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  • Writer's pictureAnqi Teng

Take This Short Quiz to See Many Units of HSC English You Should Choose!

In year 10 or 11 trying to plan for year 12? Picked 3U and getting some cold feet? Wondering if you're good enough to try 4U?

Read on and we'll help you figure out exactly which HSC English course will suit you the best! (Buzzfeed Quiz at the end!)

What is each course like?

Standard English

Perfect for those who just wants something straightforward and minimally abstract. You just want to do English because NESA told you it was compulsory.

Standard english and advanced english are very similar in a few things:

  • time commitment outside of class

  • contact hours in school (120 hours)

  • number of assessments/essays to write

The difference lies in the modules themselves. Although they both share the Common Module and Module C (Craft of Writing), Standard English have less abstract requirements when it comes to Module A and B. Instead of a comparative study, Module A for Standard English is another thematic study - easier to structure and understand.

The requirements the markers have for Standard essays and people you are up against are also different. Standard does not scale as well as Advanced English (according to NESA's scaling report 2019) but this matters the most for students who have done very well. If you do poorly in English Advanced, scaling is still not on your side. (Side note - all English units scale down).

That means picking Standard will not be the decisive factor between a 80 and 90. It just means you will be doing texts that are more straightforward and considering concepts that are less abstract. You also have to consider that some schools do not offer or offer very small classes for English Standard which impacts on the quality of teaching material provided.

Advanced English

For the perfect balance of the same essay tasks you know and love and new concepts that will push your thinking further. Yeah you still don't LOVE english, but you're a bit curious what it has to offer.

Advanced English has 120 hours of contact time in total, just like English Standard. However if you don't want to engage with or have little experience in engaging with abstract concepts it will mean more out of class time to catch up to those who already have a good grasp of those concepts.

Advanced English allows you to do more with texts. It opens your eyes to the possible ways books and poems and movies can be read and studied together. It requires more of your own opinion and thoughts compared to Advanced and dare we say, it can be more fun.

You have to do a thematic study, a comparative study and an analytical study for Advanced English. As well as a creative or discursive piece for Module C.

Yes, the scaling is slightly better than English Standard but it does not mean you get away with doing less.

When life gets harder, challenge yourself to be stronger.

English Extension 1

Interested in world events and political implications on human existence? Learn more about these through examining texts! Reading, comprehension and grammar are assumed knowledge - you need to start having opinions on society!

Ahhh, Extension 1. This one unit of study requires you to study ideas that are not simply complex, but also relevant to politics and society. It's a very interesting course where you will realise English Literature studies reveals a lot about life and society - so much more than just PEEL, TEEL and PETAL.

It will have 60 contact hours at school and you will study THREE texts throughout the year. You also need TWO related text. So despite the minimal contact hours (because really, independent research is a huge part of this module), the work load is hefty.

So if you're not into political issues or doing a lot of unguided work outside of lesson hours, really think about if you want to do 3unit.

Scaling for higher marks is very similar to Advanced English. However lower marks are less affected by scaling. This means that if you do worse than average in this unit, it's less likely it will drag your marks down as much as doing worse than average in Advanced English might.

English Extension 2

You're an innovator, an opinions person. You have a gem of an idea you want to explore. You have a message to send! You're past just analysing other people's work - you're ready for someone to analyse yours.

English extension 2 shifts your role from an analyst to a creator. Don't let the 60 hours of contact time fool you - this baby needs all of your love and devotion! From the beginning to the end the teachers are there as guides. Forget spoonfeeding - you have to find the spoon yourself!

Lots of research and reading of your own volition. You have the freedom of studying whatever you want in order to produce your own original story, essay or poetry collection.

It's fun, insanely fun if you were always a literary creator at heart - and it gives you cred on the nerd street (I love telling people I did 4U English and watching them envision me as some superbeing, master author or hero when really, I just picked it out of brazen curiosity). But genuinely, it's the most amazing opportunity while you still are at school to be given protected time for creating something for yourself! Once you graduate and the rest of life begins it takes overwhelming amount of discipline to give yourself creative time like this.

You have a year to do a major work, plan it, nurture it, reflect upon it...You also have the chance to publish your major work!

Not for the faint of heart (or those who just prefer another subject). Yes it scales the best out of all the English subjects but you're getting that scaling for approximately an extra 30-40 hours of work so, definitely not as value as 3U.


Click here to take a short quiz that will suggest how many units you should do!


NOTE: It's CRUCIAL to figure out if the degree you want to do has any requirements for English. Some degrees may ask for English Advanced as a requirement to apply. It changes every year so make sure you do your research!!!

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