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English 11-12

5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Memorise Your Essay

Do you memorise your essays? Here's five reasons why that's a terrible idea!

To memorise their essay, or not to memorise their essay, that is the question every HSC English Advanced student asks themselves at some point. You could memorise that essay you worked on all year, but will it actually work? The short answer, no! Read on to learn 5 reasons why you shouldn’t memorise your essay.


1. It Won’t Address the Question

This is what makes prepared essays the most obvious to markers. You may feel that you were able to tweak your response to suit the question, but this is different to directly addressing it.

HSC questions also usually contain a number of separate parts that all need to be addressed, including:

  • the various themes you discuss – often specified by the question;
  • specific quotations presented by the question;
  • a reflection on your understanding of the module, text, and question. This will need to be discussed throughout the essay for a sustained response!

These different aspects will be very difficult to address fully if you have only prepared a single essay. It is one of the biggest reasons why you shouldn’t memorise your essay.



2. The Question Might Not Ask for an Essay

As stated in the syllabus: “A student analyses and synthesises information and ideas into sustained and logical argument for a range of purposes, audiences and contexts.”
(Board of Studies, Stag 6 English Syllabus, 2009)

The question may not ask you to write an essay. It could ask for:

  • A speech
  • An article or review (for a newspaper or magazine)
  • An interview

If you have only prepared a single “perfect” essay, instead of a comprehensive analysis, this will be harder to adapt to these different forms.



3. There are Better Ways to Spend Your Time

A better way of studying English is to pick out quotations and analyse them in terms of techniques and their contribution to key ideas. Memorising these quotes in relation to a number of themes will allow you to provide the type of insightful demanded by the HSC exam. This may sound daunting but it is actually far less time consuming than memorising words off a page.

Read: How To Analyse a Related Text



4. It Limits Your Understanding of Your Text and Topic as a Whole

No matter what the question is, your analysis will always have to link back to the key ideas of your text or topic. A memorised essay will only focus on one small aspect which will not provide you with the scope required to take on the HSC exam.



5. It is Mind Numbing

There is nothing more tedious than writing or reading something over and over again. This kind of study does not stimulate your brain to think creatively and generate new ideas. Plus, this type of preparation will be useless in the exam if you have a mind blank.



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Written by Matrix Education

Matrix is Sydney's No.1 High School Tuition provider. Come read our blog regularly for study hacks, subject breakdowns, and all the other academic insights you need.


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