Are you one week out from the Visual Arts exam and not sure where to start?

No worries, we’ve got you covered! In this 7 day Visual Arts Study Plan!

We’ve split up your study into four 30-minute blocks to make your study time manageable and enjoyable. If you follow this step-by-step study guide you will feel confident and prepared for your HSC or trials exams!

Before You Start

Start a fresh notebook: For me, there is nothing better than the feeling of a fresh notebook. I personally enjoy using non-lined art diaries for note-taking, but think about what sort of notebook suits you best.

Find a well lit, tidy study space: For more information on creative the perfect study space, click here

Choose some music: This is art! So get your creative juices flowing and listen to some instrumental music while you make summaries. Click here for one of Spotify’s great study playlists.

Buy some highlighters: Highlighting key words and details is going to be super helpful in this study tutorial, so get your hands on some highlighters. 9 different colours is best, but you can make do with at least 4.

Visual Arts Study Plan – Day 1

Block 1

Step 1 – Make a “Practice” Mind map (15 minutes)

Click here for “Practice” syllabus notes.

  • Summarise the above information into three separate mind maps, based on each heading.
  • 7 points coming out of each of each mind map should be sufficient.
  • Each mind map should take you about 5 minutes to complete.
  • After you complete your mind maps, choose a colour and highlight all of the key words, as seen below:

img_20170120_141422

Tip: Many people don’t like mind maps -if that’s you, feel free to write these notes out under headings.

Step 2 – Conceptual Practice vs Material Practice Table

The conceptual practice of an artist refers to their ideas, their philosophies and the thoughts an artist tries to provoke. Material practice refers to the specific materials an artist has used, their methods and techniques and the technical details of an artwork.

  • Start a new page and make two headings: conceptual practice and material practice.
  • Beneath each heading write out in dot points the things that make up material and conceptual practice.

img_20170125_145817

Step 3 – Applying YourKnowledge

Look at the image below and use this information

skyspace-hero-2

  • Write 3-5 dot points explaining the conceptual practice used by the artist
  • Write 3-5 dot points explaining the material practice of the artist

You’ve finished your first block! Take a break, eat some food, go for a swim, have an adventure, wrestle some crocodiles! Come back feeling well rested for your next block.

Block 2 – The Conceptual Framework

Step 1 – Make “Conceptual Framework” Mind maps (15 minutes)

Click here on information to summarise for the Conceptual Framework. The conceptual framework is broken up into Artist, Artwork, World and Audience, as seen in the below diagram.

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  • Summarise the above information into three separate mind maps, based on each heading.
  • 7 points coming out of each of each mind map should be sufficient.
  • Each mind map should take you about 5 minutes to complete.
  • After you complete your mind maps, choose a colour and highlight all of the key words. Highlight each category (Artist, Artwork, World and Audience) in a different colour. I’ve done it like this:

img_20170125_163422Step 2 – Applying Knowledge of the Conceptual Framework (15 minutes)

Look at the below image and click on this link for more information on the artwork:

skyspace-hero-2

  • Under each heading (Artist, Artwork, World Audience) write 3 points, using the key words highlighted in your mindmaps.

Time to take a break!

Block 3 – Structural Frame and Cultural Frame

Step 1 – Creating mind maps (15 minutes)

  • Using this information, make two mind maps on both the Stuctural Frame and the Cultural Frame
  • Highlight the key words in each mind map
  • Colour code your mind maps! I like to use orange for Structural, green for cultural, yellow for subjective and pink for postmodern. But colour code them any way you like!

Step 2 – Applying knowledge of the Structural Frame and Cultural Frame (15 minutes)

  • Beneath each heading (Structural Frame and Cultural Frame) write 3-5 dot points regarding how Turrell relates to the Structural and Cultural frames.

Block 4 – Subjective Frame and Postmodern Frame

Step 1 – Creating mind maps (15 minutes)

  • Using this information, make two mind maps on both the Subjective Frame and Postmodern Frame
  • Highlight the key words in each mind map
  • Colour code your mind maps! I like to use orange for Structural, green for cultural, yellow for subjective and pink for postmodern. But colour code them any way you like.

Step 2 – Applying knowledge of the Structural Frame and Cultural Frame (15 minutes)

  • Beneath each heading (Structural Frame and Cultural Frame) write 3-5 dot points regarding how Turrell relates to the Structural and Cultural frames.

And you’re finished! Well done on completing day 1 of your Visual Arts Study plan.

Visual Arts Study Plan Day 2 – Making Artist Notes

Choose two artists you have studied at school to complete this part of the tutorial.

Note: you may already have thorough artist’s notes from class. If so, you can copy and paste sections of these notes to put them into these categories.

Note: These are important notes, so it’s probably best you type them out if possible rather than writing them

Block 1

Step 1 – Artist’s practice (15 minutes)

  • Create the two headings, material practice and conceptual practice
  • Write 3 SEE points below each heading (Statement, Example, Explain). Look below for example.

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  • Make sure to include quotes and opinions from art critics/art historians
  • Use the key words highlighted in yesterday’s mind maps to guide you.

Step 2 – Conceptual Framework (15 minutes)

  • Create two headings –  World and Audience
  • Note: I haven’t included Artist or Artwork because Artist is covered in “practice” and artwork is covered in “the frames”
  • Write 2 or 3 SEE points below each heading
  • Use the key words highlighted in yesterday’s mind maps to guide you.

Take a break!

Block 2

Choose a new artist and repeat your first two blocks with this artist

Step 1 – The Frames part 1

  • Create the headings – Structural Frame and Cultural Frame
  • For each heading write 3-4 SEE points.
  • For Structural Frame make sure you include the artwork’s essential information (dimensions, date, type of artwork, materials)
  • Use the key words highlighted in yesterday’s mind maps to guide you.

Step 2 – The Frames part 2

  • Create the headings – Subjective Frame and Postmodern Frame.
  • For each heading write 3-4 SEE points.
  • For Subjective Frame make sure you include quotes from the artist/audience depicting how the artwork made them feel.
  • Use the key words highlighted in yesterday’s mind maps to guide you.

Block 3

Step 1 – Artist’s Practice (15 minutes)

  • Create the two headings, material practice and conceptual practice
  • Write 3 SEE points below each heading (Statement, Example, Explain). Look below for example.

hllh

  • Make sure to include quotes and opinions from art critics/art historians
  • Use the key words highlighted in yesterday’s mind maps to guide you.

Step 2 – Conceptual Framework (15 minutes)

  • Create two headings –  World and Audience
  • Note: I haven’t included Artist or Artwork because Artist is covered in “practice” and artwork is covered in “the frames”
  • Write 2 or 3 SEE points below each heading
  • Use the key words highlighted in yesterday’s mind maps to guide you.

Take a break!

Block 4

Step 1 – The Frames part 1

  • Create the headings – Structural Frame and Cultural Frame
  • For each heading write 3-4 SEE points.
  • For Structural Frame make sure you include the artwork’s essential information (dimensions, date, type of artwork, materials)
  • Use the key words highlighted in yesterday’s mind maps to guide you.

Step 2 – The Frames part 2

  • Create the headings – Subjective Frame and Postmodern Frame.
  • For each heading write 3-4 SEE points.
  • For Subjective Frame make sure you include quotes from the artist/audience depicting how the artwork made them feel.
  • Use the key words highlighted in yesterday’s mind maps to guide you.

Visual Arts Study Plan Day 3

Block 1

Step 1 – Artist’s Practice (15 minutes)

  • Create the two headings, material practice and conceptual practice
  • Write 3 SEE points below each heading (Statement, Example, Explain). Look below for example.

hllh

  • Make sure to include quotes and opinions from art critics/art historians
  • Use the key words highlighted in yesterday’s mind maps to guide you.

Step 2 – Conceptual Framework (15 minutes)

  • Create two headings –  World and Audience
  • Note: I haven’t included Artist or Artwork because Artist is covered in “practice” and artwork is covered in “the frames”
  • Write 2 or 3 SEE points below each heading
  • Use the key words highlighted in yesterday’s mind maps to guide you.

Take a break!

Block 2

Choose a new artist and repeat your first two blocks with this artist

Step 1 – The Frames part 1

  • Create the headings – Structural Frame and Cultural Frame
  • For each heading write 3-4 SEE points.
  • For Structural Frame make sure you include the artwork’s essential information (dimensions, date, type of artwork, materials)
  • Use the key words highlighted in yesterday’s mind maps to guide you.

Step 2 – The Frames part 2

  • Create the headings – Subjective Frame and Postmodern Frame.
  • For each heading write 3-4 SEE points.
  • For Subjective Frame make sure you include quotes from the artist/audience depicting how the artwork made them feel.
  • Use the key words highlighted in yesterday’s mind maps to guide you.

You’re half way through your Visual Arts study plan now! Well done, and keep going!

Block 3

Step 1 – Artist’s Practice (15 minutes)

  • Create the two headings, material practice and conceptual practice
  • Write 3 SEE points below each heading (Statement, Example, Explain). Look below for example.

hllh

  • Make sure to include quotes and opinions from art critics/art historians
  • Use the key words highlighted in yesterday’s mind maps to guide you.

Step 2 – Conceptual Framework (15 minutes)

  • Create two headings –  World and Audience
  • Note: I haven’t included Artist or Artwork because Artist is covered in “practice” and artwork is covered in “the frames”
  • Write 2 or 3 SEE points below each heading
  • Use the key words highlighted in yesterday’s mind maps to guide you.

Take a break! (wrestle a crocodile)

Block 4

Step 1 – The Frames Part 1

  • Create the headings – Structural Frame and Cultural Frame
  • For each heading write 3-4 SEE points.
  • For Structural Frame make sure you include the artwork’s essential information (dimensions, date, type of artwork, materials)
  • Use the key words highlighted in yesterday’s mind maps to guide you.

Step 2 – The Frames Part 2

  • Create the headings – Subjective Frame and Postmodern Frame.
  • For each heading write 3-4 SEE points.
  • For Subjective Frame make sure you include quotes from the artist/audience depicting how the artwork made them feel.
  • Use the key words highlighted in yesterday’s mind maps to guide you.

Visual Arts Study Plan Day 4 – Planning an Essay

With Art Essays, rather than memorising an essay word for word, it’s best to memorise your TEE points and then apply it to an essay scaffold. This gives you the best opportunity to be well prepared for your exam, while being flexible so you are able to best answer the question. Day 4 of the Visual Arts Study plan will walk you through this.

Block 1

Step 1 – Understanding the scaffold (10 minutes)

Read this article for a scaffold for a HSC Visual Arts essay. After you have read it, download the template found at the bottom of the article.

Step 2 – Developing a Thesis (15 minutes)

The first space to fill out in the template is “Thesis sentence responding to the question.” Before yo go into your exam, it is good to have a few theses up your sleeve which you can try and apply to questions. Now is your opportunity to think these up. Here are a few tips:

  • Feel free to include an artist’s or art critic quote.
  • Consider practice, conceptual framework and the frames as this is what questions will be based on.
  • Use buzz words. Have words in your thesis which are obscure or interesting, to introduce your key concepts. You will be able to repeat these words throughout your essay to say to your marker, “Hey look, I’m linking back to my thesis.” e.g. philosophical, psychological, mythological, fantasy and imagination.
  • Say something interesting. This is the first sentence your marker is going to read, you want to immediately give them a good impression and make your essay stand out from the rest.

Here are some examples I came up with:

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Step 3 – Try Applying your Thesis to a Question: (5 minutes)

Now it’s time to try and write out your thesis in a way that answers a question. Here are some questions to practice with:

Discuss the effect of time on the practice of artists

Explain how contemporary art has shaped our understanding of the different roles of artists.

‘The making of art is an intuitive act rather than a planned process.’ Evaluate this statement.

Block 2 – Filling in the Scaffold

Step 1 – Complete Step 2 and 3 of Scaffold (15 mintes)

Use the article to guide your responses.

Step 2 – Writing the body (15 minutes)

Follow the steps listed in Part 2: Body Paragraph A1

  • use the question you answered in block 1 to continue your essay
  • This section should be about 200 words
  • Insert the SEEs you came up with yesterday into the “analysis” part of the paragraph.

Note: The great part about writing your essay this way, is your points are interchangeable based on the question and thesis you use. The point of this exercise is not to pre-write your essay, it is to become familiar with the scaffold so you can change it on the spot

Block 3

Step 1 – Writing the Body (15 minutes)

Follow the steps listed in Part 3: Body Paragraph B1

Step 2 – Writing the Body (15 minutes)

Follow the steps listed in Part 4: Body Paragraph A2

Block 4

Step 1 – Writing the Body (15 minutes)

Follow the steps listed in Part 5: Body Paragraph B2

Step 2 – Writing the Conclusion (15 minutes)

Follow the steps listed in Part 6: Conclusion

Visual Arts Study Plan Day 5 – Short Answers

Block 1 – Understanding How to Write a Good Response

Step 1 – Reading (10 minutes)

Click on this link and read the article

Step 2 – Making notes

Using the above article, make notes on each of the sections, conceptual framework, frames and STEEL. highlight key words

Step 3 – Practice

Using the image at the bottom of the article, create a response using the steps listed in the article.

use the question: How does the material practice of Gogh reflect his thoughts and ideas?

Block 2 – Understanding How to Scaffold Your Answer

Now that you understand what it takes to write a band 6 response, we’re going to go through exactly how to scaffold your answer per mark you receive for it.

Step 1 – Reading and Taking Notes (15 minutes)

Read the scaffold described in this article. Make your own notes on the scaffold

Step 2 – Reading Example Responses

Read the band 5/6 responses available on the board of studies website. Think about how the scaffold is used in these responses. Think about ways you could improve these responses.

Block 3 – Practicing  knowledge

Open practice paper – Answer Questions 1 and 2 to practise your section 1 writing skills and scaffold.

Note: You will have more time now than you will in the exam to complete this section. In the exam you will only have 45 minutes for he first 3 questions.

Block 3 – Practicing  knowledge

Open this practice paper – Answer Question 3 to practise your section 1 writing skills and scaffold.

You’ve finished all the theory of the Visual Arts study plan! 2 days left and just practice exams to go!

Visual Arts Study Plan Day 6 – Practice Exams

Block 1, 2 and 3

Step 1 – Doing the Practice Exam

Click Here to open practice exam

Step 1 – Complete a Practice Exam

Tips:

  • Find a place and time period where you won’t be disturbed.
  • Use the timer on your phone so you know how much time you have left.
  • Make sure your phone is on aeroplane mode. You don’t want to be interrupted!
  • Use lined paper and a pen that allows yo to write quickly. Papermate inkjoy pens are an HSC go to.

Block 4 – Reviewing the Practice Exam

Click Here and Click Here for the marking guidelines, exemplar answers and Marker’s notes.

Write an evaluation of your exam and give yourself a mark for each section.

Visual Arts Study Plan Day 7 – Practice Exams

Block 1, 2 and 3

Click Here to open practice exam

Block 4 – Reviewing the Practice Exam

Click Here and use the links under answer for a compilation of previous years to mark your paper.

Write an evaluation of your exam and give yourself a mark for each section.

Congratulations on finishing your Visual Arts Study Plan

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.