The formula for a perfect essay introduction

The intro to your essay is so important. Just like meeting someone for the first time, it is your first impression and sets the standard and expectations for the entire essay. You want it to be intriguing, engaging and concise, while also showing your mastery of the written language.

There are 5 things I look for in every introduction. You want your intro to stand out from the crowd – it needs to reach out from the page and slap your marker in the face. Remember that there are 80,000 Discovery essays written in the HSC – you need to distinguish yourself from the rest of them.

Here are the 5 things that make the prefect essay intro:

1. Commanding opening lines that establish you really know what you are talking about.

Every essay you write is dealing with a theme – whether it be Discovery or context or after the bomb mindsets. Those opening lines of your intro should reflect your understanding of that theme. Don’t open your introduction by diving straight in to your text – write a few lines about the theme. Define it, discuss it, even criticise it – just show that you understand it fully.

2. Provide every detail of your text

The expectation is to include the title, author, type and year. Whilst it won’t necessarily cost you marks if you fail to include these, it again shows that you understand fully what you are talking about.

3. Give a brief summary of your text through the scope of the theme

Outline your text, but don’t simply explain the story – outline how it connects to your argument. For example, you might discuss Prospero’s journey of self realisation and forgiveness, or Frost’s connection with nature as a source of Discovery. This needs to be brief, but you are still setting the expectation of what you are going to be discussing.

4. Answer the question boldly

We want to see you take a strong side on an argument. There is nothing more boring for a marker to read than an essay that sits on the fence – that defends an argument without passion or engagement. Some of the best essays I have ever written are those that actually argue against the question – because the student is willing to go against the standard flow of talking about how effective a composer is and actually highlight its flaws (this naturally has to be well supported with plenty of examples). Whatever you choose to do, ensure you take a strong position on the question – don’t be a fence sitter.

5. Bring it back to you, the audience

We want to know you have gained something from your study. The end of every introduction should come back to this – how has it challenged your views of the world – how has it grown you as a person? Always offer some personal insight – not with personal pronouns (unless Adv Module B), but by sharing how it has aided the responder or audience.

These are 5 steps that will allow you to write incredible introductions every time. Make the best first impression possible by nailing your introduction, and setting your essay up for success!

Mr Rowe

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How to choose the perfect related text

We have a little chat box on the bottom right of our website which is designed for students and parents to ask questions about what we do and how it works – but it ends up being used for all sorts of things and one of the most common questions we get is this:

“What is a good related text for Discovery???”

I wanted to tackle this both as a means of referring students to when we get that question, but also to help students who might be wondering the same thing.

First of all, it is a terrible question. It is far too broad. There is no one related text that works perfectly with every prescribed text. You don’t want to just find a related text that deals with discovery, you want a related text that supports your thesis.

You need to consider the prescribed text you are doing, the characters or poems you are going to focus on and the core themes you are going to draw from it.

For example, if you are doing the tempest, a great related text for your discussion on Prospero might not be as good as if you are focussing primarily on Miranda. Same for Robert Frost’s poems. You need to identify your own thesis before you can start looking for a related text.

To do this, take a look at the course rubric. It offer a dozen or so thesis statements that you can search for in your prescribed texts.

Once you have defined your thesis, then you want to choose a related text that matches it closely or is the complete opposite. You don’t really want in between. You either want to show that your RT supports your idea or opposes it. That is the whole point of the related text; to enhance your argument. Too often I see students choose RT’s that have nothing to do with their argument and therefore don’t earn the marks they deserve.

So unfortunately, there is no quick answer to the question of what makes a good Discovery related text. Sure, you can look for suggestions 0nline, but you really need to know your text intimately and understand the argument you are going to make before you can consider choosing a related text.

Have you written a practice Discovery essay and want to know how it compares to the other 80,000 that will be written in the HSC? Upload it now and in 48 hours you’ll get tonnes of detailed, actionable feedback that will help you sculpt it in to a band 6 response.


Good luck!

Mr. Jones. (English marker)

How to write the best Module B essay ever


So you need to write a Module B essay? Lucky you!

Module B is hard. Admittedly some electives are much easier than others (I’m looking at you ‘speeches’) and some of them are seriously difficult (if you are doing ‘in the skin of a lion’ my heart goes out to you!). Regardless of your elective text, there are a few things you need to do to ensure you get 20/20 in Module B.

Firstly, you need to understand what module B is – and that is a critical study. A critical study is exactly what it sounds like – approaching a text critically to offer a balanced discussion on its effectiveness to achieve its purpose. This means that we want you to adopt a perspective on your text – whether it be for or against the question proposed to you. Make sure you keep coming back to this – how good of a job does it do in achieving its purpose?

Secondly, we want to see a personal voice come through. You might have been told since year 7 to avoid personal pronouns in essays, but this is an exception. For the first time, phrases like “In my opinion” and “I believe” are permitted – even encouraged. You just need to be able to back your opinion up with examples from your texts. Either that or…

Use additional critics to support your argument. The best Module B essays always have external critics that support the thesis of the writer. For example, if you were doing Citizen Kane, you would find a literary critic who shares a similar understanding of the film as you. This adds legitimacy to your essay and makes it seem like it is more than just your opinion.

Don’t be afraid to criticise your text. Some of the best Module B essays I’ve ever read have been those that tear apart their text and use other critics to support it. If you think one of the speeches is not an enduring speech, explain why – and use a good one to juxtapose it.

Finally, you need to know your text really well. One of the hardest parts about a Module B essay is not knowing what they are going to ask. If you look at the last few years of HSC papers you will see such a wide spread of focusses each year that it become almost impossible to predict. The only solution for this is to know your text like the back of your hand. You need to be able to adapt at the drop of a hat. This isn’t discovery – you can’t go in with an essay basically memorised. The question will be challenging – but it favours the bold.

These things are all unique to Module B, but are what your markers are going to be looking for so make sure they are there in the forefront for everyone to see!

If you’ve written a Module B practice essay make sure you get it marked by an HSC marker at You’ll get detailed and actionable feedback within 48 hours guaranteed – just what you need to write the best module B essay ever! Upload your essay now.

Best of luck!

Mr Rowe

English Marker


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