English & EAL

TOP 5 TIPS for MASTERING your text!

Lucy Diggle

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Go ahead and tilt your mobile the right way (portrait). The kool kids don't use landscape...

You've purchased the book...Step 1 (pragmatic step) check. 

You've done the

You've read the blurb and stared at the cover enough times to paint it blindfolded...step 3 (procrastination step) check.

Step 4 is so simple and we all know what it is...but whether you're a voracious speedy Gonzalez start and finish the day before term starts or a chapter-a-day kinda yahoo you gotta do it right.

So... without further adieu (yes step 4 is read the book you guessed it genius) 'HOW' is the real struggle. 

MY TOP 5 TIPS to fill in the gap between buying the book and writing your text response.

No. 1: Read the book, don't just watch the film.

We've all heard that persistent internal whisper during Step 3 (procrastination step) as the devil sits a little too comfortably on one of our shoulders."It'll bring the story to life...it'll only take an hour and 45 mins compared to the days of unrelenting concentration...hey your

When you watch a movie you're watching an adaptation or a representation of a concept which is the media's or more specifically a director's vision. What does this mean? It means that you lose all of the nuances of the novel that the author has acutely provided to better understand the main ideas and characters.

Remember that your own imagination as you read is intrinsic for the duration of VCE English as it will prompt you to remember more quotes and ideas as you write your essay. Just as your mind will help you make sense of the text, it will aid you in writing about it. Directors may draw you into the

No. 2: The icing on the cake

The 'icing' is made up of the blurb, the

It is quite rightly the icing as the text is not complete without any of them. As you read, take careful note of these features and why they may be there. For example, if there was an epigraph from another text before yours starts, the author may have done this on purpose. Let's say the epigraph was from a nonfiction text. This may be useful as it will no doubt add to your text's authenticity.

The icing is often the trickiest part, so, the first time you read your text if you notice that a part of 'the icing' looks significant but don’t know why don’t stress, just mark it and move on. Most students will reread their text with their English teacher or at least parts of it so be sure to ask them when the time comes (or your tutor :) ).

No. 3: Highlight, don't paint.

Now get out those bad boys from Officeworks (yes it's time). Now, the definition of "highlighter" is 'a tool used to mark parts of a document'. Take note of 'parts' because

A quick tip when highlighting is to only highlight for these two reasons.

1. It will help you better understand the text.

2. The words are significant and would be rightfully placed in a written response

It’s also a good idea to jot down notes on highlighted sections if they are a bit obscure as you don’t want to be internally cursing yourself, trying to rack your memory when you read it the next time and you can't recall the connection or significance of the quote.

Remember that 'less is more'. You should try to highlight no more than a sentence or two at a time or else 'the highlighter effect' (seeing a highlighted part and mentally connecting it to an idea) may lose its magic as you no longer view the words as significant. 

No. 4: Notes

NOTES are vital, crucial, indispensable, imperative, MANDATORY when you're studying a text. Don't be that person that kids themselves into thinking that "all you need to know is in the book" because REMEMBER that your knowledge will expand as you expand your horizons. And by

Though it is best to save your substantial note taking for when you go through the text in class as your teacher will have some great insights it is fine to take some notes beforehand to start this process and get the brain cogs ticking over.  

(Refer to my exclusive VCE Study Guides Download for more about taking AWESOME notes!)

No. 5: Put your name and number on the back of your book. 

Get out that label maker that you know your Mum bought back in primary school and do yourself a favor.

We've all heard those horror stories of 'that' student that lost their book a week before the SAC. They put on a brave face and someone always sends them their work but for psychological reasons DON'T BE THAT PERSON.

Of course by that time your notes should be typed up and the ideas should be flowing but losing your book could and would probably produce a placebo effect where you freak out and convince yourself without your book you are useless to that SAC. 

More importantly months before the assessment you'll want to have a consistent hard copy book to refer to and take notes in class with. Remember that other peoples highlighted quotes and independent notes are different to yours and for that matter if you have a fast talking teacher you may not be able to read their handwriting in their text or make note of the cryptic words that they've tried to write down in a moment of panic when the teacher says something particularly intelligent (we've all been there or should i say w'vee alj bnee thewre).

Label = peace of mind, it equals less stress than you're already under, it equals embarrassment yes i have a label maker yes its quite a prominent label isn't it... :/ !! If someone makes such a comment and questions your methods then just go home and make one for them as well. Easy done :)

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