Matrix Blog

English 11-12

2020 HSC English Standard Exam Paper 1 Sample Responses | Section 1

In this post, we give you sample responses to Section 1 of the 2020 English Standard Paper 1 for English Standard Common Module: Texts and Human Experiences

The Matrix 2020 HSC English Standard Exam Paper 1 sample responses for English Standard Common Module Section 1 are here!

2020 HSC English Standard Exam Paper 1 Sample Answers

Have you seen the 2020 HSC English Standard Exam Paper 1 yet?

In this post, we will give you sample answers for Section 1 of the 2020 HSC English Standard Exam Paper 1, so you can understand what would score highly. You can find the paper here on the NESA website.

Read on to see sample responses for all of the 2020 questions.


Section 1.

Question 1 (4 Marks) – Sample Response

Text 1 – Feature article extract

Explain how Look Alive encourages us to view the world.

Look Alive encourages readers to view the world with curiosity and child-like wonder. This is depicted through the anecdote of Clarke interacting with a child, who brazenly shouts, “are you on the way to somewhere?” This curiosity sparks introspection for Clarke, who uses a humorous tone when describing the child as an ‘intense wizard’, suggesting that the child possesses magical qualities and knowledge. This is followed by the cumulative listing of playful and nostalgic places: “…hiding places, cubbies, swords and forts”, to encourage the reader to ‘look around’ in wonder.


Question 2 (6 marks) – Sample Response

Text 2 – Prose fiction extract

Analyse the ways in which both individual and community experiences are represented in the text.

McFarlane represents the disconnect between individual and community experiences following major change. In the opening lines of the prose fiction extract, the dramatic tone and hyperbolic language describing how “[w]hen the movie people left, the town grew sad. An air of disaster lingered in the stunned streets”, demonstrates the sheer devastation felt by the town community. This is exemplified when the townspeople turn to each other “with all their private burdens of ecstasy and despair”. The juxtaposition of “ecstasy” and “despair” highlights the community’s erratic emotional responses to the loss of the ‘movie people’. This bereft experience is contrasted by the persona’s sceptical tone, as they privately celebrate the absence of movie people as depicted in the anaphora: “no more trucks in the streets, no more catering vans in the supermarket parking lot, no more microphones and boom lights”. The sense of scepticism, here, is reinforced in the persona’s description of the townspeople circling the streets “as if they were following the same deep and certain instinct that drives herring through the North Sea”. By comparing the community to a flock of birds, this simile criticises the ‘herd mentality’ response to their abandonment, resulting in communal mourning. Therefore, despite the all-encompassing nature of community experiences, their power can exclude, and ultimately oppose, the experiences of individuals within the communities.

Read the comprehensive guide to English Standard to ace your HSC!

Question 3 (5 marks) – Sample Response

Text 3 – Internet article and Text 4 – Illustration

How do these texts use a variety of language forms and features to communicate ideas about being creative?

In the internet article and illustration, creativity is represented as a process of discovery, rather than invention. In Text 3, Frayn’s elaboration on the secrets of writing is depicted through the use of punctuation to create a caesura: “ideas for things come into one’s head, or bits of ideas; you feel there’s something – there’s some meat on the bone, there’s something that lures you on.” The semi-colon and commas divide the author’s scattered thoughts and replicate the creative process of piecing together fragmented ideas to generate written texts. In Text 4, Paschkis depicts writing as a journey of discovery through the visual metaphor of a pencil as an oar. This represents the pencil as a force of power and direction in creative expeditions. Text 3 emulates this journey through the repetition of ‘more’: “[t]he more you think about it the more you’re led into this new world and the more of that world you see.” This highlights how creativity is a process of building a bigger picture, which is similarly depicted in Text 4. Text 4 includes written text over elements of the illustration such as “flicker”, “wobble”, “meander” and “murmur” written on the waves. This demonstrates how there are myriad ways to describe the same elements, each telling a unique story that paints a picture of the creative process. Therefore, creativity in both texts is represented as a process of discovery, rather than invention.


Question 4 (5 marks) – Sample Response

Text 5 – Poem

How does the poem explore the power of storytelling?

The poem explores storytelling’s ability to blur the line between reality and performance. The persona’s experience at the theatre initially ‘begins with darkness’ and is transformed into an illuminating experience with “a small fire that leaps and glows and transfixes us, for as long as it burns”. The contrast between darkness and light reinforces the power of storytelling in engaging audiences and igniting deeply personal reflections on one’s life. The persona’s initial scepticism with his son’s acting pursuits shifts when the play transports the person back to memories with his son as a child: “I want to reach out and lift him up as I did when he was two years old, riding a supermarket trolley and screaming as if he’d just discovered the power of his lungs.” The humorous simile in the anecdote demonstrates how powerful his son’s acting is in immersing his father in the story, blurring the lines between reality and pretence. Finally, the storytelling in the performance builds the persona’s empathy towards his son’s pursuits in theatre. The persona is characterised as a stoic man, “I don’t know what I’m down here, I just know that this is theatre, my son an actor”, who eventually transforms into an engaged audience member and father: “Although the three of us won’t ever meet again, I’m sure Dad would have loved this”. The performance powerfully evokes the persona’s memory which is both deeply personal and transformative as the poem ends with the persona’s appreciation of his son’s performance. Therefore, storytelling is powerful enough to transform audiences’ worldviews, ultimately blurring the line between reality and performance.


Want to get ready to ace your English Standard HSC?

The Matrix+ English Standard Course will get you ready to ace your HSC! Learn more.

Written by Matrix English Team

The Matrix English Team are tutors and teachers with a passion for English and a dedication to seeing Matrix Students achieving their academic goals.


© Matrix Education and, 2018. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matrix Education and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Get free study tips and resources delivered to your inbox.

Join 75,893 students who already have a head start.

Our website uses cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you continue to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies. Read our cookies statement.

OK, I understand