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heids

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[Guide] Surviving HSC English, Unshattered
« on: July 08, 2015, 11:41:16 am »
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Hey guys!  I'm Heidi, a 2014 VCE'er.  A few months ago, when I was pretty new to this forum, I made this post in the VCE English forum, and since it's pretty generically about English (in fact, it applies to any subject you're struggling with), I thought I'd modify it and share it here too :)  Please feel free to ask in here for support or advice if you struggle (don't forget to register for an account!).  That's what I'm here for, and as someone who struggled immeasurably with English (simply couldn't have believed, last year, that I'd be where I am now, tutoring and loving the subject!), I totally get where you're coming from.





Frankly, Year 12 English made a mess of me.  Nothing has ever terrified me so much, or made me hate myself so much.  So, if you're struggling with English (or any other subject, as this can be applied to whatever subject you personally utterly dread), I'm writing just to say that other people are struggling just the same.  But other people have also conquered; you can too.

Firstly, English doesn't define your ATAR.
Secondly, even if it did, your ATAR doesn't define you.


Face your struggles openly; don't wallow in self-pity and fear.
If you struggle with English, it's okay to spend some time in melodramatics, hysterics and despair, to scream to the heavens – 'Life is just not working!  I am worthless!  What will become of me???'  But then you just have to stare English in the face, say, 'I'm not confident, in fact I'm a total mess, but that is about to change.'  If you keep screaming, you'll be overwhelmed with your issues.  Running away from the issue (occasionally racking up courage to write, and spending the rest of the time feeling guilty you're not studying) is stressful, hurtful and everything bad.

So stop focusing on misery and hopelessness, openly face your problems, pinpoint your issues, and come up with workable solutions.

Brainstorm, on paper, a list of your specific problems, no matter how long or short.  This doesn’t mean My writing just sounds stupid and I have no ideas! but very specific, broken down as small as you can.  It can be hard, but spending a few hours chewing on this will in itself help you fix your problems.  e.g.

I can’t find the right words to express myself – it often sounds clunky, repetitive or unsophisticated.  [Ideally, be even more specific:] I keep repeating the phrase 'Shakespeare states'.

OR: I don't have enough quotes about love and identity from the novel.


Then, under each point, brainstorm ways you can fix this problem in small, broken-down steps (get help from a teacher, tutor, or ask on here!). e.g. to improve vocab, you could write:

Compile a word/phrase bank with variations of words/phrases you commonly use:
 - go through your past essays and highlight words/phrases that are unsophisticated, vague, or used too much
 - Thesaurus them
 - collect other people's essays and steal great words/phrases
 - create a document with all your words under headings
 - practice writing these words in single sentences
 - write essays with the wordbank open, refer to it as you go and try to put in new words
 - post sticky notes with phrases/vocab on your walls, locker or toilet door


Then just carry out your solutions.  It's no longer overwhelming, 'I'm hopeless and can't do anything' - you have specific things you can do that will clearly improve your marks.  Your constant aim should be to search out your little weaknesses.  Avoid the 'I'm getting 7/10, I need to improve to 10/10' mindset - you want to find all the little specific tangible things you can fix up!

If you are failing, DON’T GIVE UP! Believe in yourself, WORK, and you can always get there. Until that pens-down moment in the exam and even another minute after that if you play it right ;) it is never too late.

Listen to this!
If you're shit at writing - get better at it. Fail at it. Fail and keep failing until a time in which you are successful. EVERYONE starts off somewhere. No matter where you are right now, if you work hard... well, what you achieve is up to you.  Please, stop discouraging yourselves and thinking about how low you could potentially score (or how high you could potentially score) and just work your guts out!  How hard are you willing to work between now and the exam to get the score you want?

And click here for a bunch of success quotes
Quote from: Thomas J. Watson
"A formula for success? It's quite simple, really: Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn't at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, so go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that's where you will find success."

Quote from: Winston Churchill
"Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm."

Quote from: Carl Bard
"Though no one can go back and make a brand-new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand-new ending."

Quote from: Dax Shepard
"Success is just a war of attrition. Sure, there's an element of talent you should probably possess. But if you just stick around long enough, eventually something is going to happen."

Quote from: Celestine Chua
"Whether you are currently weak or strong in something does not define how good you can be in it."

Quote from: Thomas Edison
"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."
Also, Personal Excellence has hundreds of articles on motivation, goal-achievement and more (see especially the headings 'Productivity' and 'Studies'); well worth a look.

Overcoming assessment terror
'An essay a day keeps exam fear away.'  (Kinda).  I found that to walk somewhat confident into a SAC (that's our name for the school's internal assessments through the year, dunno what you HSC'ers call it), I had to just write.  Daily.  It's a real confidence and skill booster, because ultimately in the SAC you're going to have to write an essay.

So, 1-2 weeks before the assessment, compile a list of topics/questions, and set a time to write one essay per day, pretty inflexibly.  Bribe someone to MAKE you finish or meet your time limit.  I finally asked Mum when I hit a point where I simply could not finish an essay; halfway through the first attempt I was in tears begging her to let me off - but thankfully for my score, she didn't :P

Then go through your essays, and check for things to improve on next time.  Not enough quotes?  Search for more and learn them.  Repeating a word too often?  Learn some synonyms.  Storytelling without enough analysis?  Really focus on cutting down any unnecessary textual details.  NEVER write an essay without looking for where you can get better!  You want to make mistakes in your practise, not your real assessment, but there's no point making them in both...

Other miscellaneous suggestions or issues you may face

Click the spoilers :)

After looking at that hideous, hideous assessment score
It hurts.  After all the work you've done... and you thought you did well... and all you can see is that horrible, horrible number staring in your face; your dream scores are lying in tumbled ruins.

It's hard; but you have to look at it in perspective.  One murderous mark can't kill your whole year's score.  Often, they're worth only like 7.5%.  Here are quotes from a couple of people who got the highest possible marks in VCE English (a 50 + premier's award).

One SAC score doesn't mean you can't get a 50.  I got a less than desirable first SAC score (not even an A) -  it's all about how you handle yourself from here!  You don't even have to be ranked first or go to a top ranked school; neither of those were true in my case. So try not to worry yourself with rankings and scores: just try to get every mark you can, while you can.  :)

No sense fussing over numerical SAC scores as you can always climb back from them. I lost my voice the day before the Year 12 oral and accidentally dropped my cue cards way too many times. I also screwed up the first Context SAC so hard, I essentially gave up on the possibility of scoring highly for English...

And Eevee's story proves that it's never too late!  In September:
So I need a 30 minimum [i.e. this is the 'average' score in VCE English] to get into my course at Monash. My grades for English is around C+ and so far, my second semester scores are an E+. (yeah I did really badly)  If I do well on the exam, would it still be possible to get a 30?
But after getting her scores:
I got a raw score of 36. Managed to pull an A+ in the exams. (: So don't give up! My D+ in semester 2 got scaled into a B.

Dying on a school assessment is often an important wake-up call that can save your exam score (you want to make mistakes on SACs, not the exam!).  So try to make it a learning experience.  After getting each mark, set a time to reflect.  Write a report: what you did well, your strengths, what study/writing techniques worked, etc., and what you messed up badly and need to improve next time.  Focus on what you can change in future.  If your score was really bad, use this time to let go and put the failed past behind you.  It’s past; you can’t change it – but you CAN change the future.  After the session, you can look forward clearly to the future without the load of the past.  Don't think, 'If only...' - think, 'Next time...'

I go to a low-ranked public school, can't afford tutors and waaahhh I’m just unbelievably disadvantaged :’(
There are countless stories of people, equally disadvantaged, who have pulled off high-99 ATARs.  I could point you to a few (not that I got a 99, but nor was my own school particularly flash, and I couldn't afford any extra resources).

Not to say that others at better schools or with a gazillion resources and tutors in every subject don't have the advantage over you.  But if you start blaming everything on this, and give up without a fight, you're just keeping up that cycle.

But, you have a chance to rise above that.  To achieve despite it.  Ultimately, you decide your own performance.  In the end, I promise it's more satisfying to say that you've done it, against the odds, despite your circumstances, than to say, 'My school, my tutor, my money achieved that score for me'.

For English, YOU can take control of your learning if you milk the available resources for all their worth.  Like, Google for sample high-scoring essays; don’t just skim-read them like most people, deconstruct their whole argument into dot-points so you get how they transition between points, how they build up an argument, how they address a topic.  Take notes on other people's feedback in English Advanced Essay Marking.  Ask questions round ATAR Notes.  Practice getting on top of all the little skills, like how to perfectly embed quotes smoothly into your discussion.  Make sure you have a thorough knowledge of quotes.  Heck, how is going to a bad school going to stop you from knowing your quotes better than anyone?

If you just research and google, there are a gazillion resources floating round; your aim is to get on top of the criteria and KNOW what it takes to score well.  Pretty much, if you can pinpoint your individual weaknesses, and then search for solutions, you're already five steps ahead of most people.

The evil demons, Demotivation, Fear and Procrastination
If you're like I was, English (or whatever your most hated subject is) is always on top of your to-do list... but always falls to the bottom (or off the bottom) when you actually come to doing it ::).

Spend a while figuring out why you want to study English.  Some suggestions:
 - want to get a good score to:
  • get into my dream course
  • prove other people wrong/beat others
  • good ATAR, bragging rights
  • make me feel good and clever (self-esteem boost)
- terrified of getting a bad score (why? – will feel worthless, people will laugh?)
 - enjoy it (yes, this is possible :o)
 - doing hard things is good for me (an excellent reason :P)
 - develop writing skills to help with uni/life in general
 - scared of what my teacher will say if I don’t hand in work/fail

Then go deeper – think about how getting into your dream course will help you achieve your aim in life; or how getting a good score will give you a real sense of achievement or satisfy your family.  When you lack motivation, keep thinking about these desires and how important this is to your life. If you have no reason, then scrap working in Eng and focus on other aspects of your life you do care about!

But, 'Motivation is fleeting, but discipline is forever'.  If you just can’t motivate yourself, then – just make yourself do.  Sometimes, you just have to say, (very very) firmly out loud, 'I will now sit up, get a pen and paper, write down the prompt, and then start writing out ideas.  I will not do anything else (e.g. check my phone, get up) until I have written 3 full paragraphs/read and annotated chapters 1-8.'  Then do it.  You are in control of yourself and what you do!  Often, if you break down the tasks small enough and have a little willpower, it really isn't that hard.  Internet blockers or giving your phone to your parents can reduce the strain on your willpower.

However, this takes a concerted decision - you have to recognise you are procrastinating, and make a decision that NOW, in 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0, I will start.  I challenge you to conquer yourself, to force your brain- and hand- muscles to do what you don't want to do!

But face it openly – don’t hide it at the back of your mind, try to avoid what you don't want to do and yet not clearly admit to yourself that you're scared and avoiding it.  Openly acknowledging struggles and motives lets you conquer rather than flee!  And begin now, not tomorrow - tomorrow never comes.

I just can't write a word!!!!
I too have spent hours staring through tear-blurred eyes and a hard, hard lump in the throat at a totally blank page – blank except for that impenetrable topic sentence at the top of the page.  You've got to ask: 'Why can't I write?  What's the block?'

Feel like your ideas are inadequate, your structure lacks complexity, and your essay is going to be a failure?  Write anyway.  4/10 is better than 0/10 any day, and gives you a chance of getting a higher score next time.  (I know, it's nicer to pretend 'Well if I did write something it would be good' (but I won't put that to the test just now) than to write and unfortunately prove you can't :P.)

Get lost in the middle and start utterly floundering?  Write a rough dot-pointed plan, and make it more and more detailed, until you have a brief dot-point for each full sentence you would write in the final essay.  Then turn each dot-point into a proper, flowing, sophisticated sentence.  This way, you can focus on the flow of ideas, without being distracted by struggles with vocab and expression. 
Gradually wean yourself from this method, until you can write off a brief plan.

Don't know how to start off?  Start anyway, even if it's a 3/10 start, even if you just restate the prompt in different words.  You can fix your start later. (Try writing on every second line of the paper, so you have room for editing/rewriting).

Don't have any ideas?  Tear the topic question apart.  Rewrite it in your own words; define the key words; and ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS - what it means, what it could involve, whether it's true for everyone.  If you simply can't think of anything after a long session of thinking and brainstorming, go to your teacher for help, and consider rereading the texts and just practising brainstorming rather than writing essays.

For the perfectionist
You cannot stay a perfectionist and still do well in English.  Your writing will NEVER be perfect.

This was me: I just couldn’t write an essay that sounded stupid, even if I was the only one reading it.  It hurt my pride too much.  And yet, it's absolutely stupid – because the ONLY way to improve is to write something substandard at first.  You only look a fool at the end if you don’t.  If you struggle, you just have to write anyway.  Give yourself a blunt 5-minute pre-essay pep talk.  Then, just start writing.  Tell yourself that even earning 2/10 marks is better than 0/10.  You can cross out and rewrite your rubbish later!  At first, write essays for you only to read – it's easier as you don't worry about perfecting them for others.  Honestly and openly explain your struggles/perfectionism/pride to your teacher; they'll understand and only ask for work when you're ready to give it.

Struggling with time limits?
Identify what's slowing you down.  Is it:
• sitting there staring at the page
• not having a clue where to go next
• perfectionism
• spending ages trying to come up with better vocab/expression
• trying to remember evidence or quotes
• going into way too much depth/tangents in some paras, so you don't have time to cover your other points
• slow handwriting?

Then plan ways to remedy these specific issues, e.g. write a very detailed plan so you don't ever get utterly lost; write even when it sounds clunky and come back later; write taller and change your pen-grip.  Remember, you don't have to finish an essay (unless you want 10/10) in a SAC/exam.  If you can write 3-4 good, solid paragraphs, the examiner tends to believe you could have written more that way.  I tricked a lot of teachers this way ;).  Better than a rubbishy finished essay.

If in an essay you get stuck – on a word, spelling, idea, clunky expression – put an asterisk at the edge of the page and move on; you'll (hopefully) get back to it later.  Write only on every second line of the page for more editing/sentence addition space.  I was often totally stuck with no more ideas in the middle (or after the first sentence... ) of a paragraph; I'd just start the next para on a new page.  Heaps of my paragraphs weren't ever finished, but the essays still got 7-9/10.

My story
Note: this isn’t a dazzling success story, where I began horribly, worked my heart out, and abracadabra - 50’d it!  (For that sort of story, see Ned Nerb’s "I'm shit at writing".)  This is the story of someone who just struggled (accidentally hitting the lucky jackpot).

To begin: It didn't start out good.  In years 9-10, I wrote a total of 4 essays.  Year 11, our teacher couldn't care less if you had something to say as long as it sounded 'pretty' (i.e. fluffy nonsense).  So I hit year 12 in an academically poor school, frustrated, confused and without the slightest clue of how to write an essay... balancing precariously on good vocab and expression.

My first text response essay took 3 hours; but it only went downhill from there... before long, I'd just get stuck in the middle.  I would alternately cajole, ridicule, cry, yell at myself, tell myself it didn't matter, bite my fingers hard – but I could not make myself write one more line.  9/10 of my essays finished (or rather, didn't finish) in tears.  I was so used to being able to do everything easily, that I hated and despised myself for not being able to conquer myself (still do, in fact).

SACs felt like black Doom looming above my head.  For the last Context SAC, I believe that if I hadn't finally got someone else to force me to write an essay a day for two weeks, I would have broken down, written nothing and got a big fat 0. I eventually totally gave up after the Sept school trial exam, not writing a single essay between then and the exam.  I can’t convey in words just how utterly terrified English made me... I believed I was hopeless and beyond a chance of doing well.  If this is you, you're not the only one. 

My story proves that no matter where you start, you can achieve; you don't have to be amazing before the year even starts, spend huge amounts of money on tutors, resources or lectures, or go to an elite school, for a good mark.  None were true in my case.  However, don't do it the way I did - sure I worked hard (mostly), but my utter lack of confidence and willingness to fail again and again proved my downfall.  I didn't deserve a decent mark.

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's score
Seriously, it's hard, but (unless you thrive on competition or are unbeatably top of the cohort, in which case it's a brilliant morale booster ;)) utterly ignore how everyone else is going.  Nothing can drag you down so much as seeing others seemingly a hundred miles ahead of you.

Remember, 'good' scores are relative.  Someone wanting a 99 will be disappointed with a 95, while the person desperately needing a 50 will be really hurt when someone aiming for 80 is disappointed by 'only' getting 70.  So try not to worry when others cry at a score you'd be over the moon to get; it's totally irrelevant what anyone else says or expects.  Try to ignore everyone else's dazzling scores.  All that matters (if indeed scores matter at all?) is your own, personal aims, realistic for you.

Quote from: Ernest Hemingway
There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.

Also, many of those blithe 90+ scores - that seem so easy for everyone else to get :'( - hide self-doubt, tears, frustration and despair.  Most people didn't see my struggles - to them, I was breezing through, topping SACs and pulling the cohort's top score.  No score can show the blood (hopefully not :-\), sweat and tears it really represents.  When others seem so confident and easy, in reality, you're not alone; they may be just as lost as you.

And scrap stressing about scores; stress about actually changing them.  Don't spend time predicting the future, worrying about the future, or ATARCalc-ing the future; spend time creating the future.

Get other people's help - please!
If you're really stressed, seek help.  Honestly and openly confess all your stresses to your teacher; they’ll give you feedback, suggestions, support, and time to breathe.  Tell your friends, parents, school counsellors, anyone that loves you; nothing seems so hard when you face it with someone else.  If you think no one loves you, this friendly AN community does!!!  Come to us for a hug <3.  Remember, no one can help you if you haven’t told them you need help.

Finally...
IT WILL ALL END.  Promise.  It's never much consolation when the year seems to stretch interminably before you, but 'lift up your heads for your redemption draws nigh', the day of liberation will come!  Before you know it, you'll be laughing at next year's bunch who have to sweat it out (muahahahaha that's me now :P), and then it'll be 10 years ago and you'll have forgotten what an area of study essay is, or that such a thing as textual integrity exists.  And you won’t care one sesame seed.

Tl;dr: I get it; English can be shattering hard; but YOU CAN DO IT*! YOU ARE NOT ALONE! #believeinyourself
*with hard work
« Last Edit: February 10, 2016, 10:17:57 am by brenden »
VCE (2014): HHD, Bio, English, T&T, Methods

Uni (2021-24): Bachelor of Nursing @ Monash Clayton

Work: PCA in residential aged care

Orb

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Re: Guide to Surviving English, Unshattered
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2015, 05:51:15 pm »
0
Positively love it!

Just a little point where I felt a tad peeved :)

-'steal' their great words/phrases
Steal probably isn't the best word here, maybe something like 'use' would sound a bit more positive, 'steal' makes something perfectly tolerable into something that's a bit more nasty, if you get what i mean :)

Tiny concern in a sea of positivity!! Great job~
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heids

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Re: Guide to Surviving English, Unshattered
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2015, 06:38:03 pm »
+5
Positively love it!

Just a little point where I felt a tad peeved :)

-'steal' their great words/phrases
Steal probably isn't the best word here, maybe something like 'use' would sound a bit more positive, 'steal' makes something perfectly tolerable into something that's a bit more nasty, if you get what i mean :)

Tiny concern in a sea of positivity!! Great job~

Hahahaha, from memory I did that intentionally... English is all about, er, 'borrowing' and 'synthesising' other people's ideas.  Copying one source is plagiarism, and copying from many is 'research', right?  I prefer to look at the system cynically :P hence I still like 'steal' better.

Actually rereading what I wrote and posted a few months ago is painful, like you read a sentence and go 'did I write something that horrible!?!'

P.S. Thanks for the compliment - I was unbelievably stressed because about two hours ago, reality suddenly hit about all the million things I have due ridiculously soon.  Thankfully for my family, the guest view count, +1s, hitting 100 respect (yay), and your compliment have got me into a good mood again.  So thanks.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2015, 07:19:16 pm by bangali_lok »
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Work: PCA in residential aged care

heids

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Re: Guide to Surviving English, Unshattered
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2015, 02:40:56 pm »
+5
ALL THE BEST WITH YOUR EXAMS THIS WEEK HSC'ERS! :)) :)) :))

I super super super want to emphasise, DO NOT give up in these last couple of days.

What can I do between now and the exam?
- Write essay topics.  Think of what themes or ideas they could test you on, then ponder how you could deal with them.
- Plan essays.  Do some 5-minute plans, and some longer plans (e.g. 20 min) to get your thinking juices going.  Write out suggested quotes and evidence you'd use for the topic.
- Simulate reading time.  Get a trial and just do a 'reading time' practise on it.  (Then plan in more depth afterwards).
- Think.  Let ideas churn in your mind; read, think, plan.  Note down anything you find so you don't feel you've lost it.
- Read over old essays and other people's essays.  Note down their strengths and weaknesses.
- Keep memorising and using quotes, evidence, techniques, and nice phrases or sentences.  Reread your notes.

Other tips:

- If you find an area you're not confident in, don't panic.  Relax, breathe deeply and think about how you would deal with it.  Chat with others to help calm you and give ideas.  Chances are, you won't get asked that question anyway, but do your best to think about it.  Avoid tackling questions that you really don't think you can do; focus on building on what you already know to boost your confidence.

- If you're getting overwhelmed with ideas and thoughts, try 'unloading' it by typing it all out in a jumbly mess.  You'll have your ideas on paper so you don't have to stress about keeping them in your head.  Don't try and think of everything at once or cover all bases; focus on dealing with one thing at a time.

- Don't write essays.

- Don't say it's too late and give up.  If there's an issue you know you need to fix, every bit of time you spend on it will help.  It's NOT too late.  Don't get paralysed - keep thinking and writing, your study WILL help.

- Remember that everyone else in the state is feeling like this.  There are going to be heaps of people feeling worse than you, heaps of people who will do worse than you.  You can only do your best.

- Do stuff to take the exam of your mind and try to have fun.  Organise a [strictly English-free] event tomorrow with your friends.  Do a jigsaw puzzle while listening to your favourite audiobook.  Don't feel guilty about not studying; this will actually be better for you!

- Focus on what you CAN do, not what you can't.

- Make stupid faces in the mirror and do a fake-happy-dance.

All the best with your exam!  Go ye forth and conquer.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2015, 02:51:46 pm by bangali_lok »
VCE (2014): HHD, Bio, English, T&T, Methods

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Re: Guide to Surviving English, Unshattered
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2015, 09:09:46 pm »
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ALL THE BEST WITH YOUR EXAMS THIS WEEK HSC'ERS! :)) :)) :))
- Don't write essays.
- Focus on what you CAN do, not what you can't.

- Make stupid faces in the mirror and do a fake-happy-dance.

All the best with your exam!  Go ye forth and conquer.

Thanks as always- one quick question:

Why don't you recommend writing essays at this stage?

Edit: realised this wasn't VCE english, whoops :P

Good luck to you guys with exams coming up!
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Re: Guide to Surviving English, Unshattered
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2015, 09:16:05 pm »
+1
Thanks as always- one quick question:

Why don't you recommend writing essays at this stage?

First just to clarify, this is for NSW who have their exam this Mon/Tue, not you VCE guys who are in a different situation :) (few weeks still to go guys! nearly over!)

Reason: because writing essays is, for most people, stressful; because you're under so much tension the couple of days before the exam, as soon as you get stuck in the process, you'll probably go 'help I don't know what to write here PANIIIIICCCCC!'  So  you'll suddenly feel you know nothing, are hopeless, and completely not ready for the exam... which destroys all your chances of studying effectively, and your confidence.

But if you're simply thinking, jotting random ideas, or churning over essay plans/prompts, it's not anywhere near so scary.  And the most important thing about the last couple of days is building your confidence.
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Re: Guide to Surviving English, Unshattered
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2015, 09:19:36 pm »
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First just to clarify, this is for NSW who have their exam this Mon/Tue, not you VCE guys who are in a different situation :) (few weeks still to go guys! nearly over!)

Reason: because writing essays is, for most people, stressful; because you're under so much tension the couple of days before the exam, as soon as you get stuck in the process, you'll probably go 'help I don't know what to write here PANIIIIICCCCC!'  So  you'll suddenly feel you know nothing, are hopeless, and completely not ready for the exam... which destroys all your chances of studying effectively, and your confidence.

But if you're simply thinking, jotting random ideas, or churning over essay plans/prompts, it's not anywhere near so scary.  And the most important thing about the last couple of days is building your confidence.

ah, thanks, definitely makes sense :D ! yeah well good luck to you NSWers!
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EmileeSmith

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Re: [Guide] Surviving HSC English, Unshattered
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2016, 10:53:06 am »
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very helpful :)

melprocrastinator

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Re: [Guide] Surviving HSC English, Unshattered
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2016, 06:06:52 pm »
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Thankyou for taking the time to write that, it was all so positive and helpful :)

Also, i dont know if im qualified to give advice, but for anyone who feels like CREATIVE WRITTING is out to get them, thus you completley dread this section (this was totally me for 3/4 of the year) please dont give up!

I think its important to remember that even some of the best english students may struggle with creative. Usually its because the best essay writers have a very analytical and structured way of thinking.Creative writting usually requires you to let go of that way of thinking and write something a bit more "free-flowing."

Also, creative writting is HIGHLY subjective (opinion based). What one marker/ teacher loves, another may find mediocre. Most likely because of the idea, or they may unitentioally favour one style of writting more. So dont turn one teacher's opinion into fact. A friend of mine wrote a short story for half yearly's, gave it to her teacher, and her teacher said she would be lucky to get a 9/15 for it. She liked it, and was tired of creative, so she  wrote it in half yearly's anyways. She ended up getting FULL MARKS for the exact same story, just because another teacher had marked it. (they were double marked btw). This is not me saying to ignore your teacher's feedback, instead i suggest you hassle multiple teachers to read your story and those who are good at creative Collect a variety of opinions, if they all say its not looking good, then its your choice on whether you try to fix it or start again.

If you chose to start agin dont be afraid!!! By my standards, my creative flopped in half yearly's. My teacher had loved it, but when i got it back, i saw 10/15. Considering the amount of effort i had put in, i was disheartned. So i tried to ignore it,  didnt touch it until a week before trials because i hated that mark and didnt want to face it. I then decided i was going to start a completley new story. Lots of people told me i was crazy for trying to write a new story so close to the exams, and that i should just stick to my old story. I ignored them and ended up writting my new piece in Trials, it scored a 15/15. I almost cried tears of joy ;D Sometimes starting from scratch is truly worth it.
I found the best way to paln/write a story is to physically brainstom the ideas, characters, plots and any good imagery/metaphors/similies you may want to use. But dont overdo the language techniques either, because then the point of your story is lost.
Good luck!

oh and in Creative writting its really important to show the markers, not tell them. eg. instead of writting Bob was really nervous, try something like "Bob's palms were sweating and the pit in his stomach grew, whilst his feet could not stay still" Do you see what i mean?



jamonwindeyer

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Re: [Guide] Surviving HSC English, Unshattered
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2016, 06:39:03 pm »
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Thankyou for taking the time to write that, it was all so positive and helpful :)

Also, i dont know if im qualified to give advice, but for anyone who feels like CREATIVE WRITTING is out to get them, thus you completley dread this section (this was totally me for 3/4 of the year) please dont give up! ...

Awesome contribution Mel! Thanks heaps!! ;D

elysepopplewell

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Re: [Guide] Surviving HSC English, Unshattered
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2016, 06:58:18 pm »
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If you chose to start again dont be afraid!!!

Exactly right! At this point in the game it's totally ok to start over with a creative. I know it can seem terrifying at this point in time, but the pressure of exams looming might be exactly what you need to produce something better than anything you've done yet. 100% agree with you on this!
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melprocrastinator

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Re: [Guide] Surviving HSC English, Unshattered
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2016, 07:17:25 pm »
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Awesome contribution Mel! Thanks heaps!! ;D

haha thanks jamon, it was oddly fun spreading the little wisdom i have gained

.
Exactly right! At this point in the game it's totally ok to start over with a creative. I know it can seem terrifying at this point in time, but the pressure of exams looming might be exactly what you need to produce something better than anything you've done yet. 100% agree with you on this!


100% its worth the risk, and to me, the 5 extra marks were worth the extra stress