How to choose the best subjects for Year 11 & 12
Year 11 subject selection might feel like one of the hardest decisions you’ll ever have to make in the lead-up to the HSC.
If you have all the information you need, and a good idea of your strengths and weaknesses, this doesn’t have to feel like a stress-inducing exercise – quite the contrary!
Here are Talent’s top tips on how to go about choosing your Year 11 subjects, and how this will help you by the time you get to Year 12.
Scenario #1: Should I choose subjects that rank well?
Yes and no.
We recommend choosing subjects that rank well, only if you are interested in them and can perform well in these subjects.
For example, if you’re never taken an interest in Physics (or Science for that matter) but you decide to take Physics in Year 11, this probably seems like a risky decision to make.
Many students who do take on subjects like this will make sure that they have the option to drop it and go down to 10 (or 11) units. If you are thinking about this, make sure you have a back-up subject or those extra units to cover you.
Scenario #2: How many units should I choose?
By default, in Year 10 you will have to choose subjects that total to 12 units.
In Year 11, you can then pick and choose if you want to drop down to 10 units (the minimum) stay at 12 units (this gives you a safety net in the HSC), or even go up to 13 units.
We recommend sticking to 12 units – as mentioned earlier, this gives you a back-up in case you don’t perform as well in one of your subjects (it simply won’t count towards to your final score and ATAR for the HSC.
If you are confident with your subjects, then going down to 10 units won’t be a risky decision for you. Plus, you’ll benefit from having more time to focus on your subjects since you have eliminated one. But this doesn’t mean that the workload will necessarily decrease either!
Scenario #3: I have no idea what to study in University, will this hinder the subjects I choose in Year 11 and 12?
Even if you have some idea on what you feel like studying at a tertiary level after school, odds are that you will change your mind. Many times!
Our best tips are, as always, choose subjects that you are passionate about and that you can perform well in. Jump onto the NESA website and take a look at the Year 11 and 12 syllabus for all the subjects offered, this will give you a better idea on the types of topics you will learn, and how you’re going to be tested.
Scenario #4: My school doesn’t offer a subject that I’m really interested in, what are my options?
Many language subjects (amongst others) might not be offered at your high school, but there are ways around this if you’re willing to put in the effort.
You could consider doing these subjects by long distance education – this involves going to another school (sometimes even on the weekends) to take these classes. See if this fits into your daily life and if you can keep it up in Year 11 and 12, since it is a big commitment to make.
Scenario #5: Can I drop English?
English is a compulsory subject that all students must take at some level.
However, you do have the opportunity to choose what level of English you want to take.
We talk about Standard v Advanced English in-depth in our free Subject Scaling webinar, taking place on July 22nd. Click here to reserve your seat – it’s hosted by Dr Nikhil Vasan, who received an ATAR of 99.95 in the HSC!