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English 11-12

HSC Common Module: Texts and Human Experiences Practice Paper 1 – [FREE DOWNLOAD]

Want to see how well you know Common Module? Read this post on how to approach the exam and then download a Common Module: Texts and Human Experiences practice paper 1 to test your skills! We'll send you the solutions in 24hrs so you can see how you went.

Are you unsure what to expect from the new Common Module: Texts and Human Experiences Paper 1? Do you need to practice your unseen skills? Do you know how to appropriately answer short answer questions? Don’t worry, in this post, we’ll give you a run-down of what to expect from Paper 1 and how to prepare for it so you can achieve a Band 6 result. To finish off, you can download a Common Module: Texts and Human Experiences Practice Paper 1 and we’ll send you the sample exemplary responses in 24hrs.

What’s the structure of the HSC Common Module: Texts and Human Experiences Paper 1?

THe 2019 HSC Paper 1 will have two sections. In previous years, Paper 1 had three sections – a short response section, an extended response, and a creative. From 2019, NESA (the NSW Education Standards Authority) have removed the creative question from Paper one.

Now there will only be two sections:

  • Section 1: A short answer section with unseen texts
  • Section 2: An extended response essay question

Each section will be worth 20 marks. You will have ten minutes of reading time, during which you will not be able to write. You will then have 90 minutes of writing time to complete the paper. This is roughly 45 minutes per section.


See if you’re HSC ready


What will Section 1 involve?

Section 1 will contain 4-5 unseen texts for you to analyse. You will then have a series of questions that you will have to answer on the unseen texts.

Each question will engage with a specific aspect of human experience.

The questions may be worth up to 7 marks. These questions might also contain parts.

You will need to write a miniature essay for the final question of around 300-400 words exploring one of the texts in detail, or comparing two or more of the texts.

You should spend no longer than 45 minutes on this section.


What will Section 2 involve?

Section 2 is an extended response question. What you will face in your HSC Trial exam and the HSC may differ.

In the HSC you will be asked a question about your study of the Common Module and your prescribed text.

The questions in this section can be:You will only answer one question

  • Specific to the prescribed text – Ie. Nineteen Eighty-Four
  • Specific to the form of the prescribed text – Ie. Prose FIction
  • A generic question suitable for all prescribed texts

You should spend no more than 45 minutes answering the questions in this section.


How can I prepare for the HSC Common Module: Texts and Human Experiences Paper 1?


Know the Common Module: Texts and Human Experiences rubric. If you need help, read our breakdown of it in the Year 12 English Study Guide.

Section 1

You will be unable to prepare specifically for the texts in Section 1. These will be a surprise in the exam. The best way to study for this section is to undertake as many practice Paper 1 section 1s as you can. If you don’t know how to prepare for and approach a Paper 1 section, read our Ultimate Guide For How To Answer Common Module Unseen Questions.

Section 2

Similarly, the extended response (essay) question will be designed to test your knowledge of the text and understanding of it. The new syllabus is designed to discourage and prevent you from relying on memorised essays. As you can see from the potential Section 2 questions, there will be no way to memorise a response that will answer every potential question. So don’t!

Rather than memorising a generic essay and trying to cram it into whatever question you receive, learn how to respond agilely to any question.

How do you do this? Matrix students learn the text in detail and receive detailed Common Module text supplements, they write practice essays, and the receive detailed feedback on their responses from Matrix Teachers and Tutors. You should do the same.

  1. First, read and analyse your prescribed text. If you need help, read part one of our Beginner’s Guide to Acing HSC English: How to read and analyse texts (we’ve even got a handy textual analysis planner you can download for free to help you develop detailed notes!).
  2. Second, compile some detailed notes about your core text and the Common Module.
  3. Finally, write practice essays to a variety of practice questions and get feedback from your teachers and peers. If you need a guide to essay writing, read this article from our Beginner’s Guide to Acing HSC English.


Want a practice HSC Common Module: Texts and Human Experiences Paper 1?

We’ve got you covered! We’ve got a Sample Paper for you to have a go at. We’ll even send you some sample responses in 24 hours so you can see how you went.

Below are the short answer questions from our HSC Sample Paper 1:

QUESTION 1. Text 1

What techniques does Kahlo use to reflect the emotional complexity of personal experience?
(2 marks)

QUESTION 2. Text 2

How does Orwell use rhetorical devices to expose the paradoxes and inconsistencies within an individual’s experience of England?
(3 marks)

QUESTION 3. Text 3

How does Angelou’s poem convey the beauty of resisting social representations of collective experiences?
(4 marks)

QUESTION 4. Text 4

To what extent is imagery used to convey the difficult ethical choices which arise out of our experiences?
(4 marks)

QUESTION 5. Texts 1,2,3, or 4

The four texts all challenge the prevailing views of their composers’ contexts.

Explain how two of these texts convey the experiences of individuals face the challenge of rejecting the status quo.

In your response, make detailed reference to both texts. (7 marks)


Need help acing your HSC English Adv exam?

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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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