Centre for Continuing Education

HSC English Preparation Course - Advanced (Part 2) (April)

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 A: Comparative Study of Texts and Contexts

Module A: Comparative Study of Texts and Contexts requires students to compare and contrast texts in terms of their contexts and values. Students will closely analyse a range of suitable texts in order to extend their understanding of the meaning of a text, by considering the importance of intertextuality and perspective, how texts embody values, and the importance of close analysis of language in determining meaning. They will consider context, values, purpose, audience and language forms and features in order to deepen understanding of themes and ideas, and how a text can sustain a range of readings.

Students will also look closely at past papers and high-achieving HSC responses, together with markers' guidelines and feedback, in order to see in practice how candidates are able to achieve in the upper Band levels.

As well as class discussion sessions, students will work in small groups on their Prescribed Texts, during which they will have the opportunity to discuss personal response to Prescribed Texts with the teacher. Both Electives will be covered.

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 1) 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 awareness of what constitutes a high-achieving response by analytical discussion of past papers and responses.
  • Enrich their academic understanding of key concepts such as intertextuality, values, context and perspective.
  • Understand how context may affect values and perspective within texts.
  • Gain further insight into the importance of close critical reading in determining meaning.
  • Discuss their Prescribed Texts with the teacher.
  • Work collaboratively with other students to extend their range of ideas and reading of texts.
  • Gain confidence in their ability to reach a personal and soundly-based understanding of their Prescribed Texts.


(Aligned to NESA Syllabus Reference Points)

  • 1,2,2A: Understanding and evaluating the purpose and effect of textual forms and the effect of composers' and responders' context through comparison and contrast of a range of texts, e.g. considering why Wit uses drama to address issues that Donne raises through poetic technique, or the relation between film and dram in King Richard III and Looking for Richard; considering the relationship between texts and explaining how and why texts may be valued differently in different contexts, for example the effect of the cultural and historical interval between Barret Browning’s poetry and The Great Gatsby.
  • 3,4,5 Developing language relevant to the study of English, and the conventions of language appropriate to personal, cultural, public and critical expression (including the skills required for effective academic exposition); explaining and analysing how meaning is affected by the forms, features and structure of texts, and by technologies and media of production: addressed through extended discussion and close reading of passages from Prescribed Texts, group and individual writing exercises and comparison with short additional texts (prose, poetry, video, etc.).
  • 6,7,8 Close engagement with the details of text through analysis and textual evidence (critical reading of passages from prescribed Texts and others); synthesising textual features to explore ideas and values in terms of purpose, audience and context (e.g. considering composers' reasons fro choice of form, such as poetry/prose – Dubliners and Seamus Heaney’s poetry, or third person narrative and epistolary style in Pride and Prejudice and Letters to Alice; representing own ideas about texts from a range of perspectives (short individual writing exercises and group work according to prescribed Texts).
  • 9,10,11 Considering the role of processes and technologies in a range of texts (film/prose, e.g. Nineteen Eighty Four/Metropolis; drama/non-fiction prose, e.g. Julius Caesar/The Prince, etc.) and the reason for and effects of the composers' choice; analysing and synthesising to create sustained and logical arguments (the essential component of the body of an essay response); and demonstrating control of language through transforming ideas and experiences into texts for various purposes and audiences: class discussion and group work in close reading to stimulate academic control in responding to texts.
  • 12,12A,13 Reflecting on own processes of composing and responding, through evaluating various ways to approach these processes, editing work to refine and improve it; explaining and evaluating different ways of responding to and composing texts, identifying own approaches to texts and processes of learning, comparing them with others (including high-achieving past HSC responses) and evaluating their effectiveness. The aim is to encourage students to develop a genuine, considered personal response to complex and demanding texts, which is not only a matter of personal enrichment, but also underpins a successful HSC exam response.

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, additional texts for practice in close analysis, 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