What to do after you get your English ATAR exams results?

It’s the moment every Year 11 and Year 12 fears…. Receiving their results for their English ATAR exam.

Maybe you did surprisingly well and you think it’s time to kick back and do nothing for the rest of the year. Or perhaps you didn’t get the marks you thought you would and you are ready to give up on ATAR and join the circus.

One exam does not make the student, but what you do with that exam will define your Year 11 and Year 12 journey.

Here are my top five things to do after your exam to ensure you can resolve the issues for the next one!

1. Book some face time

No one wants to be a “sweat” (for parents, this is a term that teenagers use to mean teacher’s pet – isn’t language fun?). But sometimes, you have to just book that face time with your teacher. Even if you ask them for 15 minutes at lunch to ask some questions, it will endear you to the teacher and will show them that you are interested in your grades. In these 15 minutes, ask three solid questions and try to gain as much insight from the results as possible.

2. Check your marking guide/rubric

Every assessment you do in English should come with a rubric. Have a look at which sections you did well in and which you didn’t. If you did well in engagement with the question but bombed your structure, you know that you need to work on the format of your essays and your individual paragraphs.

3. Review the questions

Did you choose the right question for your text? This is the biggest mistake that students make when they are under the pressure of an exam situation. With the benefit of hindsight, sit back and highlight all the keywords in the questions of the Responding section and see if there was an easier question that you could have managed better. Have a go at writing that essay and submit it to your teacher as practice.

4. Review your metalanguage

Metalanguage means the language of language. Identifying the correct terms for the Comprehending section is so fundamentally important. Ensure that you have practised identifying the metalanguage (visual, expository and narrative) and know what they are and what they are used for. Incorrectly identified metalanguage can be the difference between a pass and a fail.

5. Ask yourself some questions

Did you really study enough? This is a big question that not many people actually ask themselves. I would expect 10+ hours of study per subject in the two weeks before exams would be a reasonable ask. This will give you time to unpack questions, identify metalanguage, read structure, perfect your narrative or persuasive text and figure out the major syllabus points.

Or alternatively, you can book office hours with Bianca at Perth English Tutor to walk through your exams with an expert.

How To Do The Composing Section of The English Exam: Narrative

How To Do The Composing Section of The English Exam: Narrative

Narrative writing is something that many of my students find particularly difficult because they believe that they do not have a creative person in their body. 

However, creativity is something that doesn’t occur naturally but something that we craft and perfect over time. You will find that some of the best writers in the world often have the same self-doubt that you do when you’re writing a narrative text. The good thing about this situation though is that they have time to research ruminate and consider elements of the plot structure. 

You, however, have one hour to complete this, which can be particularly difficult. The first thing that you must do when you are writing a story is to consider brainstorm. The brainstorm is a very important part of story writing particularly when you receive a prompt that you need to respond to. When you look at the image or the phrase write down the first words that jump into your mind and do that process for a few minutes or 30 seconds so that you can work through all the ideas that you have in your head. 

What you must then do is follow a very precise process that will be laid out here. 

1. Planning.

Planning is the most important part of your story writing and most people miss this part because they believe it takes too much time to plan. However, by creating a story arc you will be able to tell where you were going to take the first part of your exposition right through the rising action through to the climax, the falling action and then the resolution. Down below you will find a typical plan for a story that you should follow every time you start writing. 

How To Do The Composing Section of The English Exam Narrative

2. Choosing a Narrator. 

The second most important decision that you need to make when you are starting to write a story is to decide who will tell the story. The author is the person who writes the story and the narrator is the person who will tell the story. You are the author who is the narrator. You can either tell the story or you can either have a first-person narrator who says “I, we, our, us” or a third-person narrator who says “he, she, they”.

3. Tense

Choosing the tense in which you write your story is fundamentally important for the story itself and one of the biggest mistakes that students make when they are writing a story is that they change between tenses. If you start your story with “I jumped, I ran, I flew” then you cannot switch to “I run, I jump, I fly”. Make sure you stick to your tense. 

4. Keep it short. 

When you only have one hour to write a narrative please do not attempt to write a narrative that takes place over days, weeks, months or even years. Your story should take place over one hour, one day or one set in order to make sure that you can address each of the parts of the text in detail. When you are planning your story ensure that the point of climax happens within that same setting day or hour. 

For more help on how to write a narrative, contact Perth English Tutor. 

How To Do The Composing Section of The English Exam: Persuasive

How To Do The Composing Section of The English Exam: Persuasive

When it comes to the last section of your ATAR English exam, there can be some confusion as to what you are actually required to do. This section of the exam is testing your ability to receive a prompt and respond to that prompt in a creative way. 

There are many options of creative texts that you can craft in this section but essentially they are broken down into three subsections. These are interpretive, imaginative and persuasive. Most teachers now will teach you how to write a narrative response in response to these exam questions, however, you must be aware that you have more options than just to write a narrative. 

One strong way to answer this series of questions is through persuasive. Persuasive essay writing involves taking an opinion on the topic and writing a series of body paragraphs in response to the prompt. Persuasive writing will begin for you in year 3 or year 5 when you were required to do your NAPLAN test. Many of these ideas that you would’ve learnt at a young age should come back and be a part of your learning again as you reach ATAR. 

The best thing to do is actually pre-prepare some topics or problems that you are ready to write at a moment’s notice. Here at our top tips for success in writing a persuasive essay for your ATAR exams. 

1. Ensure That You Have a Variety of Ideas to Discuss. 

When it comes to the composing section of your exam, many students believe that there is no way they can study. This is unequivocally wrong. Being aware of three or four major topics in society and different ideas around those topics will help you actually have something to say. My past students have written about topics from diabetes to euthanasia to racism to bullying to anything else you could possibly write an essay about. The key is to have three or four different ideas that you could go to. The way to decide on these ideas is to brainstorm some of the key issues and topics that interest you and maybe have a look at your other subjects for ideas. Are you a history buff? Perhaps have a look at the efficacy of communism compared to capitalism and you could write or craft an interpretive response to the idea of communism. If you are interested in the sciences perhaps you could write about vaccinations or infectious disease control. There are many different topics that you could write about but the most important thing is to write about something that interests you, otherwise, you’ll find it difficult to maintain steam as the year progresses. 

2. Pre-Plan Your Answers and Try and Apply Them to Past Questions. 

There are often themes that emerge when you look at different exams over the past 5 to 10 years in English. Things like technology, issues that affect teenagers and issues that affect our society are often cited in the composing section of the exam. Choose three topics that you are interested in and research all of the negatives of these issues, the consequences of these issues and the solutions to these issues and try to apply them to the prompts from past English exams. 

3. Focus on Your Integration of Persuasive Devices. 

Persuasive devices are those handy little things that help us to understand that the text that you have written is persuasive. These include things such as inclusive language, rhetorical questions, facts and statistics, anecdotal evidence, personal voice, figurative language, emotive language and other elements that you are probably a custom to interpreting in your comprehending section. Please make an effort to remember these and then incorporate them into your text. Markers love to see when students have actually thought through the persuasive elements and try to make an effort to use them cohesively within the peace. A personal favourite of mine is inclusive language when you were talking about issues that affect the whole of society. Ensure that you include at least three of them in each body paragraph. 

For more information on how to write and then suasive text for your ATAR English exam, contact Perth English Tutor today.

5 Things You Need To Do In Year 11 To Prepare For ATAR English

Many of my students who are currently completing Year 11 ATAR English are struggling to understand how to prepare and study so they can get ahead in Year 11 and Year 12.

I think that studying starts at a young age, but if you are ready to start in Year 11, there is no time like the present.

When I begin to work with students in year 11, one thing is abundantly clear: they have no idea how to go from Year 10 English to Year 11 English with ease.

Jumping from the F-10 syllabus to the ATAR English system can be really difficult. This is especially true as you need to pass ATAR English to receive your WACE certificate.

So… what should you do in Year 11 to prepare for your English exams? I’m glad you asked.

1. Prep Your Notes From Day 1

The allure of Tik Tok videos is real – we all know it. But I have seen many students spend hours at the end of the year pouring through their books and trying to find random pieces of paper with their best essays scrawled across them.

Students who take notes and synthesise those notes at the end of every unit have a much easier time in November when they prepare for their exams.

As a rule of thumb, a one-page A4 should be sufficient to summarise each of the units you complete in English.

2. Learn How to Compare And Contrast

When you start to look through past exams, you will notice that many of the questions ask you to you compare and contrast texts or review two texts.

Throughout the year, you should be thinking about key similarities and differences between all of your texts.

Are two of your texts of the same genre? Do two of them cover the same time period? Do two of your texts offer diverse perspectives on the same issue?

Always think of how you could write about two texts.

3. Watch a Documentary

You will need to write a persuasive, narrative or interpretive text based on a random prompt.

The best way to prepare for this is to “know things”. My students go into their WACE English exam with four or five different knowledge areas they could pull from in order to write their composing section.

Next time you go to Keep up with Kardashians, try watching a documentary and take some notes – you will thank me later.

4. Know All The Devices!

ATAR English is all about the devices, particularly in the comprehending section.

Please ensure you create (and laminate) a list of narrative, interpretive, persuasive and visual devices that you will be able to identify in the comprehending section.

This will also become useful in Year 12.

5. Find Your Cross-Curriculum Links

Many students of ATAR English don’t realise that a potential Composing response is right in front of them in their other subjects.

Take a look at your course material in your other subjects to see if there is anything to write about in your Composing. This means you are not learning totally new content and you are just using what you already know.

Studying Freud in Psychology? Learning about the Russian Revolution in History? What about Religion?

You will find information on all of your other subjects.

 

How to choose subjects for Year 11 and 12 ATAR?

It’s the middle of the year (or you are getting a head start) and you have been given your subject selection form for Year 11. It can be difficult to choose – or help your child with the choice – which subjects to use for Year 11.

If your child is preparing to enter their final years of school, it is important that you have answers for some the most common questions about Year 11 and 12 subject selection.

Q: Which subjects are compulsory in Year 11 and 12 for students in Western Australia?

To achieve the minimum requirements for students to receive a Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) in 2021 and beyond, you must do the following.

Breadth and depth requirement

  • Completion of a minimum of 20 units, which may include unit equivalents attained through VET and/or endorsed programs. This requirement must include at least: (Explanatory notes 1, 2 , 3, 4, 5)
    • a minimum of ten Year 12 units, or the equivalent
    • four units from an English learning area course, post-Year 10, including at least one pair of Year 12 units from an English learning area course
    • one pair of Year 12 units from each of List A (arts/languages/social sciences) and List B (mathematics/science/technology).

Achievement standard requirement

  • Achievement of at least 14 C grades or higher (or the equivalent) in Year 11 and 12 units, including at least six C grades (or equivalents) in Year 12 units. 
  • Completion of:
    • at least four Year 12 ATAR courses (Explanatory note 5), or
    • at least five Year 12 General courses(Explanatory note 7) (or a combination of General and up to three Year 12 ATAR courses(Explanatory note 5)) or equivalent(Explanatory note 8), or
    • a Certificate II (or higher) VET qualification(Explanatory notes 9 and 10) in combination with ATAR, General or Foundation courses).

Literacy and numeracy standard

  • Demonstration of the minimum standard of literacy and numeracy. (Explanatory notes 11 and 12)

To view explanatory notes, check here.

Some independent and Catholic schools list religious education as a compulsory subject, but you may be able to choose whether you do these as ATAR or general. Students can choose the remainder of their study load as they wish, although schools may also place pre-requisites on certain studies. For example, you might need to achieve a minimum of 60% in a certain subject in Year 10 to be able to do the subject in Year 11.   

Q: Are there any prerequisites for university courses?

A: University courses usually list English as a prerequisite. There are also a number of specialists courses that might have prerequisites or desirables. If your child plans to apply for university, they will need to make sure they are eligible to receive an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) and complete the required prerequisites. The best place to find this is on the Course Guides for the course that your child want to complete.

Q: How will scaling and moderation affect my child?

A lot of schools will quote “scaling” as a reason to do or not to do a subject. This is an important consideration to make. More details about TISC mark grading, you can click here. However, if your child is above average or thoroughly enjoys a certain subject, it is advisable to do that subject as your child will enjoy Year 11 and Year 12, rather than seeing the two years of study as a chore.

Q: What if my child doesn’t know what they want to do with their lives?

A: In this case, I would advise that your child does a broad range of subjects in Year 11 and Year 12, with as many ATAR subjects as they can manage. Depending on what they like, they will be able to determine which field of study they are better suited for. For example, if you enjoy Economics or Politics and Law, you might consider a Business or International Relations course. If you enjoy Human Biology, perhaps something in the health field?

Q: What if my child changes their mind between Year 11 and Year 12?

A: There are so many different factors that will affect a student in Year 11 and Year 12. Don’t panic if your child wants to drop a subject – this is totally normal. Delve to the bottom of why they want to swap and what their options are. They may be able to pick up another subject, or they may be able to complete a Certificate in lieu of another ATAR subject. Discuss these options with your school guidance counsellor.