It is 97 days (3 months and 5 days) till the three hour English exam. 


Even though I have already gone through it, I couldn't help but feel this involuntary spasm of anxiety after using the date calculator. Now that I am an English tutor, I too feel a strange anticipation and nervousness. 

So, here are some tips and advice you can implement quickly! 


1. Reading examiner reports

At first glance, those high scoring pieces can appear to be immensely daunting. When seemingly exotic phrases such as 'tension is intimated into the brotherly tryst' peppers the essay, it can sound rather frightening.

However, give it a good read and look up unfamiliar words! 

I do wish to emphasise that learning and memorising complex words will not necessarily improve your writing. 

Rote learning English is terribly ineffective. 

By simply reading the sophisticated vocabulary in conjunction with clear expression and the fully developed arguments, that will be so much more beneficial! 

2. Taking ownership of your essay writing style

Once you have read those high scoring pieces, select a few phrases and lexicons that you find intriguing. Take a look at how they are used in sentences!

Now, it is time to begin tinkering away with them! In essence, you will have to practice using them in your own writing. 

Slowly incorporate them into your practice essays. Of course, add a pinch of your own creative flair and interpretation of the text and ten tablespoons of effort. 

(Sounds like we're baking a cake with the 'words' being ingredients. Well, the aim is to create Adriano Zumbo-esque pastry.) 

OKAY, that got way too metaphorical. 

Anyway, you should practice using the new words you have chosen and check with your teacher if you're using them appropriately! 

Speaking about practice essays and sophisticated phrases, here is some wisdom from the ever so lovely, Yii-Huei who is also a VCE Study Guides tutor

Quality over quantity: Instead of churning out as many essays as possible, focus on the quality of your writing. This means asking yourself the question “How can I make my introduction more captivating?” or “How can I make a concise conclusion that leaves the reader thinking?”, rather than writing multiple essays with little improvement. You should also recycle paragraphs, meaning that once you have a corrected essay, make those edits and make more improvements. It is probable that you may get a similar essay topic, as there are so many overlaps so use recycling to your advantage!
Avoid jargon: although sophisticated vocabulary may look impressive, you will be marked down (and not to mention, appear extremely pretentious!) if you do not know the proper context or relevance of the word. Simple, clear expression is always favoured over excessive complex vocab.

So, you should try to achieve a balance between sophisticated language and clear expression. You should never compromise the clarity of your arguments by over-using complex words! 

3. Read widely. 

There are online news magazine and publishing platforms that have fascinating pieces on just about everything! 

One of my favourite websites is Stumbleupon. It is a website that curates content from all over the net according to YOUR interests! 

So, you can discover all sorts of writing and images! 

There's just something different when you are reading something in a relaxed state. Knowledge seems to sink in that much easier.

Personal favourites of mine include TIME magazine, The New Yorker, National Geographic and 1843 magazine. 

Picks of the week: 

All about emojis and what they mean


War and psychological injury

Pokemon Go - an article written by our guest contributor, Yii-Huei! 

Learning new words and being exposed to different writing styles will strengthen the connections between similar words and concepts.  That way, once you read the prompt in your sac and exam, your mind will be buzzing with ideas! 

To tie this off, I shall leave you with the wisdom from the lovely Christine who is also a VCE Study Guides English tutor! 

After you receive feedback from your teacher, make sure to rewrite the sections of your essay that were commented upon to strive towards the “perfect” essay. Don’t just read the feedback and leave it!

- Amanda