Did you choose to undertake the challenge of choosing HSC Drama for Years 11 and 12 and are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of theory and prac there is to do?
Are you looking for some useful tips to help you ace HSC drama?
Well, you have most certainly come to the right place — we’ve got 5 top tips to ace HSC Drama from a recent graduate who received a whopping 97 in the subject.
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get into it!
Tip 1: Ensure to give equal importance to both practical and theory components
It is often the case that students undertaking a subject involving a major work like Drama neglect the theory component, which is rather dangerous as your theory does make up quite a big chunk of your mark!
Ruby has emphasised upon this, revealing how important it is to remember your theory — by researching, unpacking questions and writing practice responses from early on.
“My teacher mentioned that students usually go really well on the performance side of things but it’s often the essay part that gets them,” Ruby shared.
Tip 2: Start early and send in drafts
Leading on from this point of giving equal importance to the theory component of Drama as you do the performance, it is of utmost importance that you start early with your preparation and send in drafts to your teacher!
Like Ruby mentioned, creating a feedback loop where you write practice responses, look at responses online that have received high marks, editing and re-editing your own responses and sending your essay to your teacher for feedback is a great habit to get into early on as this will slowly build your skill in writing drama essays, but also lessen the stress come exam time.
“Submitting drafts, getting feedback from my teacher, looking at past responses that did really well… was really important… I think I started about Term 2 (writing practice responses and essays),” Ruby reflected.
Extra Work Makes a Difference
Other than the work that your teacher makes compulsory, try to do some extra work! We all know those tasks that our teachers give us saying they’re ‘not compulsory’ but actually have a great relevance to our exams.
You should aim to complete these tasks and find practice exams and questions online so that by the time HSC hits, you are super skilled in all things writing!
“My teachers would often have homework or set questions that were kind of like you don’t have to, but you can, so I definitely say take up those opportunities (to improve your essay skills),” Ruby explained.
In addition to these extra tasks that you might complete, it is also super important that you complete past papers under timed conditions. This helps you get used to the timing of an exam, and can simulate exam stress to a certain extent, helping you feel a lot calmer come exam, trial and HSC times.
Understand the Difference Between English and Drama Essays
The final important thing to note about your theory component is to make the differentiation between English and Drama essays. Students will often fail to make this explicit differentiation and thus, will not hit the requirement for Drama essays.
Making this differentiation early on will definitely help you in this area!
In addition to this, it is a good idea to understand how to thoroughly deconstruct questions. This will come with practice, but also giving yourself the time and exposure to a plethora of questions and question types will help you develop the skills needed for you to understand what a question may be asking of you in a stressful exam situation and help you answer the prompt in a manner that will get you that Band 6!
“Find those past papers online, read the question and know what it’s asking you.”
“Knowing that it (drama essays) was quite different from English essays was quite important because it’s really about bringing the practical experience onto the page,” shared Ruby.
Tip 3: Take down notes of your practical experience
Since your Drama essays tend to incorporate your practical experience, it is important that you keep note of this practical experience as you go through the year so that you are not trying to think back onto each experience later on in the year. Having this in a log book or a Google document will be of great help!
“Really looking at your performances and taking down notes of your practical experience is really helpful so that when it comes to writing it (the essay), you know, rather than trying to remember what you did, you can look back and see how you performed,” Ruby shared.
Tip 4: Start early and brainstorm ideas for your performance
Your ideas for your practical performance are bound to change during the year — take Ruby’s for example, she started off planning to transform a poem, and ended up doing a monologue from the point of view of a bogan mother of two kids with a comedic twist!
To give this type of room for growth and alterations, it is important that you start researching different plays, performances and parts early on so that you are super prepared for your practical task!
“Definitely a lot of brainstorming at the start of Year 12 and kind of looking at different monologues, ideas and characters to find what I could be interested in,” Ruby revealed.
Tip 5: Practise, practise, practise!
Like all HSC subjects, Drama requires you to put in the quality time and effort so that each component is dealt with equally and diligently! Ensure that you give yourself a significant amount of time to practise both your performance and your theory component so that when it nears the end of the year, you are prepared for just about anything the HSC can throw at you!
Ruby said, “It’s having done all that practice at home — whether it be in front of a mirror, family or recording yourself which allows you to get critical and see where you can improve things.”
Looking for some extra help with HSC Drama?
We pride ourselves on our inspirational HSC Drama 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!
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!