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Surviving English, Unshattered
« on: March 31, 2015, 10:47:05 am »
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

My inbox is always open for ANYONE struggling, depressed or lost in English.

Apologies, 4000 words later
Rereading this now, please forgive the unintentional:
- melodrama
- cloying motivational tone
- ridiculous length
 - arrogance/humble-brag (I staunchly believe my 43 was a VCAA mistake of typing the digits '3' and '4' the wrong way round - I truly expected and deserved low-to-mid 30s mark)
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. (Then you can make it even more specific - I can’t find appropriate tone words for language analysis; I keep repeating the phrase ‘Dickens presents the idea that...’)

In Context, I often can’t think of relevant world/society examples.  When I do find some, they feel disjointed and don't relate well to the discussion, and feel like lists of facts rather than developing complex conceptual ideas about the prompt.

Then, under each point, brainstorm ways you can fix this problem in small, broken-down steps (get help from a teacher, tutor, or AN). 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!

Start small
Don't expect yourself to be able to write a whole essay immediately!  Start with something easy that you can do.  Try a paragraph or two on a short letter-to-the-editor for language analysis.  Write a few plans rather than full essays.  Do extended response paragraphs on characters or themes.  Write a single intro or body paragraph.  Start writing small, and then gradually build 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.

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."

Quote from: Oprah Winfrey
“The big secret in life is that there is no big secret.  Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.
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 SAC/exam terror
'An essay a day keeps exam fear away.' (Kinda).  I found that to walk somewhat confident into a SAC, I just had to write.  Daily.  It's a really 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 long list of topics/questions, and set a time to write one essay per day, pretty inflexibly.  I numbered them and used a random number generator to pick prompts.  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... and without focusing on improvement, you waste your time.

Other miscellaneous suggestions or issues you may face

Click the spoilers :)

After looking at that hideous, hideous SAC 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 50'ers!
One SAC score doesn't mean you can't get a 50. I got a 50 and a premiers award in 2013 with 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... (ha ha Lauren, very funny)

And see Eevee's story - it's never too late:
So I need a 30 minimum to get into my course at Monash. My grades for English is around C+ and so far, Unit 4 is an E+. (yeah I did really badly)  If I do well on the exam, would it still be possible to get a 30?
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, thoroughly go through English Resources and Sample High Scoring Responses, and if you find sample high-scoring essays, don't just skim read them, deconstruct their whole argument into dot-points so you get how they transition between points, how they build up an argument, who they structure, how they address a topic, how they move from story-telling to analysis.  Take notes on other people's feedback in English Work Submission and 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 ::).  Try reading Re: Time Management and Motivation!

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 50 will be disappointed with a 48, while the person desperately needing a 25 will be really hurt when someone aiming for 36 is disappointed by 'only' getting 32.  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.

Also, many of those blithe 40+ 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.

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 a language analysis is or that there was ever such a thing as an imaginative landscape (which, to be honest, I don't believe there is).  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: September 14, 2015, 12:40:25 pm by bangali_lok »
VCE (2014): HHD, Bio, English, T&T, Methods

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

Work: PCA in residential aged care


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Re: Surviving English, Unshattered
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2015, 11:56:41 am »
Woah. #motivation2k15

literally lauren

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Re: Surviving English, Unshattered
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2015, 12:18:47 pm »
So much love for this
you even colour coded the subheadings so they're all rainbow <3

added this to the resource section :)


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Re: Surviving English, Unshattered
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2015, 04:42:35 pm »
For me, today felt like a good day to bump this ancient thread.  A year ago today, I officially gave up on English.

It was our school trial exam, and I… well, I literally gave up in the middle and just lay my head on my desk for ten minutes out of sheer boredom and a sense that I was a failure.  (To be fair, I was a trifle jetlagged as I’d just arrived from India the night before).  My greatest desire was for that three hours and fifteen minutes to be over.

That afternoon, I decided it was over.  I couldn’t write.  I decided I didn’t care about English anymore – decided I wouldn’t think about it if I could help it, wouldn’t write another essay.  And apart from 2-3 spontaneous panic attacks which pricked me into writing a couple of paragraphs, and that black day of terror before the exam, I kept this up.  I studied my texts, I read LA articles and analysed in my head, but I did not write one essay, and I did not care about my final score.  Much.

Why do I tell you this?

I don’t want you to do the same thing.

OK, it worked for me, this fluke approach.  (I staunchly believe that the VCAA English Department is bad with numbers and swapped my 3 and 4 by mistake).  But that doesn’t mean it’ll work for you; and even with me, my choices limited the score I could achieve.

The main thing I want to say is: never, never, never give up.  It’s not too late.

I’ll give an example: external examples in Context.  At this point in the year, I had barely any knowledge of external examples.  The wise move would be, sit and research them.  But no, not Heidi.  What does she say?  ‘It’s too late now.  You don’t have time to find the perfect example.  Even if you work you’re still not going to be able to do as well as anyone else.  So it’s not worth trying.’

RUBBISH.  RUBBISH.  RUBBISH.  If this last-year Heidi had dedicated time on a couple of days to do 4 hours of really intensive, targeted research – not research for ‘the perfect’ example, but research for anything decent – she would have had something half-decent to write, rather than nothing and utter panic.

So what do I want you to do over the holidays?

1.  Write a list of things you really need to improve on in English in the exam.
2.  Figure out specific, concrete steps you can take to improve on these things.
3.  Do them.

Don’t panic or get overwhelmed or give up.  Any work that you put in now WILL impact your results.  It’s not useless, it’s not too late, it’s not beyond you.  Start small, don't expect yourself to pull off a full 3-hour trial each day; do a paragraph, a letter-to-the-editor, a chapter of the book, a single external example.

Do it, believe in yourself, and we believe in you!

OK, I don't know what the point of this post was, but it just tumbled and flowed out of my nostalgia unedited. :P

P.S. In reality, this is actually my favourite quote: ‘If at first you don’t succeed…

… conceal all evidence that you ever tried.'
« Last Edit: September 16, 2015, 04:46:21 pm by bangali_lok »
VCE (2014): HHD, Bio, English, T&T, Methods

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Re: Surviving English, Unshattered
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2015, 06:43:07 pm »
I so needed to read this post so thank you.   English just hurts and you've reminded me why I need to push through because I could so easily just give up and convince myself I'm better to focus on my other subjects.


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Re: Surviving English, Unshattered
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2015, 11:28:16 am »
This day last year was perhaps the most terrifying day of my life (so far :P).  I'd given up and pretended English didn't exist; the day before I was finally forced to stare it in the face and realise it did exist.  I was convinced the max I could get was a 34-36... assuming I didn't break down and panic as I had done in the year 11 exam the year before... and spent the day pacing round muttering English incantations under my breath and imbibing licquorice allsorts at an incredible rate in the hope that they'd have magical properties.

But before I knew it, the exam was over, I scored an unbelievably unexpected 43, and I'm still hanging round (and worse, enjoying!) the English arena a year later.

I don't see any reason why it can't be the same for you too, especially if you don't go into full-on panic mode like I did!

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.
- Randomly brainstorm.  On plans, themes, ideas or characters, write everything that comes into your head; don't edit or restrict it, just let it flow so that you don't get that crippling terror of 'I'm totally lost and clueless!'  Keep asking questions, questions, questions about the prompt.
- 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.
- Compile a list of specific things you want to remember to do/not do for each section of the exam - list out all your weaknesses and the things you have specially remember as you write. (Useful).

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.  Write down what you can, even if it feels super-lame; that'll often lead you somewhere great you hadn't thought of.  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. (Unless you're pretty confident, because they're really stressful and if you get stuck, you could suddenly head into panic mode.)

- 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.  Bake a spinach pudding with choc chips and red cordial for tomorrow's rowdy post-exam celebration :).  Don't feel guilty about not studying; this will actually be better for you!  RELAX.

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

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

Plus... you just are not going to fail tomorrow, so don't give up now.

Unfortunately I won't be round the forum till after your exam, so I'll say it now: All the best with your exam tomorrow!  Go ye forth and conquer.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2015, 11:43:05 am by bangali_lok »
VCE (2014): HHD, Bio, English, T&T, Methods

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

Work: PCA in residential aged care


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Re: Surviving English, Unshattered
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2016, 05:38:18 pm »
I'm not sure if I agree with more than about 25% of what I wrote a year and a half ago haha, but y'know, thought I'd bump it anyway now that the English exam is like, seven weeks away. (hype etc etc ;))

If you're like most people, you're probably panicking a bit (or lot :P).  At this time of the year, I was completely freaking out because I couldn't even seem to an introduction at all, let alone one whole essay, let alone one essay in an hour, let alone three essays in three hours!  I felt like I was too far behind to ever catch up, like everyone was so much better than me, like I was going to fail, like I might as well just throw in the spade and be done with it.

Y'know, I did okay.  And y'know, you're going to do okay too.

If you feel like it's way too late to start now and you're already guaranteed to fail and you're going to collapse into a non-functioning puddle of blood, sweat and tears on the ground mid-exam - it's not, and you're not, and you won't.  One step at a time, you will get there, you will make it through, and you will conquer.

You have seven whole weeks to take great, solid action.  Pick just one thing that you know you're not up to scratch on, and practice that today!

Good luck*. :D

*coz you'll surely need it ;)
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Re: Surviving English, Unshattered
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2016, 06:05:04 pm »
I'm not sure how it's even possible to write 3 essays in 3 hours? Our school is making our Year 11 end of year English exam as the same format for Year 12, but we've been giving 2-3 hours for our outcomes. I use all the time and my essays still come out like shit, lmao.

So, does your speed of writing essays just improve naturally by writing more?