1. READ the texts before you step into the classroom.
If I am to give you even one tip that will drastically improve your chances of doing well in English, this is the one. Every time you read or watch your English texts, you unlock a deeper level of insight. I like to call it the THREE step approach to reading “between the lines”
First reading – just enjoy the piece.
Second reading – Start to highlight key quotes and themes based off what the teacher is telling you and what you know
Read just before the exam or SAC so you have powerful textual knowledge to pull yourself ahead.
2. Tackle complex “worldly” ideas
English teachers have been studying novels and films in much of their professional lives. They have an appreciation for the connection between these texts and the real world and deeply hope their students will too.
Hence, how better to impress your marker, than to show that you too have an understanding of the deeper meaning behind texts. Whether you call it an homage to movements of the current day or a beautiful illustration of the human capacity for hope, ensure that you are building in deeper views on human nature to really make your essay STAND OUT.
3. Write. Feedback. Repeat
There’s two ways to go about VCE English. The first relies on a sense of laziness that puts off writing because “I’ll do it when I’m in a better frame of mind” whereas the second is the harder but ultimately more fruitful ability to churn out essays in quantity without there necessarily being quality.
Why? Well, every time you write an essay and get it marked, you find something wrong. This is true whether you score 5-10 or 10-10; as a subjective subject, English can always find something to show your lack of perfection in writing.
This is why I always tried to and I encourage you to write as many essays as you can towards the beginning of the unit, to see where your weaknesses lie through targeted teacher feedback. The magnitude will also allow you to create your own unique analysis that you may find handy in the time-pressured SAC’s and exams to rely on.