With your HSC English Exam right around the corner, it’s important you have a solid HSC English study plan.
That’s exactly why we’ve come up with a 7 day HSC English study plan for Standard and Advanced English to help you ace your exam!
We’ll walk you through each module, complete with study techniques so that you can get the best marks you can possibly score!
So, let us how to help you best prepare with our 7 day HSC English study plan!
Day 1: Know Thy Enemy
Familiarise Yourself With the HSC English Paper
The worst thing you could do is walk into the exam room with no idea what the paper looks like or what structure it has!
Paper 1 is comprised of 2 sections and is sat by both Standard and Advanced English students. Section 1 is an unseen texts sections and Section 2 is an essay response (based on your Common Module text).
Paper 2 is comprised of 3 sections, where you write an essay for your Module A and Module B text and possible an imaginative, discursive or persuasive piece for your Module C text.
Have a look at past papers to familiarise yourself with the format!
Or, you can check out the sample papers below!
|Paper 1 - Texts and Human Experiences||Paper 2 - Modules|
|HSC English Studies||Sample Paper 1||N/A|
|HSC English Standard||Sample Paper 1 - Standard||Sample Paper 2 - Standard|
|HSC English Advanced||Sample Paper 1 - Advanced||Sample Paper 2 - Advanced|
Organise Your Notes
Spend about 15 minutes organising all the notes you have on Texts and Human Experiences and Modules A, B and C, including any quotes, essay materials, extra resources etc.
If you’re not sure how to write notes for HSC English, make sure you check out this guide here!
Prioritise Your Notes
Go through your notes and ask yourself the following questions:
- Are these notes to do with the key themes of one of my modules?
- Can I use these notes in an essay?
If you answered no to either of them, put them in an ‘Irrelevant’ pile. The rest of them, you can keep.
Identify Your Weaknesses
Firstly, get your trial HSC paper out for English, and go through and write down your marks and feedback from your teacher for each section – to improve your marks you’re going to need to change what went wrong in your Trials.
If you’re using this study plan to study for Trials, take out some past essays you’ve written for English assessments and note down the feedback and what needs to be improved.
Secondly, have a read of your English subject’s Sample Paper or a mock paper.
Mark down any questions you might struggle with and look up key HSC Verbs that you may not fully understand so when you see any question, you know what it’s asking you to do!
After going through your Trial paper of past English assessments and writing down feedback, key verbs, and difficult questions, you should now have a focus area for each section of the paper you need to work on over the next week!
Day 2: Common Module – Texts and Human Experiences
Determine Your Text’s Key Human Experiences
On the second day of your HSC English study plan, you want to choose your three top themes shared by both your prescribed text and your related text/ that relate to human experience.
Construct a TEE Table
Now it’a time to construct a TEE table for each text that you have.
A TEE Table is a table which explores the Technique/Example/Effect of a snippet of your text.
For example, a TEE table which structures a paragraph on the novel 1984 could look like this:
Memorise Your Arguments
There are two popular approaches to memorisation in preparation for the HSC:
|Method 1||Method 2|
|Memorising a pre-written essay |
This method is a hotly debated one, but one that has been used and abused by HSC students for a long time. This method revolves around creating a polished, high-quality essay and memorising it word-for-word before entering the exam room. All you have to do is then adapt your pre-written essay to the question by changing a few things around and inserting the thesis. While this might allow the preparation of an essay that’s easy to rattle off, it will result in a formulaic essay that’s totally irrelevant to the question!
|Preparing quotes, themes, and ideas
This method revolves around memorising quotes, themes, and ideas in your texts in order to adapt to the proposed question in the exam. This method requires students to engage deeply with their texts and understand the thematic ideas in a sophisticated way. While this might give you more freedom than Method 1, it does need to be formalised.
Both have their pros and cons, which you can check out here!
However, you do not have to pick between them.
The best solution is halfway: memorise your arguments! You want to know the relationships your quotes have — but you don’t want to regurgitate a practised essay.
The HSC English exams are designed against pre-writing, and it’s very easy for markers to pick up on.
Simply memorising a model essay won’t work for the new HSC English Syllabus. For more information about why, check out this article!
Complete Practice Essay Questions
Put your work into practice and complete practice questions using your TEE tables for each text.
Do at least two of the practice essays using the materials that you have prepared. Try and complete a practice paper in 35 minutes!
The more you do the better as this will help you lock into your memory your quotes, themes and examples + it will also help you develop exam technique so in the exam on the fly you’ll feel confident responding to any question that get’s thrown at you!
Why only 35 minutes for each practice essay?
If you can write an essay in 35 minutes in practice, in the exam when you have 40 minutes, you’ll feel like you’ve got all the time in the world!
Day 3: Modules A
The instructions for Days Three, Four, and Five are identical: spend each day preparing an essay for each respective Module.
Yes, it seems dull and repetitive, but this method works!
For a quick recap of HSC Advanced English Module A: Textual Conversations, check out our guide here!
Follow the steps outlined in Day Two to aid your preparation for each Module. So go through and create a TEE table for each text, covering your main themes.
Remember: The more familiarity you have with your texts, the better! Memorise themes, quotes, and key ideas regardless of which method you use.
So, grab your texts from Module A and get analysing!
Complete Practice Essay Questions
Complete at least 2 practice questions for your Module A text!
You want to spend at least 5 minutes planning and 30 minutes writing.
Day 4: Module B
Now, it’s time to go through the same process as yesterday all over again, except with Module B!
For a quick recap of Advanced English Module B: Critical Study of Literature, check out this guide here!
Similarly to yesterday, create a TEE table for your text, covering your main themes.
Complete Practice Essay Questions
Complete at least 2 practice questions for your Module B text from below:
Check out our 20 practice questions for Advanced English Module B: Critical Study of Literature here!
Check out our 20 practice questions for Standard English Module B: Close Study of Literature, here!
Spend at least 5 minutes planning and 30 minutes writing.
Day 5: Module C
Rework your Module C Response
Was your Module C response salvageable from your HSC trials or a past assessment?
If so, use these tips to proofread, edit and polish your creative writing piece:
Tip #1: Identify five language techniques you have used in your creative piece. Discuss their effect on the meaning.
Tip #2: On a scale of 0-10 (0 being none at all, 10 being completely obvious), how well would you be able to discuss how the choices you made were informed by the texts you have studied?
Tip #3: Write a paragraph on how the style you have written in shows influence from one of the texts you have studied in the module.
Tip #4: Continue to refine and edit your Module C response from Trials.
But remember, Module C is not solely about creative writing.
Make sure you revise discursive writing here in case you’re asked to write in this form! You can check out how to write a Band 6 discursive writing piece here!
Complete Practice Questions
Complete at least 2 practice questions for Module C.
Make sure you practice writing a reflective statement as well, as some questions can ask for part a) your piece and part b) your reflective statement.
Day 6: Practice Unseen Texts and Module C
Now, it’s time to shake things up with some comprehension. You’ll also want to revisit your Module C response afterwards.
As half of Paper 1 is comprised of unseen texts, it’s important you practice analysing and responding to unseen texts.
You can begin by revise visual and textual techniques. Increasing your technical vocabulary is a sure-fire way to simplify the comprehension section of the English paper.
You can find a master list of HSC English literary techniques here!
You can also find a comprehensive list of HSC English visual techniques here!
For practice, find an advertisement and write down at least two techniques used to give meaning to what the advertiser is trying to sell using visual and textual language.
Now that you’ve had your concentration elsewhere, it’s a great time to look back at your Module C response from yesterday to make further edits.
If you give yourself a mark that obviously needs improving, go over it again and continue to improve it.
Day 7: Fine Tuning & Last Minute Prep
Step 1: Get a new Texts and Humans Experiences question from here and in 35 minutes, write a practice essay (closed book!).
Step 2: Get another Module C practice question from here and practice adapting your Module C response in 30 minutes.
Step 3: Try a practice essay questions from above (closed book) do your best to answer each Module A and B question and write your essay (35 minutes each).
Step 4: Spend 20 minutes revising Unseen Texts – you can take a look at the 2019 HSC English Paper 1 here!
Step 5: Mark your practice past paper exam according to the NESA Marking Rubric.
Step 6: Revise all your materials again.
Step 7: Finally, get some sleep! Make sure you get at least 8 hours sleep or more! All your study will go to waste if you’re not working at 100% the next day in the exam!
And that wraps up our 7 day HSC English study plan! Good luck!
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Jack Theodoulou studies a double degree of Education/Arts majoring in English at the University of Sydney. Previously an instructor of classical guitar, Jack began coaching at Art of Smart in 2015. In his spare time, Jack often finds himself entangled in a love-hate relationship with fiction-writing and a (possibly) unhealthy obsession with video games.
Cameron Croese completed his HSC in 2013, earning first place in his cohort in Advanced English, Extension English 1, and Extension English 2. Privately tutoring throughout his university career as an English and Education student, he enjoys helping his students at Art of Smart understand, write well on, and enjoy their texts, as well as assisting with other aspects of school life. He is a contributing editor to his student magazine, in which he has had reviews, feature articles, and short stories published.