Section C – Argument and persuasive language


Section C – Argument and persuasive language

Welcome to Section C, the final part of the VCE English exam. Hopefully, the first two sections of this article helped you understand what is required when sitting the VCE English Exam. It is really not that difficult, as long as you practice, prepare, and persevere. This section will discuss what is asked of students in Section C. How to effectively address the criteria to demonstrate an understanding of a persuasive piece of writing and develop a coherent response to it.

Section C of the exam requires students to analyse the ways argument and language are used in a piece of writing. Particularly how they attempt to persuade others to share in the author’s point of view.

Students will have to read over a short piece of persuasive writing, such as a letter to the editor, speech, or opinion piece, and then analyse how it employs a range of persuasive language devices to argue its contention. For the exam, ‘language’ refers to both written and visual language. Do not forget there will be accompanying pictures used in the attempt to persuade readers further.

What is required?

To ace this section of the exam, you need to demonstrate a strong understanding of three critical factors:

  • A demonstrated understanding of what the writer is arguing, what their contention is. Including how they utilise a range of language devices to explore their topic.
  • An ability to develop a structured analytical response to the topic. Firstly by identifying their argument and then both discussing and analysing some of the ways the writer utilises persuasive devices to argue their point. Identifying the persuasive devices utilised, and provide quotes and evidence from the piece to support your argument.
  • The ability to use your own language and ideas to analyse the piece. Specifically addressing the arguments the writer uses. Incorporate your own ideas to state how their use of language devices tries to persuade readers to their point of view.

All of these things can be effectively achieved by clearly breaking the task down. The first thing is to identify exactly what the writer is arguing and what they are trying to persuade readers of. This is their central argument, their point of view, and it should be quickly identified.

There are some effective strategies for quickly identifying what their central argument is. As it is a persuasive piece of writing, they should clearly state their point of view early in the piece and then spend the rest arguing for it. This will typically be done in the first or second paragraph. The writer needs to quickly establish what their point of view is, so they can then work at persuading readers towards it.

2020 English exam

The 2020 VCE Exam provided a transcript of a speech made by farmer Warwick Bandle. This speech happened at a Byways Shire Council meeting, held to discuss community concerns over recreational drone usage.

Bandle’s speech established his point of view in the very first sentence, where he states, “drones and their inexperienced users are proving to be a costly problem for us farmers.” This sentence immediately shows us Bandle is arguing to ban recreational drone usage. He uses emotive words such as “inexperienced users” and “a costly problem for us farmers” employed in the attempt of persuading people that recreational drone usage should be banned.

Bandle’s next two sentences work at strengthening his argument, as he firmly states that “drones are not toys”, then asks the rhetorical question of “what happens when a drone flies out of range?” Bandle follows this rhetorical question immediately with another, asking, “what happens when the battery runs out?” Firmly opinioning that recreational drone usage is dangerous, as they risk falling out the sky and injuring civilians. An accompanying image of a crashed drone on farmland property furthers Bandle’s persuasive argument that recreational drone usage is dangerous.


When answering section C, it is a good idea to develop a clear plan for how you will be addressing what is asked of you. An effective way to achieve this is always to have the writer’s contention in mind and then analyse some key persuasive language devices they use to argue their point of view. For example, Bandle employs emotive language, inclusive language, and rhetorical questions to persuade readers of his point of view. Next, focus on what you believe are the main persuasive language devices the piece uses, and provide direct evidence in the form of quotations to support your analysis.

Ensure that your analysis is written to the same high standard as the essays you write in Sections A and B are. This demonstrates that not only can you analyse and comprehend how persuasive language can be utilised to persuade readers, but that you can articulate your own response to address this.

Find out what works best for you.

Preparation, practice, and planning are all recipes for success and will help you maximise your chances of acing your exam. Therefore, it is a great idea to practice on past exams before your big day.

We hope you enjoyed our three-part article on strategies for acing your English VCE Exam. We at Evergreen have a firm commitment to helping all our students achieve their learning goals.

Contact us today on 0409 083 909 to discuss your learning goals. We can discuss how our tutors can help you develop achievable strategies for doing so. Our tutors can work with you on a one-on-one basis, to ensure you receive the proper guidance, advice, and strategies for acing that big day.

We have broken the English exam down.

We have broken down the English exam and what you need to do to ace all three sections here.

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