Past HSC and Practise Questions for Standard Module B: Close Study of Texts

Here are the past HSC questions for Standard Module B: Close Study of Texts for Prose Fiction texts. 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 features of your text (generally).
  2. Question about a specific feature of your text (character, idea, scene).

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

To get a better idea of the kinds of questions in this Module, have a look at the examination rubric:

In your answer you will be assessed on how well you:

  • demonstrate understanding of a text’s distinctive qualities and how these shape meaning
  • organise, develop and express ideas using language appropriate to audience, purpose and form

You should be prepared to know:

  • the IDEAS in your text and the TECHNIQUES that support them
  • the MACRO-TECHNIQUES in your text (characterisation, perspective, voice, structure etc) and how they shape the text
  • the BEGINNING and ENDING Of your text

Past HSC Questions:


How does Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time portray
interesting ideas about difference?


Briar Rose presents the reader with a powerful exploration of the impact of the past on relationshipsHow does Yolen achieve this in her novel?
In your response, make detailed  reference to your prescribed text.


How does Yolen’s portrayal of the relationship between Rebecca and her world move us to a deeper understanding of suffering?
In your response, make detailed reference to your prescribed text.


Discuss how Yolen’s perspective on personal discovery is conveyed in Briar Rose..
In your response, make detailed reference to your prescribed text.


The [set text] is shaped by the decisions of significant characters.

Select ONE significant character in the novel and explore the impact of their choices and actions.


Distinctive ideas are at the heart of every novel.

In your view, what is a distinctive idea explored in [set text]? Explain how this idea is developed throughout the novel.


In what ways does the author draw you into the world of the novel?

In your response make detailed reference to your prescribed text.


Identify a key episode in your prescribed text.

Analyse the ways in which this key episode reflects both the ideas and characteristics of the text as a whole.

Present your analysis in ONE of the following forms:

(a) a speech at an HSC Study Day or

(b) a contribution to an online HSC Resources site.


On the basis of the distinctive features of your prescribed text, argue for its inclusion in the ‘Top Prose Fiction’ list.


What aspects of your prescribed text had the greatest impact on you?

In your response you should reflect on both the ideas and prose fiction techniques used in the prescribed text you have studied.

Questions used by school etc:

  1. Successful texts encourage us to think about our world in new ways. To what extent is this true of your core text?
  2. ‘It’s the characters within any text that bring it to life.’ Choose one central character from your core text and explore the way they bring the central idea and concerns of the text to life.
  3. Discuss the significance of the ending of your text.
  4. The distinctive qualities of texts are intended to appeal to responders. Write an essay in which you consider how the ideas, forms and language of your prescribed text achieve this. (2006 Catholic Trial)
  5. How significant is the title, [title of prescribed text], to the development of the novel? In your assessment, make sure that you make close reference to both the ideas in the novel and how these ideas are represented. (2008 Independent Trial)
  6. How successful has [composer of prescribed text] been in conveying the significant ideas about human nature?
  7. You have been asked to contribute to a Higher School Certificate study aid publication called Personal Experiences of HSC Students. Write an article that contains TWO or THREE reflections, explaining how your understanding and appreciation of [prescribed text] developed during the course of your study. In your reflections make close reference to both the ideas in the [prescribed text] and how these ideas are represented. (2009 Independent Trial)
  8. Discuss the ways in which the composer of your prescribed text communicates significant ideas. (2010 BGHS Trial)
  9. You have been asked to speak to a group of Year 12 students about what you have learnt during your study of Module B: Close Study of Text. Your task is to discuss how your set text has increased your understanding of how composers use form, features and structures to convey their ideas. (2010 BGHS assessment)
  10. What qualities of [text] contribute most to your appreciation of the [text]? (2010 CSSA Trial)

7 comments for “Past HSC and Practise Questions for Standard Module B: Close Study of Texts

  1. April 7, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Hi there!

    First of all, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to write up such an awesome site for us to use for free. Its been immensely helpful!

    Anyway, my question: is there a possibility that they can ask a question in the HSC for module B, forcing us to use certain set speeches? I’ve seen that in previous questions (like in HSC 2009), they allow you to use any two of your choosing, but in the future, can they ask you to talk about two speeches that they have chosen?

    Thanks a lot!

    • tutortales
      April 12, 2010 at 11:15 am

      No problem! Technically they can, but it is HIGHLY unlikely that they would ever do that. Have a general idea of what the other speeches are about (and a couple of techniques/quotes), if you’re really worried about it – but otherwise I wouldn’t waste time preparing for that situation.


  2. July 9, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    There’s still a overwhelming diversity in the questions of this module :/ I don’t know if I’m covering it properly.

  3. nicki
    October 13, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    wow thanks so much for this site !
    Now i dont have to go to board of studies and click on each year . Gosh that was time consuming !
    And thanks for the tips at the top xo

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