Your final year of English - like your final year of anything really - is the culmination of everything that came before it. You’ll take all those years of learning how to analyse texts and write essays and put them all the to the test. The content of year 12 English is not necessarily any harder than the content in year 11 English, but it is a step up in terms of importance, and the pressure of being in year 12 can make it all the more challenging.
The good news is, it’s not something to be afraid of because you’ve done it all before. But just in case you need some motivation, here are some tips and tricks for making sure you get through year 12 English:
Read texts early
You’re going to have a lot on your plate this year so anything you can get out of the way early is definitely worth doing. Trust me, your future exam self will be grateful! One of those things that you can get out of the way now is reading your prescribed and chosen texts for English.
Depending on what your school has chosen to study, the number of texts you have to read will vary, but whatever the amount it’s a smart idea to use these summer holidays to read (and possibly even re-read) them so you know what you’ll be facing in the year ahead. Not only will you save yourself having to do so in the middle of the term when assignments and classes are coming in thick and fast, but it will ensure you are more familiar with the material and therefore be more likely to analyse it in depth later on.
Get up to speed with your syllabus
English syllabuses vary significantly from year to year, and with plenty of different requirement outlines for different sections of the subject, it can seem pretty confusing and daunting to try and work through what’s required and then complete the necessary tasks to tick those requirements off. Trust us though – it’s worth looking into it and trying to get as much of those requirements completed from now.
The more familiar you are with the syllabus requirements now, the more likely you are to be able to provide assessment responses that give your examiners what they’re looking for. English may give a lot of licence for creativity but it is still based on a marking criteria; know yours and you’ll put yourself on the right track for top marks.
Like any skill, practice makes perfect and your writing is no different. So practice writing. Not only will you iron out any bad habits in grammar and sentence structure, but you’ll also become more comfortable in your writing style and vocabulary, giving you the best tools to perfect your essay and creative writing capabilities.
Don’t assume that practising writing necessarily means practising exam questions. While these are important, putting pen to paper in other formats, for example, short stories, articles, letters, and even poetry will help build up and sharpen your writing armoury as well as point you in the right direction to nail English this year.
Get as much feedback as you can, as soon as you can
This one is sort of part two of the last tip. As much as practising your writing will be helpful, doing so all on your own can only get you so far in terms of improvement. It can also be detrimental to your writing skills as it can reinforce your bad writing habits without you even realising.
The solution? Try and get as much feedback on your writing as you can. This will, of course, be mainly through your teacher, but parents, older siblings, and even friends (whose opinion you trust) can be a valuable resource too. Feedback will help you identify and address issues in your writing that you might have missed yourself, so the more you can get, the better. The biggest benefit of asking your teachers for feedback is that they’re going to be marking a good chunk of your year 12 assessments, so if you listen to what they have to say they will point you in the right direction for those assessments.
This piece of advice isn’t specific to year 12, but it’s still a good one.
Reading a lot and in various formats (novels, articles, poems, etc.) has a knock-on positive effect for nearly every aspect of your English skill set. Identifying trends and themes, recognising good patterns of writing, and broadening vocabulary are all positive outcomes of reading and these can all be improved by broadening your reading material and keeping it consistent.
No matter what your current English abilities are, if you put the above tips into practice you’re giving yourself an excellent chance of improving and getting top marks. So what are you waiting for? Get reading!