your working and academic life.

Things you should keep in mind for your EA are the persuasive devices you use in these internal tasks. Although some of these will be obsolete, as you are writing an essay, there is still much you can use in terms of rhetorical questions, strategic pauses, pacing and vocabulary that you can bring over into the EA writing process. 

The last set of skills, and perhaps the most important one, is your analytical approach. This is completely transferable to your EA, which will focus specifically on it.

In a sense, the IA1 (Article Writing) becomes more useful than IA2 for this specific set up. Nevertheless, the depth at which you analyse should remain the same, if not increase when faced with the EA. 

On the hunt for other QCAA English resources?

Check out our guides to completing QCAA English assessments below:

Studying Unit 3 of Physics also? Check out our guide for Unit 3: Gravity and Electromagnetism here!

Are you looking for some extra support with QCAA English Unit 3?

We have an incredible team of QLD English tutors and mentors!

About to start Year 12? Take this quiz to find out how ready you really are!

We can help you master the QCAA English syllabus and ace your upcoming English assessments with personalised lessons conducted one-on-one in your home or online!

In need of an English tutor in Brisbane? Find out more info on our holistic English tutoring in Brisbane here!

We’ve supported over 8,000 students over the last 11 years, and on average our students score mark improvements of over 20%!

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

Vittorio Manessi is an Art of Smart tutor based in Queensland studying environmental science. He was one of the first Year 12 students to study under the new ATAR system in Queensland. He enjoys Maths, Science, English and Ancient History and is keen to share his knowledge of the QCE by making awesome resources.

45,861 students have a head start...

Get exclusive study content & advice from our team of experts delivered weekly to your inbox!

AOS Website Asset 2

Looking for English Support?

Discover how we can help you!

AOS Website Asset 1