We all deal with stress and pressure in different ways and exam “goblins” are easily identifiable.

They are the students outside the exam hall reciting themes or formulae, talking quickly about all the things they covered (which will sound like a LOT MORE than what you actually did!) and they may be quite jumpy, agitated or nervous. They could even be one of your good mates! Tricky! 🤔

Try to avoid these people if you can. Their behavior will only get you rattled, make you question what you’ve studied and question if you are prepared 🤨. Self-doubt starts to creep in 😫 followed close behind by panic 😱


Go sit in the sun or move to a quieter area, listen to the birds, take some deep breaths, swing your arms, do some stretches. You need to be as relaxed as you can – which is bloody difficult given the situation!

👍 CHECK - does your desk wobble? Yes? Throw your hand up straight away and get some paper from a supervisor to level it out. Nothing worse than a wobbly writing surface!
👍 Take 3 deep breaths (QUIETLY!). Amazing how deep breathing can still a racing heart!
👍 Use your READING TIME effectively! In Responding and Composing – read ALL the options. The one that catches your eye, that looks the easiest may not necessarily be the case. Check ‘em all.

Don’t pay much attention to what others say after the exam. Your answers will NOT be the same as anyone else. And the beauty of English is that there is NEVER JUST ONE answer 😀

Don’t doubt yourself. You did your best! Treat yourself to something nice (mmm…..subway club!) then focus on your next exam!


👨‍🏫  STUDY TIPS!  👩‍🏫

Here's a few suggestions to help you in your exam prep.  Feel free to add any of your own tips below - we're all in it TOGETHER! 🤪

🥛 Hydrate - water is best, caffeine good (but not too much!)

🍕 Eat - you're gonna get hungry!

💨 Fresh air - windows open, get outside every hour or so, breathe deeply, stretch, play with the dog.  Be sure to go back to the books!

🎵 Music - fine if it doesn’t distract you.  Classical music while studying can actually encourage better brainwave movements! If you find yourself drumming like a maniac on the desk...turn it off! 😂

🛸 Study environment - good lighting, comfortable temperature, put distractions (PS4/XBox, Dr Who box set, mobile phone) out of sight.  DON'T study IN/ON your bed. Your mind will associate your bed with study and you will be frustrated when you can’t get to sleep.

😴 Get plenty of sleep!

👨‍💻 Create a STUDY PLAN that allows equal time for all subjects.  Block it out over the next two weeks like you would a school timetable.  Plan to cover the necessary content for each subject.  INCLUDE down time in your schedule - hanging with mates, family time, "me" time.  Studying shouldn't be painful and your brain needs a break now and then 🤬😡🤮 If you hate it, it makes it harder.  Reward yourself for every 1-2hrs of hard slog! 😇  Mmmm, Krispy Creme donut...

👩‍💻 Figure out the best way for YOU to retain the information.  Are you a VISUAL LEARNER? Get busy with diagrams, mind maps, images etc.  Are you a ROTE learner?  Get busy with flashcards, stick information all over you bedroom walls, all over the house for that matter! Stick a maths formula on the back of the toilet door.  Who cares if the whole family memorises it!  Are you an AUDITORY learner?  Record yourself reading important quotations, notes, formulae, facts etc and listen to them while you go for a walk.

🧐 Memorising QUOTATIONS - there's a great post about how to do this on earlier on our page.  Go find it!

👨‍🏫👩‍🏫 Use your teachers!  If they said they'd be available for help up to the exam, USE THEM!  Write a practice response on a novel/film or comprehending passage.  Take it to them and get some FEEBACK.  Harras them! 😉  You will find they are more than willing to help you!



In the COMPREHENDING SECTION of your ATAR English exam you could be asked to discuss the significance of the narrative point of view.

So!  Best you know the difference between them! 🤙😉

It is RARE to come across 2nd person pov texts.  These are the “Choose-your-own-adventure” sort of texts (“You climb up over the wall to see…”)


The narrator is part of the story (I, me).  You are inside their head and see directly through the eyes.

Therefore, this point of view can very SUBJECTIVE and BIAS because the character’s interpretation of events or the action is directly INFLUENCED by their personal experiences, opinions, attitudes or motivations.

E.G. In "A Handmaid’s Tale" we share what Offred knows, experiences and remembers, but she has a very limited view of the world due to her position. We have to trust her about Gilead and what happens to her.

So, first person point of view narrators can be UNRELIABLE.


The narrator is an observer of the action or events (they, he, she, it).  They are an outsider looking in.

They may be LIMITED (i.e. focus on the thoughts and feelings of one character) or OMNISCIENT (i.e. can go into the thoughts of many or all of the characters, sometimes called Eye-of-God narration).

These narrators are more OBJECTIVE and RELIABLE because they have no self interest in the events occurring.

In some cases, they may show concern for the characters or comment on the action, such as Death does in "The Book Thief", but this is unusual.  For the most part they just report the story.

And that’s it!  Simples!  😊


COMPOSING SECTION – Writing an article.

So you’re planning on writing an ARTICLE in the ATAR exam. Sweet! 😎🤙
Here's some TIPS!
🌳 TITLE – this may be easier to do at the end. Make it interesting, e.g. use a pun or metaphor etc. BUT, don’t waste valuable time on it. If you’ve got nothin’, call it anything relevant. E.G. 'CLIMATE CHANGE' is perfectly acceptable! 😊
🌳 BYLINE – this is a good way to signal that you’re writing an article and introduce a topic. E.G. “Jessica Jones explores why climate change has become a burning issue.”
🌳 Use a HOOK (opening paragraph) to engage your reader – anecdote, imagine that…, rhetorical question, statistic or fact, famous quote, song lyric, line of poetry etc.
🌳 Have 3 to 5 strong POINTS/ARGUMENTS to make about the topic/idea.
🌳 Use statistics, factual information and quotations from experts/professionals.
REMEMBER: it's okay to make these things up since your piece of writing is a fictional composition. BUT - make sure figures and experts are believable!
🌳 Use SMALL paragraphs, as you would expect to find in an article. Totally fine to have one paragraph as a quotation from an expert.
🌳 Articles generally use more FORMAL language and can be written from the third person point of view. This can be different to blogs or editorials or opinion pieces (which can be more personal, collquial, emotive and written from the first-person point of view).
🌳 Use a variety of LANGUAGE DEVICES such as: repetition, rhetorical questions, listing or tricolon, personal/inclusive pronouns, simile, metaphor, hyperbole, anecdote, jargon, imperatives, analogy, allusion etc. Show off with your language! Show your marker how GOOD you are at writing! 😉
🌳 Finish with a strong CONCLUDING statement. Perhaps create a circular STRUCTURE by linking back to your opening paragraph somehow (your hook).
Students who prefer non-fiction and have a good knowledge of world and social issues, are more likely to choose this FORM of writing in the COMPOSING SECTION .
Ensure you can BACK UP your points and arguments with specific evidence.
For example, if your article is about the amount of WASTE IN SOCIETY, then mention the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch', a floating island of plastic now 3 times the size of France, floating between California and Hawaii.
OR you could mention the recent warning from the world’s leading climate scientists that we have only 12 years to keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5C.
Notice how specific these two examples are? That's what you're after - use factual evidence to make your argument strong, persuasive, convincing!
FINAL TIP:  Watch the news at least 3x a week between now and your ATAR exam to build your knowledge of social/world issues!


If you are tackling an essay question about IDEAS, try to explore the idea in some detail.  Avoid reducing it to one word such as relationships, power, war, courage, the human spirit etc.
E.G. A student might identify LOVE as an IDEA in Romeo and Juliet.
But WHAT about love? That love...can be superficial and fleeting?  That love...can be a violent and over-powering force?  That love...can be passionate and romantic?
Placing the word ‘THAT’ in front of your idea will encourage you to expand on it.  It’s a very simple strategy but it works 😁👍
Here’s an example using an examination style question:
“Discuss how Text 1 and Text 2 construct different IDEAS ABOUT IDENTITY”
Some IDEAS could be:
👾 that our identity...is heavily influenced by our society
🤖 that our identity...can be controlled by technology
👽 that individuality...can result in isolation within a society
🇦🇺 that the Australian identity...is built upon the values of freedom, equality and respect for all
Here’s another examination style question:
“Explain how language and aspects of construction are used to explore IDEAS ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS”
Some IDEAS could be:
🙈 that relationships...change over time
🙉 that relationships...can provide a support network for us
🙊 that relationships...can be filled with fear and violence
Of course the next step is to offer the ANALYSIS in these questions – the HOW part. You can see an earlier post on our page about how to do this 😊