We've already looked at the Year 11 Modules and stepped you through some of the Matrix secrets for studying English. Now you're in Year 12 in this part of the Guide, we'll give you an overview of each Module so you can ace the HSC.
Year 12 is similar in structure to Year 11. However, instead of having only three Modules, the HSC year has four. In this part of the guide, we will give you an overview of the four modules and the texts set for study for 2018. Don’t forget, there will be new modules for Year 12 students beginning from the 2018/2019 HSC cohort. Watch this space for a comprehensive overview of the New 2019 HSC English Modules – Coming Soon!
There are four modules for Year 12, they are:
Each Module places an emphasis on different aspects of the texts. The different Modules each require the study of a different number of texts.
Let’s have a look at what the different modules entail.
All students in Year 12 English Standard and English Advanced undertake the Area of Study Course. An Area of Study Course offers students the opportunity to explore and discuss a concept that affects their perceptions of themselves and their world. Area of Study is always focused on universal human concepts: past iterations of Area of Study [AOS] include the themes of identity, journey, and belonging. The current AOS course is Discovery.
Area of Study requires students to perform a thematic reading of a prescribed text and two supplementary texts of their own choosing. Students must read the text for representations of the central theme and consider how different texts, if not all texts, convey this universal human experience.
For this Module, students will need to write several creative pieces and answer some short answer questions, as well as write essays on their prescribed and supplementary texts.
For the HSC Trials and HSC, students will complete Paper One. Paper One has three sections: a creative response (usually a short story); a short answer section on unseen texts; and an extended essay response.
To do well in this Module, students need to have a thorough understanding of their texts and of the prescribed Area of Study – Discovery.
For every Area of Study NESA (formerly the BOSTES) provide a syllabus rubric that defines the concept to be studied. The purpose of this is to guide all students undertaking the AOS Module in the thematic approach they should take on the texts they study.
The Module Rubric can be found on page 9 of this document.
The document breaks Discovery down into 3 different categories: definitions of Discovery; processes of Discovery; and consequences of Discovery.
The definitions of Discovery include statements such as, “Discovery can encompass the experience of discovering something for the first time or rediscovering something that has been lost, forgotten or concealed.” This explains to you that discovery includes the initial finding of something, such as an object, idea, or emotion, but ALSO finding that something for a subsequent time.
The processes of Discovery include procedures such as, “Discoveries can be sudden and unexpected, or they can emerge from a process of deliberate and careful planning evoked by curiosity, necessity or wonder.” This tells us that we find things because we go out looking for them, or because we accidentally stumble on them. We might be driven to look for these things by compulsion, because we are forced, or because we are curious about them.
The consequences of Discovery include such outcomes as, “The impact of these discoveries can be far-reaching and transformative for the individual and for broader society.” This describes how the process of discovery can make us reevaluate ourselves or our understanding of the world. Some discoveries are so far reaching that they change society in small or large ways. For example, Copernicus’ discovery that our Earth was not the centre of the universe forced people to reevaluate their understanding of the universe and their place in it.
When studying this Module, it is important that students take the time to learn all the rubric points. This is not only because you need to understand them to analyse your texts, but because the HSC questions are drawn from these phrases. Matrix English Advanced students are taught how to compile study tables and notes to address the different aspects of Discovery presented in the syllabus rubric. This is an essential step for responding to the AOS essay questions, but also for composing creatives and answering the short answer questions found in Paper One.
There is an extensive list of prescribed texts that teachers can choose from for this course:
Students also need to choose their own related texts. We have some suggestions for you in the following posts:
If you would like to know more about AOS, you should read these articles from the Matrix Blog:
Module A is a comparative study. This means that students need to compare two texts and discuss how they share similar ideas and concerns. These ideas and concerns will be relevant to the contexts that they were composed in. You will need to research the context of each of your texts. The syllabus rubric can be found here on the BOSTES website (pages 16 & 17).
When we talk about context, we mean the time period that it was written in. A contextual study is concerned with the analysis of changing values and attitudes. Values are the things that society holds to be important, and attitudes are the perspectives that groups or individuals have on these values. We can derive the values and attitudes of a period by considering historical information.
Context will include historical information about important events, society, politics, culture, the economy, religious beliefs, and more. For example, if we were to think about the context of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927) we would need to know about:
You will then need to discuss the text in light of this historical information. You will need to demonstrate how context might have shaped the composer’s view of their society, or how they are commenting on aspects of their society. Detailed responses consistently achieve better marks, which is why Matrix English Advanced Students’ Theory Books provide detailed contextual information. It is important for the study of this Module that you focus on historical details rather than broad events.
This Module is split into two Electives. They are Intertextual Perspectives and Intertextual Connections. Each elective has several text combinations to choose from. Your school’s English Department will decide which Elective and pair of texts you will study.
Intertextual Connections means that you will be studying texts that have an explicit connection to each other. This connection may be explicit or implicit. For example, the composer might be commenting on the ongoing relevance of the earlier text or perhaps critiquing it from a more recent perspective. All of the texts in this Elective are separated by a significant amount of time (at least a century).
The text combinations set for study for this elective are:
Elective 2 is concerned with thematic connections between texts rather than direct links. The title Intertextual Perspectives refers to the different perspectives on a context that texts present. For this Elective, you will need to analyse the different values and attitudes presented in each text and comment on what has changed. Unlike Elective 1: Intertextual Connections, the texts in this Elective are much closer to together in context (both have been composed within the same century, if not even closer in time). This means that the changes in context, values, and attitudes may be more significant.
The text combinations set for study in this Elective are:
For a more detailed explanation of Module A, read our blog post on Module A: Comparative Study of Text and Context.
Module B is a close study of a single prescribed text or group of texts such as a set of poems or series of speeches. Close study means that you undertake a detailed and thorough reading of the text and consider it in relation to context, the composer’s biographical details, the lasting appeal of the text, and whether or not it can be said to have “textual integrity.” Many students find Module B to be the most challenging of the Modules because of the complexity of the texts and the depth of study required.
Critical Study of Texts requires you to know the text intimately. The HSC questions are always specific to a theme from the text and these are not always the predominant theme. Memorising essays for Module B will leave you unprepared for the HSC question you will be presented with. This is why Matrix English Advanced students learn how to make thorough notes for Module B and write essays that respond to the requirements of theme specific questions. The rubric for Module B can be found on page 18 of this document on the NESA website.
Module B requires students to make value judgements about the text that they are studying. You will need to assess whether you feel it is worthy of study and deserves its label as a “significant text.” You will also need to decide whether the text demonstrates “textual integrity.” These judgements can only be made with a detailed understanding of the text, its context, and its reception over the period of time since its publication.
One of the challenging aspects of Module B is understanding Textual Integrity. Textual Integrity is a broad concept and one that many students struggle to fully understand.
NESA describes textual integrity as “The unity of a text; its coherent use of form and language to produce an integrated whole in terms of meaning and value.” This means that a text consistently presents meaning through its thematic content and its structural composition. For example, Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a text obsessed with uncertainty and questioning. The play is full of questions, many of which are not answered or resolved. This thematic concern is made apparent from the first line of the play, “Who’s there?” A question that is asked on a darkened stage before the audience has the opportunity to familiarise themselves with any of the characters from the text.
If you are still unsure what textual integrity is, you must read our Essential Guide to Textual Integrity.
Critical reception refers to the lasting value and appeal of the text. You need to assess whether the text you are studying is significant and merits, what is known as, “canonical status.” The list of texts that are considered to possess literary significance is known as the canon. Not all texts are considered significant and the significance of a text can vary depending on its context.
For example, the poetry of John Donne fell out of critical and popular favour during the Regency. The Modernist poet TS Eliot wrote at length on Donne’s work, and that of his contemporaries, and saw Donne return to critical favour almost 300 years after his death. From this, we can see that critical reception is not something that is fixed, but is rather something that changes according to a society’s values and attitudes. You need to assess whether the text you have been set for study is still relevant to your context.
There are many text options that your English department can choose from for Module B, they are:
If you would like a more detailed explanation of Module B, you should read our blog post, HSC English Advanced Module B: Critical Study of Texts.
You may also be interested in reading our posts on:
Module C asks you to consider the fundamental process of art and literature – the representation of ideas. Representation and Text requires you to analyse how composers represent specific types of ideas in your texts. For this Module, you will study one prescribed text and choose two elective texts.
According to the Module rubric (pages 20 & 21), the key concern for the Module is to develop “students understanding of the relationship between representation and meaning.” This is asking you to analyse how composers go about conveying meaning to their audiences. You need to consider how they utilise techniques, form, and structure to represent their ideas to their audience.
Similarly to Module A, this Module is split into two distinct Electives: Representing People and Politics and Representing People and Landscapes. While these Electives focus on tangible themes – politics and landscapes – you must evaluate how these themes are represented, not the themes themselves. Let’s have a quick look at what that entails.
Representing People and Politics requires you to examine how composers represent political ideas in their texts.
The rubric demands that you “consider the ways in which texts represent individual, shared or competing political perspectives, ideas, events or situations. Students analyse representations of people’s political motivations and actions, as well as the impact political acts may have on individual lives or society more broadly.” This means that you must consider what the political perspectives, ideas, events, and situations are in the texts you study, and then discuss how the composer has represented these and the different perspectives on them.
It is important to remember that you are not being compelled to evaluate the political ideas themselves, but how they are portrayed and what this suggests about the composer’s perspective on them.
The prescribed texts for this elective are:
ELective 2 asks you to look at how composers represent the relationships people have with the landscapes around them. This is a broad concept, and NESA narrows it down by asking you to focus on “the ways in which texts represent the relationship between the lives of individuals or groups and real, remembered or imagined landscapes.”
The difficult concept here is understanding what is meant by real, remembered, or imagined landscapes. These different types of landscapes can be understood as:
What you need to do is look at how the composers of your texts represent these relationships. You must consider what forms, structures, and techniques they use to make these ideas clear to their audience. Remember, it is essential that you don’t get sidetracked and focus on the landscape itself, you must focus on the process of representation being used.
This elective has the following texts set for study:
If you want a more detailed explanation of Module C, you should read our blog post – HSC English Advanced Module C: Representation and Text.
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