Which HSC subjects scale the best?
Subject selection for Year 11 and 12 is important, and you should start thinking about it in Year 10
But where should you start? We’ve compiled a few essential factors below which you should take into consideration when choosing your subjects for next year, or if you’re considering dropping a subject in Year 11:
Rather than choosing subjects that simply scale well, make sure there’s a balance between choosing some subjects which you enjoy and something that you would genuinely be interested in. Just because you’ve chosen a particular subject that you think scales well, doesn’t guarantee that it actually will; and it doesn’t mean that a low mark will automatically be boosted.
Think of the future
Make sure that the subjects you are choosing, match your current skills and see if they can also apply to your career goals down the track. Does this mean that all subjects you choose will be necessary at a university level? No, they don’t.
But certain subjects such as Mathematics and the Sciences are something to consider in Year 11 & 12 if you’re already interested in a particular career in these fields. If you do happen to change your mind (let’s face it, you probably will), don’t worry about choosing your subjects purely for a future degree. That’s why there are dedicated bridging courses at university which are designed to provide you with that knowledge before Semester 1 of your degree.
When you are applying for university courses in the next few years, take note if a particular program has ‘Assumed Knowledge’ next to it. This means there are certain subjects which are a go-to before immersing yourself in a particular degree. It’s just something you should be aware of now, in Year 10, but don’t base your subject selections now on just this little factor.
Don’t stress about it
Not quite sure about some of your subjects?
Students who overload and take more than the recommended units can also drop a subject in Year 11 – due to a number of different reasons. While we don’t recommend doing this in Year 12 since it’s too close to the critical time of the HSC, you can try a few different subjects and see which suits you best. Before even choosing your subjects, take a look at the syllabus for each topic (and even some past papers if you’re brave enough) so you can get a good idea of what is expected of you. Not quite good at writing essays, and better at mathematics and the sciences? Choose these subjects over Economics or Modern History which are essay-heavy. Look into each subject and see not what if offers you, but how your strengths can help you to perform your best.
Don’t limit yourself
A large number of students tend to stick to the subjects which are offered at their schools. If you’re very passionate about a particular subject, find a way to make it happen. Realistically, the more you like and understand a subject, the more likely you are to study and excel in it.
Accelerating a subject
You might be able to accelerate a subject one year ahead, alleviating pressure off your final HSC year. Although this is not recommended for all students, speak with your teachers and see if this is a good option for your abilities and current workload.
When choosing your subjects for Year 11 & 12 it’s important that you select subjects that you enjoy, suit your skills and match your career goals. Try to keep your options open, you may find that your interests change between Year 10 and when you finish school.
More options than meets the eye
There are different types of HSC courses available to students, as outlined by the New South Wales Education Standards Authority (NESA), they include:
Board Developed Courses: These course are developed by schools, TAFE and universities. They don’t contribute to towards the final ATAR score.
Special Education (Life Skills): There are specific entry requirements and eligibility factors for students who choose to undertake Life skills courses. These courses don’t count towards the final ATAR score.
Vocational Education and Training (VET): VET courses in general will need to be studied at a school or TAFE, and require a minimum number of hours which students must fulfil.
Frequently Asked Questions: Year 10 Edition
- How many courses should I take in Year 11 & 12?
Students must take at least 12 units in Year 11 and 10 units in Year 12.
- Can I drop a course in Year 11?
Yes, just make sure that you’re doing at least 10 units.
- Can I sit the HSC early in Year 11?
Yes, but with the advice and guidance of your school. Please speak to your school and Year Advisor to help set this up.
- Can I drop English as a subject completely?
No, English is the only mandatory subject all students must sit. You can choose between English Standard, English Advanced and English EAL/D which are all 2 units each.
- If I choose English Extension 1 and find that it’s too difficult, can I drop it and just do Advanced English?
Yes! You’re allowed to drop units and go down in difficulty, but not allowed to go from Advanced and take on Extension 1. Always choose the highest difficulty (if you think you’re up to it), and you can always drop this subject (given that you have 10 units). Just keep this in mind when selecting your subjects!
If you need some extra information, why not come to our Free Careers Seminars at Talent 100? They’re loaded with resources from those who have been in your shoes, and will share their secrets with you on how to master the HSC and get prepared in Year 10.
Click here to find out more information and register for future events with Talent 100 Education.