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English 9-10

How To Study For English In Year 9 and 10

in this post, we breakdown what students in Years 9 and 10 need to do to succeed in English.

Years 9 and 10 are important stages in your high school journey, but often students don’t make the most of their time. After a couple years of settling into high school, you are definitely not the new kid anymore. You know the system, you know your teachers, and you know how to cut corners.

It’s easy to think that Years 9 and 10 are easy and you don’t need to do much work. But you have to fight this complacency. The habits you build in Years 9 and 10 will set you up for success in Y11 and Y12.

Most students are shocked when they start Year 11. The expectations are so much higher than the year before. In English, the teachers and the syllabus demand far more independent study and writing from you than what was expected in Years 9-10.

In order to avoid the shock and stay on track for your final years, you need to develop some good study habits that will mean you start Year 11 with an edge.

Here is a two-step plan to get you started! 


1. Read for Pleasure

Years 9 and 10 are not as demanding in terms of the study required as Years 11 and 12. Take advantage of that free time to develop a solid reading habit. If you’re not sure where to start, go to your local or school library and start by browsing the shelves to see what catches your eye. Or view the Year 9 & 10 (Stage 5) Recommended Reading List for some reading ideas.

How it works:

  • Start with a book that’s at a level where you can enjoy it.
  • Try reading a book that sounds like it will be interesting from the overview on the back cover.
  • If you find the book boring or too hard, return it and try a different book – you’ll begin to figure out what you enjoy through trial and error.
  • It’s totally fine to read magazines or graphic novels – these are texts and they count as reading!


Why it works:

  • One of the best ways to improve your understanding of English is through reading. We know you’ve heard this a hundred times but even 10 minutes each day will do wonders. 
  • If you do something for pleasure, then you are more likely to keep doing it. It is the habit of reading that will really make the difference in your senior years.
  • The more you read, the more you will start to notice the patterns in way people use English. You’ll begin to notice different writing styles. You’ll start to recognise when a writer has produced something different or beautiful with language. This is a skill that will make your senior years so much easier.


2. Start Keeping Study Notes

Behind every great English essay is a systematic approach to study. In senior English you are required to produce answers to questions that show your analysis of a text.

You can build an efficient way of supporting your analytical skills by making study notes.

So what are study notes? Study notes are what you create to help you better see the complexity of a text in terms of its ideas.

How it works:

  • Start by asking the following question: What are the major ideas in the text? Note down your thoughts.
  • What quotations from the text support those ideas? Go find them by returning to the text!
  • Create a table of major ideas and the evidence that shows those ideas. You’ve now started an organised system for thinking about the text.

Why it works:

  • By writing down your understanding of the text and finding the evidence for your notes, you are creating a system that will make it easier to write essays and easier to study for exams.
  • Creating study notes means you’re engaging with your text. You’ll start to see more connections between ideas and you’ll be able to build better answers to English questions.

And that’s all it takes!

Regular reading and building study notes will set you on track for success in senior English!


Want Your Child to Take Their English to the Next Level?

If your child is struggling with English presently, Years 9 and 10 are the best time to help them get on top things. Learn how, here.


Written by Patrick Condliffe

Patrick has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons. 1st Class - Australian Literature) from USYD. His poetry, short stories, and essays have been published online and in print and he regularly reviews film and other media. Patrick is the editor of the popular Matrix blog and has been an English teacher at Matrix since 2012.


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