AS 90851: Show understanding of significant aspects of unfamiliar text(s) through close reading, using supporting evidence. 4 Credits. External
26th August 2020


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The Unfamiliar Texts paper is one that assesses your ability to read and understand unfamiliar given passages. You will be provided with three written texts, of different types, and asked to explain how the author communicates their ideas/experiences/feelings.

Below you can find whole sets of exemplar material. You should attempt the sample paper (the resource booklet is provided) and then have a look at the excellence exemplar and answer rubric to evaluate your response. You are most welcome to give your practice papers to me to assess as well.

2017 Exemplars:

2017 Sample Question Booklet


2017 Sample Resource Booklet


2017 Sample Answer, Question 1

This passage is about two young boys who are going fishing for eels. Their experience is heightened as if it were a grand adventure. The author uses a range of techniques to create a sense of danger and, at the end, solemnity.

2017 Sample Marking Rubric


2016 Exemplars:


Practise Paper: Resource Booklet


Practice Paper: Sample Answer

The poem “What Story’s That, Then?” describes a child, her mother and other travellers on a bus. Initially the child is being read a story by its mother, and is described as being “past boredom”, an example of hyperbole that, nonetheless may accurately represent that state a child may reach where their boredom starts almost to feel physical. The poet introduces a strange ‘wisdom’ to the child’s view of the world when they describe her response to the book using sophisticated verbs like “detests” and adjectives like “ridiculousness”. 

In contrast to this, the poem describes the child’s interest in the events outside the bus window as being typical of the immature fascination of the very young. As if through the child’s eyes – or is it the adult’s view of what a child sees? – the woman is described with storybook humour as having the “ambition” to “be a ball”, and much is made of the child’s joy in the sensory description of the “lolly pink” colour of the dog’s lead.

It is only when the child, apparently mistakenly, names the dog “God”, that the poet’s true intention is revealed. This malapropism seems to the adults surrounding the child as a mistake, but to the poet, it suggests the child’s capacity to see the majesty of God in even small events – something apparently inaccessible to the adults: “She has seen the world, and named it”

Excellence Exemplar


Answer Rubric


Resource Booklet for the 2015 Paper


Glossary of Language Features


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