Meet our Advanced English Mentor: Frances

 Ask Frances: How To Write A Band 6 English Essay

Collaboration is one of the most effective ways to work towards success in English Advanced. Whether this takes place in the formation of a study group, or sharing essays between your classmates, this can really make a considerable difference to your final marks.

Meet our Talent 100 Advanced English Mentor, Frances!

High School:

Sydney Girls High School

HSC Subjects:

English Advanced, English Extension 1, Chemistry, Legal Studies, Modern History and History Extension


UNSW Law – Dixon Family Scholarship 2019

UNSW Arts and Social Sciences – Humanities and Languages Scholarship 2017

HSC Distinguished Achiever in English Advanced, English Extension 1, Legal Studies, Modern History and History Extension

Academic Achievement 2014 – 1st in Science

Academic Achievement 2014 – 2nd in Commerce

Academic Achievement 2014 – 2nd in English

Academic Achievement 2014 – 3rd in History

Academic Achievement 2014 – 3rd in PDHPE

UNSW ICAS Writing Competition 2014 – Certificate of Distinction

UNSW ICAS Writing Competition 2013 – Certificate of High Distinction

UNSW ICAS English Competition 2013 – Certificate of Distinction

UNSW ICAS Writing Competition 2012 – Certificate of Distinction

UNSW ICAS English Competition 2012 – Certificate of Distinction

Can you share a bit about your high school experience?

High school was definitely an exciting and formative period for me.

I started my high school journey at Sydney Secondary College (Balmain) and eventually transferred to Sydney Girls High School for Years 11 and 12.

Interestingly enough, I was also part of the cohort that infamously made the news for the controversial bake sale with Sydney Boys High School!

Outside of my studies, I involved myself in a wide array of extra-curricular activities, including debating, orchestra, string ensemble and volunteering work. While my high school experience has not been as linear as my peers, both schools have set me up for a lifelong journey and passion for teaching and learning.

Unfortunately, when it came to selecting my subjects for Year 11 and 12, I lacked the clarity and guidance that would have steered me in the right direction. Even though Maths was my worst subject (by far), I felt the pressure to follow suit with the rest of my cohort and I ended up choosing Mathematics Extension 1 in Year 11.

As expected, I ended up bombing almost all of the exams! Luckily, however, I was able to change subjects to Modern History halfway through Year 11. I was also fortunate enough to have an amazing Modern History teacher (who later also became my History Extension teacher). He instilled in me a love for the subject and encouraged me to keep persevering to achieve my personal best. Modern History ended up being my best-performing subject!

What did you enjoy most about English in high school?

I really enjoyed the amount of exposure we got to a wide variety of texts from different genres and eras. This also appealed to my inner History nerd as it allowed me to see the significance of historical and social contexts and the extent to which this was reflected in the ways in which authors composed their texts.

What is your best study tip for Advanced English?

I believe that collaboration is one of the most effective ways to work towards success in English Advanced. Whether this takes place in the formation of a study group, or sharing essays between your classmates, this can really make a considerable difference to your final marks!

RELATED: Chelsea’s Tips For Acing HSC Maths

This may seem controversial and counterintuitive as you are competing for a rank, but remember that the performance of your peers can also have a bearing on your final mark.

In the period between my Trial Exams and the HSC Exams, my cohort made a Google Drive. Almost everyone uploaded their practice English essays (which included feedback from our teachers), resources and their responses to past papers. Not only was this extremely helpful in sharing the workload, but this also fostered a collegiate environment where everyone in the cohort grew so much closer to one another!

What inspired you to teach at Talent 100?

I was inspired to teach at Talent 100 because I strongly resonate with their robust mentoring system. Having personally benefited from excellent mentors throughout high school and university, I see incredible value in surrounding yourself with inquisitive minds who seek to build a better world together.

I also have a strong passion for fostering innovation in the world by educating and raising up the next generation of leaders. I believe that education is a powerful transformative tool and I stand by Talent’s mission to help students maximise their talent and realise their full potential.

Could you outline some of your main tips on writing a Band 6 English essay?

Have an opinion: Markers want to know what you think! They want to see that you are not simply regurgitating a memorised essay, but that you can write a detailed analytical response with your own original ideas to the question you are presented with.

Have a clear and strong structure: It goes without saying that essays that lack a clear structure are only setting themselves up for failure. I personally find that the S.T.E.E.L. structure is a great approach that captures everything that the marker is looking for in a Band 6 English essay.

Statement, Technique, Explanation, Evidence and Link.

Use plain English: It is not uncommon for students to feel the need to incorporate overly-complex words in their essay. However, they often do so in such a way that detracts from the main point they are trying to convey. Markers appreciate it when you use language effectively and show that you have a wide vocabulary; however, you must be careful that the words you use are not so convoluted that you lose the original plot. The best way to do this is to be succinct and use plain English.

Answer the question: This may seem fairly straightforward, but you’d be surprised at how many students fall into the trap of twisting the question or not answering the question at all. You can write the most amazing essay with perfect structure, sophisticated textual analysis and effective use of language; however, if you do not answer the question, I can almost guarantee you that it will not be a Band 6 Advanced English Essay. So answer the question!

What are you studying in University, and what do you want to pursue afterwards?

I am studying a Bachelor of Arts and Business and Bachelor of Laws at the University of New South Wales, majoring in Politics and International Relations.

Ever since high school, I had always assumed that I would enter the legal profession and practise as a solicitor. However, after spending the past two years gaining legal experience at both a not-for-profit organisation and a commercial law firm, I am gradually erring away from this pursuit. In many ways, however, I am quite lucky that a Law degree opens up so many doors. The beauty of this is that you are definitely not expected to go down the traditional route of practising law for the next four decades of your life! After I complete my undergraduate degrees, I would love to venture out and pursue a career in Strategy or Management Consulting.

What’s something people might not know about you?

While I am atrocious at high school Maths, I can complete the Calculations x20 exercise on Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training in 9 seconds!

Click here to view our Talent 100 timetables for next term, and enrol in one of Frances’ Advanced English classes at Burwood.

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