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3 Ways To Improve Your HSC English Essays Years 7 to 10

HSC English isn’t a sprint. It’s a slow and steady marathon where you build upon your skills, hone your techniques, and learn the English syllabus from front to back. Our tips listed below will improve your English marks right

now and prepare you for later studies, making your life so much easier when

crunch time comes!

#1) Ditching PEEL for QTT

The PEEL (Point, Example, Explain, Link) system is the most common sentence structure taught in

high-school English. However, I’ve had high performing students complain that it is too restrictive and that what should be “explained” isn’t clear. For my Year 7 to 10 students, I’ve adopted the QTT (Quote, Technique, Theme) system. As a simple example, “O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!” Shakespeare utilises a recurring motif of light and dark to signify the link of light with enlightenment.

The QTT system helps students be concise and on-topic by developing their argument over just one or two lines. It’s more explicit about what part of the text you should be covering than PEEL. What’s more, you can add “Concepts” to the end of the sentence during HSC English to help you reach those Band 5 and 6 marks.

#2) Twice Reading The Text

In high school, you begin to deal with larger and larger texts, and it’s hard to keep track of all the themes and techniques used! I’ve had plenty of students complain that the texts are boring. This makes perfect sense if you have to stop every two minutes to look for a simile or metaphor!

I recommend reading your text twice. The first read through, try to read the text for entertainment, feeling the themes rather than thinking about them. Once you’re invested, go back through with a pen and pick out the relevant quotes, techniques, and themes important for the exam.

#3) Reading The Syllabus and Criteria

Reading the syllabus is a vital habit to pick up for HSC English, but don’t be afraid to ask your tutor to run it through with you. We know that the syllabus looks like a jumbled mess of teacher-speak. However, several vital sentences will inform you precisely what your teachers want from your essays.

These are three key ways to improve your English essays. They will improve your structure and argument skills now, but they’re also essential tips to build on heading into HSC English.

Another tried and true method to improve your marks is learning with a personalised tutor. If you’re interested in getting some face-to-face help to improve your marks, call Atomic Plus Tuition at 0401 455 665 or email us at

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