Past HSC and Practise Questions for English Extension 1: Genre – Crime Writing

Here is a collection of the past HSC questions for Crime Writing (previously Crime Fiction).

As you can see with all the questions, they either fall into type 1 or 2 below:

  1. Question about conventions generally.
  2. Question about specific conventions/aspects of Crime Writing – e.g. mystery etc.

Yet it is essential in your response (no matter the question) that you address the following:

  • Conventions
  • Ideas and techniques
  • Context and values

Past HSC Questions

2010:

Significant texts in any genre arise from specific social and cultural conditions and possess an enduring relevance.

Write an essay in which you explore the extent to which this is true of the texts you have studied in your elective.

In your response, refer to TWO prescribed texts AND texts of your own choosing.

2009:

Write an essay in which you explore the interplay of the traditional and innovative in Crime Writing. In your response, refer to TWO prescribed texts and texts of your own choosing.

2008:

Crime Writing explores the unraveling of mystery from different angles.

Write an essay in which you evaluate the extent to which this is true.

In your response you must refer to TWO prescribed texts AND at least TWO texts of your own choosing.

2007:

Passion is at the heart of Crime Fiction. Yet detachment is also crucial.

Write an essay in which you evaluate the extent to which this is true of TWO prescribed texts AND at least TWO texts of your own choosing.

2006:

Crime Fiction locates us in places of mystery and discovery.

Write an essay in which you evaluate the extent to which this is true of TWO prescribed texts AND at least TWO texts of your own choosing.

2005:

‘I’ll commit the perfect crime: a murder with no trace, no clues, no body. With no evidence, there can be no solution. As if nothing had happened. No motive to be discerned. Have I even committed a crime if it cannot be pieced together? If its story cannot be told? No-one can outwit me, not even you.’

The provided text reveals an imagined character’s thoughts.

Evaluate the extent to which these thoughts express the conventions, ideas and values of Crime Fiction.

In your response, refer to the provided text AND TWO prescribed texts AND other texts of your own choosing.

2003:

Genre sets a framework of conventions.

How useful is it to understand texts in terms of genre? Are texts more engaging when they conform to the conventions, or when they challenge and play with the conventions?

In your answer, draw on your knowledge of at least TWO of the prescribed texts from your Elective, as well as other texts of your own choosing.

2002:

One view is that ‘The appeal of crime fiction is in its teasing-out of order from disorder.’

What do you see as the grounds for the enduring popularity of crime fiction? In your answer, refer to at least TWO of the prescribed texts as well as other texts of your own choosing.

2001:

How do the conventions of the genre you have studied for this module limit or support the impact of the composer’s vision?

In your discussion, draw on your knowledge of at least TWO of the prescribed texts and other related texts.

Practice Questions

  1. As an expert in crime fiction, compose the speech you make that examines the value and limitations of the genre to society.
  2. ‘Crime fiction exposes both the potency and impotence of murder.’ Is this true from your study of the genre?
  3. How does crime fiction reflect the context in which it is written? As the composers of the texts you have studied, write a series of journal entries that addresses this aspect of the crime fiction genre.
  4. ‘Whilst the individual plots and contexts may change, the underlying values of crime fiction remain the same.’ To what extent do you agree with this statement?
  5. ‘Crime fiction is more than simply a tale of murder, it constitutes a comment on the society it describes.’ Write a radio segments where a pair of experts discuss this aspect of crime fiction.
  6. ‘Whilst there is a definite recipe for crime fiction it is flexible enough to allow individual composers to be creative and make their messages clear.’ To what extent do you agree with this statement?
  7. The modern crime fiction has deviated from the classical form. In a feature article explore how and why this has occurred.
  8. Crime Writing provides a solution for the crime, but not for the more complex problems raised in the texts.
  9. In an age of computer technology, what does Crime Writing have to offer the public?
  10. Aspects of crime in particular contexts are the main concern of the elective Crime Writing. How are these aspects given significance in the texts studied for this elective?
  11. Boundaries challenge rather than restrict the individual. Evaluate this statement in terms of the texts you have studied. (2006 CSSA Trial)
  12. Any Crime Fiction text expends most of its energy creating suspense and complex plots. This reduces its ability to offer serious social comment. Write an essay in which you evaluate the extent to which this is true of TWO prescribed texts AND at least TWO texts of your own choosing. (2008 ARC Trial)
  13. One of the values of Crime [Writing] is that this genre bears a witness to what it is to be human; that humans have strengths and limitations. Evaluate this statement. (2008 Independent Trial)
  14. ‘While the genre of crime writing covers a wide diversity of texts, these texts all engage with investigating a crime and associated social and moral issues.’ Evaluate this statement. (2009 Independent Trial)

22 comments for “Past HSC and Practise Questions for English Extension 1: Genre – Crime Writing

  1. Kym
    November 8, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    I have the 2009 HSC questions for Crime Writing. Would you like them?

    • tutortales
      November 8, 2009 at 4:43 pm

      That would be great thanks! You can email them to me to whatnowdd@gmail.com or just comment back with the questions.

      Thanks

      TT

      • Kym
        November 14, 2009 at 7:56 am

        3. Write an essay in which you explore the interplay of the traditional and innovative in Crime Writing. In your response, refer to TWO prescribed texts and texts of your own choosing.

        3. “Truth can spill out/with little hooks/of questions,/caught in photos/stuffed at the back/of a drawer.”
        Use all or part of the provided text in a piece of imaginative writing that reflects your understanding of the role of the detective in Crime Writing.

  2. Rachael
    December 30, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    Hi

    You havent got anything about Romanticism, but I was wondering are there any good resources out there worth buying? Like Barbara Stnnaer’s Exploring Genre and Style: Romanticism.

  3. Emily
    July 14, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    I was wondering if you could also show creative questions so we could practice those as well.
    Thanks.

  4. tiana
    October 7, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    It seems the last 2 HSC questions centre around subversion/conformity of traditional crime conventions. do you think this year’s hsc question will follow the same road?

    • tutortales
      October 8, 2010 at 12:17 pm

      Well, this Module is essentially about adhering or subverting conventions. So the question may either ask you to discuss conventions (and you choose which ones you discuss) or may ask you to consider SPECIFIC conventions (see 2005-2007).

      TT

  5. gk
    October 28, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    i just finished my extension english exam and I was quite concerned about my response.
    the question warranted you to include “TWO prescribed texts, and text of your own choosing”

    due to time, i only wrote with my prescribed and one related, at the time thinking it was permissible as it did not specify 2.
    what kind of penalty will this incurr?

  6. LightandZhangy
    October 28, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    hey how’s it going, the Ext English Exam was today and the essay question was surprisingly really easy for crime writing though too easy perhaps. I do have concerns though

    “Significant texts in any genre arise from specific social and cultural conditions and possess an enduring relevance.” I pretty much just lumped social and cultural conditions together, I didn’t mention cultural conditions or influences at all as I was pretty much talking about context and social conditions reflected in my texts the whole time. Is that ok or have I just made a grave and terrible mistake interpreting social and cultural conditions as one and the same? Thanks

    • tutortales
      October 29, 2010 at 11:34 am

      I think “social and cultural conditions” is pretty general and can be lumped together, so long as you referred to the factors your talking about as “social and cultural”. However, obviously, if you’ve expressly and separately discussed “cultural conditions” that would’ve been better. But it should be ok. TT

  7. Idiot
    October 29, 2010 at 8:55 am

    Hey TT,

    I was wondering if you could guess how much marks they would deduct if you didn’t actually write about the specific setting for the creative but incorporated the three terms required? Like I didn’t specifically set it in the specific country of my prescribed text, stupidly just placed the story in a temple like the one the protagonist visited?

    • tutortales
      October 29, 2010 at 11:32 am

      Sorry, I don’t know what the creative question for 2010 was. Can you give me more details about what the terms were? TT

      • Idiot
        October 29, 2010 at 12:16 pm

        It was: Compose a piece of original imaginative writing using a setting from one of your prescribed texts and incorporating these three terms: a wish, a message, solitude. Your response should draw on your knowledge and understanding of the elective (navigating the global for me) you have studied. So I thought Lost in Translation would be easy since it’s based on modern society BUT instead of setting my story in Japan like the film, I did a temple in China …

      • Idiot
        October 29, 2010 at 12:19 pm

        Do you think it would cost me from A-B range to C range?

        • tutortales
          October 29, 2010 at 10:36 pm

          Hmm… I haven’t tutored that elective before. But I don’t think it would push you all the way down to C. The marks depends a lot on other factors, such as your strength in writing, your originality, your understanding of the module etc. For example, have a look at the 2009 HSC marking guidelines (page 5). TT

  8. Kato
    August 9, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Hey there,
    I looked at most of the past questions for this genre. I wasn’t sure what was the common element they all wanted, but I think they want to basically make us establish a connection between context and conventions(or how they are subverted)?

    So basically, keeping the variations of the question in mind, do we just talk about how the conventions in a genre piece have changed through an evolution of context?
    I wasn’t sure because when I looked at the rubric for some of the questions, they didn’t mention context, but rather ideas/values/conventions.

    • tutortales
      August 11, 2011 at 8:35 pm

      Hi Kato – you’re right in identifying that the common element of the questions is examining how the conventions of the genre have been developed/subverted over time. Essentially, the texts you study are “milestones” in the genre and you need to understand how it sits both within a social/historical context, as well as a literary/genre context. TT

  9. Kato
    August 9, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    I think the new rubric (for 2010) also has a bigger emphasis on context? However, I’m not sure. Could you please clarify?

    Thank you

  10. Char
    October 27, 2011 at 10:27 am

    The essay- So the main areas that can be asked are; enduring relevance, context, conventions (subversion and use of), justice. Is that pretty much it? what other areas can they ask? Is it likely that they ask about specific things such as the detective, clue puzzle etc? And we will always need at least 2 texts yes?
    Also.. creative response section, is it a good idea to have a prepared story, or at least ideas? its on monday.. help..!
    Haha thanks :)

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