Word of Advice from Timothy Ng

Achieved a perfect score of 50 for VCE LITERATURE in 2017

Attained an ATAR score of 99.50

The Bachelor of Arts / Laws at Monash University


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Hello Edcellent students. My name’s Tim, and what I want to convey in this post is what VCE was like for me, the advice I would give to those who aspire towards great results, and a little insight into what Edcellent is all about.

It’s a not just a subject:

When it comes to reaching the top, mindset comes first. So here’s the first mistake I think a lot of students make. They think they are just studying a subject. Just for this year, they will siphon as much motivation and work ethic together as possible and ride it out until the final exam, and then breathe a sigh of relief and be grateful for the fact that they’ll never have to do anything they did that year again. Let me be very clear on this point, not a single student who has ever achieved a raw 50 has thought that their study of Literature, English, or EAL is just a one time thing. What they have been sharpening for an entire year is their command of a language that they will probably use every day for the rest of their lives. Plenty of studies have already shown that of those who practised a skill for the same amount of time, it was the ones who believed that they would be doing so for the long term that improved the most. So if you only remember one thing from what I’ve written, make it this. Don’t memorise paragraphs to take into the exam, change yourself into the kind of person who can write those paragraphs when the day comes. 

What I’ve learnt about Edcellent:

In my time here, I’ve come to understand that Edcellent represents a lot of the values I’ve just mentioned. The mentors here are not interested in just giving you the answers, as they won’t serve you. They’re here to help you become the kind of student who can take on the questions themselves. I hope Edcellent students who are being mentored now can see past VCE into the other things these mentors can teach you, such as patience for the goal, and passion for the process.

My super secret to success in Literature Close Analysis:

Now that I’ve talked a bit about mindset, here’s a concrete concept that defines success in Literature (when it comes to writing the exam). First of all, make sure you know the rules of your subject. A lot of students think they can approach Literature and English in the same way, but they are actually opposites. In English, you start at the contention, and each body paragraph you write justifies a claim you’ve made at the beginning. I call this the “outside-in” approach. However, in Literature, your close analysis essay is quite different. Here, you dive into the language first, and then from there draw out the author/poet/playwright’s views and values, building from the ground up. I call this the “inside-out” approach. Literature is an exercise in discovery, it’s about the “small illuminating the large”, it’s about analysing and articulating the ways language makes meaning, not the other way around. You should be making no bold conclusions in your introduction. In fact, you should almost give your marker the impression that you literally just happened upon your interpretation for the first time in the exam hall itself!

I learnt all this from past students of Melbourne Grammar who scored raw 50s of their own and figured out how to do it. If you can grasp this as well, I’m sure you can do the same!

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