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VCE AUGUST 2012

A S K

T H E

G U R U

WE GET A 99.90 ATAR ACHIEVER’S ADVICE

GAP YEAR REVIEW PICKING YOUR PREFERENCES VCE ROMANCE

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VCE

WELCOME 3

FROM THE EDITOR & FOUNDER ATAR NOTES + CALCULATOR

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PICKING PREFERENCES ASK THE GURU REFLECTIONS ON VCE

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UNI STUDENT PROFILES VCE ROMANCE

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GAP YEAR REVIEW

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VCE MEMES

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SHOULD I ATTEND AN OPEN DAY?

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ANALYSIS OF PERSUASIVE LANGUAGE TIPS

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CONTRIBUTE TO ATLAS Ideas? Thoughts? Suggestions? Contact our Editor-in-Chief, Leonard Krasny at: magazine@atarnotes.com

CREDITS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Leonard Krasny CREATIVE DIRECTOR Eitan Ritz ILLUSTRATIONS Nicole Fergusson, Eitan Ritz CONTRIBUTORS Lindy Blashki, Sam Blashki, Dev Bhattacharya, Jessica Darvell, Lauren Dymke, Brenden Horn, Daniel Levy, Nathaniel Lizak, Kasuni Mendis, Archie Simmons, Matthew Tran, William Vien SPECIAL THANKS TO Rahad Rahman, Oliver Krasny, Daniel Levy

We hope that Sam Blashki’s (pg.14) foot heals quickly, and that revenge is swiftly taken upon that rusty old nail.

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The ATAR Notes stall at last week’s Herald Sun Melbourne Career Expo. Thanks to all those who came down to the ATAR Notes stall and received a free chocolate!

SUBSCRIBE TO THE MAGAZINE ONLINE LIKE OUR FACEBOOK PAGE


FROM THE EDITOR much from it. VCE Atlas is a great addition to the ATAR Notes community, which has already been so supportive and helpful to thousands of VCE students in their melee against the countless SACs and final exams of the VCE variety.

As the editor of the new VCE Atlas magazine, I have undertaken a journey of epic proportions – one of profound stress, yet one of devilish delight and joy. Although this journey has been a rocky road of ups and downs, I can safely say that we got there in the end. The ultimate goal of creating an accessible, yet useful resource for current VCE students was the enduring inspiration for us to release this magazine into existence. Personally, I would have loved to have a VCE magazine that I could identify with during my VCE years, and the fact that we could provide this to you is something that drove us ever on.

Whether it be the invaluable advice of a Year 12 ‘guru,’ or an informative piece from a student who took a gap year post-VCE, there is something for everyone in VCE Atlas. For me, and many others, ATAR Notes is not just a website – it’s a community. This magazine exists as a result of the inspiration that the ATAR Notes community provides. I hope this magazine turns out as the invaluable resource that I intended it to be,

VCE Atlas has not been a one-man endeavour however. I deeply thank all of the writers, illustrators and graphics designers for having contributed to the Atlas. Your help is not only to be appreciated by me – it is to be appreciated principally by the VCE students who will benefit so

Leonard Krasny Currently studying a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne

FROM THE FOUNDER “Why I love ATARNotes.com – Not the physical site, but the people who populate it.”

different. It therefore gives me great pride to know that many such students who would otherwise despair for a nurturing community have found their home in ATARNotes.com.

When ATARNotes.com was founded 5 years ago (then called www.freestudynotes.com - a tacky choice of name that I have never, nor will ever, live down), I never envisaged that it would become as popular as it is today. I never imagined that a community so vibrant, so impassioned, and so generous would spring up to nurture each other and contribute to a project that has enriched the education of thousands of students.

Much of our goal is to make free (or affordable) the wealth of resources that only the upper schooling elite enjoy. We’ve recently produced subject study guides, written by past students who became experts in their subjects. The VCE ATLAS is yet another exciting way that we are trying to add to your education and we’re especially proud to be able to offer it to you for free.

I created the infrastructure, but it has been you, the members, who have populated it with your hard work. You have uploaded the notes you toiled on for countless hours, contributed lengthy forum posts, and counselled other members in private messages on everything from SAC preparation to career advice.

And you should tell us what you want, too! We love hearing your feedback. My inbox is always open (admin@atarnotes. com) and so is the editor of the magazine, Leonard (magazine@atarnotes. com). Or you can post your suggestions on the relevant forums.

For many students, this type of community that motivates and encourages can make all the difference. Sadly, as is often the case in public schools, many students have already been set up for failure. Often, it’s not “cool” to want to learn and be studious, and those who do take their education seriously are bullied for being

I wish all our members the best for a fruitful second half of the year. Cheers and see you on the forums, Daniel Levy (enwiabe) Currently studying a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering/Bachelor of Science at Monash University.

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ATAR NOTES + CALCULATOR

COMING AUGUST 8TH

From August 8th, the ATAR calculator will be integrated into the ATAR Notes website for your increased convenience and ease-of-use.

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hat better way of announcing the recent partnership between ATAR Notes and the ATAR calculator than through an interview with Daniel Lo Nigro, the creator of ATAR calculator. Who doesn’t love the good old ATAR calculator? Daniel Lo Nigro - DL

Why did you decide to join with ATAR notes? 

DL: ATAR Notes and the ATAR Calculator have a shared mission - to help high school students. ATAR Notes is quite a large and active community of students so to me, it made sense for the ATAR Calculator to join the ATAR Notes network.

Year 12 at high school, I wanted to estimate what my ENTER score would be. Surprised that there were no sites for VCE ENTER estimation, I decided to create my own. I got an initial prototype online and posted about it to ATAR Notes (which was called FreeStudyNotes at the time). I then got lots of feedback on the site that convinced me to keep working on it and improve it.   How do you explain the ATAR Calculator’s massive success?

What motivated you to create the ATAR calc? DL: Way back in 2007 when I was in

DL: It was the only site of its kind for quite some time and combined with its ease of use, it spread virally quite quickly. As the site grew and became more reliable, more people started using it. These days, over a million calculations are done on the ATAR Calculator every month.

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Did it take a lot of effort to create/maintain the ATAR calc?  DL: It didn’t take too much effort to make the very first version, but this version was quite crude and rudimentary, especially in regards to the scaling system. However, improving the calculator over the years has taken quite a lot of effort, as I’ve had to do many bug fixes that deal with a lot of the minute scaling and sorting details. What advice can you offer to current and future VCE students?  DL: Try your best, and don’t freak out about your ATAR! Don’t let the ATAR Calculator stress you out. Daniel Lo Nigro graduated 2011 from Swinburne University with a Bachelor of Science.


CAREER’S CO RN E R PICKING PREFERENCES

LINDY BLASHKI

I

t’s coming close to that time of year where you are going to be asked to select and prioritise your course preferences. This can sometimes seem a daunting task, but the tips below might help you to clarify how to go about this in a stress-free way.

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Look at the big picture

First up ask yourself: • “Have I really clarified what careers I’m truly interested in?” • “How do I want to spend my working life?” • “Ideally, what would I like to be doing in 5 years from now?” Not having a clear direction at this stage of the year is OK too – once you are aware of this, keep your options open and choose preferences that allow for flexibility in the future.

2 Be well informed Now that you have looked at the big picture, make sure you know what courses are available and are in keeping with your interests. Get the subject handbook for your state or

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download the app “directory undergraduate 2013” and speak to your school careers guidance counsellor about what courses are on offer. Write a list of all the courses that you might be interested in and number them from most to least preferred. Believe in yourself and don’t sell yourself short- be ambitious and optimistic- having a goal is a huge personal incentive and will keep you motivated in the coming months leading up to exams. If you are still unsure about what direction to go down, consider a broad Arts or Science degree which will give you time to think about the future, keep your options open and allow you the space after you leave school to develop some clarity about your career.

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Don’t fall into the highest ATAR trap

Many students think that they should put the course with the highest ATAR at the top of their preference list- sometimes this makes sense if it’s what you really want to do. However if this is not the course that you are truly most interested in, you might find yourself offered a place in a course that doesn’t suit you at the expense of what you really want to pursue. Be honest with yourself.

5 Be practical and flexible Now that the ATAR is a national grading you have the flexibility to consider all universities across Australia, so it may be worth considering your options interstate. Most importantly don’t leave gaps on the preference form. Sometimes things don’t go to plan so you may as well fill in the entire form. To this end, be pragmatic and have a back up plan in mind. Don’t forget that if your ATAR doesn’t live up to your expectations, there are so many alternative pathways to your preferred course including TAFE, internal transfers and graduate entry.

Find a Mentor

This is a great time of year to find a mentor or role model that can help you define your career direction. If you can find someone in the industry or even someone already in the course you want to do, ask them to be a mentor and meet with you to discuss their experiences. You’ll be surprised how helpful people are when you just ask.

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This is just the beginning

Finally, just remember the preference list and your first round offer is not the end point, but just the beginning in your desired career journey. The key to success in any career is being clear about what you’re aiming for while remaining flexible about how you get there. Don’t give up your dream just because you don’t get there by the most direct route. Be willing to persist and keep an open mind to opportunities in whatever form they present. This will ultimately help lead you towards a fulfilling career. Lindy Blashki Principal Director of Castan Careers Consulting. Castan Careers Consulting is a counselling service that focuses on one-on-one careers advice consultations. Visit Castan-Careers-Consulting.com or email lindy@blashki.com


very month we will have a high ATAR scoring ‘guru’ who will give his/her advice. This month we have Nathaniel Lizak who attended Bialik College, graduating in 2011.

couldn’t go because of studying. Obviously, during the VCE I wasn’t going out as much as previous years, but that’s mostly because everyone else wasn’t either – I recall only once that I decided not to attend a party and that was only because it was so close to the UMAT. I think a social life is very important as it can reduce stress and burnout, though there needs to be a healthy balance.

NATHANIEL LIZAK - NL Currently studying a Bachelor of Medicine/Surgery at Monash University.

Was studying that hard worth it? How does it feel now that you’re actually in your preferred course?

How did you know you wanted to study medicine?

NL: Yes, nowadays I do feel like the hard work paid off now that I’m here. Although, sometimes I felt like I put in so much work for one subject such as English, and it didn’t nearly make as much of an impact as studying for, say, chemistry, which I studied for less.

ASK THE

GURU E

NL: Well, it took me some time to realise my decision – but it was a combination of interests, really. For example, studying Biology Units 3+4 in Year 11 allowed me to realise my passion for that area. Not only that, but the idea of working with people as opposed to working behind a desk all one’s life really spoke to me… …But how did you know the blood wouldn’t freak you out? NL: Well I actually did work experience at a surgery, and after nearly fainting before the first procedure because of the smell, and also because of all the hype surrounding it, I got used to it and knew that I would be able to cope with this line of work in the future. During VCE, did you have a life? How much did you go out? NL: If there was a party on, or if some of my friends were going out, my rule was to never say that I

Also, I do not think taking notes is particularly effective. Notes encourage rote learning and I think that this is not the key to success at VCE. Rather, truly understanding the material and applying it effectively is more important. Did the expectations of others affect you? NL: Yes, I think so. In my case, I actually liked the added pressure from teachers, friends and family as it kept me motivated. But look, I do know that for many others, it can only make the whole VCE process more stressful. I believe that a little bit of stress/pressure is good, but too much can definitely be detrimental. Confidence is important too, but too much can lead to arrogance, which no one enjoys. According to you, is VCE a fair system? NL: Absolute fairness? No. But as a system relative to the educational systems of other countries such as the one in Brazil, my home country, yes VCE is a lot fairer. But there’s no such

It’s better to do ‘smart work,’ rather than lots of work. It’s better to do one practice exam and understand the mistakes you made in it, rather than have done 10 of them, but make the same mistakes each time without learning your lesson. For our readers, how do you ‘study smart?’ NL: It’s important to dispel a few myths. Firstly, sitting in a library with work in front of you does not mean you’re studying –it traps too many kids. Libraries can be too distracting; instead make your room an effective study space. I switched off my computer, had enough lighting, enough space and placed a sign outside my door for my family to not disturb me.

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thing as a perfect system. A big problem, however, is the scaling of SACs relative to the school you go to – there is definitely social disparity in the system when high-achieving students at ‘average’ schools get their SAC scores pulled down because of their peers who don’t do as well. It’s just not fair. School: Bialik College UMAT: 100th percentile ATAR: 99.90 Subject raw scores: • English (ESL) 44 • Biology 47 • Mathematical Methods CAS 49 • Specialist Maths 50 + Premier’s Award • Chemistry 50 • Uni Maths 5.5 + Extension program prize for topping Uni Maths Tutoring: Math Methods, Specialist Math, Biology, Chemistry, Uni Maths. Also all high school (i.e. before VCE) Maths and Sciences. My email: lizaknathaniel@gmail.com


R eflections on V C E Burnout, and the Zombie Apocalypse LAUREN DYMKE

V

CE is a challenging time. Life as a teenager is complicated - balancing school, work and social life - all while somehow retaining your sanity. I’ll admit that some days are better than others. The endless busyness of participating in school life is rewarding but exhausting: sport, musicals, parttime work, public speaking. The noise and activity of each term is only punctuated by the thick, hanging silence of exams. Caught in the tumult of daily chaos, sometimes it’s hard to step back and see the bigger picture. Maybe you’re like me and find it hard to switch off. I’m often wide awake on a school night, dwelling on burning anxieties or imagining fantastic possibilities. In the dark, my brain disassembles into utter chaos, buzzing with white noise and existential questions.

Who am I? Where am I going? The future ahead is vague and unknown, the past unchangeable. Such is the mental state of a VCE student.

“Coping with VCE is kind of like living through a zombie apocalypse” you have the right tools available to you. At some point in the year most of us are going to succumb to fatigue and stress, reverting to an ‘undead’ state. A recommended cure is watching the hilarious movie, Zombieland, and taking a piece of wisdom from its 32 rules of survival. Rule #1 is cardio: exercise is a great motivator (plus, it helps you run away from zombies). Mostly importantly, though - Rule # 22: know your way out. Don’t get stuck in a study

At this point I need a reality check. I know that in the morning I will rearrange myself into a functional human being. On autopilot, I will smooth the creases from my blazer, pour my cereal, and take the bus to school. I will have no problem sitting through two SACS, attending my music lesson and helping out at a soup kitchen. Coping with VCE is kind of like living through a zombie apocalypse; it’s not meant to be easy, but it is possible, if 7

rut or you might get trapped. Burnout can happen to anyone. These past few weeks of term break have afforded distance and time to reflect. Perched at this vantage point, I have a different perspective. I have close friends, teachers and a supportive family. My report card looks promising. The chaos in my life is temporary, but the rewards of schooling will last forever. Lauren is a current VCE student.


UNI STUDENT PROFILES COLLATED by WILLIAM VIEN

K ASUNI M EN D IS

M at t he w Tr a n

School Sacred Heart Girls’ Col-

School University High School

lege (2011)

(2011)

UNIVERSITY COURSE Bachelor of

UNIVERSITY COURSE Bachelor

Arts at Monash University, Clayton

of Arts and Bachelor of Laws at

campus

Monash University, Clayton campus

QUALITY OF COURSE Monash’s

QUALITY OF COURSE The law

Arts course is very flexible in terms

course is challenging. Make sure

of choosing units and majors/mi-

you have ambition, drive, aware-

nors. There aren’t any compulsory

ness of the course from outside

units as such, unless you are enrolled into a specialist

sources and be sure to watch television programs like

course within Arts such as Arts (Global). Arts units vary

Boston Legal and Suits! Expect to burn quite a bit of

and allow you to major in different areas of study such

midnight oil, to toil through endless amounts of pages,

as languages, psychology, politics, geography and his-

to dedicate painstaking hours of study and to tolerate

tory. Monash’s course in particular is known for creating

the boredom of insufferable English.

graduates that are adept with the communication and

SOCIAL LIFE If you expect to become a high-scoring

critical skills that employers seek in this day and age. The

law student, don’t expect much of a social life in your

Arts course is often a pathway into Law or into postgrad-

course during university. But the holidays are more than

uate study.

enough to reward your hard effort in studying a se-

SOCIAL LIFE Arts students are known as being a very

mester’s work! Holidays are where your social life really

social bunch but that’s just because we need to let our

shines.

creative juices flow. Sometimes we get tired of studying

CONVENIENCE Going to Monash takes me around

and we pick ourselves up by partying hard. Either way,

40-50 minutes. Returning home can take me anywhere

an Arts course does allow students to have a social life,

between one to two hours. Generally, it is closer to two

whether it is within the uni thanks to the Monash Arts

hours because I cannot time when the train comes.

Society, or outside of it.

ANY OTHER COMMENTS Law is a commitment. It is

CONVENIENCE Clayton is located somewhat con-

not a walk in a park. If your conviction is half-hearted or

veniently, especially for a southeast-sider like myself.

your passion is anything less than whole and your dream

Close to both the Monash Freeway and Princes High-

for law wavers, reconsider now! Research further! It is

way, getting to Clayton by car takes no more than 30

better to understand yourself better and your dreams

minutes and just a bit more by public transport. Yearly

than to jump onto a ship that will be sinking.

parking permits are available but I chose to partake in the Carpooling Program that allows students to park for free inside the campus provided you carpool with another student. ANY OTHER COMMENTS Despite having to put up with many McDonalds jokes, I can guarantee you that undertaking an Arts course requires the same amount of effort as any other course and is not as easy as people make it out to be. Contact hours are minimal compared to other courses, but I would say the effort and study time required is equal to that of other courses of other fields

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VCE ROMANCE Brenden Horn and Jessica Darvell The two lovers, Brenden and Jessica, recount their amorous story of getting through VCE whilst in a relationship.

JESSICA

F

or the better part of year 12, I was in a relationship. Through every fault of my own, come mid-term three, I was on the verge of failing a subject, and subsequently VCE. My friends had problems of their own, my parents expressed concern by yelling and complaining about the negatively laden 3-weekly reports sent home, whilst feelings of hopelessness were only reinforced as my teachers reiterated the potential I was wasting. One year later and I’m studying at the University of Melbourne. I owe this to the support that being in a relationship provided me with. Having someone who was unconditionally supportive, always there for me, and willing to do anything to help me out, got me through the toughest challenges presented by the VCE. Truthfully, without the support it provided me with, I would probably be looking forward to an

point I’d already failed an accelerated year 12 subject and was disengaged with school. However a healthy relationship with my partner motivated and encouraged me to do he helpfulness, my best. or detrimentalGraduating this ity, of a relayear, and her being in tionship during VCE university, is certainly are quite circumstanadvantageous as far as tial. They have a large her experience, wispotential to boost up dom and encouragea failing student (this ment goes. I wouldn’t happened in my case), be doing so well if not or hinder an otherwise for my relationship, talented one. however, it certainly My relationship becould be the oppogan in Year 11. At this site. Many couples exciting career at McDonald’s.

BRENDEN

T

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lack the emotional maturity to separate themselves and are in turn robbed of study time and of their potential. So, from my perspective, a good, healthy relationship is a positive thing, but an unhealthy relationship can also be quite damaging. Brenden is currently in Year 12, while Jessica completed VCE last year and is now studying a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne.


GAP YEAR REVIEW ARCHIE SIMMONS

T

o some, taking a year off after school might seem like a much deserved break posthigh school. After the vigorous (attempt at) study, students definitely require more than just Schoolies and a long summer break to absorb the freedom that they have just obtained. In my opinion, taking the famed ‘Gap Year’ is the ultimate chance to step out of one’s comfort zone and ultimately experience the real world. Corny? Yes. True? Hell yeah. When my opportunity finally arrived in 2011 to go to school on exchange in France, I couldn’t be any more prepared. I had essentially grown up anticipating the fact that I would be going overseas after I finish school as my parents have always been huge advocates of what my dad likes to call a ‘life experience year.’ My experience in France was a wild one. Now, I’m using the word ‘wild’ in an unusual sense in that there

were some definite ups and downs throughout the year. These ups and downs, however, allowed me to finally understand what my parents meant when they used to talk about ‘putting yourself in someone else’s shoes’. It is with no hesitation that I say that in taking a year off, you grow as a person through learning things that you never would have at school. Adjusting once back at home, however, can be challenging, but one thing is for certain - you don’t lose friends while you’re overseas. You may not often speak to your friends back at home during your year abroad, but on returning, I assure you that all your nearest and dearest will be by your side to welcome you back. Yes, there will be stories and experiences that you missed out on back at home, but so what? By the time you will have returned home, think of all the stories and experiences of your own that you can recount to your

friends! But how can you afford to go across the world and live for a year? It is a great question that everyone asks. I say: do your research. Simply go online and type in destinations, different programs and organisations, and you’re bound to find one that suits your preference. And there are also companies that financially support you and send you overseas to aid or teach those less fortunate. And I’m not even mentioning scholarships…

“A YEAR ABROAD IS A FANTASTIC OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN AMAZING THINGS” …If you’re one of those students who’s thinking, “Yeah but I could never get a scholarship…’ How wrong you are! I was once that student, and I applied

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anyway and got one, all because I was driven to do it and passionate about the opportunity at hand. If you’re not sure about doing a gap year, just have a think and chat with your parents. Trust me - you don’t want to start uni and in the first week think, “Oh I really regret not taking the opportunity to defer and travel or work or whatever…” I personally know many students who have deferred Semester 2 at uni because they have regretted not taking the gap year opportunity. A year abroad is a fantastic opportunity to learn amazing things – about yourself, and about the world around you. I dare you to take the gap year plunge and let yourself tread down an unexpected, yet exciting path of possibility. Archie is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne


VCE MEMES

#*

Want more memes? Go to: https://www.facebook.com/VceMemes

Memes by Dev Bhattacharya 11


AUGUST 2012

Albury-Wodonga Shepparton Mildura Bendigo Melbourne

5 Aug 10 Aug 17 Aug 19 Aug 26 Aug

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GET IT T 1300 139 106 latrobe.edu.au/openday

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SHOULD I ATTEND AN OPEN DAY?

JORDIE FRENCH

A LA TROBE UNIVERSITY STUDENT’S PERSPECTIVE

L

ike any adventure – it stemmed from curiosity and mine had just about got the better of me. The thought of hanging from a 60m cliff face and getting paid to live a lifestyle without limits was enough for me to set out for the land of La Trobe in search of the information to lead me to the edge. I’ve always likened my Open Day experience to that of a music festival. Normally you spend the weeks leading up to the ticket sales researching the line up (in this case the course offerings) and the few days before you map out where you’re going to spend your time. I remember the day kicked off at 10am, and I had barely ventured 20m from the car park when I’d already been greeted by at least three La Trobe staff and students – not bad for a Sunday morning. Throughout the

about the course and campus in the guide, it’s another to talk about it with a mate. Going to the trouble of rocking up to the campus and setting foot on previously unknown terrain is a reality check. For me, I was experiencing it for myself – no one else’s thoughts and feelings to guide my judgement, just my own. The La Trobe ‘difference’ in a festival world is everyone gets a front row seat – staff and students practically queue to talk to you and instead of lining up to see the act, YOU are the act. Making a decision about a course or career path before you have all of the information leaves room for error. In my case – I wanted to be sure that when I leapt from that 60m cliff face I was doing it because I not only believed in myself, but also the course and university I was going to invest in. Since August 2007, La

course of the day I was rubbing shoulders with close to 20,000 people – now that’s some festival – and the best thing? I didn’t even have to pay a cent. My initial apprehension to ask questions was wiped by the candid, relaxed and friendly nature of the staff and students. My presence was my official backstage pass to all things La Trobe – including the free entertainment.

“I’ve always likened my Open Day experience to that of a music festival” I had unlimited access to lecturers, field experts, students studying my area of interest and better yet...I did it all in the environment where I would be studying. It’s one thing to read 13

Trobe has been that university for me. Jordie French is currently studying a Bachelor of Physical and Outdoor Education at La Trobe University.


A nalysis of P ersuasive L anguage T ips SAM BLASHKI

W

riting a language analysis can feel overwhelming at first. However, if you take the time to fully understand the aim of the task, writing a successful language analysis can become considerably easier. The aim of writing a language analysis is not simply to find examples of persuasive techniques and write about them. At its essence, the aim of the task is to discover the viewpoint that the author is attempting to convey and then explain how they attempt to manipulate the audience into agreeing with that viewpoint. Without focusing on the audience, an analysis is unlikely to be very successful. By keeping this at the forefront of your mind, it will be much clearer as to why you are completing the task at all and may lead to you writing a better piece. Think of persuasive techniques (eg. emotive language, puns, rhetorical questions) as tools in a toolbox. Tools are useful only if you know what needs to be built and what the tools are supposed to do. In the case of a persuasive article, the author wants to build a contention. The author then uses the tools of language analysis to achieve this. These tools are supposed to position the audience in a way that leads them to agree with the author. So, when making a point in a persuasive analysis piece, think of it in three steps:

1

The author contends that…

2

In order to convince the audience of this contention, the author combines the following techniques/tools…

3

By using these techniques/tools, the author positions the audience to feel/rethink/consider that…

For example:

1

The author contends that eating meat is wrong.

2

In order to convince the audience of this contention, the author combines the use of emotive and disturbing language such as “eating the murdered flesh of helpless creatures” and rhetorical questions such as “How can our society call itself civilized when we treat animals in this way?”

3

By using these techniques/tools, the author positions readers to feel guilty about eating meat and rethink whether it is morally acceptable.

Your essay does not have to state these three steps explicitly, as long as they are all dealt with in the essay. The more you practice, the more fluid your writing will become.

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Some other essential tips for writing a good language analysis are as follows: • Use highly descriptive language to stand out. • Use a lot of short quotes from the article but avoid writing out long quotes – there are no marks for copying out. • Don’t forget to comment on any images and how they contribute to the author’s impact on the audience. Here is an example of a paragraph I wrote under exam conditions when completing the 2010 VCAA exam as practice. Observe the way the three steps discussed above have been integrated into the paragraph. The author portrays the Earth as being seriously damaged by the rampant thoughtless destruction caused by first world nations. He prompts the audience to consider “has this been a year of celebration?” before providing considerable evidence that it has not. He refers to the “tinge of sadness” before going on to elicit shock and shame from the audience stating “we have lost 60% of forests and 50% of wetlands,” extreme statistics which he reinforces with other data (eg. the IUCN Red List). After providing the audience with proof that there is a problem, he then points the finger of blame at humans, listing the reasons “destruction of natural habitat, hunting… climate change.” This positions listeners to consider that human actions may indeed be damaging the planet. Even the title of his speech, “Taking Stock” is a pun that reinforces his point. It refers to taking inventory of ones own priorities, but also has a double meaning, implying the removal of livestock and other resources. However, Lee goes further than simply blaming humanity. He creates the impression that it is specifically caused by affluent nations. He refers to this as “affluenza,” a play on the words influenza and affluence. This pun has negative connotations of illness and sickness, thus Lee hopes readers will consider our large scale “hunting and gathering” to be a metaphorical illness of which we must rid ourselves. The irony of this term lies in the fact that our “affluenza” is causing actual influenza in third world nations. Thus, Lee positions the audience to believe that the Earth is being destroyed through selfishness and careless destruction. So, remember that if your essay consists mainly of a list of examples of persuasive techniques, then you will not stand out from the crowd. Focus on the impact that the author intends to have on the audience and your marks might shoot through the roof! Good Luck! You can access the 2010 VCAA exam here: http://www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/vce/studies/english/ pastexams/2010/2010english-w.pdf Sam Blashki completed the VCE last year and is currently studying a Bachelor of Laws/Arts at Monash University. *Check with your teacher before acting on any of the above information. This article is based on my opinion only and I do not profess to know the correct or incorrect way to write a language analysis. I take no responsibility for any adverse outcome that results from reading this article.

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ATAR NOTES STUDY GUIDES

ILLUSTRATED BY RAHAD RAHMAN

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