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May 19, 2024, 09:14:53 pm

Author Topic: Feeling despondent about my English grades, would like some advice/perspective?  (Read 2227 times)  Share 

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Essentially, the title. English is a subject that I’ve enjoyed and done well in all my life, until Unit 3/4. As a Lit 1/2 student, I was told to do pick it up without doing the 1/2, as it would be “easy for me.” Naively, I believed that it would be, and then I received a complete shock when I was handed back my SAC grades - 66% for my first one, 57.5% for the second. I did “above average” for both, as my school is quite harsh with its marking, but receiving the lowest grades I’ve ever had in English for my Unit 3 I really stunned me.

 After receiving my results, I went to my teacher and received detailed feedback for both SACs that I took notes on and plan to implement. So I now know what to improve on, and this certainly isn’t a doom post, but I just feel so angry and frustrated with myself for making mistakes that I quite literally detailed in my (language analysis SAC) plan to avoid, and then proceeded to make in the actual essay itself - the pressure of writing under time made my mind a bit loopy and I forgot to be specific about audience, even though I wrote 6 different types of audiences in my plan and said I would analyse the “multifaceted audience” in my topic sentence…my teacher said it was clear I knew what needed to be done but just struggled with the timed conditions, but gahhh I want to go back in time and slap myself for such a silly mistake  :(

 Thus far, I’ve done 2 Unit 3 SACs collectively worth 35/100% out of the 50% that SACs contribute to my English study score. So I know that hope isn’t lost yet, and I’m certainly going to put in the effort to do better, but as pitiful as it sounds, I’d like to hear some encouragement and words of advice? Maybe perspective from students who had a bad SAC mark that discouraged them, but then went on to do really well? I’m trying to resist the temptation to ask if a 40+ is still achievable with such dismal SAC marks, but any stories from students who were in similar straits and still did well would make me smile. Thank you for taking the time to read this post :)
« Last Edit: May 08, 2022, 12:37:49 am by CatherineRomanov »


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Hi CatherineRomanov!

I'm so sorry you're struggling with English 3/4 - it's not an easy transition from Lit 1/2 and I think someone should have explained to you, in more detail, the differences between the two subjects.

I would describe what you experienced in your SAC as a brain fart - and it probably doesn't make you feel better but it happens to everyone! The pressure-cooker situation of a SAC makes everybody go a little loopy and do silly things, and the way we help our students practice for that is to desensitise them to the pressure. Practice is key to this - identify what aspect of the task you struggled with (eg you said audience identification), and what environmental triggers (eg silence, ticking clock, unable to get up from chair, etc) made it worse, and practice the task with gradually increasing environmental triggers. For example, you might want to write a body paragraph with loud background music, then again with soft background music, then again in absolute silence (maybe with noise-cancelling headphones).

All is not lost - you can do it! Avoid putting so much pressure on your SACs - they do matter but the more you ramp them up in your head, the worse the stress affects you. Make sure you practice skills to decompress in stressful situations too - learn how to relax your muscles, deep breathing, all that. If the stress gets really overwhelming, your school counsellor might be able to help :)

All the best!
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Thank you so much for typing out such a detailed response, I really appreciate it   :) . The tips you gave about ‘environmental triggers’ were so helpful, and I really appreciate them - the pressure that I put on myself for SACs definitely contributed to me doing worse on them then I’d like to. And I agree, all is not lost! I still have three more SACs to go, and the exam, so fingers crossed.

Bri MT

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Also a reminder that SACs are moderated and a 60%-ish doesn't disqualify you from VCAA later deciding that's an A based on your rank + cohort's exam performance.

Yes a 40+ is still possible.

I echo TSE's advice and recommend doing some timed practice during your study -> making it closer to SAC conditions may help you prepare more and build confidence for the SACs. The fact that you're picking yourself up after this and focusing on how to improve a testament to you.


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Thank you so much for your response, it means a lot coming from someone whose stories have always been really inspiring and who has been so helpful to so many in this community!   :)  I’m definitely going to focusing on just looking forward and improving as best as I can, no time to waste on doing anything else!