There’s about 1 month left until Term 1 of 2011 starts again. For HSC students, this will mean their second term and the beginning of their first Paper 2 Module (usually Module A).
If you’re like me and become easily bored during the holidays (I need the work/fun balance to wake me up in the morning), here’s a list of what you can do to pass the time and get ahead for the 2011 HSC.
#1: Read core texts ahead of time
I admit that I actually don’t like reading very much. As a child I was an avid reader, but then pretty much stopped in late high school. Yet, whether you are a speed reader or, like me, can force yourself to digest books – you should take the opportunity to read your core texts for the rest of the HSC now.
If you already know what your core texts are and you have to obtain them yourself – borrow those books now and grab a few study guides whilst you’re at it. Rather than waiting for the Module to come around, grab those books, before everyone’s running to the library to grab their copy! Otherwise, you may be facing a library catalogue reading “14 reservations”…
But aren’t the study guides a bit pre-emptive? Yes, well that’s the point. You don’t need to read them now, but at least borrow them and photocopy (bearing in mind copyright…) the relevant sections for use later next year.
As an example of getting ahead, so far me and my English Extension 1 student have read all her core texts for Romanticism (which her class is doing): Coleridge, Northanger Abbey and Wuthering Heights. This is despite the fact that they are only now Coleridge at school. And she’ll have the advantage of not having to panic about borrowing the books and having the time to read them next year. Re-reading later on isn’t a waste of time, because you’ll actually read it faster (only need to refresh your memory) and you can pick up on more things on the second reading.
Task #1 is also particularly easy with films which you are studying. Borrow the films and watch them in a movie marathon with a few friends over popcorn!
#2:Rework your Belonging creative and essay
By now, you should have spent Term 4 of 2010 doing the AOS: Belonging. You should at least have a first draft of a Belonging creative and essay, which you may have handed in as an assessment (a lot of my students did a Belonging speech as an assessment). And I’m sure that for many, after the speech assessment, you just filed it away in a dark corner…
Well, now is the time to take it out! What did your teacher and the markers say about your creative and assessment? Take an hour or two to actually go through and FIX your Belonging creative and essay.
- Do you need to improve your thesis?
- Do you need to add more quotes/techniques?
- Do you need to change the ending of your creative?
Begin with the easy edits, which don’t require any brain work – spelling, grammar, strike outs that your teacher marked on your paper.
Then move onto the harder stuff – “rewrite this sentence” or “make this clearer”.
#3: Prepare for your half yearly exam
The half yearly exam for HSC students is essentially the AOS: Belonging (Paper 1) exam, which involves the unseen, the creative, and the essay. Why should you prepare for this exam? Well, it counts for a certain percentage of your HSC mark and ATAR – the percentage depends on your school, but it nonetheless counts!
You can practise using:
- My post on past HSC and practise essay questions for Belonging.
- Past HSC exams (2009 onwards) Paper 1
- Past HSC Trial and Half Yearly school exam papers – you may have to ask for them from past HSC students, or search for them online (for example, here is the 2010 Catholic HSC Trial Paper 1)
This gives you an opportunity to “test” your creative and essay against different types of questions and stimuli. You can also work on the unseen section, revising visual/literary techniques as needed.
#4: Watch movies and read books for fun
Given that this is the only major break from Term 1 2011 until the HSC, take time out to relax, watch movies and read books just for fun. Who knows, you may end up finding a good related text for Belonging!
Have a look at some of the movies in session now:
- Diary of A Wimpy Kid
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
- The Social Network
For example, I have spent some of these holidays rewatching Lost Season 3-4 on DVD. It’s fantastic because a lot more makes sense now retrospectively and I can see obvious ideas about Belonging which could be deconstructed from Lost.
Last night, I also rewatched The Princess Diaries, which also has clear links with Belonging (family relationships, identity, understanding).
Belonging is everywhere!
Enjoy your summer break!