Students often go into Visual Arts Section 1 entirely unprepared. “But we haven’t seen the images!” I hear you say, “how can I prepare for something I haven’t seen?”

Well no need to fear! The answer, my friend, is a scaffold! With a scaffold, you are able to go into an exam, with no knowledge of the questions, but being 100% assured you can achieve the marks you need.

If you have a total mental blank in the exam, falling back on a scaffold will make you feel confident about your answer. A scaffold means the markers will have to give you marks, even if your information sounds more like you’re trying to interpret a pile of rocks than an artwork.

Visual Arts Section 1 – 5 Marker

  1. Answer the Question – identify whether the question is referring to Practice, Conceptual Framework or The Frames. Have a specific answer to the question, rather than just repeating it.
  2. Include citation material – try to include this in a relevant way rather than just dropping it in.
  3. Include three SEE points to support your argument.
  4. Link back to the question.

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e.g.“Rauschenberg’s relationship to his artwork is one of thoughtfulness and deep conceptual refinement. Rauschenberg utilises the material practice of silk screen printing, using oil and silkscreened ink on canvas in his 1964 piece Retroactive 1, measuring 13.4 x 152.4 cm. Plate 1 shows how Rauschenberg uses silk screen printing in order to resize and recolour his images. Thus Rauschenberg does not create the images himself, rather he reworks them to achieve conceptual refinement. Plate 2 shows his use of colour manipulation, using bold, bright colours, identifying his artwork with pop-art. This has a cheapening effect on the images, making them appear commercial and gaudy. Rauschenberg has utilised and repeated iconic images, such as the image of JFK, connecting his artwork to the world and media. Rauschenberg can therefore comment on the cheap, repetitive and oversized nature of media, demonstrating his relationship with his artwork as conceptual and thoughtful.”

Looking at the above response, look at how I have included all of the above dot points necessary to create a well structured response.

Visual Arts Section 1 – 8 Marker

  1. Answer the question – identify whether the question is referring to Practice, Conceptual Framework or The Frames.
  2. Have a thesis which links the plates together.
  3. Include citation material – try to include this in a relevant way rather than just dropping it in.
  4. Plate 1: include one or two SEE points to support your argument.
  5. Plate 2: include one or two SEE points to support your argument.
  6. Plate 3: include one or two SEE points to support your argument.
  7. Link back to the question.

Note: use the text extract if available to help you with your analysis.

Here is an example Question  from the Board of Studies website:

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You can find a band 5/6 example response here.

Now have a try to do this yourself! You can use the practice exams found here

Visual Arts Section 1 – 12 Marker

  1. Introduction – Answer the question, have a thesis, include citation material.
  2. Paragraph 1: use 2 or 3 SEE points to compare the plates.
  3. Paragraph 1: use 2 or 3 SEE points to compare the plates.
  4. Paragraph 1: use 2 or 3 SEE points to compare the plates.
  5. Make a judgement/evaluation.
  6. Link back to the question.

Note: It is super important for this question that firstly, you identify whether it relates to practice, conceptual framework or the frames. Secondly, you must make an evaluation regarding the question.

Here is an example Question  from the Board of Studies website:

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You can find a band 5/6 example response here.

Now have a try to do this yourself! You can use the practice exams found here

And there you have it! The unseen question scaffold that paired with good analysis, will guarantee you a band 6 in Visual Arts Section 1. Click here for more information on how to analyse unseen images for section 1 in Visual Arts.

Good Luck!

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Brooklyn Arnot is currently studying Philosophy, History and English at The University of Sydney. In her spare time she enjoys drawing mythical landscapes, flowers, trees, and artsy signs for her cafe during long train rides and basically any time there is a pen and paper around. Her incredible high school English teachers gave her a passion for literature and education, leading to her extreme enthusiasm for the HSC English syllabus and her dream to go to Scandinavia to study old viking literature.