Short Answer

Getting lost in time, in the verbosity of response… is the pitfall of the Short Answer

Most students will likely have their favorite and worst section in Paper 1: ‘Discovery’ Area Of Study. Some students quiver as they but hear the mention of Creative Writing and thus turn all their efforts to Section II. Others feel a churn in their stomachs at the words Extended Response and thus plunge head long into finishing off Section III as soon as possible. But, it is Section I that many students tend to underestimate and this section is often thought of as unimportant.

Despite this relegation, Section I can be pretty tough. Whilst analysis is admittedly a primary focus of Section III, it also features dominantly in Section I. The Short Answer section requires analysis in short bursts combined with an element of comprehension. The difficulty of this section lies in the frustration of students trying to figure out how much to write for each section, as well as trying to trying to write quickly.

Knowing How Much To Write

There are a few guidelines to follow to know how much to write for each question in Section 1. A very rough rule of thumb is to use a basic mathematical formula. Yes, it is blasphemy to use maths in English, but its a handy little trick for noobs (vernacular for novices): 2:40 for a 1 mark question (1/15 x 40 mins), 5:20 for a 2 mark question (2/15 x 40 mins)… etc. Despite being handy and simple, this method only has any real usefulness if you’re very new to Section 1 as not all short answers questions are created equal. For the well prepared and well versed student, a one mark question should not take any where near 2:40 to complete, whereas a 5 mark question will likely take longer than 13:20 (5/15 x 40 mins).

Alas, the only real way to truly know how much (and long) to write for section 1 is to try it for yourself. Print off a past HSC paper (even students sitting their exams in 2015 can print a prior Belonging exam paper and tweak the questions so that they focus on Discovery instead as both concepts are very similar and its really your analytical skills that you’re working on). Sit down, set a timer or stop watch and give yourself 10 mins reading time as well as the 40 mins to complete the short answer questions. Remember, you do get 10 mins reading time for Paper 1 and although you’d be tempted to ponder over For noobs who easily finish the section their first time around, you’ve probably not written enough. For those who couldn’t finish, you need to focus on time management and writing succinct responses.

Academia Literaria are very experienced English tutors, dedicated in supporting HSC students in their practice and revision for Section 1. As specialists in English tutoring in Parramatta, we are by you side every step of the way by providing advice, resources and motivation so that you absolutely own (vernacular for master) section 1. Part of our HSC English tutoring program comprises of testing students under exam condition then providing individualised, verbal and written feedback. Feel free to Contact Us to discuss your needs or concerns in Section 1. Feel free to bring in your a past assessment task or recent exam to discuss how we can focus on improving your marks.

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