English units are unique because they’re prerequisites for most Australian university courses and are compulsory for most students completing Year 12. This chapter discusses explicitly Year 12 English. 

Getting through Year 12 English with these top tips:

  1. Engage with a wide range of texts

You gain a huge advantage when you are exposed to a diverse range of ideas and themes. Engage with literature, theatre, film, poetry, etc., as much as possible throughout the year. Reading articles from mainstream media outlets can help you arrange your thoughts and develop a good idea of how the world works. Moreover, reading corporately owned media will help you sharpen a key skill for Year 12 English study: the ability to recognise how authors use language to persuade and dissuade specific audiences from adopting certain ideas and acting in certain ways.
Also, you need to be active with your engagement with the media you consume. Practice formulating sophisticated responses to the ideas you encounter. 

  1. Understand assessment tasks and criteria

Often, talented students discover they have a poor understanding of the nature of their assessment tasks. To address this, students should interrogate their teachers. The best way to understand what is expected of you is to ask questions until you are satisfied that you know how you should be writing. If your teachers can’t provide you with the exact conditions and requirements of assessment tasks, look online for the study design of your English unit.

  1. Play to your strengths

Be confident in your abilities for assessment tasks that you know you can ace, and allocate most of your study time to cover your weaknesses. For example, if you know you are a fantastic presenter in English orals but are weak in exam essays, allocate your time accordingly: spend more time developing your exam writing skills and once you feel confident, move on to your presentation skills.

  1. Keep things in perspective

Adopting a positive outlook with your study goes a long way towards achieving the best results that you can. It will also make you a more pleasant person to teach, study with and live with.

  1. Use class time effectively

Active participation in class discussion is essential to understanding the ideas presented in texts that you’re studying.

  1. Develop good relationships with teachers

To develop good relationships in the classroom, seek to be humble, diligent and sympathetic to the difficulties your teacher faces.

  1. Write and submit as much as you can

The more you write, the more you’ll find you’re able to formulate ideas and swiftly articulate them with ease. If you can’t express yourself with clarity and coherence, your ideas are of little academic value.

  1. Listen to students who have graduated

Through collaborating with past students and listening to their advice, you can better your chances of achieving the strongest possible results.

Preparing for your exam:

  1. Compilation of notes:

Compile a large document of notes on relevant scenes and quotations. Write down a reference to the chapter and page number of each key moment, and write down how they reflect the main themes of each text. This systematic process creates a resource to practice your essays.

  1. Practice essays:

Write timed essays on unseen prompts with the help of the collection of notes. This helps gain confidence in quickly formulating ideas and familiarise yourself with the most useful and versatile evidence from your notes.

  1. Practice exams:

Use past papers to practice full exams under exam conditions. This gives you experience with writing to a time limit.

Technical advice for essay writing:


Adopt TEEL: topic sentence, evidence, explain and link.

Clear and distinct ideas should form your topic sentences, and they should all contribute to your overall argument. This argument should address all aspects of the prompt, and it should be easy to follow through your essay.


Consider all major characters. Prompts are designed to test your knowledge of the text. Most main characters should be relevant, so look for ways to incorporate them into your response. Consider all major events and the themes too.


To achieve the best result you can, you need to know how your English unit is structured and how to make yourself stand out. To do this, make sure you’re up to date with assessment requirements, writing to criteria and, most importantly, developing good relationships with your teachers, tutors and classmates.

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