So, you’ve made it through the year in English and your English teacher has no doubt utilised a plethora of resources. Textbooks, print-outs, video; you name it, you’ve seen it all. With exams looming, it certainly can seem daunting to locate some good resources on your own. Finding your own resources can be intimidating. Don’t worry, listed below are some effective and helpful revision resources. These you can find on both the internet and, of course, hard copies for those tactile learners. If you're wanting a general overview of the year as a whole, check out this blog here, which details each internal and external.
Get inspired by past students with Study Time
A top website that can help you equip yourself for your exam is ‘Study Time NZ’. This platform offers a range of different types of study aids. First off, you can find some NCEA Alumni, who have already studied NCEA themselves. They are there to talk about their own experience to help others. They give an overview and provide tips and tricks to bring you up to speed with the curriculum. What’s great about this is their style is very entertaining as well as informative. It is a fantastic start to get your head around what you need to do in the exam. For example, for NCEA Level 3, you can watch strategy videos for ‘Unfamiliar Texts’, ‘Visual Text’ and ‘Written Texts’. In just over 6 minutes you’ll get bite-sized insights into the material.
If you want to go onto the ‘Studytime’ website here, you will see that they have written outlines called ‘Cheat Sheets’. These are worth checking out.
Here you will find the outlines for what to expect in levels, One, Two and Three exams. You will see strategies to help you when you are sweating it out in the exam. Just to explain further, in both Level Two and Three a good keyword to know is ‘Aspects’. In both written and oral text, you learn to know that ‘aspects’ are the author's purpose, themes, settings, language features, or narrative structure. You will then need to give examples for these aspects in order to answer the question. As well as ‘Cheat Sheets’, there are physical copies of revision booklets that you can pick up. These are handy if you don’t have access to the internet and if you’re wanting to throw yourself into some study. Just head to the ‘Study Time’ website store to get your own copy
If you really want to make sure you have grasped each text for Written, Unfamiliar and Visual, why not make your own ‘Cheat sheet’, to be used only at home of course. You can use some brainstorms and clearly list your thoughts and examples so that they are in a great space, altogether. Another resource that you can use is to record your voice on your phone! Sounds odd, but if you record your notes or cue cards you can listen to them when you aren’t even fully attending to study. You may be walking to school, waiting for the bus, or even doing another task. All you have to do is make sure your recorded notes are concise so that you can soak in the information easier. Have a think of other ways you can bring studying into the everyday. Even if you’re not a fan of your voice, you’ll soon get used to it. Or, you could even ask a friend to quickly set aside 10 minutes to record them saying your notes on their phone.
Become acquainted with the NCEA website!
Perhaps you’re wanting to get your info right from the horse’s mouth? The official NCEA website has a wide range of study material for you to explore. It has all of the past exam questions available, so that’s got to be a bonus. That’s right, you can literally type in the achievement standard and then see all of the previous exam papers and questions. Exam questions are brilliant; they can put you to the test when you choose the question and try to answer it. It’s a good way of gauging what your current level is and whether you up to the challenge. You can do the exams open book first so that you can know how to craft your essay. Then you can opt for a closed book exam practice to push yourself.
If you are wanting more content to study from, then ‘English Online’ is the way to go for you. For NCEA Levels 1,2 and 3 you will be able to see a range of content for Visual and Oral text that you can memorise and dissect. For example, in Level 3 for the Visual Text, ‘American Beauty’, there are eight documents to look at. These have quotes galore and other insights, all there to help you answer the question for your essay. English Online is a community where English teachers have all shared their resources. It’s probably the most effective start for your study journey.
Annotated exemplars give you details on what each mark looks like
Maybe you’re someone who learns by example, then it’s a smart idea to check out the annotated exams on the NZQA website. These are useful because you can literally see what grade each piece of writing has received. This can be super helpful, as it adjusts your expectations on what you will need to write for your own exam questions. You will also find past papers on the site, so you can learn what they ask each year.
If you’re savvy, you can find the main ideas as you attack the page with a highlighter. This can be great to do after you’ve been studying for a while, to really get your knowledge on point. It could also be used at the beginning so you can set the tone for what is expected for a Merit or a Excellence. If you're wanting some more guidance on how to write an essay, then have a look here to get your head around essay structure.
Get crafty, or creative with your own resources!
Let’s not forget the amazing resources that you can create yourself. From all of these listed above, you can make sure that you are creating your own private stash of flashcards. Research shows that the act of writing down your thoughts and ideas, actually makes you remember more. Make them as interesting and eye-catching as you can so you will want to keep going back to them and revise again. Just use highlighters and maybe some diagrams or pictures, brainstorms etc.
If you’re wanting to have a full-proof resource that covers both the internal and external standards, then look no further than the Study Guides, found at Whitcouls or Paperplus stores. These are in-depth resources and you can find them for $30-$40. They also include some exercises, plus a range of study notes each relevant to your external exams. If you want to stay on top of English during the year, then this purchase will be a good one.
Of course, they also have the internal information as well which will help you stay on top of your course work in class.
Don’t forget a great resource is to ask your English teacher. If you show that you’re extra keen, they are sure to provide some extra resources for you, or at least point you in the right direction. Remember you can make your own resources out of flashcards, audio aid, or brainstorm cheat guides. There are free resources for you to take advantage of like the NZQA website with its wealth of knowledge. Also looking at those annotated examples will really help you understand what exactly is required to gain each mark. Think of it, if you really come to know what an Excellence essay looks like, you’ll be more prepared to replicate that high calibre when it’s your turn in the exam. If you are ready for a new challenge, why not try Scholarship English, where you can be awarded 2,000 dollars towards your future studies.
Still wanting some more support? You could try a personal tutor
Superprof is a tutoring website with a range of tutors who are all ready and prepared to help get your academic English to the next level. Many of the tutors have been through NCEA themselves and so they can sympathise and help you to succeed in your exam or internal course work. Your first lesson is free, so it’s a good opportunity for you to see if the tutoring route is right for you. They will be with you every step of the way. It’s up to you to decide how many lessons you need to get confident in NCEA English. So load up Superprof and touch base with a tutor; you’ll be on your way to getting those high marks that you’re after.
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