Library of Cultural References

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New South Wales Higher School Certificate Exam

John Low forwarded us the following sections from an Australian Higher School Certificate exam: NEW SOUTH WALES HIGHER SCHOOL CERTIFICATE 2002
GENERAL ENGLISH EXAMINATION, PAPER 1

Section I

Question 1 (15 marks)

Allow about 40 minutes for this section

Examine Texts one, two, three and four carefully and then answer the questions on page 7.

[All the texts dealt with some aspect of change. Text one was a song lyric, text two a cartoon, text three a poem and text four a website.]

In your answer you will be assessed on how well you:

demonstrate understanding of the way perceptions of change are shaped in and through texts
describe, explain and analyse the relationship between language, text and context

Text one – Song Lyric

Extract from Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot.
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
Till it’s gone.
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

They took all the trees
And put them in a tree museum
And they charged all the people
A dollar and a half just to see ‘em.
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
Till it’s gone.
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot.

Hey farmer farmer
Put away that DDT now.
Give me
Spots on my apples
But leave me the birds and the bees
Please!
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
Till it’s gone.
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot.

Questions on Text one (song lyric)

Identify ONE change mentioned in the song lyric.
Explain how TWO techniques are used to convey the ideas in the song.
General Question on all four texts

Which TWO of these four texts would you recommend for inclusion on a CD ROM about change for HSC English students, entitled Past, Present, Future? Explain the reasons for your selection. You must make detailed reference to the TWO texts you have chosen.

Section II

Question 2 (15 marks)

Allow about 40 minutes for this section

In your answer you will be assessed on how well you:

express understanding of change in the context of your studies organise, develop and express ideas using language appropriate to audience, purpose and context

Compose a letter to either the

Songwriter (Text one) or
Cartoonist (Text two) or
Poet (Text three) or
Website designer (Text four)
In your letter, respond briefly to some aspect of their text. Then, describe a related experience (either real or imagined), in which you reflect upon a change in a person, place or time.
Do not use your own name and address.

(Contributed by John Low)

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