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2021 HSC English Advanced Exam Paper 2 Sample Guidelines

In this article, the Matrix English team shares their 2021 HSC English Advanced Exam Paper 2 sample guidelines. Use these responses as a guide to see what would score highly for the 2021 HSC English Advanced Exam Paper 2.

The Matrix 2021 HSC English Advanced Exam Paper 2 Sample Guidelines for the English Advanced Common Module are here!


2021 HSC English Advanced Exam Paper 2 Sample Guidelines

It’s that time of year! Have you seen the 2021 HSC English Advanced Exam Paper 2 yet?

In this article, we share our sample guidelines for Section 1 of the 2021 HSC English Advanced Exam Paper 2 to show you the sort of response that would score highly. You can find the paper here on the NESA website.

Read on to see sample guidelines for all of the 2021 prescribed text questions.


Section I — Module A: Textual Conversations

How do the extracts provided contribute to a broader textual conversation between the pair of prescribed texts that you have studied in Module A? (20 marks)

The question is followed by one extract from each of the prescribed texts. These extracts are written or visual (for films).

Each extract features two major themes from each of the prescribed texts. This question is testing your ability to discuss these themes and reveal their similarities and differences in the prescribed texts. You MUST maintain close reference to the extracts as the question begins with “How do the extracts provided…”

These major themes are quite specific and vastly different for each text. For example, the extracts from Plath and Hughes’ poetry feature resilience and a refusal of guilt; Donne and W;t feature death and pragmatism; Tempest and Hagseed feature imprisonment and oppression. So, you must NOT regurgitate a pre-planned response that does NOT directly target these themes. It will be evident and adversely affect your mark.

Additionally, you need to define and explain what the “broader textual conversation between the pair of prescribed texts” is. What this means is that you need to be able to explain how the forms, features and messages of the texts were influenced by the contexts they were composed in, and how the reception to the texts has changed over time.


Section II — Module B: Critical Study of Literature

Literature forces us to ask questions and look for answers. Even if those answers do not exist. (20 marks)

To what extent is this true?

In your response, make close reference to your prescribed text.

To effectively respond to this “To what extent” question, you need to make your position clear. Note that the statement has multiple components:

  1. “Literature forces us to ask questions”
  2. “Literature forces us to … look for answers”
  3. “those answers do not exist”

We could potentially argue that the first part of the question is true, without accepting the validity of the other parts, and vice versa. For example, we could assert that “Literature forces us to ask questions and look for answers AND these answers always exist.” Alternatively, we could say that “Literature doesn’t force us to ask questions BUT they show us why we need to ask questions even if their answers don’t exist”.

When picking your stance, it’s important to consider how you will support it with evidence from your text. For example, if your text features many moral dilemmas and ambiguous scenarios where there isn’t a distinct right or wrong course of action, it would be difficult to argue that there are always answers to a question. Regardless of what you decide on, you MUST make your stance clear from the start to guide your response and show your marker that you are critically engaging with the question.

Once you have defined your position, you can choose to discuss any key concerns that the composer of your prescribed text has raised, as long as you are making it clear why these concerns would matter to the audience of their time and beyond. Why would these concerns raise questions, what are these questions and why would it be important for us to look for answers? It is because they are political concerns that without, we would become oppressed by corrupt powers and lose our basic freedoms? Or should we be concerned because its innately human to care about the people around us and promote a better society? Whatever the case, provide evidence from your prescribed text that supports the importance of these concerns (it would also be beneficial to provide quote from literary critics that reflect these concerns in various contexts to show how these concerns continue to remain relevant).


Section III — Module C: The Craft of Writing

The stimulus is a monochrome image of a hand placing a pencil through a wire fence to draw footprints on white paper flooring. (20 marks)

(a) Use the image provided to craft a central metaphor in a piece of imaginative, discursive or persuasive writing.

You must use the stimulus image as a metaphor that is central to your writing.

  • This means that you must NOT use the stimulus literally, i.e., your story cannot be about a person who is literally drawing footprints like the person in the stimulus.
  • It is NOT enough to just briefly refer to the stimulus in a metaphor. It needs to be deeply linked to the main theme or message of your writing.
  • If your connection to the stimulus is NOT immediately obvious to the marker, you risk being dropped to the lowest bands. Ideally, the connection should be evident from your initial writing piece, and at the very least, your reflection should make the connection clear.

(b) Evaluate how your study of figurative language in The Craft of Writing influenced the creative decisions you made in part (a).
In your response, make reference to one or more of your prescribed texts.

  • You must provide examples of figurative language in one or more of your prescribed texts.
  • You must then explain how the aspects of your own writing were inspired by these prescribed texts.
  • To clearly show these links, provide quotes from your own writing and your prescribed text.
  • Your reflection in part (b) should be just as long as your written response in part (a), since they are both allocated the same amount of marks.

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.


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