Centre for Continuing Education

HSC English Preparation Course - Advanced (Part 1) (January)

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.

Area of Study: Discovery

This course covers the Area of Study: Discovery, and will deepen students' understanding of how texts reflect perceptions of self and the world through the topic Discovery. Students will first clearly identify the requirements of the Syllabus, and the skills and understandings examiners expect to see demonstrated in high level HSC responses. They will also look at high-achieving responses from past papers, together with markers' comments and guidelines.

The course then provides intensive practice in textual analysis and close reading in terms of Discovery. Using related texts, the teacher will provide detailed demonstrations of close analysis across a range of texts in terms of context, purpose, audience, style, structure and grammatical features, and students will practise these skills through discussion and short written responses. Questions and comments during the extended discussion sessions are encouraged. There will be time devoted to group work on Prescribed Texts, during which participants will have the opportunity to discuss their personal response to their Prescribed Text with the teacher.

This course is part of a 3-part series covering key areas from within this subject’s syllabus. Other courses include HSC English Preparation Course – Advanced (Part 2) and HSC English Preparation Course – Advanced (Part 3). Students do not need to attend all three parts in order to benefit.


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

  • Clearly identify the skills they need to demonstrate in their HSC responses.
  • Increase their conceptual understanding of Discovery and their awareness of language variety through exposure to a wide range of texts, including passages from their Prescribed Text.
  • Enrich their awareness of what constitutes a high-achieving response by analytical discussion of past papers and responses.
  • Better understand the principles of selecting related texts, and how to use them effectively.
  • Increase their understanding of the crucial skill of close analysis of language forms and features.
  • Effectively articulate their understanding of the relationship between language and meaning.
  • Have an opportunity to discuss their Prescribed Text with the teacher.
  • Share a collaborative learning environment with fellow students.


(Aligned to NESA Syllabus Reference Points)

  • 1,2,2A Explaining and evaluating the effect of composers' and responders' context on texts, how changes in meaning arise from changes in context, in Prescribed Texts such as The Motorcycle Diaries, The Tempest, set poets (Frost, Dobson, Gray), Frank Hurley and others; describing and evaluating connections between texts (e.g. comparison of texts in Section 1 short answer responses), how to use stimulus material in Section ii, relating prescribed and related Texts in Section iii and recognising how and why texts may be valued in different ways, through consideration of Prescribed Texts as above and related (which will be provided).
  • 3,4,5 Developing language relevant to the study of English, for example the particular skills required in short answer responses (Section 1) and the conventions of language appropriate to personal, cultural, public and critical expression (sections II and III); explaining and analysing how meaning is affected by the forms, features and structure of texts, and by technologies and media of production, for example Wrack, A Short History of nearly Everything (prose fiction), Away, Life of Pi (drama/film), set poets, Go Back to Where You Came From (media).
  • 6 Close engagements with the details of texts; using related texts and specific passages from Prescribed Texts; developing critical and personal response to texts; composing sustained arguments supported by textual evidence, e.g. through deconstructing a speech from The Tempest, or considering visual techniques in a scene from Frank Hurley; evaluating the responses of others through class analysis and discussion of supplied related texts and working in groups according to prescribed Texts.
  • 7-8 Synthesising a range of textual features to explore ideas and values in terms of purpose, audience and context, particularly in response to Section II, Imaginative Writing; composing to represent own ideas critically, imaginatively and interpretatively in terms of purpose, audience and context and comparing these with high-achieving past HSC responses.
  • 9-10 Evaluating, individually and collaboratively, how texts use a range of processes and technologies across the Prescribed texts (Prose, Drama, Poetry, Media) and related texts in terms of the organisation of information and ideas; practising analysis and synthesis through critical reading of passages from Prescribed and related texts to develop sustained and logical argument, and to express a point of view in imaginative and evaluative ways.
  • 11,12,12A,13 Transforming experience and ideas into texts which demonstrate effective control of language in making connections between life experience and imagined experience (Paper 1 Section II); reflecting on own processes of responding and composing, and articulating approach to texts (including own) through questioning, evaluating, generalising and comparing.

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 a mixture of discussions led by the teacher, detailed demonstrations of textual analysis, group work and individual discussion with the teacher as time permits. Students are encouraged to contribute actively to discussion sessions.


All students will receive all the materials they need for the course. This will include a booklet containing extracts from Prescribed Texts, a wide range of related texts, and short answer exercises. They will also receive a booklet containing relevant official HSC documentation, past papers and sample responses. Images and short videos will be shown in some sessions.

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

What others say.

  • The course presenter was a great lecturer! Very engaging indeed. The Exam Prep course was very well designed and I picked up many great tips and strategies on how to manage time and study effectively for the HSC. A really pleasing and unique part of this course was the group discussions – our tutor encouraged us to talk to those sitting around us which, while it enabled us to share study tips, also allowed us to make great friends throughout the course. Highly recommend, and thanks once again!

  • Excellent course that was engaging and very worthwhile.

  • The tutor was very nice and was interactive with the way we were taught and would often read my work and told me where I went wrong, which I found very valuable.

  • Fantastic course. The lesson structure was very effective, as it made it more personal as opposed to a lecture setting.

What others say.

  • Excellent course that was engaging and very worthwhile.