Centre for Continuing Education

Years 10-12 Course: Essay Writing

Years 10-12 study and essay skills. The smart way to prepare for your HSC.

COVID-19 update: arrangement of our courses

We are now delivering courses online and in-person. Please check the delivery format of each class before enrolling.

Please note that course materials (excluding prescribed texts) are shared electronically within 48 hours of course commencement. Printing is not available.

This two-day Essay Writing course focuses on the essay form and related critical thinking, language and punctuation skills for students in Years 10 – 12. The course is relevant to a range of subjects that require the writing of essays for assignments and exams.

We will study how to structure essays, organise ideas and information, and write in appropriate language for assignments and exam essays. There will be an analysis of the essay form and the need for an organised, logical argument with evidence and analytic discussion of the evidence. This will include a focus on appropriate language, rhetoric and punctuation as well as study of the nature of a formal voice, appropriate educated vocabulary for different courses, and the range from a formal to a more conversational voice. Sophisticated punctuation is introduced as a mode of complex thinking. The sections on the body of the essay focus on critical thinking and argument as a combination of a sequence of ideas, evidence and extended analytic comment about evidence.

This will be followed by an overview of the traditional structure of introduction, body and conclusion. The course then provides an introduction to critical thinking and argument in relation to Bloom’s taxonomy and syllabus outcomes and questions and marking guidelines for examinations in New South Wales.

There will be detailed teacher presentation and student discussion and practice writing the introduction, body and conclusion of an essay on a topic of their own choice. Your writing will be reviewed individually in one-on-one sessions, with the teacher providing advice about your individual work as well as the form of the essay. The discussion of the body and the related practice writing includes special focus on making connections between ideas, evidence and different texts, areas and authorities (synthesis).

The timing of research and writing is explored throughout the course and stressed in the discussion of the essay conclusion, along with the fact that an appropriate conclusion is essential, and with guidance about to how write a successful conclusion.

Throughout the course students are advised about the importance of genuine interest in order to write genuinely interesting essays. Discussion of related examination material – including examination papers and high-ranking English essays – provided by NESA further supports individual student responses and individual student practice in writing essays.


By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • plan and structure an essay in relation to a research assignment or examination question and with awareness of the significance of learning for any essay
  • write an essay with an introduction, body and conclusion
  • write an essay with a focus on critical thinking and a sustained argument that combines ideas, evidence and analytic exploration of evidence in relation to the development of the argument
  • write an essay with the advantage of analysis and discussion of Bloom’s taxonomy and its relation to advanced critical thinking, syllabus requirements and examination standards, including making connections between parts of texts, between texts, and between areas of knowledge and learning (synthesis)
  • develop appropriate vocabulary, rhetoric and punctuation in a formal and individual written style suitable for essays and subjects in Stages 5 and 6
  • respond to research essays and examination essays with appropriate discussion and practice about the importance of timing
  • develop a focus on individual responses and essays written in an individual, educated voice
  • write essays with understanding of NESA syllabus and prescription requirements, marking guidelines and previous exam answers
  • improve essay writing across a wide range of ability and a high level of achievement
  • analyse and respond to NESA material about syllabus and prescription requirements, and previous examination questions and essays.


  • Planning an essay in relation to a research or examination question and in relation to the importance of knowledge and learning for an essay.
  • Discussion, analysis and written practice of the structure of an essay in relation to the introduction, body and conclusion.
  • Discussion, analysis and written practice in critical thinking and the development of a sustained argument that combines ideas, evidence and analytic exploration of evidence in relation to the development of the argument.
  • Discussion and written application of Bloom’s taxonomy in relation to essay writing, including use and discussion of evidence and synthesis, and in relation to examination standards
  • Discussion and written practice about a formal essay voice and appropriate vocabulary, rhetoric and punctuation, including focus on sophisticated punctuation as a mode of complex critical thinking.
  • Discussion and written practice in relation to NESA syllabus and prescription requirements, marking guidelines and previous exam answers combined with advice about exam conditions and timing.
  • Advice about successful essays based on HSC marking experience.
  • Teacher reading and advice about students' essay writing in order to define individual areas for improvement and strengths.

Intended audience

Students in Years 10-12 English and other essay based courses.

Delivery style

A combination of tutor presentation, group discussion, reading and writing practice and tutor advice about your writing. You should be prepared for interactive learning and should bring your own “fully charged device” plus writing materials. You will need access to self-selected school texts for practice essay writing as the course progresses. Online activities supplement learning activities.


You will be provided with a course booklet (electronic copy) which includes previous examination questions and answers.

Bring your own device

You are required to bring your own device (Windows or Mac) and a power chord. Please ensure your device is fully charged as access to power is limited.

Please note that University does not carry any responsibility for your lost, stolen, or damaged devices whilst on the University premises.


NESA English Advanced Syllabus 2017
EA12-1, EA12-2, EA12-3, EA12-4, EA12-5, EA12-6, EA12-7, EA12-8, EA12-9

Getting Through Your HSC: A Practical Guide

While you progress through this journey and also the conclusion of your schooling life, we know you’ll have a lot on your mind – exams, future study, careers – but remember, while keeping focused on these bigger goals and aspirations, it’s also important not to forget your own health and well-being.

For tips on staying motivated and keeping focused, dealing with anxiety, keeping healthy, relaxation, pre-study exercise and more, read our article Getting Through Your HSC: A Practical Guide.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Course materials – yours to keep
  • CCE Statement of Completion

What others say.

  • It was a difficult but enlightening experience. I learnt so much and I look forward to writing better essays in the future.

  • We had a fantastic teacher and the class size was perfect! Everything was taught in great depth and my essay writing has most definitely improved!

  • My tutor for the HSC essay writing course not only helped me and guided me when required, but also kept the course enjoyable.

  • It was a really interesting and helpful course. It was way better than what I’m learning at school and I look forward to continuing more courses when I start my HSC.

Years 10-12 Course: Essay Writing

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