Resources on the internet
Paper 1 Section I
How do I know what the question is asking me to do?
Text forms and features
Language features in written or spoken language
Visual literacy techniques
Key techniques commonly found in particular text formats
Describing the effect of a technique
Using nominalisation to make your answers more precise
The last question in Paper 1 Section I
Remembering the Belonging Prescription statements
Past Paper Analysis
Previous HSC examination papers and notes from the Marking Centre including Marking Guidelines are available on the Board of Studies website. These papers, notes and guidelines provide valuable information that will assist in developing understanding of ways to read questions and write informed and confident responses.
This English Teachers' Association resource has a good summary of print and visual techniques. It was written for a Standard/ Advanced audience, so take care to remember the structure of the English (ESL) course.
Paper 1 Section I is the reading component of the English (ESL) examination. All candidates undertaking English (ESL) complete this paper.
The format of the paper is not predictable. Since 2008, lines for writing have been provided in an examination booklet. These lines have provided an indication of how much you are expected to write.
Paper 1 Section I does not require you to refer to any texts beyond what is presented in this section. Including a reference to prescribed or related texts beyond those provided in the paper will not enhance responses or results. However, in the last question of Paper 1 Section 1, you may be asked to refer to your own ideas and experiences.
The known fact is that Paper 1 Section I will contain several texts where belonging is represented.
The unknown fact is the types of texts that will be presented and how belonging or not belonging is represented in those texts. This is a paper where the best responses will clearly identify and discuss language forms, features and techniques as the means for representing belonging or not belonging. A response which rewrites the question or just paraphrases the text does not reflect any knowledge of how meaning is created and represented.
All HSC examination papers are printed and formatted in the same manner. At the beginning of any question is the rubric, which defines the guidelines or criteria your response will be judged against in determining the mark for particular questions. It is essential that for every HSC question, in any subject, these guidelines are read and considered before composing a response to any question.
Look at English (ESL) Paper 1
In 2009 the criteria for Paper I section I was:
In this section you will be assessed on how well you:
Time your responses well to ensure that all sections of the paper are completed with time allocation appropriate to the mark for each section.
Section I is worth 25 marks. You should spend 50 minutes on this section.
Be aware of the mark allocated to the question and the answer space (where this is provided on the examination paper) to give you a guide to the length of the required response. Answers and quotations should be short, succinct, relevant and clearly explained. A question worth 1 mark only requires a brief answer. Perhaps one word, but at most two-three sentences is usually enough. Writing far beyond the allocated space will impact on your time to answer other questions. In particular, spending too much time on low-mark questions will compromise your time to answer the last question, which usually has the highest mark allocation.
You should download copies of past papers and work through the format of the questioning in Paper 1 and Section I. The allocation of marks is similar and by going over past papers you can develop an understanding of the time it will take you to respond to each section.
Timing of each section throughout Paper 1 as a whole is important and you should ensure you have a watch or a clear view of a wall clock to maintain a consistent and appropriate pace in completing all sections of the paper.
The paper builds in intensity and this is reflected in the mark allocation. Answering the questions sequentially will clarify the meaning of the texts, allowing you to develop new meanings in a personal, analytical manner for the final section.
Respond - do not simply retell! Section I does not require you to retell or recount the included texts. It requires you to identify aspects of belonging or not belonging and consider how the composer has presented/represented belonging or not belonging through the language forms and features of the text/s.
"How" is a question word that is frequently used in English examination questions. This often requires students to explicitly refer to language techniques.
How = techniques
'How' is one word, which can be expanded to read "explain what language techniques the composer uses to represent belonging in the text." You should never just copy out something from the included text/s as your response to each section.
Quotations can and should be used to support a response by considering how, for example:
The term way is also closely linked to the how and requires direct reference to the language forms and features (techniques) of the texts. Quoting from the text to support the 'way' is essential. A direct quotation from the text does not prove or determine the 'way' unless it is supported.
TO WHAT EXTENT/ HOW EFFECTIVE :
Questions beginning with "To what extent", "How effective", "Analyse the effectiveness…", "To what extent is the ____ effective…" require students to evaluate.
You should use evaluative language in answering these questions.Evaluative language includes words like:
OTHER QUESTION WORDS:
Look at past Reading Tasks and write a list of the question words that frequently are asked. If there are any words that you are uncertain about the meaning, look up the Board's Glossary of Key Words and discuss these words with your teacher.
This explanation of terms is common to all courses. Anytime these terms appear in any paper they are used in the same context and meaning. A clear understanding of the meanings listed in this glossary will enhance your opportunities across all subjects.
Access and develop a thorough understanding through glossary of key words to ensure:
Some of the main words from this Glossary that are may be used in Section I of Paper 1 include:
The texts included in Paper 1 Section I can be in any form. It is important to be familiar with the elements that go together to produce each text. Some forms in past papers have included:
There is no way of predicting which textual forms will be included in the paper this year. You need to have an understanding of a variety of texts forms and the language and visual features/ techniques commonly used in each type of text.
Think about language features including:
These techniques are as important as written language techniques. Become familiar with terminology such as:
A helpful glossary of visual technique terminology can be found at: http://www.slideshare.net/rjp152/visual-literacy-1992223
A helpful glossary of techniques used in print and visual techniques can be found on pages 3-6 at: http://www.englishteacher.com.au/downloads/Area%20of%20Study%20ResourcesETA.pdf
|Text format||Language and Visual Techniques commonly found in these types of texts|
|Poems||Similes, metaphor, personification, alliteration, assonance, rhyme, repetition, onomatopoeia|
|Song lyrics||As for poems. Repetition and assonance in particular are common techniques|
|Novels/ autobiographies||As for poems. First ("I"), second ("you") or third ("he/she/it")|
|Speeches||Repetition, quotations, statistics, alliteration, rhetorical questions, cumulation (lists), imperatives (commands), second person ("you")|
|Feature articles||Statistics, quotations, passive voice, short paragraphs, words with positive/ negative connotations|
|Advertisements/ posters||Most salient object, vectors, layout, imperative (command), first person plural ("we"), second person ("you"), cumulation (list), words with positive/ negative connotations, contrast, lighting, camera shots, camera angles, gaze, frontal/ oblique body angles|
|Cartoons/ comic strips||Exaggeration/ caricature, contrast, body language, facial expressions|
|Photographs||Most salient object, vectors, contrast, body language, facial expressions, lighting, camera shots, camera angles, gaze, frontal/ oblique body angles|
|Websites||Most salient object, layout, vectors, hyperlinks, interactive features (games, videos), first person plural ("we"), second person ("you\")|
Students' explanations of the effect of techniques are often too general (e.g. "This technique shows he is happy").
Improve your vocabulary to make your description of the effect of a technique more specific. Find other ways to say happy, sad, positive and negative.
In the following table, the adjective is listed, followed by the noun in parentheses.
Warning:Make sure you know exactly what the word means before using it in an examination!
|LEVEL of INTENSITY||Happy (Happiness)||Sad (Sadness)||Positive - Confident (Confidence)||Negative - Angry (Anger)|
Choose 8 words that you are going to learn and try to use.
You can improve your answer by nominalising your statements. This is particularly useful when you are asked to identify theeffectof a technique. "Nominalisation" is the process of making a word a noun. Nominalisation makes your sentences sound more precise, sophisticated and formal.
Fill the gaps of the following descriptions of effects by nominalising the word in italics.
|Previous description of the effect of a technique||Nominalised description of the effect of a technique (add "creates a feeling of…")|
|This technique shows that she is excited.||This technique creates a feeling of her excitement.|
|This shows that he is depressed.||This demonstrates his feeling of depression.|
|This makes us know that she is happy.||This creates a feeling of her ________________.|
|The technique shows he is satisfied.||The technique creates a sense of his satisfaction.|
|The technique makes him sound strong.||The technique creates a feeling of his _____________________.|
|The composer describes topics that interest the responder.||The speakers' ________________ of topics of interest to responders creates a feeling of…|
|The technique shows the persona is irritated.||The technique creates a feeling of the persona's ___________________.|
|This shows the persona is not interested.||This conveys a sense of the persona _________________________.|
|This engages the responder.||This generates responder __________________.|
For answers download this interactive PDF version of this activity.
Once you have mastered the process of nominalisation, you can then experiment with using other phrases instead of "creates a feeling of…":
|Creates a feeling of…||conveys a sense of creates a sense of
emphasises (makes stronger) her feeling of
engenders (brings about) a feeling of
evokes (brings up)a feeling of
generates a feeling of
highlights her feeling of
portrays (shows) a feeling of
The final question for Section I may either require you to analyse the concept of belonging presented and/or compose a response for a specific audience and purpose, making reference to at least one of the unseen texts. You must be prepared to relate your own "ideas and experiences" to the texts.
Look at whether the question is asking you to write in a particular format. In the past, students have been required to write the following texts in answering the last question:
Think about the audience for your piece of writing and the purpose. The text format, purpose and audience will influence your choice of language and the structure of your piece of writing.
Ensure you understand the question by quickly summarising:
This can be summarised on your examination paper with the mnemonic:
Plan your response using these points to maximise your marks. This will be much more effective than rushing into writing and misinterpreting the question!
In the last question of Section I, you may be required to synthesise one of the reading task texts with your own experiences, or synthesise two of the reading task texts.
The HSC Glossary definition of the term 'synthesise' is "putting together various elements to make a whole". It can also be defined as "combine so as to form a more complex product" - wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn .
Some questions will ask you to synthesise two of the reading task texts. To successfully synthesise, you must compare and contrast the texts, rather than simply retell or recount. Choose the texts that you are most comfortable with rather than thinking that a 'harder' text will 'get more marks'. Write in a formal manner using an objective voice. For example, instead of "I think text one…" try "It is obvious that text #…". This demonstrates an ability to construct a response that is considered and informed.
Direct reference to the texts is essential. Quotations should be appropriate and support the overall context of the response. The common link between the texts is the concept of belonging. Do not simply make a brief link at end. Integrate your connections throughout your response.
Use connecting words such as:
|… akin to….
All the same
… analogous to…
…. comparable to….
Just as…, so too …
In a similar way,
In like manner
… same as…
|At the same time
…. different to…
… distinguishes itself from…
For all that
…. is not… Rather
… nothing like…
On the contrary,
On the other hand,
There is a difference/ gap/ distinction/ disparity between…
Prepared answers seldom answer the question sufficiently to expect full marks. The structure of this paper and the questions is designed to test your knowledge and understanding, not your memory.
Learn the belonging prescription statements. You may be asked in the Reading Task in the HSC: "What is ONE idea about belonging that is expressed in this text"? In answering this question, you will need to explicitly refer to an idea about belonging from the Prescription statements. Knowing the prescription statements is also useful when writing your extended response in Section II.
To help you remember the Prescription statements in the examination room, you should test yourself early on in your study of belonging. 'Mnemonics' is a study skill that can help you remember long lists.
Firstly, you should narrow each sentence down to one key 'trigger' word.
P: PERCEPTIONS of belonging/ not belonging vary (are different)
C: Perceptions of belonging are shaped within personal, cultural, historical and social CONTEXTS (places).
C: A sense of belonging can come from the CONNECTIONS made with people, places, groups, communities and the larger world.
RAIU: Belonging is related to RELATIONSHIPS, ACCEPTANCE, IDENTITY, AND UNDERSTANDING.
E/ C: The INDIVIDUAL has the potential (ability) to ENRICH or CHALLENGE a group.
A: ATTITUDES to belonging are modified (change) over time.
C: There may be CHOICES NOT to belong.
B: There may be BARRIERS preventing belonging.
R: The RESPONDER can feel a sense of belonging to, or exclusion from, the TEXT and the world it represents.
B/ D: Studying belonging can BROADEN and DEEPEN the RESPONDER'S understanding of themselves and the world
P: PERSPECTIVES can be given voice in texts or absent from texts.
R/ A: The concept of belonging is conveyed through the REPRESENTATIONS of people, relationships, ideas, places, events and societies. There are ASSUMPTIONS that shape those representations.
Then, test yourself to see if you can remember the whole sentence from just the one word:
|Trigger Word||Big Idea|
Then, make up a mnemonic to remember the list of key 'trigger' words. Use the first letter of each of the trigger words to make up new words that help you remember the trigger words:
E.g. PAIR CUEC CARB BuRP
Your words! ___________________________________________________________
Analyse past HSC reading tasks papers for the types of texts and types of questions asked. These papers can be accessed on the Board of Studies website. ( http://www.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/hsc_exams/hsc2009exams/index2.html#e )
Fill in the table for each past paper.
Then, write a summary of:
|Year||Types of Texts in Reading Task||Types of Questions||Last question of Reading Task - Text Type to write||Last Question of Reading Task - Question|