Word of Advice from Hazel Lee

Dux of School - McKinnon Secondary College 2017

Achieved a perfect score of 50 for VCE EAL in 2017

The Bachelor of Biomedicine at the University of Melbourne


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Hello, Edcellent kids. My name is Hazel Lee, and I graduated from highschool in 2017 as a dux of my cohort with a perfect score in English as an Additional Language (EAL). Being a Year 12 must seem strange and somewhat frightening to you - it was like that for me, at least. And I always wondered how things could have been different or perhaps easier if there had been more people who could give me a heads-up for what I should be expecting, what sort of mindset I should have to navigate my journey through what was going to be one of the most stressful - yet rewarding! - years of my life. So today, I am going to share my journey with you, in the hope that it will provide the guidance that I hope I had when I was in your position.

It all begins with your work ethics!

One of the biggest challenges of VCE English/EAL is that it is not a subject that you can ‘cram’ for. Unlike more content-based subjects, English is entirely skill-based; that is, even if you bring up your super power a week before your SAC/Exam and memorise all the persuasive devices that ever existed and the entire text from the front to back, A+ essay cannot be guaranteed. What gets you a reward in English/EAL is not how many quotes you know, but the brilliant ideas polished over time, efficient time management skills, flexibility and complexity of your arguments. (That being said, however, you need to know your quotes too! That’s a given). So yes, you are at the beginning of a long journey - during which you must be consistent with your work ethics.

Becoming an active thinker at Edcellent!

That’s where Edcellent kicks in to make sure you get the most out of your English/EAL journey. I worked with Edcellent for 2 years, coaching many students from different backgrounds and varying range of English proficiency. What I’ve found valuable during the experience is the pedagogy of Edcellent itself - as its slogan, ‘be inspired to empower’, suggests, Edcellent focuses on empowering its students to develop their unique perspective to analyse and interpret the texts through discussion, brainstorming and power writing. Rather than turning you into a dry, thoughtless writing machine that regurgitates what’s been ingrained into you, Edcellent strives to ensure that you become an active thinker, and thus a better writer. And really, that is what VCAA is looking for - how fluent and well-developed your understanding of the chosen text and the world around you is.

Hard work yields rewards!

Year 12, especially at the beginning of it, seems daunting and scary. Nonetheless, I know plenty of people - including myself - who remember their Year 12 with a sense of accomplishment. That reward comes with the effort you put in to succeed, to do yourself justice. Study hard, look after yourself, and enjoy - and by the end of it, you will realise that your hard work has opened so many doors leading to the future that you aspired to.
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