Insight writer and English teacher Claire Warr discusses what you should be doing now to start preparing for your VCE English Exam.
The VCE English exam is approximately two months away and, while you may still have assessment tasks to complete for Term 3, it is time to start preparing your examination material. This preparation time is about organising, collating, planning and condensing all your notes and resources to identify areas that require further attention, and to consolidate your understanding of existing knowledge and ideas.
Reading and listening
If we look at the assessment descriptors for Sections A and B of the English exam, the primary objective in each focuses on knowledge and understanding of the text/s. This is important, so it is time to start reading your selected texts again. If you can, locate a clean copy of your text/s so you are not distracted by notes, highlights, scribbles and jottings from your previous readings. A fresh approach is what is required here. It is difficult to contemplate an impartial reading considering you have read these texts many times throughout the year, but it is a valuable learning exercise. By reading a clean copy of the text you might note a particular adjective the author has used to describe a setting, a character’s demeanour, or an image. You might notice the author’s verb choice that puts a particular slant on certain behaviours or responses, or a range of literary devices that enables you to discern what an author is trying to convey about a character, setting, theme, or idea, and how they are trying to convey it. A clean reading of the text will also allow you to read passages and chapters without the predetermined ideas and expectations that annotations bring – you will be better able to look at the section of text as an integral part of the narrative rather than a ‘key moment’ that has to be dissected and deconstructed. If you make notes during this reading of the text, compare them with your previous scribbles in the margins – you may find that you have a broader and more detailed perspective than you first thought!
Further to this, try to locate an audio version of your text and listen to the narrator. If this is not possible, try reading parts of the text aloud to yourself, or even record and listen to yourself on your phone or device – you will be surprised by what you hear. Suddenly, you will be able to discern the rhythm of sentences, the particular and precise vocabulary selection, and longer descriptive passages punctuated by shorter and more emphatic comments and statements that reveal the author’s intent. Listening to a text engages different parts and processes of the brain. Use this opportunity to immerse yourself and undertake a fresh approach to the text.
It is important to read your text/s again before you start to put together quote sheets, graphic organisers for different essay structures, and mind maps for thematic concerns – these will all be outlined in the coming weeks.
Need help preparing for the English exam? Purchase our English Exam Guides by Robert Beardwood and Melanie Napthine. Our English Exam Guides provide students with revision strategies and activities to prepare them for the VCE English exam. From time management during the exam to proofreading responses, Insight’s English Exam Guides cover all the knowledge and skills required for success in the English exam.
Any purchase of the English Exam Guide: Area of Study 1 or the English Exam Guides: Areas of Study 1 & 2 Value Pack comes with 64 FREE high-level sample essays.