Solo Performance Exam Very Challenging

This year’s VCE Drama Solo Performance Examination for Year 12 Drama students in Victoria, Australia has got increasingly challenging.

  • this year’s solo exams are considerably more academic than in previous years
  • since the task has existed in its current format (2001), the plot dot points have become more sophisticated, lengthy and complex
  • the performance structure can apppear to leave more questions than answers for the student and teacher, so everyone needs to be careful
  • necessary research for the task has now increased considerably, so students need to start this part of the task early
  • ask a random sample of Year 12 Drama students what their hardest task is in any subject at Year 12 and you’d be surprised how many ‘Drama solo performance’ responses you’ll get
  • this year there is a sudden rise in dot points implying the student must play a character other than the prescribed one. In past years this was not such a focus, although many students played multiple characters in their solo. But on the 2006 exam paper, students are left with less option and now face the prospect of playing a secondary character in a particular plot dot point
  • a couple of years ago, complex aspects of performance style, theatrical conventions and dot points popped up in a few prescribed structures on the exam. In 2003 it was Japanese Noh Theatre (Sturcture 7) and last year we saw ‘lyrical and symbolic’ (Structures 4 and 7). This year it is Peking Opera (Structure 10) and ‘dramatic metaphor’ (Sturcutre 5). Students need to be wary of choosing characters for the solo exam that involve skills beyond their means. There are ten characters, so choose wisely!
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

10 Responses

  1. Naya says:

    I thought i was the only person who thought all of this. I am currently in year 12 doing drama, and due to a small number of students in my school, last year i was in a combined 1/2/3/4 class. so as a personal goal, i did a bit of work on lasts years performance of dorian gray, with no problems at all. This year, i have chosen on of my favourite topics, Pirates, and i am struggling, here i am, on the day of the grandfinal, researching hernando cortes, and trying to work out how it all fits in.

    I love drama, Ive done it since i was 8, and i am a lead character in 1 or 2 different productions per year, but this task is too much.

    Just as bec said, I also am one of the sorry students doing theatre, music, media, but i do art as well. When subjects that are so hard, mark down… how on earth are we supposed to get ENTERS high enough for the courses we need? I am generally a B+ to A student, but i think i will struggles to get my required ENTER of 62 this year.

    Thats saying something.

  2. Wu Zetian says:

    Hey y’all, I’m a Year 12 student and I love drama. I have had a ball these past months creating and performing my solo. The dot points were tricky, but I enjoyed the challenge, and I like to have a guide to go off. As you can see, I’m taking on Wu Zetian, Empress of China, and I reckon that “aspects” of Peking Opera fit right in to that context. Think about how much research the people who put the Prescribed Structures together had to do… Anyway, I know the task is lots of work but I’m so glad I’ve done it and I’m kinda looking forward to performing for friends and fam and then the dreaded assessors… Who cares what they really think anyway, I’m doing this for the fun, not the number…
    Good luck everyone! Love Wu XO

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hello, I also being a year11 student doing 3/4 drama, and finding this extremly difficult. its not only the amount of research that is needed for this solo performance, but that there is so much information that is floating in there that, i personally when trying to create or improvise a dotpoint get too caught up in the facts and the creative juices just dont flow. I do agree that i am glad that VCAA is waking up to the idea that Drama is not as easy as most people think, but there has to be a balance between strick facts and history and creativity
    Frustrated and Confused Drama Student

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hi all.
    I am a graduate teacher with a class half full of students who picked up Drama this year because it’s ‘a bludge’. Not only are they struggling – some have not even started their research for fear of not being able to do anything with it once they’ve started – but even the motivated, talented students are finding this task not only stressful but almost unbearable. I have an excellent Wu Zetian but she’s already at 9 minutes – and that’s after she spent a month researching Peking Opera. I know that when I completed my Solo Performance in 1998, the expectations, the dot points and the amount of research required was significantly less. It concerns me that students are losing their passion for Drama because the bar is being set too high. The answer? I don’t have one…but something needs to be done to ensure that Drama remains a subject in which you can imagine, explore and create, rather than having to conform to overextended dot points that quash creativity.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hey,
    Thought I might add my opinion. I’m in year 12 this year, and I did drama 3&4 last year…and i’d have to say that unit 4 drama was the hardest year of my life (and it didn’t even go for a year…crazy!) I spent alot of the time doing my solo last year, in complete and total utter confusion, and i can imagine that my fellow artistic comrades would be feeling much the same this year. i am a drama geek. Seriously, being up on stage is like breathing for me…but last year was absolute hell, I almost ended up hating the subject that I usually love the most! It was so stressful, and confusing and for the first time in my life, i was wishing i’d done text book subjects (and that’s really saying something!) I think that it has really got out of hand, people are just gonna end up stressing and crying and tearing their hair out (my hair still hasn’t fully grown back) I think that the maths/science/brain surgeon/boring/marked up/think their so good subjects are too well looked after, and that their needs to be something done about it. The art subjects all get marked down despite their time consumingness && stressfulness, and the maths/science subjects all get marked up, when they have the answer in the back of the book! i’m doing the deadly combo of theatre/music & media…and i’m so glad that I did drama last year…and not this year…anyway thats my rant…I completely agree with what you are saying…the drama examination is getting too hard
    ~Bec

  6. Anonymous says:

    Just like to say i find it interesting to note that, yes the performance exam is difficult this year, however instead of complaining about it,shouldnt we be thankful that VCAA has recognised that Drama isnt a walk in the park and that it does involve “research that requires a degree or masters in”. and also as far as i am told Drama is markd down not because it is viewed not as beneficial as other subjects… but isnt it got to do with the amount of people that undertake the subject every year?
    So in conclusion, yes the exam is difficult… but isnt that the point? to CHALLENGE unit 4 students, so that way there s a clear distinction between the hardworking students who take the subject serisously compared to those who are there for a bludge???

  7. school cap & drama cap says:

    Dearest cashdog/bag,
    we agree it is quite on the hard side. like one of the anons said we are finding it quite the challenge to squash everythign in in 7 minutes. Yet with every creative task that is quelled by our oppressive VCE system (dramatic much) we are bound to feel the limitations of lame restrictions… however drama is good and that so at the end of the day she’ll be apples. hurrah
    love your most smartest students ever… BRIG N GENELLE

  8. Anonymous says:

    As a year 12 drama student I too feel that this is quite a difficult task and struggle to understand why Drama is marked down so much. Maybe because it’s looked at how beneficial the subject will be in the future? But it really does take many different skills to be a successful student in such a subject. Fortunately our teacher has helped us quite significantly with our research, without this help I think alot of the students in our class would still be wondering where to begin with their script still.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hi there,
    I am a senior Drama Teacher who is fairly confident with the Solo Performance exam. I too have seen the variety of characters presented since 2001, each with it’s own challenges. But I would have to agree that this year was a bit of a surprise. When the prescribed structures became available I recognized that there was a GREAT deal of research needed for each and every character, and not just scratch the surface kind of research either, it’s the kind of research that you need to have a degree or masters in.

    I have also noticed that within each structure there is so much information to cover. Did anyone remember that the exam is only 7 MINUTES? If you just read out loud one of the prescribed structures (using the punctuation) it takes a mere 4/5 minutes. So that doesn’t leave much time for the other expressive skills – remember gesture and movement… And what about the other criteria points like, the dramatic potential of the subject matter – this is where the students have some creative decisions, yet this year it seems very prescribed what is to be included and what isn’t.

    So to summarise I concur that the solo prescribed structures for 2006 are a far cry from the original task, that was designed to assess the performance ability of Drama students in Unit 4.

    Best of luck of students and teachers of Drama 🙂

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hello, I’m a Year 11 student doing 3/4 drama, and I so while I may not have much experience re. other 3/4 subjects to compare the workload to, I can say that the rest of the class is finding this their most difficult subject – and our teacher has commented that this year’s Prescribed Structures seem quite difficult as compared to previous years. I too wonder what on earth ‘dramatic metaphor’ REALLY means, and have spent many fruitless hours on the internet trying to find a decent explanation and have yet to understand that dotpoint! Cheers.

Leave a Reply to Wu Zetian Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *