ATAR Stories Study Tips

Choosing Subjects for Years 11 & 12

Year 10 and 11 Subject Selection
Written by Ashlee Negrone

Preliminary and HSC Subject Selection – How do I choose?

During Year 10 (Y10), subject selection can weigh on your mind. Whilst there are a lot of potential things to choose, there numerous factors impacting what you can and can’t pick. And you may have absolutely no idea. Here are a few things to keep in mind to help narrow down your HSC subjects.

5 Top Tips For Year 10 and 11 Subject Selection

1) Do what you love.

This is by far the most important thing when choosing subjects. Whilst you can get advice from teachers, family or guardians, you’re the one whose actually sitting the HSC exam. So try to block out that pressure from others.

This also counts for peers; don’t just do a subject because your friends are also choosing it. Pick subjects which you will genuinely enjoy, or are in your field of interest. If it’s something you really love then studying doesn’t have to be such a chore.

2) Question what you’re willing to work at.

There is inevitably going to be topics or subjects which are challenging and require extra work. So when deciding, have a look at the different parts of the syllabus for each subject. If there’s something which you don’t immediately love, then ask yourself whether you would be willing to understand and work through it.

It’s common to hear things like “When am I gonna need this? This is pointless.”. I heard this a lot during the Genetics option in Biology, and as a result, some people didn’t really want to work at it to understand because it seemed irrelevant. So if you see that you don’t really want to learn about or work for the major topics in a subject, maybe don’t pick that one.

3) Remember your strengths.

Whilst this shouldn’t be the sole deciding factor for picking a subject, it’s something to think about. What you possess a talent for can be good to explore. What you’re good at can also be a little easier in terms of work. This also goes in the opposite direction, and ties into what you’re willing to put effort into.

I’ll put these three tips into an example. Naturally, I’m not too bad at maths. But during Year 10 (Y10), I found I was definitely not willing to put in that sustained work over the year because it seemed pointless to me. So whilst I found maths kind of fun when I understood it, I was not willing to work for it and so I hated it. Because I couldn’t get it. And I promptly dropped at the start of Year 11 (Y11).

4) Major projects can be a good outlet.

I started off choosing Biology, PDHPE, Ancient History, Modern History, Adv. English and E1 English. When I was stuck for another subject, I looked at my previous choices and saw that I had a heavy amount of content.

To try and break this up, I chose Design and Technology. As a creative person, I need something as an outlet. So D&T was great because it allowed me to still work to my strengths in design and analysis, but was totally different from my other textbook-based subjects.

But keep in mind there are a lot of work, and do require consistent attention over the year. If you are going to choose one, ensure that you will be working on something you love. My major project encompassed a whole range of my interests; including baking, photography, writing and graphic design; so I really enjoyed working on it.

5) Weigh up the option of distance education.

Sometimes distance education is necessary to do a certain subject, for example a language. I did distance for Studies of Religion 2U, but we had an existing class that I couldn’t fit into. So I was able to meet with the teacher during certain periods to ask questions. Whilst I could grasp it, and had the chance to research by myself, I lacked the discussion that those sorts of subjects need. So do work out the pros and cons of distance education to see if it’s right for you.

Good luck with your Year 10 and 11 subject selection!

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Author: Ashlee Negrone

Ash studies Pre-Medicine at the University of Technology Sydney. She gradutated in 2016 with an ATAR of 95.3 with the subjects Biology, Adv English, PDHPE, English Ext 1, Design and Technology and Studies of Religion 2U.
Contact for tutoring inquiries.

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