The night before the exam
Go to bed at your normal (going to school) time, not earlier not later.
Do not sit up late cramming you will only stress yourself without achieving anything (you should already have done your preparation!)
Get some exercise a run, swim or walk is fine. This does not mean go out and party with your friends!
Make sure you drink plenty of WATER, you want to go to the exam hydrated… but not full of liquid – you know the consequences of this!
Find your dictionary and two working blue or black pens (both the same if possible) and highlighters. You must be self sufficient. You are NOT allowed to borrow pens or dictionaries from other students once the exam has started.
Eat breakfast (even if your stomach is churning) Three hours is a long time on an empty stomach.
Arrive at school 20 minutes to half an hour before your exam.
What to take into the exam:
Water in a clear unlabeled bottle. It is important to stay hydrated for optimum brain function.
A dictionary – you may not take a thesaurus even if it is attached to your dictionary A thesaurus will confiscated if you do take one in. (Your dictionary will work as a thesaurus; remember there is no rule which says you have to replace a word with another single word!)
- TWO working blue/black pens that don’t leave blots every second word.
- Highlighters for your Language Analysis
- Watch – but programmable watches may be confiscated for the duration of the exam
What you may not take into the exam
- Your text books
- Notes of any kind (yes we know you are allowed a page of notes for maths but this is the English exam and the rules are different!)
What you should not take into the exam
- Red pens, pastel coloured pens, perfumed pens, pencils – none of these are appropriate unless you are intent on annoying the examiner so they will give you the worst possible mark.
There are no marks for writing the number of the question in a different colour (and there are some assessors who get quite irate when students do change pens as it is considered a waste of writing time).
- Liquid paper – you are not allowed to use it.
A single line through any errors works just as well (don’t scribble it out, it looks messy). Assessors get paid per question, so they don’t waste their time reading what you have crossed out.
There is time to improve your grade remarkably between now and the exams, but you will need to take control.
Get up at a reasonable hour (Don’t sleep your day away!). If you get up not much later than your usual time you can achieve a lot of work and still have time for exercise and a little socialising.
Work out a study timetable — divide your time between your subjects, don’t just do one and ignore the others, don’t just do what comes easiest! The research shows that you should be working in at least half hour blocks with short breaks
Form a study group — but make sure that they are people who will study and who will share ideas. Read each other’s work and comment constructively, make workable suggestions, solve problems…
Submit your work for teacher’s comments
WRITE, WRITE WRITE. (Essay Topics for your texts and Prompts for Context are here on the blog! Short articles for a quick analysis are here too)
Text: Complete a mix of: plans, intro + dot points + conclusion; and most importantly full essays under timed conditions. (1 hour)
Context: Work on your pieces and ensure that you are both addressing the prompt and incorporating your chosen text Witness/GUPA into your writing. Look for prompts which would not fit anything that you have written. What would you do for these? Full essays under timed conditions. (1 hour)
Language Analysis: Complete VCAA past papers (see VCAA site) or use ones from your manual or quick analyses from the articles on this blog for when you have only a little time. You could also use any opinion article from a newspaper. Full essays under timed conditions. (1 hour)
Year of Wonders
Past VCAA exam papers
||It is only the in mates who benefit from the production of Cosi Fan Tutte. Discuss with reference to Cosi
||It is only when we know ourselves that we can find a place to belong
||1666 was truly a year of wonders for Anna Firth. Discuss.
||VCAA 2007 Exam (You have already done this one in class but have a fresh try)
||Lewis never has control over the production, it is Roy who makes all the decisions.
||Our identity and sense of belonging are shaped by our cultural heritage.
||Fear was as destructive as the plague itself. Is this true of Year of Wonders?
||VCAA 2006 (both articles)
||The world outside the asylum was as mad as anything to be found inside the institution. Is this Nowra’s view?
||Friends are the most important way of finding out who we are and where we belong
||All the characters in Year of Wonders are flawed in some way. Discuss
||VCAA 2004 (don’t forget the image)
||Madness is in the eye of the beholder. Discuss with reference to Cosi
||Living in a culture which is different is never easy
||Year of Wonders is totally unrealistic. Nobody could be as selfless as these characters. Do you agree?
||VCAA 2009 sample exam
||Music and the arts are much more than mere entertainment. Does Cosi support this view?
||To belong we hide behind a series of masks which hide our true identity
||Every person in Year of Wonders has their own way of coping. To what extent is this true?
||VCAA 2008 exam
||All the characters in Cosi have their own version of what it is to be normal. Do you agree?
||Our outward appearance tells little of who we really are
||Despite the horrors of the plague many of the characters benefit from their situation. Discuss
||VCAA 2009 exam
||How does love shape the actions of the characters in Cosi?
||Only our families can ever truly understand us
||It is the women who are the strongest characters in Year of Wonders. Do you agree?
||VCAA 2010 exam
You can complete a mix of Full essays; Essay plans; Full introdution – dot point- full conclusion; Dot point intro – topic sentences – dot point expansion; Lotus diagrams; Essays in timed or untimed conditions. AT LEAST HALF SHOULD BE FULL ESSAYS. The important thing is to be thinking about and trying different ways of shaping essays and ways of responding to Text, Contest and Language Analysis.
When in doubt seek help (but have a go yourself first)!
You need to submit your work for feedback
You can find a useful discussion of Year of Wonders on the Wheeler Centre’s site: http://wheelercentre.com/videos/video/texts-in-the-city-year-of-wonders/
It should provide you with some food for thought about the novel and ways of engaging with this text.
Please note that none of your teachers will comment on essays written on these topics as preparation for the SAC. (Essays on other topics might receive feedback, if time permits)
SAC Topics (select ONE)
Love and politics are equally important. Discuss with reference to Cosi.
Lewis is as much a product of his environment as Nick, Lucy or any of the in-mates. Discuss.
PS: Don’t forget to check out the marking criteria for your SAC via the English drop down menu.
The (longish) list of prompts for Identity and Belonging has been expanded. Check out the new ones on the bottom of the list.
By the way the prompts are in two formats, statements and questions. The prompt you see on the exam paper could be either
… and even more confrontingly could be a picture or graphic, with or without a written prompt. This has not yet happened but the VCCA says “prompt or stimulus material” in its official publications. (More later)