It's a good idea for students at school, as well as people in life in general, to have an understanding of structure in writing.

Knowing the best way as a student or at work to write step by step what your ideas are to convey a clear point are crucial and can make an impactful statement whether the reader is a good one or not.

In VCE English, which all students in Victoria must take one of, students will be very good at if not the best at being able to work with these academic paragraphs and kind of structure.

The pathway from school to university is paved with academic study and wordplay and is often measured by how well students will write an essay.

People generally learn to write an essay during school study and will have to be very very good at such an assignment come exam time since the VCE English exams are all based around essay writing.

Luckily, teachers and private tutors are there to help you plan your ideas, structure, and understanding of the topic throughout the year.

Don your thinking cap for a moment and you will also notice that being able to read and write essays is not only useful at this level of study but also at university study too. 

Text and language writing ability can help your daily life, and further study, whether you live in Australia, India, Japan, France... Essay writing is academic and a life skill because it helps you stick to one topic and plan your argument well.

At VCE English, there are three subject streams: General English, English Literature, and English Language.

 In this article, we will give you some help on the ideas about the point of each of the different types of essay you will see in each, and step by step tips to getting them right.

Find out how to revise efficiently for VCE English exams.

Essay Exams in VCE English
You will be required to know the essay style off by heart when the exam comes | Source: Getty Images - Kontrast/FootDesign
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Class Time, Study Skills, Study Design, and Access Point for Each of the Three Englishes

Units 1 and 2, and units 3 and 4 may differ in difficulty, but both are good places for having a strong understanding of English language skills - writing, reading, speaking, listening, topic focus, essay writing, idea order - and are compulsory for all students in Melbourne, VIC, and Australia.

All elements in the Australian school platform (check the online study guide for more information) have a similar core for English, including reading comprehension and analysing texts and being able to talk to teachers and others and apply this knowledge to a broader societal context.

However, students will be happy to know that the topic of each English will centre around something different.

The three areas mentioned above - General English, English Literature, and English Language - all have a different access point and platform for university, with your practice in class time across the year varying for each, and you will find access to this information below.

Get to know VCE English exam text analysis.

General

This English is the most common, and the one students typically need less help with. It is still however a highly academic band that requires structure in writing your ideas and has a heavy essay focus.

Work in this study in this subject has a language, topic and themes, and text analysis focus in order to answer a given question about contemporary culture and society, among other issues.

The reason people study this is so that they will have the best ideas about how to conduct themselves in life generally and can engage critically with the ideas of others while being a good reader of situations.

This subject therefore invites students to read and write, as well as speak and listen. Some examples of an academic topic you're likely to spend time to do work on at school include: finding the answer to a question about Australian identity, understanding features of writing, the ability to infer meaning from a text, and investigating social attitudes to a certain topic.

VCE English has several buzz words that relate to your essay.
High school and VCE English have a range of skills that go into writing an essay. | Source: 4U Online English

Writing Essays in General English

So, how do essays you write and the help you will need for these relate to your General English study time? Well, you will learn with your teacher in your time at school that being able to read the text and understand its ideas then order them, form an argument about your own ideas, turn this into a thesis statement of your overall argument, and flow on into an introduction, body paragraph chain, and conclusion is a key part of this subject

Essay and paragraph structure will be studied by students at school and university throughout their time, so it's important to know how to ace this. It is also particularly important when it comes to the General English VCE exam. Students have three hours to make their point with clear and concise sentences across a short answer and essay section. Each of these will test understanding of a text, the ability to use language and evidence, and the ability to answer a question on the topic whilst being critical and creative. Students will also be required to memorise quotes to use as example sentences to illustrate their point, so understanding the essay and writing structure in the text that other people have written is also useful for your own writing.

Find out an overall idea of the VCE English exam system here.

Literature

Typically known as the most text-heavy subject, this is the English that you will take if you really love reading. The reason for this is that texts form the main topic of this subject as around 8 are read in one year (8 months really, since you have to have them all finished between term 1 and the exam in October).

It has a critical edge to it which requires students to be able to identify themes and patterns across pieces of work and look deeper into what they may mean in the context of the work and society more broadly. This will focus on class and contemporary literature, including novels, memoirs, and non-fiction, as well as poetry and plays.

Lots of school time here will be dedicated to reading along as a class, but also lots of independent learning is required. The work you will do together with your classmates and teacher will focus on what themes and writing features you will see across all work and how to identify and talk about these. This comes in particularly handy when the exam time comes as you are pressed for time to write the essays under pressure in the room on the day.

The particular themes and features you are likely to investigate here include: language choice and writing style of the author, character relationships and story arcs, the presence of author's voice in the text, the author's intent through language choice, and also the ability to relate these to a historical or current world view.

Find interesting VCE English tutor Melbourne here on Superprof.

English Literature is a popular subject from within the English stream.
English Literature has a slightly different essay format to the other Englishes | Source: Getty Images - MaskaRad

Composing Texts in English Literature

The way you will look at the text in this subject is slightly different to General English in that you have to really go in-depth into what's in front of you, rather than memorise quotes to refine an idea you already have. English Literature is much more skills focussed in this regard, as the examiner wants to see in your writing structure on the day what you can do and how you understand the question.

There will be a lot of practice writing the essays you have to do in the final exam in this subject, which is actually more passage analysis than a full essay.

Nonetheless, you still need a thesis statement for your main ideas, introduction, body paragraph chain, and conclusion so that you can follow the point you want to make with your argument or arguments.

In the final exam, you will be presented with two passages of text that you need to show your interpretation of in highlighting the relationship between them.

You will use the features and themes you learnt to identify during class and turn these into an essay that discusses them. Thus, you will be marked on your ability to effectively structure your ideas and present a pointed insight into the text.

Find interesting English tutoring here on Superprof.

Language

This subject is the most logical in regards to its approach to English when compared to the other VCE English subjects. Therefore, your understanding of this subject will be different.

English Language focuses more heavily on the function of English in real-life situations and explores constructs within language to infer meaning, rather than applying this specifically to a text.

Looking at English and language as a social function, formality, relationship, inferred meaning, and contextualisation through semantic and pragmatic understanding, as well as the role of grammar and discourse pacing, students will learn about language and the significance of its features in English, including English's role as the global language.

Find interesting VCE English tutors here on Superprof.

Language and discourse are more common than text analysis in English Language VCE
You will focus more on discourse and meaning in English Language than the other VCE English streams. | Source: Noteworthy

How to Excel in English Language

The way you write in this topic still has the same features - thesis statement, topic sentence, introduction, body paragraph chain, conclusion - since this is the essential school and university essay style that is the accepted standard as it conveys your ideas so clearly.

Your essay writing won't be based on a text as such, but more on a discourse that you have to analyse.

What the final exam will test are ways to identify formality, features of grammar for indicating meaning, and understanding of our use of language as a social function.

The final exam leads students to both identify features of a discourse as well as engage in a critical analysis of this. 

The essay portion will ask a sociolinguistic or pure linguistic question about something to do with English or language use for students to answer, which is where they will be required to apply their knowledge of essay writing.

Now, work out how to plan the structure of your essays.

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