HSC English Extension 2

Former chief examiner of English Extension 2, Felicity Plunkett, answers questions from students completing their HSC in 2024.

How can I effectively focus my research on concept or form? / How do you know if your concept will be engaging to everyone (if it is a specific passion)?

In the early stages of the course, you will be deciding on which form to work in and refining your concept. As you research both form and concept, keep in mind which formal elements inspire you and would work well to convey the ideas you are interested in. 

What are common problems that people fall into and how do I steer myself away from these same challenges?

Procrastination and perfectionism are twin challenges, often seen together. By beginning the work and maintaining momentum, they will fade away. Other challenges include aiming for too large a set of ideas, something exploration, drafting and the process will reveal.

Can the journals include anything, even excerpts from books or phrases that may even be irrelevant to my idea?

Your journal is a place for experiments, note-taking and play. You will almost certainly have quotations from other writers and artists in your journal, and you will find you have ideas that feel exciting but may not immediately feel relevant to what you’re exploring. Collect them, and you may be surprised. 

Although there are some things you do need to include (as the assessment specifications outline), journals vary because each of us explores ideas in different ways. Your journal mostly needs to demonstrate a process of exploring and thinking, and it can be an important creative repository and place for experiments.

With drafting are you allowed to have feedback from teachers, peers and family members who aren’t included in Ext 2? / How do you avoid getting emotionally attached when receiving feedback?

It can be very helpful to receive feedback from people beyond your teacher. Remember, though, that your teacher and others involved in assessing your work are experts, who will have in mind the course requirements. Trust their professional expertise, then allow other readers’ views to supplement this. A writer who does not know the course will have ideas to offer, but remember that the requirements of the course are quite specific and that observing them will be crucial to your success. 

Do the same approaches apply to writing a critical response? / Are critical not recommended as they are less creative? / Do you have any tips for writing a critical response?

You need to approach the critical response with the same research into concept and form as any other form. As well as exploring aspects of concept, and considering other writers’, artists’ and thinkers’ work on the subject, you’ll be refining what it is you want to say on the subject, and how your work will be distinctive. 

What are the guidelines around adding any relevant images to our work?

When can visual elements enhance a written major?

NESA’s English Extension 2 Major Work Advice is a starting point for considering this question, and other questions.  


Back to HSC English