Book Review: Success in HSC Advanced English Third Edition by Suzan & Bruce Pattinson

by Suzan & Bruce Pattinson (2008)
by Suzan & Bruce Pattinson (2008)

Publisher: Five Senses Education

Publication Date: 2008

Success in HSC Advanced English (3rd edition) is basically a guide to how to write different text types answers to your Area of Study: Belonging and Modules A, B and C.

It covers these text types:

  • Writing in a role
  • Journal/Diary Entry
  • Brochure/Pamplet
  • Point of view
  • Radio Interview
  • Television Interview
  • Letter
  • Feature Article
  • Speech
  • Report
  • Essay

For each text type, it gives:

  • A 1-page explanation and outline of what that text type is
  • A annotated model answer of that text type, using a text from the HSC Advanced English Syllabus
  • A practice question for that text type, relating to either Belonging or one of the Modules.

For Students

  • Provides annotated model answers in each text type –  using questions and texts that are fitted to the 2009-2012 HSC Advanced English syllabus.
  • For example, there is an annotated example Belonging speech about Strictly Ballroom.

The benefit of reading model answers:

A lot of times, you get frustrated because your teachers say “This could be better…” or “Your language should be clearer”. But all you can think is “How can it be better? I thought it was pretty good already!” or “I don’t know how to make it clearer!”

It’s times like this that looking at example answers really helps.

They give you a sort of “standard” to compare your work to – you start seeing “Oh, I can see how this would get a better mark than mine”. This is actually really helpful for students.

But the reason why most teachers don’t give you model examples is because they’re afraid students will plagiarise.  They want you to come up with your own writing style, your own ideas and your own analysis.

NOTE: you can’t plagiarise from this book, because the model answers will not necessarily be about your text or fit your text type, they are too short and they are not top A grade standard (keep in mind, the purpose of the book is to show how to adapt to different text types).

For Tutors

  • Provides practice questions for different text types that you can give to your student (I find it hard to make up my own sometimes).
  • Has annotated model examples that you can give your student (instead of rifling through Bored of Studies).
  • The practice questions and model examples are particular to the 2009-2012 HSC Advanced English syllabus (for all the other tutors, who are struggling to teach the new syllabus)


  • The book gives a scaffold of each text type – but its too simplistic to use.

Each text type has a flow chart explaining its structure, but the fact is that every text type will have an introduction, body and conclusion in some form or another. So I found this rather unhelpful and there was no point showing it to my students.

Each also has a short part on Audience, Purpose and Communication. But I also found this unhelpful to read, because all of that will be indicated by the particular question anyway. Not the text type.

The key differences and features of each text type could have been highlighted a lot more clearly through dot points, or just by reading the annotations.

  • Some text types are highly unlikely to be encountered in actual assessments and exams.

For example: “Writing in a role”, Journal/Diary Entry, Brochure/Pamplet and Point of View.

Personally and through my students’ experiences, I have never come across the above text types – so I found those examples pretty useless. You might (and I stress how low this chance is) come across something like Brochure/Pamplet or a Journal/Diary entry – but generally, examiners and schools do not use these text types.

Why? Because they are either too creative, too difficult or won’t give the student enough breadth to write a sophisticated analytical response.

NOTE: I have come across a Report before – I think that was for my Trial HSC.


6 comments for “Book Review: Success in HSC Advanced English Third Edition by Suzan & Bruce Pattinson

  1. corey
    February 20, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    hey there,
    i wanted to ask a general question so thought that the only way i could do this was by leaving a comment. anyways, ive got this assessment for english in which i have to write an interview about my prescribed text, which is “immigrant chronicle” by peter skrzynecki and another chosen related text, which i chose as “the catcher in the rye” by JD Salinger. So my question for you is, how do i set it out? since i have two composers to interview, how would i set out the interview? i want to do it in a way that is integrated. would i ask a general question and then write down the answer for person A and then person B or would i simply ask question by question seperately to each composer?

    • tutortales
      February 22, 2010 at 8:56 am

      I would do it by asking the general question and having answers from composer A and composer B – that way the whole piece is more integrated and you waste less words/time asking each composer separately. Also you can play with interactions between the 2 composers eg. they have a disagreement or comment about each other’s answers.


      • corey
        February 22, 2010 at 3:49 pm

        ok cool, thanks. but um, what about if i wanted to ask about specific questions which may not specifically relate to the other composer? do you think asking questions seperately would be better than asking just general questions?

        • tutortales
          February 25, 2010 at 3:19 pm

          In that case, just do both. Ask general questions and where necessary direct the question to a particular composer.


  2. corey
    February 22, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    also, how many questions do you think would constitute for an A range mark? how much writing do you think should be involved?
    thankyou, your’re incredibly helpful.

    • tutortales
      February 25, 2010 at 3:23 pm

      No problem! I don’t think the number of questions is a good way to calculate what marks you should get. But if your essay (which you’re changing into an interview) has 2 body paragraphs, then maybe 3 questions per body paragraph? So total 6 questions, plus minor questions elsewhere to create conversational flow. Also, try not to make the questions so “obvious”. They should sound natural/conversational and flow on from the composer’s previous answer or the interview’s previous question/topic.

      Just a note, your essay should be 1000 words. The interview should roughly be the same/little less.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *