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5 Language Analysis Techniques

Language analysis is one of the three VCE English course sections and is the most distinctive. . It is also called Argument Analysis among other several names.

Language analysis focuses on the ‘unseen texts’ or what is referred to as the cold material. For most students, this turns out to be the most daunting part of the exams.

A student facing a language analysis section is required to analyse the persuasive techniques deployed by the author of the piece of writing the student is analysing. The types of pieces given range from a political campaign ad to opinions.

Why not also read: Guide to VCE Language Analysis

Having a proper analytical process is critical in fully identifying the technique and its purpose. The T.E.E technique is the most commonly used:

  • T – What persuasive technique is being used?
  • E- Example of the text that shows this.
  • E – the intended Effect or impact on the reader’s attitude.

Here is a look at the five most common and how you can analyse them.

Rhetorical Questions

Rhetorical questions are the most widely used in language analysis history. Despite being so common, most students often struggle with the concept.

A rhetorical question is when the author uses a question to encourage the reader to re-evaluate their opinion on the issue in question and consider the author’s opinion instead.

In some cases, the rhetorical question is often too ambiguous and difficult to understand. But in other cases, it presents itself on a silver platter.

An excellent example of a rhetorical question device used in context is:

Supposing there was a new law that would allow kids to carry knives for whatever reason, the author could pose a question, “ Do you really want your child to carry dangerous weapons.”

The aim of the question is to drive concern and fear from parents, ultimately encouraging them to oppose this ‘new law.’

For students, one of the easiest ways to mention rhetorical questions in language analysis is to start by asking yourself what the author of the piece is questioning.


The second most commonly used language analysis technique is statistics. It’s easier to identify and comment on because it presents itself every time the author includes numbers (mostly percentages).

Statistics is often used to lend credibility or evidence to the author’s argument. While identifying the technique is straightforward, most students make redundant commentary.


Statement: Over 1,300 people have not registered to vote.

Analysis: “The author uses statistics like 1,300 people to lend credibility to his argument.”

The most effective way is specifying the relationship between the device and issue in question this technique is referring to.

You should start by considering what statistic is being referred to. Determine if the static aims to point at an overwhelmingly large number or small number. The words the author uses to describe the statics are just as important. Words like:

  • Over
  • Only
  • Mere
  • Almost
  • Massive

Such words used before the statistical figure have an immense impact on the opinion the author is trying to shape. They can make the figure the author is creating seem big or small and also form a point of analysis.


Statement: Over 1,300 people have not registered to vote.

Analysis: The author’s inclusion of the static “1,300 have not registered to vote.” Modified by the adjective “over” implies the number of registrants who have not voted is substantial and should cause alarm among readers.”

Expert Opinion

Authors can also use an expert opinion as a persuasive device. When using this language analysis technique, most student will often have something like:

“The expert opinion of Professor David Robinson solidifies the author’s opinion and makes the argument seem supported by a professional.”

Why not also read: How to quote in an essay

With expert opinions, students can dig deeper and deliver a more in-depth analysis of the context. See if there’s anything substantial about this expert the author has mentioned. Who are they? What qualifies them as experts in their field? Why would the author want to cite their opinion? Also, what kind of language does the author use to introduce the expert.

A proper analysis should combine the use of the expert opinion and some analysis of what the opinion is. You can also state briefly whether the author is eliciting respect from an esteemed authority figure or the opposite.

Inclusive Language

The idea of this technique is embodied in the wording of the technique itself. It also happens to be one of the most common mistakes students make; stating that “inclusive language makes readers feel included” in the analysis.

When analysing the inclusive language technique, you should ask yourself what the author is including readers in? And what group the author is positioning the readers to belong to?

In a statement like: “We should demand more from our politicians because it is up to us to create a better future for ourselves.”

The author is using inclusive words like “we” and “us” when expressing the “need to demand more” and “create a better future” to put the responsibility on the reader and compelling them to take action.

Depending on the wording of the opinion, the author could be trying to include the reader in a call-to-action or including the reader in concern. Although the technique is the same, the context is different and this should be included in the analysis.

Emotive language

Emotive language is easy to pick out in any language assessment exam. The tricky part is in how the students analyse and expresses the same.

The first step to using this language assessment technique is to identify which emotions are at the core of the author’s point.

Why not also read: How to write an argument analysis

The author could be trying to portray anger, sympathy, outrage, passion, or empathy among other emotions.

It is important to highlight the words the author is using in the piece and create a relevant connection to the message and emotion the writer is trying to pass and conclude with the result the author is trying to achieve using this language technique.

How Many VCE Subjects Can you Do?

It’s never too late to consider the subjects you’re going to take for VCE. There’s a good chance you know what career you want to do in future. This might help you in figuring out what subjects to take for VCE.

It’s important to know how the VCE system works is critical to help you make the right decision. There’s a total of four units that you need to complete in a span of two years. Unit one and two are taken in Year 11 and units three and four are completed in Year 12. Some schools might allow you to take some Units 1 and 2 VCE studies in Year 10 and Units 3 and 4 in Year 11.

VCE includes a total of more than 90 subjects you can choose from. But you only need 16 subjects. Most of the subjects are made up of four units which the student studies over two years. the subjects are broken down as follows:

  • Foundation English (Units 1 and 2)
  • English (Units 1 to 4)
  • English as an Additional Language (Units 3 and 4)
  • English Language (Units 1 to 4)
  • Literature Units (Units 1 to 4)

At least one of the English units must be a Unit 3 or 4.

Why not also read: How to do well in VCE

How to Get Started

When selecting the subjects you’ll do for VCE, you should know that these subjects will influence what you do beyond high school. That’s why you need to carefully consider the subjects. Here are a few tips to get you started.

  1. Consider the subjects you’re passionate about. If you’re like what you’re studying, you’re going to enjoy it and you have better chances of performing well. If you can see yourself working in these areas in future, ask yourself if these subjects fire your curiosity and make you feel inspired.
  2. It helps to look for assistance. Choosing VCE subjects is crucial and it requires proper consideration and sombre advice. Start by investigating into the VCE subjects and the requirements that will enable you to study in your area of interest at university. Some programs requires that you pass VCE subjects to be eligible.
  3. VCE is about following your interests. Some students think that selecting subjects that will reward them with a high ATAR score is the safest option. But, it’s pointless to pick a subject based on scaling, yet it doesn’t advance your interests in what you want to do for a career.

Who to Turn to for Advice?

Selecting VCE subjects isn’t something you should do on your own. You need professionals and experienced people who will help you make the best decision. Luckily there are a few options you can turn to:

  • Schools have career advisors and VCE coordinators who can provide you with guidance on career direction. They will also provide you with a variety of TAFE programs in your interest and what you need to do to be eligible for them.
  • Career expos and university open days also provide a wealth information. Although you might be a couple of years from completing Year 12, having such information is critical.
  • You can also get plenty of information online. You can start with the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) website.

How Is ATAR Calculated?

As you complete your high school education, one of the focal points is the final exams. It’s a trying and stressful time for parents and students. Ultimately, once you complete your exams, you will get an ATAR score that determines your choice after school and could also determine your future.

Why not also read: how to get 99 atar

But what is the ATAR score, and how is it calculated. Understanding ATAR could help you take your final years of high school more seriously and identify areas of improvement.

What is the ATAR?

The Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) is the number that determines a student’s entry into university. ATAR ranks the Year 12 results and measures the overall academic achievement of the student compared to other final year students in the rest of the country (other than Queensland).

It’s important to note that ATAR is not a score out of 100. Instead, it’s a rank. It allows tertiary institutions to compare the overall achievements of all the students that have completed Year 12.

Depending on your location, the ATAR might be calculated differently. In Victoria, the ATAR ranking is calculated by the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) when you complete the Victorian Certificate of Education.

VTAC uses the VCE results issued by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) to calculate the ATAR scores. A student must have completed at least four VCE studies in a recognised combination to calculate their ATAR. Once you complete VCE, the authority will notify you of your ATAR. VTAC also forwards the ranking to tertiary institutions where you apply to determine your eligibility for the courses, among other requirements.  

How is ATAR Calculated?

There are several steps and components involved in the calculation of ATAR ranking. It might sound complex, but it’s simple if you take the time to try and understand the system.

Each subject has four marks attributed to it, distributed as follows:

  • Examination mark
  • HSC mark
  • Assessment mark
  • Performance band

School Scaling

The first consideration that could affect your ATAR is your school’s rank. The rank of the school is what informs their assessment mark instead of the numerical result. The results of the student have to be moderated according to the performance of the rest of the students and their performance.

HSC Mark

The High School Certificate mark represents the student’s results on their examinations. It is put into bands according to the results. A student with a mark of 95 is in band six, which includes marks between 90-100.  The HSC mark is the average of the student’s assessment mark and their examination mark.


Students can choose from over 80 subjects in HSC. The subjects are not always comparable. Therefore, the rank of each subject is determined by how many students take it and the average examination results.

The scaling for each subject is determined using various combinations to produce scaling factors which are then applied to HSC marks to create scaled marks per unit.


The ATAR ranking is calculated from the sum of the scaled marks for an individual’s top ten scoring units. Each unit is worth 50 points, with a total value of 500 points for all the units. Your total mark is referred to as the aggregate, and it is what determines an ATAR.

ATAR represents the percentage of the population that you outperformed. It ranges from 0-99.95 in intervals of 0.05. if you receive an ATAR of 60, it means you performed better than 60% of the students that year.

How to Prepare for NAPLAN

The approach for preparation that students take when preparing for the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) assessment is very different from the approach of end-of-term tests.

The results of the NAPLAN exams are critical in charting the student’s progress against the national standards. Unlike the end-of-term test, NAPLAN focuses on skills that students develop and improve over time. That means, even the approach of preparing for the exam should be different to position the student in the best place for success.

Here are a few tips on how a student can best prepare for the NAPLAN exams and improve their chances of success.

Make the child exam-ready

NAPLAN assesses skills that are developed over time. Therefore, the child cannot prepare for this exam the same way they prepare for end-of-term tests. The skills required for the NAPLAN exams need to be developed continuously and improved throughout the year, not just a few days before the NAPLAN test.

You should focus on helping the student develop their literacy and mathematical skills to their full potential. The literacy skills include speaking, listening, and critical thinking. Providing children with materials they need regularly to harness and perfect these skills is vital.

Don’t put too much pressure on the child

Every parent understands how critical it is for their child to do well on their NAPLAN test. However, putting too much pressure on the child can cause anxiety leading to careless mistakes that the child could avoid if they are cool, calm and collected.

Working in smaller groups and ensuring the child is constantly engaged by a teacher or a NAPLAN tutor can help the child refine their weak areas in literacy and numeracy skills and improve their confidence which will enhance their overall performance.

Help the child practice using online practice test

One of the ways you can help your child practice for the upcoming NAPLAN tests is by ensuring they are aware of what to expect. This will help them stay more relaxed and make the situation more predictable.

You can visit the local bookstore or search online for NAPLAN-styles tests. Although most of these are not endorsed by the government, the goal is to get the child to familiarise with the tests and know what to expect.

Work on the weak areas

It’s common for students to struggle in certain areas. These can be literacy, reading, or numeracy. Regardless of the challenges, the student will be more confident sitting for the tests knowing that they put extra work into these areas and try harder to get better results.

Enrolling additional help like buying them extra resources, spending extra time with them working on these areas, or even hiring an online tutor is an excellent way of improving the performance of the child and consequently their confidence while sitting for NAPLAN.

Get a good night’s sleep

It’s imperative for the student to get enough sleep the night prior to the test. Proper rest is crucial to the performance of the brain. If the child has enough rest, they can focus better, they have good cognitive speed, math processing and decision making.

Ensuring your child gets enough sleep the night before the tests can make a big difference. It is the icing on the cake that can help you realise all the efforts you have put into preparing for the test.

Final Remarks

NAPLAN is one of those tests that you can’t wait until the last days to start preparing. The tests focus on already acquired skills and aim to test if the child is improving at different stages. The best way to prepare for NAPLAN is to make it long-term. Regularly check on the progress your child is making at school and make an effort to assist in areas where they are struggling.

How to Study for Maths

For most students, maths is a subject they could do without if given a choice. They would love to get better grades, but there’s a notion that it is almost impossible. Maths isn’t as difficult or as scary as it sounds. It just needs a little more dedication and focus, and you can be on your way to excellent grades.

The best thing about math is that once you get the hang of it, you won’t have any problem getting good grades going forward. If you’re adamant about improving your score in math, here are a few math study tips that will help:

Understand that math is a cumulative subject

Math is a cumulative subject. What you learn today is the foundation of something you’re going to learn tomorrow and so on. Everything you learn in math will be built on something you learnt in the past.

That means you have to attend as many classes as possible and start taking the subject seriously at the earliest possible time. This will allow you to build a strong foundation that will come in handy when you begin handling the more complex subjects. You always have to ensure you stay on top of your work at all times.

Practice, practice and practice some more!

It’s not enough to learn the chapters in class. You also have to keep practising them and solving related problems to understand and internalise the concepts fully. Constant practice ensures you always keep your mind sharp and well prepared at all times.

Try and dedicate a few hours of your day to solving different math problems. Even when you’re working on other subjects, slip in a bit of maths, so you don’t lag behind.

Start by solving examples

You never want to start by solving complex problems because they can quickly make you feel frustrated and the subject even more. Instead, try and focus on solving examples, especially when you have just started on the chapter. This way, you’re not discouraged, and you give yourself more time to understand the concept as you slowly transition into complex problems.

Don’t lose touch with the basics

As mentioned earlier, math is a cumulative subject. You rely on the basics learned in the past to solve complex problems in the future. That means touching base once in a while is just as important as trying to understand the exciting and new concepts. You need to keep your foundation strong, which means practising sums from selected chapters in your previous years, so your basics are always sharp.

Learn from your mistakes

When you’re working with different problems, you’re going to make mistakes. Work through the process for each solution. If you have made mistakes, review them and understand how you made a mistake. This will make you more vigilant and help you avoid the same mistake in the future. It’s an excellent way of becoming stronger and improving your mathematical skills.

Create a distraction-free study environment

A quality math revision session requires a distraction-free environment that allows you to focus and concentrate on the task at hand. This is more so when dealing with complex problems like geometry, trigonometry and algebra.

For some students, background music can create a soothing and relaxing atmosphere that stimulates information retention.

Create a mathematical dictionary

Maths has numerous terminologies and vocabularies. Sometimes going through previous notes can take valuable revision time and can be frustrating. Instead, you can create flashcards or notes that are easily accessible and detail all this information in an easy-to-find manner. Include the meaning and some samples where necessary.

Consider hiring an online tutor

If you feel you can’t improve your math scores alone, maths tutors are an excellent resource. With a tutor, you have a dedicated professional that will help identify potential problem areas and come up with ways to help you improve.