Past HSC and Practice Questions for Advanced Module B: Hamlet

There are 2 important changes that should be notes, before we have a look at the past HSC questions for the English Advanced Module B: Critical Study of Texts:

  1. The text is no longer King Lear, but Hamlet – I’ve changed the past HSC questions below to be about Hamlet.
  2. From 2009, the examination rubrics for Module B have changed. To read how this affects your use of past HSC questions and future HSC questions, read this post.

Nevertheless, here are the past HSC questions for King Lear, which have been adapted for Hamlet. There are also some practice questions used by high schools.

I’ve also underlined the keywords in each question. As you’ll see, each question falls into a certain “type” of question:

  1. Question about the Hamlet’s enduring power, value, textual integrity etc
  2. Question about Hamlet’s various interpretations by different audiences/contexts (read NOTE below)
  3. Question about Hamlet’s dramatic techniques, characterisation, structure and ideas

Can you figure out which category, each of the questions below fall into? Some may fall into more than 1 category.

What is interesting is that previous questions seem to ask students to focus on a particular character, relationship or number of scenes in their essay – so make sure you thoroughly know the play.

What must generally be covered (no matter what the question is) in your response are:

  • What are the ideas explored in the play?
  • What techniques (language and stage) are used?
  • How do the above 2 points relate to the play’s various interpretations and textual integrity? (read NOTE below)

NOTE: the examination rubrics for 2009 onwards have changed for this Module B. To read how this affects your use of past HSC questions and future HSC questions, read this post.

Past HSC Questions:


Hamlet is a highly constructed dramatic experience devoid of conventional heroes. That is its strength. That is its weakness.

To what extent does this statement align with your view of Hamlet?


How does Shakespeare use imagery to portray challenging ideas about truth and deceit in Hamlet?


Shakespeare’s Hamlet has been described as ‘a bleak portrait of a world in which the balance
has been disturbed’.
To what extent does this perspective align with your understanding of Hamlet?
In your response, make detailed reference to your prescribed text.


Now might I do it pat, now a is a-praying,
And now I’ll do’t – and so a goes to heaven,
And so am I revenged. That would be scanned.
A villain kills my father, and for that,
I his sole son do this same villain send
To heaven.
Why, this is hire and salary, not revenge.

In your view, how does Shakespeare’s portrayal of the complex nature of revenge contribute to
the enduring value of Hamlet? In your response, make detailed reference to the extract from Hamlet and the play as a whole.


Explore how time and place are used in Shakespeare’s Hamlet to shape the audience’s understanding of corruption.


An inherent tension between confrontation and resolution is revealed through characterisation in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. To what extent does your interpretation align with this view?


‘Shakespeare’s Hamlet continues to engage audiences through its dramatic treatment of struggle and disillusionment.’

In light of your critical study, does this statement resonate with your own interpretation of Hamlet?


Through its portrayal of human experience, Shakespeare’s Hamlet reinforces the significance of loyalty.

To what extent does your interpretation of Hamlet support this view?


In your view, how have dramatic techniques been used to reveal memorable ideas in Shakespeare’s Hamlet? Support your view with detailed reference to the text.


Ultimately, in this Shakespearean drama, it is the representation of intense human relationships that captivates audiences.

Explore the representation of at least ONE intense human relationship in Hamlet, evaluating its significance in the play as a whole.


To what extent has your personal response to Hamlet been shaped by the enduring power of Shakespeare’s characterisation of Hamlet?

Support your evaluation with a close analysis of TWO key extracts from Hamlet.


Your class has been exploring the question, ‘What will continue to make Hamlet worthy of critical study?’

Your personal response has been challenged by another student. Defend your response through a critical evaluation of Hamlet, analysing the construction, content and language of the text.


Interpretations of texts can shift and change with time and place.’

Considering your time and place, reflect on the ways in which context has shaped your critical interpretation of the prescribed text.

In your response, refer to TWO extracts from your prescribed text.


Compose an argument for or against the topic: ‘That every text has its use-by date.’

Consider your prescribed text’s ideas, language and form, and its reception in different contexts.


Two people who value your prescribed text in different ways and for different reasons are having a conversation.

Compose their conversation which should include consideration of the structure, staging, language and ideas of the text.

Questions used by school etc:

Idea based questions:

  1. It has been suggested that a key aspect of Hamlet’s enduring relevance to audiences is the play’s examination of human flaws. To what extent does your personal understanding concur with this view? In your response you should critically analyse and evaluate the techniques, themes and structure of the play. (James Ruse 2010 Trial)
  2. To what extent is your personal response to Shakespeare’s exploration of conflict in Hamlet shaped by the composer’s use of dramatic techniques? (North Sydney Girls 2010 Trial)
  3. Hamlet continues to resonate with generations across the ages because it represents the moral dilemma of revenge. Do you agree? In your response, make detailed reference to your set text. (St Ignatius Riverview 2010 Trial)
  4. Hamlet is a valued text because it explores challenging ideas of love and rivalry. Discuss this statement in light of your understanding of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. In your response, make detailed reference to the play. (2010 CSSA Trial).
  5. In his representations of human nature, Shakespeare’s play Hamlet reinforces the ongoing importance of relationships.
    To what extent does your interpretation of Hamlet support this view? (Abbotsleigh 2010 Trial)

Interpretation based questions:

  1. “An admirable text does not define or exhaust its possibilities”. What possibilities do you see in Shakespeare’s Hamlet? Discuss your ideas with close reference to at least two scenes from Hamlet.
  2. “Considering a text from different perspectives develops an appreciation of its textual integrity“. Do you agree? Respond to this question through detailed reference to your prescribed text.
  3. For more than 3 centuries, critical studies of Hamlet have challenged us with a range of perspectives from which we can read and understand the intense personal relationships which are at the core of Hamlet. What have you come to understand about these relationships of Hamlet? How has this understanding been affected by the perspective of others?
  4. “Each text has an expiration date.” How true is this of Shakespeare’s Hamlet? Discuss with reference to both your perspectives and the perspectives of others.
  5. A valuable text has something to say and says it well. How valid is this claim, considering the different contexts in which a text can be received? In your answer, compare your personal evaluation of Hamlet with one other perspective on the play. (ETA 2009 Trial)
  6. How has considering other interpretations of Hamlet helped you develop your own appreciation of the textual integrity of the play? In your response you should consider the ideas, dramatic techniques and structure of Hamlet.
  7. A text of timeless appeal is marked by effective construction of characters to support its main ideas. Discuss this statement, making detailed references to the play. (Baulkham Hills HS 2010 Trial)
  8. Anyone can have a good idea. Effective communication of ideas is an art form. Offer an evaluation of the strengths of Hamlet as an effective vehicle for ideas. (Strathfield Girls 2010 Trial).

Other questions:

  1. How is your personal response to Hamlet shaped by the interactions of characters in the play? (2009 CSSA Trial)
  2. Write a series of three or four reflections that demonstrate how your response to Hamlet changed and developed during the process of your critical study. Base your reflections on detailed reference to the text. (Independent 2009 Trial)
  3. Hamlet is a text which focuses on character rather than events. What is your view? In your answer consider how Hamlet’s character is developed, referring in detail to the text. (ETA 2009 Trial)
  4. “A text has value if it creates opportunities for change, while maintaining its core values.” Explore this notion in relation to your text set for study.
  5. A key aspect of Hamlet’s ongoing appeal is its fitting conclusion. In your view, to what extent does the ending provide a fitting conclusion to the play as a whole? Support your evaluation with detailed reference to the text.
  6. A text of timeless appeal is marked by effective construction of characters to support its main ideas. Discuss this statement, making detailed references to the play. (Baulkham Hills HS 2010 Trial)
  7. Anyone can have a good idea. Effective communication of ideas is an art form. Offer an evaluation of the strengths ofHamlet as an effective vehicle for ideas. (Strathfield Girls 2010 Trial).

89 comments for “Past HSC and Practice Questions for Advanced Module B: Hamlet

  1. Tia
    October 15, 2009 at 2:03 am

    Hi, Im confused with the “textual integrity” part.
    What exactly are we supposed to know?


    • tutortales
      October 16, 2009 at 9:14 am

      The syllabus definition is: “the unity of a text; its coherent use of form and language to produce an integrated whole in terms of meaning and value”.

      What I’ve come to understand textual integrity is – assessing how the text (from the macro structure eg. characterisation, plot, structure to the micro structure eg. specific language techniques) is able to produce meaning/value.


      • Mary
        July 23, 2011 at 5:40 pm

        Hi, I’m unsure about how to incorporate a discussion of textual integrity into an essay for Hamlet. Could you please provide an example?

  2. loola
    October 15, 2009 at 9:15 am

    hi, your notes are really good….but i had one question about textual integrity/context/various interpretations…..isn’t the rubric changed to have no context and only your personal response, which may be shaped by other perspectives, but you only mention them, rather than basing your essay on them. Im just a little confused???

    • tutortales
      October 16, 2009 at 8:56 am

      Yes, that’s right – you shouldn’t reference particular “readings” (eg. feminist etc), but say what YOU think the text is about (personal response).


  3. tintin
    October 16, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    for that question that says “write a series of three or four reflections…..” does that mean we must write diary entries or wat….our normal essays? im confused…

    • tutortales
      October 18, 2009 at 11:44 am

      It is similar to diary entries, but obviously you don’t write a date and start with “Dear diary”. The 3-4 reflections could be like the body paragraphs of your essay. So for example, your 1st reflection may be about how you first understood the text as being about _____. Then your 2nd reflection may start off with “However, through further study and discussion in class, we saw that the text also explored _____.”


  4. Cameron
    October 21, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    Hey your site is great and your notes are really clear and excellent.

    A questions on the reflections question – how should we approach writing four different mini things and also get a sustained and sophisticated argument going?

    • tutortales
      October 21, 2009 at 5:38 pm

      I would approach it as if my essay is adapted to into the different parts. As such, even though they are “separated”, the links/contrasts in my essay (how you linked your body paragraphs) would still exist. The parts can build upon/contrast with previous parts – in order to develop a sustained argument that reflects how your thoughts developed.


  5. Hello Kitty
    October 21, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    Thanks for all the info. It’s been a great help.

    Just quick question, I’ve written about two themes in Hamlet (death and corruption), should that be okay? Or should I include another one, such as religion?


    • tutortales
      October 21, 2009 at 10:24 pm

      That should be fine – so long as you cover each in enough analysis and discussion. Death and corruption are complex themes so you can easily elaborate on them.

      Good luck!


  6. DD
    October 22, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    hi the notes are really helpful!

    i just have a few questions. what is YOUR personal interpretation? is that just the themes? how are we suppose to integrate the interpretations into the essay? do we put a reflective statement only at the end of our analysis – or paragraph – all the time?

    do we begin each paragraph like:
    1. we can see this theme
    2. interpretation
    3. analysis
    4. reflective statement

    thank you!

    • tutortales
      October 16, 2010 at 10:08 pm

      Your interpretation is what you think the play is about (ie the themes). You don’t need to “integrate” it into your essay, because it should BE your essay. Your analysis should be backing up the theme which YOU believe Hamlet focuses/explores. TT

  7. Laura Hill
    November 25, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    I just have a question on the 2008 question. I have that EXACT question for an assignment and we are allowed to take one page of notes into class to write an essay.

    The thing is i am finding it hard to get a hold on the actual dramitic techniques and how to put it into an essay so they will stand up.


    • tutortales
      October 16, 2010 at 10:07 pm

      Dramatic techniques can be the soliloquies, play within a play structure, stage directions, events occurring on stage-off stage etc. TT

  8. karen mccann
    May 18, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    hi my daughter needs tutoring asap with hamlet we live in kellyville are you available….thanks

    • tutortales
      May 18, 2010 at 8:41 pm

      Hi Karen

      Sorry, but I’m all booked out at the moment. You might try searching for a tutor here:


  9. Lisa
    July 8, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Thanks for the excellent website you got going on here 🙂
    Just a quick question: our teachers at school are getting us to do the 2009 question for practice, however we are allowed to replace the concept of “loyalty” with something different, we’ve jotted down several different concepts like revenge, order/disorder and deception in class, but I don’t really understand the phrase “Through its portrayal of human experience” and I’m unsure of whether these concepts can fall in line with “human experience” in the play.

    • tutortales
      July 8, 2010 at 12:12 pm

      Those concepts sound fine – you can also consider mortality as another concept. The beginning “Through its portrayal of human experience” is simply referring to how Hamlet is a play portraying humanity – our interactions, our motivations, our conflicts etc – in order to convey broader ideas of revenge etc.


  10. lolo
    July 17, 2010 at 12:05 am

    how do I link human experience with loyalty? can i just leave human experience and extend loaylty part? or is it better to make a connection.

    for the textual integrity part, what example can i use to show that Hamlet achieves textual integrity? does textual integrity mean the value or meaning reflected in the text is constant? such as religion perspective on afterlife, the meaning of existence?

    as what you said before, i dont need to include other readings like psychoanalytic or feminist or marxist as if the essay is based on readings, but do i still need to mention some of them to support my interpretation?
    and definitely no movie analyse, confirm.

    thanks for your time! thanks a lot

    • tutortales
      October 16, 2010 at 10:04 pm

      With the 2009 question, the focus would be loyalty, but you should occasionally insert the words “human experience” – for example, the human experiences of betrayal and deception by those around us.

      You don’t NEED to mention readings, but you MAY – if you believe it better supports your interpretation.


  11. WonderWitch
    July 24, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Hi, I’m currently studying Module B and I’ve realised that the whole module is situated around the idea of ‘textual integrity.’ What exactly is ‘textual integrity’? I can’t find any definitions that make sense.

    • tutortales
      October 16, 2010 at 10:05 pm

      Honestly, I struggle with the meaning of “textual integrity” and would not be able to answer your question. However, I don’t think “textual integrity” is something to be stressed over for this Module. TT

  12. Annika
    August 4, 2010 at 9:09 am

    Just say that MY interpretation of the play is that doubt is the most significant theme, and my entire prepared essay is about the importance of the theme of doubt. Then a question pops up in the hsc like this…..

    Through its portrayal of human experience, Shakespeare’s Hamlet reinforces the significance of loyalty.

    To what extent does your interpretation of Hamlet support this view?

    Could I still basically say that my interpretation does not really reinforce the significance of loyalty, but rather thoroughly explores the theme of doubt? Would that still be considered answering the question, as long as I state this, because the question asks about your own interpretation? Thanks 🙂

    • tutortales
      October 16, 2010 at 9:24 pm

      Really late reply – but yes, you can write an essay like that. But try to make links back to loyalty where possible, for example – doubting the loyalty of others? TT

  13. Aydn
    October 13, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Hi, i’m currently having trouble as to how to prepare for the Hamlet section. I don’t know which ideas to focus on because i have come across so many (mortality, natural order/chain of being, role of women, revenge, appearance vs reality etc) and whether to focus on characters or just themes. So what is the best way to prepare for that section.

    Thanks 🙂

    • tutortales
      October 13, 2010 at 10:32 am

      It sounds like you’re on the right track – it’s best to focus on themes, because this can be linked easily to characters anyway. Compile your notes all the themes and try to group some of them together – for example, revenge/morality/loyalty/betrayal/deception can be lumped together…and mortality/meaning-of-life can go together etc). TT

  14. Lana
    October 13, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Can i have a prepared essay for ‘Hamlet’
    i know its way too late to ask- but if so what can i include?

    • tutortales
      October 14, 2010 at 2:19 pm

      Hi Lana, it’s difficult to have a prepared essay for Hamlet, but you can memorise ideas, techniques and effects. This may be about 4 different key ideas within Hamlet (and depending on the question, you will use maybe 2-3 out of the 4). You can also have a prepared thesis in mind (basically, what is YOUR interpretation of what Hamlet is essentially about). TT

  15. October 15, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    hello, i have noticed alot of the q’s asking whether the text has an ‘expiration date’ and such, or offering change whilst maintaining values, how would you go about these q’s? thx

    • tutortales
      October 15, 2010 at 5:05 pm

      Those questions are largely from the pre-2009 module, where the rubric was more focused on different receptions/interpretations. However, you can pretty much answer those by relating the text to its universal (aka timeless/enduring) themes which remain pertinent over time. TT

  16. Lana
    October 15, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    um can u give me a heads up on what ideas would be best to use.
    in my notes iv cover: loyalty, death, madness and revenge.
    what would u suggest?


    • October 15, 2010 at 4:41 pm

      lana K?

    • tutortales
      October 15, 2010 at 5:06 pm

      I think you’ve pretty much got it covered. But maybe consider the portrayal of women? TT

  17. October 15, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    which lana is this?

  18. Lana
    October 15, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    i doubt u know me

  19. Lana
    October 15, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    out of the 4 iv listen- which of those are least important?

    • tutortales
      October 16, 2010 at 9:22 pm

      Madness – you can really cover that under revenge and loyalty (which would include deception). TT

  20. alexx
    October 16, 2010 at 7:38 am

    i’m finding it hard to make up a thesis statement straight away. do you think it would be okay if i wrote my whole essay (of course answering the question) and go back and finish the the intro?

    • tutortales
      October 16, 2010 at 9:10 pm

      Do you mean making it up during the exam? You can go back to the intro at the end, but the point of the intro is to set up your response to the question and your body paragraphs. So it’s usually best to write it at the beginning (almost as a plan of what your essay will be about). Otherwise have a somewhat prepared thesis. TT

  21. El
    October 16, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Hi, with the focus on personal opinions there are alot of varying comments from teachers as to whether essays should be written in an “I believe…” or “From this I see” format, or a less direct “position we as the audience” tonality as some markers say that the entire essay is your opinion. Which method would you advise?

    • tutortales
      October 16, 2010 at 9:03 pm

      Hi El, personally my approach is NOT to use the 1st person pronoun (I), because it is obvious that an essay (written by you) is your opinion. I would write in the tone of asserting an interpretation. For example, “Although Hamlet can be interpreted as [blah], it’s central concerns lie in its exploration of the significance of [blah]…” TT

  22. Yorrick
    October 16, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    Hi 🙂 Could you please tell me how we’re supposed to use other readings of Hamlet in relation to our own? I’ve asked my teacher several times, and she insists that it’s absolutely mandatory to include another reading along with you’re own and refer to it in the thesis as you would a related text, but the marking guidelines don’t mention other interpretations at all. It’s all very confusing :S Are we expected to refer to another reading? And if so, do we use them to support our own, or to show how the same scenes can be interpreted differently?

    Much appreciated 😀

    • tutortales
      October 16, 2010 at 8:59 pm

      Hey Yorrick – I’m not sure why you’re teacher has told you that, but that is NOT necessary. In fact, post-2009, there is a move AWAY from over-reliance on readings etc. If you do want to include readings, you can use them to support your interpretation. Maybe read the 2009 HSC marking notes:
      “The emphasis must be on personal response with detailed reference to the prescribed text. An over-reliance on readings and productions should not replace an analysis of the text which reflects deep understanding and strong personal engagement with the text.”

      • Yorrick
        October 17, 2010 at 12:28 pm

        Hmmm I suspected as much. Thanks for clearing that up 😀

  23. allie
    October 17, 2010 at 10:16 am


    just quickly
    if we’re unsure about a para, can we white out some parts when we look over it? are we allowed white out?

    • tutortales
      October 17, 2010 at 7:12 pm

      Er, I’m not clear on the formal rules, but you probably can. However, I suggest you just cross it out. White out is slower to do. TT

  24. Ken
    October 17, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    oh man its tmr, Im so dead.

  25. rina
    October 17, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    i’ve been looking over past questions and there have been some that have stated we must use detailed analysis of TWO extracts from the play.

    Is it likely they could ask for that this year? Do extracts include whole acts or particular scenes? Im very worried about this because I am totally unprepared for detailed analysis on only two extracts..


    • tutortales
      October 17, 2010 at 7:09 pm

      Extracts doesn’t have a specific meaning – so you can think of it as an Act or a Scene or a “section” of scenes. TT

  26. jo
    May 22, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Hi there 🙂
    i’ve just finished reading the play, what essay topic do you recommend i should write about? I have no idea where i should start 🙁

    • tutortales
      June 13, 2011 at 9:27 pm

      Sorry for the late reply, but start with what your impression of Hamlet is. What do you think the play is essentially about? You could look at are the human condition (encapsulating the meaning of life and mortality)? Or loyalty vs betrayal and deception? Sometimes the easiest way to start to write a practise essay based on the previous HSC questions. TT

  27. naomi
    July 8, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    would you be able to put up an essay scaffold for this module? If we are asked a super-broad question, can we just analyse themes in relation to our own interpretations and stuff? E.G something like ‘every text has an expiry date’ – can we just talk about ideas and relate it back to our thesis? Thanks!

  28. sb
    September 5, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    i was just wondering if you could do a essay scaffold for a Hamlet essay or a break down of a question.
    That would help heaps.

  29. Z
    October 7, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    For the reflection statements is there any set structure that must be followed to achieve maximum marks, in terms of structure, language, form etc

  30. jo
    October 8, 2011 at 7:50 am

    Im aware that they could ask “explore the role of women in Hamlet” for this year’s HSCbut i realised i dont have ideas on Gertrude/ Ophelia, mainly because they’re typical subservient women of shakespeare’s time

    Pleaaase help me out here? 🙁

  31. Bishoy
    October 8, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Hamlet GRC 2011

    Hamlet is a text which focuses on character rather than events
    What is your view?
    In your answer consider how Hamlet’s character is developed, referring in detail to the text.

    Hamlet CSSA 2011

    Analyse the ways William Shakespeare has prompted you to understand and respond to great and provocative ideas in “Hamlet”.
    In your response make detailed reference to the play.

  32. j
    October 10, 2011 at 6:39 am

    @ Bishoy
    CSSA’s 2011 isn’t too bad right?
    how would you go about answering the GRC 2011 one?
    i have a paragraph on Corruption which focuses mainly on Claudius and Ros and Guild…. would i need to change that a bit to focus it more on Hmlet and his character development?

    • Bishoy
      October 12, 2011 at 8:19 am

      yeh actually cssa is really good, because u can talk about themes that u want to talk about i.e. just input a prepared essay. But for GRC, its a hard one I think. I was told u dont really need to talk about themes. THe most important thing is to be open to the question, so u primarily have to answer the question and I dont know if it would be useful to refer to themes for it. Also, I was told that the play is actually more about events than characters i.e. a disagreement with the statement. Then u just show how that is true by perhaps showing how Hamlet’s character develop because of the events that occur in Denmark. I am a bit worred about HSC. I thought I made a good generic essay, but realised right now questions like these throw u off. And also I just realised for the last two HSC years they’ve asked on specific themes, meaning any prepared themes u have would be useless, unless u can morph it perfectly into the theme asked by the question. I think they might ask for a particular theme again. ANyway wat do I know? Let tutor tales have the last comment; he knows english. God bless

    • Bishoy
      October 12, 2011 at 8:21 am

      All i know is that watever u do, answer the question and forgot how magnificent ur prepared essay might be. Yes definetely change it to focus on Hamlet’s character development.

    • R
      October 13, 2011 at 9:27 am

      @ J
      I would consider looking at the themes of faithlessness and infidelity, and even deception and appearances against reality. You would be able to manipulate these themes to relate to the characters, their actions and how they shape the character of Hamlet and the overall play.
      Well this is my opinion.
      This question is not that bad really, you just need to be able to manipulate the themes to answer the question correctly.

      Hope this helps.

  33. j
    October 12, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    hahaha mhmm
    which themes does your generic essay cover though?
    i talk about hamlet’s internal conflict/ corruption / relationships and death
    Ive noticed too that HSC focuses on two particular themes all the time
    but what i think they COULD do this year is focus on characters??
    i.e. maybe ask us something about Hamlet’s relationships with other ppeople or the characterisation of hamlet?

    Our trial question this year was : Hamlet is a play about personal fulfillment.
    What do you think about that? and What was your trial Q for hamlet?/

  34. T
    October 14, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Hi, I was looking through the past questions you have listed about and I have noticed some of them requiring students to answer the question based on only TWO extracts from Hamlet. Is that a possibility for future Hamlet questions in the HSC exam in terms of the syllabus or was that a possibility in the previous syllabus? Thanks !

  35. Georgia
    October 15, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Hi, thanks or an awesome site 🙂
    I was wondering if the question can ask you to write specifically about one theme, or if it was possible to prepare a few themes and if a different one is asked about you say that you don’t agree with the statement given because you think a different theme was more prominent? For example, if I didn’t have anything on loyalty and I was doing the 2009 question could I disagree with the statement and say that Hamlet is more about revenge?

  36. Mystery man
    October 23, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Hey thanks for the great site
    I pretty much practised everyquestion on this site before I did the hsc and the question ends up being nearly exact to the one I didn’t do ( the one about the fitting conclusion) fml! I worked so hard! Anyway I just wanted to know if I was slowed to go against the question beacuse it did say ‘to what extent’ I had a prepared essay and I had it marked by a senior hsc marker and i got 19/20 and my idea’s were claudius’s internal desire for control and how it poisions his interactions with others and hamlet’s melancholic inaction in revenge and well as you can see they didn’t really fit well with the 2011 hsc questio so I sort of completely went againt the question and said ‘in a world where interaction within the individual are more significant, hamlet’s profound treatment of the human experience challenges an audiences perception of internal universal concerns which are absent in the final scenes of the play thus making them insignificant’ and then pretty much wrote my essay with links to the endings insignificance due these concerns ability to engage varying audiences to put forward their veiws blah blah in the fist and last sentence of every paragraph with a few intergrated in the paragraph. What do you think? I’m soo worried I worked soo hard for English and BOS pulls out a question like that! Should I have made detailed reference to the last act? But it said make detailed reference to Hamlet and your veiw of the play as the whole? …. Sooo gutted!!!

    • sally
      October 1, 2015 at 6:32 pm

      Hi Mystery Man,

      Can I please ask how you actually ended up doing for you HSC??
      That sounds very unfortunate, but I hope you did well!!

  37. Mystery man
    October 23, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Soo all I pretty much want to know is will my response against the question limit the amount of marks I can get??

  38. j
    October 23, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    I think hamlet was a lot broader than the other text types. For speeches and poems i know that they were very specific. Anyways having said that
    As long as you reinforced WHY you disagree with the essay question it should have been okay
    It was a “to what extent ” does the closing scenes shape your view of the play as a whole
    So you could have said sth “yes, the closing scenes are significant…but moreover”
    hsc markers are probably looking for coherent responses that reinforce ur pov rather than pieces which contradict/ dont make any sense ?

  39. Mystery man
    October 23, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Yea The structure was fine and I got my point of veiw across quite clearly. When you say, WHY do could that be reinforced by context eg for desire for control I supported the idea by integrating Julia gillards betrayl of kevin rudd in favour of our modern veiw and we see it as more significant as we resonate with the idea due to it’s presence and modern context thus making it more significant and then mentioned a critic that went against my personal response but i said the ability of the idea to bring forward varying veiws highlights it’s significance and prominence over the final scenes as it sits at the very core of hamlet blah blah. Yea I have herd alot of people just assumed they had to go with the question and without being prepared that would obviously mean analysing the extract on the spot! Which is impossible in 40 mins, well for me anyways lol i really hope your right about th coherent response thing! True on the speeches and poems thing further more they had to respond to the end of the speeches too which would have been even harder on top of it being specific! And apparently alot of people screwed up belonging due to the place thing personally I think some teachers should be to blame for that as they pretty much look over place. Luckily I did Romulus my father an my thesis was very open and adaptable.

    • j
      October 23, 2011 at 7:14 pm

      Hahahaha :):)
      Mhhhm but if you think about belonging, it wasnt that bad because you could always extend the idea of “places” to “the relationships an individual forms in a place engenders fulfilment” blahblah
      Or you could say, a major factor which influences people’s perceptions of belonging is their relationship with their environment
      Blahbkah *insert relationships* hahaha

      Sounds like you have a strong opinion for hamlet 🙂
      You probably dont have much to worry abt!

      • Mystery man
        October 23, 2011 at 10:00 pm

        Yea people thought it actually meant places as in landscape lol but yea RMF for example when the family moves to aust from Europe the are forced to contend with perceptions of alienation to Aust through pretty much anything like community individuals land what Eva lol I hope not! Yea maths is easy though it’s all repitition! Like dude English was my worst subject half way through the year like I got 62% in the half yearly and I said to my self WTF is this shit are you really that retarded? And so I turned it around and it turned out being my best subject for the trials and got 2nd in the year and inordet to do that i’ve put soo much effort in and I just really hope it pay’s off. Other than mod B though eng was a breeze anyways good luck with the rest of you exams and thanks for replying!

        • j
          October 24, 2011 at 9:14 pm

          WOW you’re freaking ridiculous… hahah you’re the opposite of me. I was coming first before trials and then i got hammered. so fingers crossed for HSC! hahahahahhaha you and i must be really bored
          we’re commenting on tutor tales/ obsessing over english when it’s already over.
          how hard was 4u maths

  40. Day
    January 6, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Great notes but im still confused about the interpretation thing. What does it mean by lets say… if they give us an extract and they ask how does this extract contribute to our interpretation of Hamlet?

  41. Jessica
    March 11, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    It would be great if you could do some questions like this for speeches =)

  42. May 23, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Hi, i dont know how i could write a whole essay on the textual integrity of Hamlet with the inclusion of quotes and techniques. could you give me some examples.

  43. sasha
    July 22, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Hi i was just wondering is it important to use a film as an interpretation?

  44. Katherine
    July 28, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    Hi, when talking about different interpretations, is it important to mention the perspectives of different critics and relate what they said about the play to your own interpretation?

    • tutortales
      August 4, 2012 at 1:54 pm

      If the question specifically states different interpretations, then yes – you should evaluate them again your own views. But given the change in focus in Mod B now, questions are unlikely to ask about critics/interpretations. In that case, it would not be important to talk about critic’s views, as the focus should be on your own interpretation. Although some students may have a quote or two from a critic to support their thesis. TT

  45. Katherine
    July 29, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Hi again, if it’s possible, could you delete my previous comment after answering? I foolishly placed both first and last name there….

    • tutortales
      July 29, 2012 at 11:08 pm

      Just edited your original comment to removed your last name. TT

      • Katherine
        July 30, 2012 at 8:22 pm

        Thank you. Am feeling rather foolish right now.

  46. Anna
    September 28, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    I was just wondering what are some stage techniques? 🙂


  47. Pasan Pawan
    September 12, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    I thank you Sooooo much!!! You’ve given me the correct way of thinking about hamlet. However, the big question I have about English Advanced is ‘what is the required amount of pages needed to be written’

  48. linda f.
    October 8, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Hi-try not to stress about number of pages. It is absolutely quality rather than quantity that is important. Having said that, however, there really shouldn’t be any question on which you cannot write a thoughtful 4-5 exam booklet pages. Since this is the critical study, and the only question for which you will write on only one text, the expectation is that you know that text extremely well. The markers want to see that you understand the motivations of the characters and some of the “big” ideas in the play, like revenge, point of life, deception, loyalty and political scheming. Added to these are thoughts on how the form, language and structure of the drama impact on revealing the characters and issues. Finally, think about how you respond to the play. Markers like to see some personal engagement with the questions. A little bit of enthusiasm (not too OTT!) is very heartening and a welcome change from the responses that are obviously prelearned. I’ve been a marker for a while, and an English teacher forever! Really 4-5 pages of well structured, detailed, relevant argument in 40 minutes (that’s exam booklet pages with about 30 lines, NOT a4 pages) would be a realistic goal. Size of hand writing will be a factor and, of course, if you can write more quickly, then another page or 2 isn’t going to hurt. Honestly though, what you have to say and how well you develop your argument are more important than how many pages you write.

  49. March 9, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    Why is the 2011 one still missing?

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