Centre for Continuing Education

HSC English Preparation Course - Advanced: 'Hamlet'

HSC English. The smart way to prepare for your HSC.

Prepare for HSC English the smart way with HSC English preparation courses at CCE, the University of Sydney.

Module B: Critical Study of Texts - Elective

This Intensive HSC English course covers Shakespeare’s Hamlet for Advanced English Module B: Critical Study of Texts. The course provides intensive revision at this crucial stage of the year. It provides clear and detailed analysis of this complex text not possible in the limited time in schools. Through comment by the presenter, use of an extensive course reader, and group discussion students gain understanding of the full play. The course covers the text and context, including Revenge Tragedy, the Renaissance, structure, narrative, characters, themes and style – with close attention to soliloquies, imagery, motifs, key words, and issues for debate. The issues covered include suicide, madness, gender and sexuality, power and conscience.


Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Analyse and respond to the Syllabus and Prescriptions for Module B: Critical Study of Texts.
  • Analyse and explore the nature of Elizabethan drama, Revenge Tragedy and the Renaissance.
  • Analyse and discuss Hamlet in terms of the concept of ‘textual integrity’, including narrative, structure, themes, literary style, key words and motifs.
  • Analyse and discuss Hamlet as both character and a medium for debate about belief and values, including the tension between Renaissance pragmatism and traditional Christianity.
  • Read and discuss previous examination questions and answers.


(Aligned to NESA Syllabus Reference Points)

  • 1.2.2A. Close critical analysis of the text of Hamlet.
  • 1.2.2A. Analysis and discussion of the concept of textual integrity in a complex text with reference to style and structure including the ambiguity of Hamlet as a complex literary text.
  • 1.2.2A. Analysis of the form and structure of Hamlet including tragedy, rhetoric, soliloquies.
  • Analysis of Hamlet as a complex text in its context including Revenge Tragedy and the Renaissance.
  • 2A. Critical study of the characters and ideas of Hamlet in relation to belief and values. With close attention to themes that include suicide, madness, gender and sexuality, power and conscience.
  • 11.12.12A.13. Development of an authentic, personal response that includes literature, culture and values, and the continuing relevance of the play.
  • 11.12.12A.13. Discussion of previous examination questions and answers to enhance readiness for examination and the development of a personal overview of the main issues.

Intended Audience

Only current Year 12 students should attend this course in 2018. Changes to the Year 12 syllabus will be introduced in 2019. This course content is therefore not suitable for current Years 10 – 11 students.

Delivery Style

The course is taught with a combination of teacher presentation and interactive discussion, with close attention to the text, note taking and a Course Booklet. Students are encouraged to ask questions and overcome problems throughout the course.


The course includes a course booklet that is one of the considerable advantages. A second booklet includes previous exam questions and answers.

Students need to bring their copies of Hamlet.

Course Evaluation

This course will be evaluated via an online student questionnaire delivered in class.

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
  • Small class sizes
  • Free, expert advice
  • Student materials – yours to keep
  • Statement of completion