As the academic year is nearing to an end, Semester 2 is more intense and challenging in terms of the topics you cover. 

We are now expected to connect the constellation of skills, ideas and learnt concepts. This connect-the-dots kind of learning would be vital to those of you in VCE! 

So, here is a little game plan to execute before your English sac! 

Let's go! 

1. Collect a list of prompts from rich and varied exam papers. 

A simple google search will lead you to a plethora of prompts and topics in previous years. Good places to start this treasure-hunt would be  PAST VCAA ENGLISH EXAMS and Atarnotes. By simply reading through a list of prompts, you're immediately able to compare keywords and draw similarities/differences. In doing so, you are exposing your mind to producing a nuanced response unique to the themes embodied by the prompt. 

You may also wish to categorise  the prompts according to similarities, differences and themes.

Ask yourself: 'Is this a theme-based essay? If so, what themes can I discuss?' 

If the prompt revolves around characters, brainstorm which characters best represent the keywords, etc. 

Furthermore, on the day of your sac where the much-anticipated prompt is revealed, you are unlikely to feel a great shock. 

2. You've got your list. Now what? 


i) One prompt selected at random. 

ii) One prompt that you are confident in writing. 

iii) One prompt that you dislike

Shying away from difficult and tricky topics will only intensify the stress in late August/September. So, try to view your sacs as a good way to test your ideas and interpretation of the selected text. 

3. Dissect, brainstorm and plan your golden ideas! 

Before writing a draft, it is vital to plan your essay. Your planning sheet is the backbone of your essay. So, spend ample time on planning especially when you are not under SAC conditions. 

Remember to always plan your arguments according to the selected prompt. 

In August last year, when my school held an practice 3-hour English exam, I basically regurgitated a pre-planned essay to what I thought was a similar prompt. (The essay was graded highly in an initial practice exam.) Disaster. My grade for that mock exam dropped from an A+ to a C. Simply because I did not plan my essay accordingly! 

I nearly fainted when I saw the feedback. 

4. It is late, so have one final gloss over your notes and sleep! 

Good luck & show off your knowledge, guys! 

Written by: Amanda ♡