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  • Writer's pictureAnqi Teng

Guide to Approaching Your Prescribed Texts

1. Read the entire text. Just read it. Focus on understanding the plot and events in the story. Form your own opinions about the story and make sure you identify and remember the significant parts of the plot. Reading a plot synopsis on the internet will not help you later when you're trying to think about where to find good language features and intensely described moments.

2. Assess how the text relates to the module that you are studying. Examine the syllabus. What are the main ideas it is trying to test?


In this common module students deepen their understanding of how texts represent individual and collective human experiences. They examine how texts represent human qualities and emotions associated with, or arising from, these experiences. Students appreciate, explore, interpret, analyse and evaluate the ways language is used to shape these representations in a range of texts in a variety of forms, modes and media.

Students explore how texts may give insight into the anomalies, paradoxes and inconsistencies in human behaviour and motivations, inviting the responder to see the world differently, to challenge assumptions, ignite new ideas or reflect personally. They may also consider the role of storytelling throughout time to express and reflect particular lives and cultures. By responding to a range of texts they further develop skills and confidence using various literary devices, language concepts, modes and media to formulate a considered response to texts.

The highlighted areas are the most prominent parts of the syllabus and are what will be examinable in the HSC.

3. Based on the syllabus requirements and main concepts, create thought maps or just notes about how the text relate to these points. Things that help include character development charts and noting significant events. For human experiences, you need to address:

a. What is the collective, who is the individual?

b. What emotions and qualities did the characters reveal/develop

c. What about each character’s behaviour was inconsistent or paradoxical?

d. What new ideas about the human experience did the story give to you?

4. Identify which events in the story best encapsulates these ideas. E.g., where did you feel like the character was inconsistent? Find this specific part in the book and analyse the language used.

Good luck!

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