Reflecting on the 2010 HSC English Paper 1: Area of Study – Belonging (Standard and Advanced)

Question 1: Unseen

The unseen section was pretty easy in 2010, I think. Not much to say…

Text 1 was interesting – kind of abstract and may have been difficult for some students to identity what the techniques were. I also liked Text 4 (the poem) and the ideas about belonging it explored.

Question 2: Creative

The 2010 question was surprisingly easy this time around – easier than the 2009 question I think.

I mean, you had 3 quotations, which you had to use as the opening for a piece of imaginative writing.

No specific text type! Very general quotes! Use it as the opening (no need for it to be the BASIS of your piece)! AND, it was about the “challenges of belonging and non-belonging” – which is incredibly broad.

I think most students would’ve picked the 1st or 3rd quotation. Did anyone pick the 2nd?

Question 3: Essay

This was a fairly standard essay question – focus is on relationships which either enrich or limits belonging.

If your prepared essay was focused on the good/bad of belonging (identity/conformity), as I recommended to most of my students as the BASIS of any belonging essay – then this should’ve been REALLY easy.

Only challenge was the use of only ONE related text (same as in 2009), which I didn’t expect the BOS to do again. But hey, they did – just means you needed to have 1 related text which gave you enough to talk about and which you knew enough about to discuss in greater detail.

I suspect that the ONE related text is perhaps a new BOS policy – trying to get students to pick their related texts more judiciously (carefully) and really testing their depth of knowledge on their related text. I mean, the students who essentially lose out are:

  • Those who just picked anything with belonging in it – and if it didn’t have enough ideas etc in it, then they would’ve struggled to write more (rather than relying on the ideas in their 2nd related text).
  • Those who knew enough about their related text – but only enough to write 1 paragraph (assuming you structure your essay as core, related 1, core again, related 2) and then got stuck on writing the 2nd paragraph.

Any comments?

27 comments for “Reflecting on the 2010 HSC English Paper 1: Area of Study – Belonging (Standard and Advanced)

  1. Vincent
    October 19, 2010 at 8:24 am


    For the creative, I didn’t put the quote directly at the beginning but placed it in my opening paragraph. Do you think that’s alright?

    • tutortales
      October 19, 2010 at 9:44 am

      That should be ok – since it just refers to “opening” of your piece. TT

      • Hmmm
        October 25, 2010 at 7:33 pm

        Are you sure? I always thought “opening” as really the first thing you write?

  2. Daniel
    October 19, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Yeah it was easier than I thought. Very general overall.

    I’m interested to see your reflection on Paper 2 (advanced). I thought it wasn’t too bad either, although Module B questions had me thinking for a while…

    • tutortales
      October 19, 2010 at 9:54 am

      Unfortunately I haven’t gotten my hands on the Paper 2 yet, or the questions (except for the Hamlet one which is posted by BOS). And the BoredofStudies website is down. :/ TT

  3. October 19, 2010 at 9:06 am

    I am interested tohear your thoughts on paper 2 advanced. It seems as though some of the questions were quite open to interpretation.

  4. Sam
    October 19, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    I felt that the questions for elective 1 were much more general than the ‘texts in time’ questions in Mod A. The ‘textual forms’ in the history and memory elective also confused some people.

  5. Carly
    October 19, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    here are the questions that I did for advanced modules, the structure were fairly similar for the others but words were changed (I have put square brackets around the words that were specific for my texts)

    Module A (Exploring Connections): Analyse how the central values portrayed in Donne’s poetry are creatively shaped in W;t.

    Module B: ‘Shakespeare’s Hamlet continues to engage audiences through its dramatic treatment of struggle and disillusionment.’ In the light of your critical study, does this statement resonate with your own interpretation of Hamlet? In your response, make detailed reference to the play.

    Module C (Conflicting perspectives): To what extent has textual form shaped your understanding of conflicting perspectives? In your response, make detailed reference to your prescribed text and at least ONE other related text of your own choosing.

    • Carly
      October 19, 2010 at 5:00 pm

      ^^^ whoops just realised I forgot the square brackets around [Donne] and [W;t]

      mod b threw me off with the word ‘disillusionment’. had me stumped for what kind they meant and I really had to give my own interpretation of it. I also did not explicitly link to MY OWN interpretation as much as I would have liked, but I did hint what other critics said and how my view contrasted, so hopefully that’s enough to score.

      • tutortales
        October 19, 2010 at 9:49 pm

        Thanks Carly for those questions. I agree that students may have been confused by the word “disillusionment”, or possibly even misinterpreted as something to do with “illusion/deception” rather than “disappointment”. I quite like the question for Hamlet though; it’s broad enough to work well with my general interpretation of Hamlet. TT

  6. Daniel
    October 19, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    Module A had the most general question. Pretty easy I think. Only the wording of the question, “creatively reshaped” had me nervous for a bit.

    Module B: What had me stumped for about a minute or so was the wording of the question and what it implied: “In the light of your critical study, does this statement resonate with your own interpretation of [text]?”
    I’m lucky that I actually did create my own interpretation out of all the different ideas, because to me it is saying “explicitly state your own interpretation and see if it goes well or not with the given theme” – for Jane Eyre, it was expectations and love (expectations had me confused for a while as well). I hope I did interpret it correctly…

    I basically had to improvise on the spot for Module C because the one thing I didn’t study was the textual form of The Fiftieth Gate – I had a general idea, but didn’t specifically study it.

  7. Therese
    October 19, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    I generally agree with your feedback. The paper was not too bad at all. I hope I did well!
    Hi TT, thanks for the post :). I was wondering, what course are you doing at uni atm? Are you enjoying? I’m assuming it must involve alot of English-related skills like essay writing, cuz your posts are mainly English related.

    • tutortales
      October 19, 2010 at 9:32 pm

      I’m doing Law/Arts in Communication (Writing and Cultural Studies). Yes, it’s challenging and fun (the combo of law and creative writing), and I kinda grew to like the Law aspects. Most of my posts are English related – mainly because that’s the subject I mostly tutor in. I also tutor Biology, but really, there’s not much to say about Bio, lol. All the best for your results. TT

      • Therese
        October 19, 2010 at 9:40 pm

        Wow, you must have done really well in your HSC then πŸ™‚
        At what uni is this course at? Would your recommend this uni and why? What year student are you? How is the law course, is it very theoretical – cuz you hear mixed reviews on law as many people say it can be very boring with lots of reading etc.?
        lol sorry for all the questions. I’m just curious and interested.
        Thankyou πŸ™‚

  8. boardofstudies
    October 19, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    What exactly are textual forms anyway?

    Were they referring to the use of representation (ie. techniques) ?

    • Peace
      October 21, 2010 at 5:19 am

      I think form is like the medium/forms and features associated with a certain text type eg. poetic form includes the actual medium of poetry and the techniq

  9. Tony
    October 23, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    For the question on Module C Conflicting Perspectives, the question was “How has textual form informed your understanding of Conflicting Perspectives?” Did we have to write a personal response to this question?

    I didn’t really have much to say about textual form although I did identify the medium of production of my texts and kinda explained about how it produces conflicting perspectives by offering subjective responses but there wasn’t that much to say. Hope that’s alright.

    • tutortales
      October 28, 2010 at 9:02 am

      Hi Tony – there’s no need for a personal response. And you sound like you were on the right track – by identifying the textual forms/mediums and then branching off from that. TT

  10. Tim
    October 24, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Hey TT,

    I’m a bit worried about the Hamlet. I said he experiences a sense of disillusionment became not everything is always as it seems-appearance versus reality and talked about Claudius and Ophelia,-but you said that it was a misinterpretation to talk about deception/illusion?
    Sorry, just wondering, cause i’m really worried I stuffed up the whole question now, wasn’t really sure what the word meant so did this.

    • tutortales
      October 28, 2010 at 8:43 am

      Hey Tim – no you’ve got it right! I meant that some people might have misread “disillusionment” and talked about the themes of “illusion” – but you’ve done the correct thing, which is linked it back to “disillusionment” as in “disappointment”. TT

  11. Peace
    October 25, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Hey Tim

    I think thats fine. In the end, it is the deception fo Elizabethan society that fuels or catalyses his disullusionment. As long as you made that link clear, it should be fine!


  12. Maddie
    October 27, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Hi. I realised for the first time since sitting the paper that I was meant to ‘open’ with the quote upon reading this page, and am now worried as anything as to how that’s going to affect my mark.
    I had the quote about 3 paragraphs down.
    I guess in an obscure metaphorical sense the narrative ‘opened’ with the idea of alienation (I think it was the third quote) and moved away from that towards the end…
    But you wouldn’t have any sort of idea how being so unbelievably stupid will impact on the mark do you?
    I got really good marks for the story and adapted it to many questions throughout the year.

    :S :S :S

    • tutortales
      October 28, 2010 at 8:48 am

      Hey Maddie – I can’t say how exactly it’ll impact upon your mark (though it’ll obviously have an impact). However, keep in mind that the creative is only 1/3 of your HSC AOS, which is only 50% of all your marks, which is also then scaled. TT

  13. Amy
    October 27, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Tim-that is perfect!
    He experiences dissillusionment because he thinks things ‘appear’ on way, when they in fact are something different-appearance versus reality, fits this question very well.
    well done.

  14. Yorrick
    October 28, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Hi πŸ˜€ I’ve got teachers who say that if you’re asked for only one related text, then you should write about 3 poems if you’re doing Skrzynecki, so that you’ve always got a total of four texts. Is there any truth to that? I only used two poems and one related for my essay, having completely forgotten their advice – is that likely to be a significant factor in marking? Have people done well using only a total of three texts?

    (I’m assuming yes, because the other prescribed texts are single, self contained pieces of work, so many people must have to write about a total of two texts …)

    Just trying to put my mind at rest πŸ˜€ Thanks

  15. Angel
    November 14, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Was the essay question specifically on relatioships? Or was it a little bit more broad? Can u plz email me.

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