The creative writing component of an exam can often be a vague and somewhat confusing. Also, it’s a little bit hard to prepare for a task that presents you with an unseen stimulus and question, which you could have never predicted. Here are a few strategies that can help you conquer creative writing in your next exam:
1. Don’t panic
Even though you may have never seen the stimulus provided, it’s important not to panic. Most stimuli are often pictures or short extracts from a longer text. You are not expected to analyse every minute detail of the stimulus provided. Rather, you need to understand the main message of the text and what it is communicates about the topic you are studying (discovery for HSC students this year). Also, to ease your nerves during an exam, it’s a good idea to take a look at some previous stimuli past papers so you have a good idea of what’s in store.
2. Use the reading time wisely
Most exams have an allocated reading time. For example, the HSC Paper 1 English exam has a ten minute allocated reading time. It’s important to use this time wisely by reading over/analysing the stimulus and formulating your own ideas about its main message and meaning. This is also the best time to pick a stimulus if you are given an option. Think about your idea and then consider which stimulus would most logically fit best into your response. By using these extra minutes efficiently, you’ll be able to interpret and answer the question with greater accuracy when it comes to writing.
3. Make sure your writing is logical
As time goes on, you may find yourself lost as you continue to write. Your piece may have started with a young man in space, but has quickly become about the Antarctic icebergs! To avoid this, it’s important you have the general start and end to your story in mind, and also to keep your writing logical and cohesive throughout. This way, the marker will be able to understand exactly what’s going on without confusion.
4. Keep track of the time
The mark allocation for the creative writing section is important to keep in mind. In high school, many exams with a creative writing component also have other parts, meaning that it’s essential to manage your time effectively so that you don’t lose site of the other sections and miss the opportunity to showcase all of your abilities. For example, focusing on the creative writing section for too long in HSC English Paper 1, may find you with only 10-15 minutes to write your entire discovery essay! A good way to make sure you won’t run out of time is by practicing your piece beforehand to make sure you can get it all down in the exam.
If you approach creative writing calmly and with a strategy in mind, you’ll easily tackle any questions that are thrown your way!Date Posted: 10 March 2018