Kickstart High School: Year 7 English study guide

Wondering what you should expect for Year 7 English? Not sure how to prepare for the new school year? KIS Academics has got you covered! We've broken down and simplified Australia's Year 7 English curriculum to prepare you for the year ahead.

a month ago   •   6 min read

By KIS Academics
Photo by Amador Loureiro / Unsplash


This article will;

  • Explain key learning areas and provide a breakdown of syllabus outcomes
  • Detail the course structure and typical assessments
  • Highlight key English skills to master in junior years that will set students up for success in their senior years.

Let's start by discussing the leap from primary school to high school English. Primary English focused on grammar, spelling and comprehension. The fundamental skills one would need to communicate basic ideas. High school English requires students to begin analysing texts on their own. Subsequently, students will learn to communicate their unique and individual understanding of ideas and texts through analytical and creative responses.

Textual Analysis vs Comprehension

Comprehension is the understanding and interpreting of a text. It is a skill taught in primary school to prepare them for the next step - textual analysis. Textual analysis requires students to pick apart the text's structure and word formation to search for deeper meaning. It is looking at how all the author's literary choices come together to create meaning. It also means that students must be able to form their perspectives on underlying messages within the text.

Themes

Another change year 7  English brings is the introduction to more challenging themes. A theme is a central idea in a text, related to the composer's purpose and context. While in primary school, students would have been taught to identify basic themes, year 7 requires students to not only seek more complex themes regarding relationships, ethics and behaviour but to analyse them as well. Students will be taught to analyse themes in their essays to demonstrate their understanding of the text and its value to the real world.

Essay writing

The last big thing year 7 English introduces is essay writing. Students will be required to study texts in class, analyse them and then communicate their ideas and understanding of the text in the form of an essay. The typical essay structure students will be taught involves an introduction, 2-3 'petal' body paragraphs and a conclusion. There are many variations of 'petal' such as 'steel' or 'peel' but they all follow the same idea: Point, Example, Technique, Analysis, Link!

Make sure you get comfortable formulating your own opinions about the texts you read and also being able to back them up with quotes and techniques.

Below are the official syllabus outcomes listed by NESA. These are the learning goals year 7 students should be progressing towards throughout the school year.

Stage 4 Syllabus Outcomes

A. Communicate through speaking, listening, reading, writing, viewing and representing

  • Responds to and composes texts for understanding, interpretation, critical analysis, imaginative expression and pleasure.
  • Effectively uses a widening range of processes, skills, strategies and knowledge for responding to and composing texts in different media and technologies.

B. Use language to shape and make meaning according to purpose, audience and context

  • Uses and describes language forms, features and structures of texts appropriate to a range of purposes, audiences and contexts
  • Makes effective language choices to creatively shape meaning with accuracy, clarity and coherence

C. Think in ways that are imaginative, creative, interpretive and critical

  • Thinks imaginatively, creatively, interpretively and critically about information, ideas and arguments to respond to and compose texts
  • Identifies and explains connections between and among texts

D. Express themselves and their relationships with others and their world

  • Demonstrates an understanding of how texts can express aspects of their broadening world and their relationships within it
  • Identifies, considers and appreciates cultural expression in texts

E. Learn and reflect on their learning through their study of English

  • Uses, reflects on and assesses their individual and collaborative skills for learning

Assessment Types in Year 7 English

Schools will generally assign one English assessment per term and this assessment will be based on the syllabus outcome being taught in class. Below are the common forms of assessment types year 7 students will typically face.

  • In-class essay ~ students are given an essay question on a text being studied in class to answer under timed conditions. Students may sometimes be allowed to bring in reference material or a quote sheet.
  • Creative writing ~ students are asked to write a short story, persuasive or discursive based on a given stimulus. This is generally a take-home task that gives students time to craft their words at home.
  • Multimodal Tasks ~ The curriculum also explores spoken and visual texts and encourages students to appreciate their value. They will be assessed through presentations, where students will need to plan, practice and present topics using different modes of delivery to promote their viewpoints.
  • Unseen short response ~ students will also be assessed on their ability to interpret and assess texts by answering a series of questions regarding a text's theme, structure and integrity under timed conditions. In senior years this will be assessed with unseen texts however year 7's will often be given more prompts and prep material.

For a better idea of what kinds of tasks and at what level year 7 students are expected to perform, click the links below:
Above satisfactory * Satisfactory * Below satisfactory

Key English Skills to Master

  1. Foster an early love of reading

An important way to improve your English is to read widely and regularly. This means reading novels from different genres and contexts. Reading will boost creativity, expand your vocabulary, develop your analytical skills and most importantly, improve the way you communicate in the written form.

If you are unsure where to start check out our suggested reading list below!

The ultimate reading list for BOOSTING English marks
Looking for a reading list to get ahead and boost your English marks? You have come to the right place. Our expert tutors have accumulated all the best reads to improve your English skills and secure you top marks!

2. Writing fluid and grammatical sentences

It is surprising to see how many senior students struggle to form grammatically correct sentences. Many still get confused about where to put their commas and some aren't sure where to end their sentences. Grammar and punctuation however are sometimes assumed knowledge and less focused on in school meaning students often forget these basic skills and get penalised heavily come exam time. Grammatical errors such as improper comma usage, tense consistency and plural agreement interfere with a marker's ability to understand a student's work.

Take the time at home to work on your ability to form sophisticated sentence structures yourself by responding to prompts online. Make sure to edit over your work either by yourself, with a tutor, parent or friend, reading it aloud to make sure it's right.

3. Familiarise with Literary Techniques and Their Uses

Literary techniques are how composers convey meaning. Hopefully, you are already familiar with techniques such as similes and metaphors however it's important to familiarise ourselves with a wide array so that we can pick up on all the intricate word plays the author puts down for us. Start by making a table of all the different techniques you can find online and then begin practising identifying. Whenever you read, annotate! Highlight any captivating quote you find in a book and note down what technique makes it so captivating. Maybe the composer's euphemism (if you don't know the technique look it up) brings a comedic twist that changes the plot of the story.

To analyse like a pro check out our article below which includes a literary technique cheat sheet for you to add to your notes!

The ultimate guide to properly analyzing texts
English can be an elusive subject and it seems nearly impossible to write an analysis that satisfies your markers. Let us shed some light on how you actually go about analysing your text by going back to the basics!!

4. Discussing Evidence and Themes

Now identifying techniques is only half the battle. You need to be able to construct arguments out of them as well. To get used to thinking about texts analytically, practice by constructing TEE tables - Technique, Example, Effect. To go even further categorise your TEEs into themes or ideas and explain how the effect of the technique contributes to the meaning you derived from the text.


Want more personalized study guidance to help drastically improve your marks? A private tutor can make the biggest difference!

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