How to Prepare for the HSC Creative Writing Exam

HSC creative writing

Some people have a natural flair for writing and creative ideas – however, if you’re like most students, completing the HSC creative writing exam in the space of 40 minutes can be a difficult and downright daunting task. Even if you believe don’t have a creative bone in your body, with some careful planning and study you too can ace the HSC creative writing exam – here’s how.

Refer to the syllabus

Just like the rest of your subject exams, a huge factor that determines success in the HSC creative writing section is ensuring you know the syllabus. Refer to the marking criteria to establish what is required of you – especially the study focus you must address (such as belonging or discovery) – and focus on this theme throughout your piece. The stimulus provided should also be a central focus and mentioned throughout your essay – not just haphazardly thrown in at the beginning or end. This way, the markers can clearly see that you have a solid understanding of the concept, as opposed to just memorizing a story word for word.

Know your language techniques

One thing you can learn and practice prior to your HSC creative writing exam that will boost your score greatly is language techniques. It’s best to build up an arsenal of 5-10 techniques that you understand well, and that makes your story more interesting to read. Similes, metaphors, and alliteration – you would have learned all of these and more when analyzing your set texts through the year, so put them to good use! A great one to use is sensory imagery, which makes the reader really feel as though they are in the story and puts to use a rule of any good writing – show, don’t tell.

Develop your characters

The way you develop your character, especially the protagonist in your story, can be a make or break factor for your HSC creative writing piece. It’s not enough to describe their physical appearance or overuse clichés like “troubled teenager” – you need to give them unique qualities that make them both memorable, and relatable in some way.

Write about what you know

The easiest way to succeed in HSC creative writing when you lack confidence in your imaginative ideas is to write about what you already know. Stories are the most organic and authentic when described in accurate detail. The best way to achieve this kind of integrity in your text is to write about an event that you have personally experienced – remembering the vivid aspects of what happened, as well as your emotional response to the situation – and convey this to your marker through your words. Alternatively, you can also write about a topic of interest that you have researched and have a good understanding of.  

HSC creative writing focuses on your ability to compose an engaging, grammatically correct and well-structured story that fits in with the area of study and stimulus. Need some help with preparing for the HSC creative writing exam and getting a Band 6? Contact C3 Education and speak to one of our professional HSC tutors today to see how we can help.