Secret to success revealed
By GENEVIEVE ALLPASS
"REFLECT: At no time does the word have a greater power." This is the advice to students from Tweed River High School senior HSC examiner and English teacher, Marc Vining. And he should know, Mr Vining has been a HSC marker for 10 years. "The one thing to remember with the English exam is that we are looking for a personal response," Mr Vining said. "The student should read, internalise, understand and then reflect. "It's not about reading Shakespeare in a vacuum. Reflection is far more important than verbatim." Mr Vining said students should read the text and consider how it makes them feel and then for the answer describe how the text makes them feel. He said students needed to be positive and confident in what they know. "Value is given on personal reflection and response, and not by simply retelling, because it's how you felt, not how someone else told you to feel about the text," he said. Within the four-hour exam there is a standard two-unit course with passing grades required of 55 to 60 per cent and an advanced course with passing grades of 40 to 45 per cent. Mr Vining said the papers for both standard and advanced are the same. However, the texts used in the advanced section are usually old classics, probably Shakespeare, whereas the standard texts are more contemporary.