Dropping a QCE subject: how to make the decision

By Rui Tong in QCE
5th of July 2019
When to drop a QCE subject.

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“Should I just drop the subject?”

By now, you all would’ve had a taste of what QCE will be like. The good thing about Year 11 is that it just doesn’t count, so if you flunked it you can just ignore it.

Of course, issues such as ‘flunking’, exhaustion and anger all lead up to the one thought. The constant urge of getting rid of the subject.

In this article, I want to help you explore the factors you should be considering when dropping a course. Dropping is not something everyone has to do.


Dropping – When is it a must?

Before charging straight into the dropping territory, we should consider the following first. These dictate the value of dropping for you.


1) Hatred for a subject

This is the most important factor of all. If you constantly feel a hatred for a subject in question, it’s pretty much screaming at you to drop it. For whatever reasons, you unfortunately picked a course that was not meant for you in Year 11, or made bad for you.

Hatred can arise out of the subject itself, or the teacher. In general, if you genuinely resent the course regardless of what your teacher is like, you should just drop it immediately. This could be due to the content itself, the course structure (e.g. seriously cannot stand essays) or other reasons.

If a teacher turned this course in a bad experience, depending on how bad it was you should drop as well.

This is also the only factor that has a definitive answer. If you feel as though this is irrelevant to you, it’s time to read on.


2) The potential to delay dropping

Nobody said that you had to drop right here right now. So, think about if you must drop right now.

You could be one of those who dislikes quite a lot of the subject, yet enjoys a fair amount of the other bits. Or you could be carrying a course that may be free marks for you, but you just get bored of it. So long as you can manage your study schedule, waiting is something to consider.


3) Genuinely drained out (or suspecting you will be)

We aren’t perfect. Understandably, if you tried hard in Year 11 and just felt that it was too much for you, there’s nothing wrong with aborting. The important question is: are you sure about this?

If you were one of those that lazed through Year 11 but knew to pick up your game for Year 12, then perhaps you don’t have a proper basis for Year 12 knowledge and you may want to go back to considering delaying dropping. If you could handle it just fine in Year 11, then hey, why can’t you in Year 12?

After considering factors 3 and 2, if you still wish to ditch something, we can now talk about what subject to actually drop.


Choosing what to drop

The ordering below is a strong recommendation on what factors to prioritise. It’s up to you how you rank the importance of the factors.


A) Relative enjoyment

Technically speaking, this is functionally identical to 1A, but the condition is more relaxed. As opposed to downright disgust, this is just asking you to compare the subjects you would most likely drop between each other. As a rule of thumb, if you like one over the other, then that’s the one that should stay.

Whilst being good at something doesn’t necessarily influence your like for it, the converse is true. That is to say, if you enjoy a subject, you’re most likely going to perform better in it; reason being you’ll be more motivated to study for it.


B) Necessity in the future

It’s quite understandable as to if you picked a course with the mindset of “I want to do ________ for my future”. If you still intend to pursue that dream, then if a QCE subject builds to it, indeed it is a good idea to keep it.

This does come with a trap to consider though. Suppose someone wanted to study engineering at university, but are having trouble with Maths Methods. Given the intensity of the maths in various engineering degrees, it might not be a good idea for them to continue that pathway. QCE is really just your first chance at experimenting with what you want to do.


C) Year 11 performance

This was ranked a bit low mostly because of the significant proportion of students who don’t care about Year 11. How you performed over the past three terms may reflect how you will perform this year, yet it may not. An easy example: Only about three people in my cohort cared about Chemistry in Year 11, but everyone who kept it put a lot of focus into it during their Year 12.

Of course, if you performed remarkably well in a course then you don’t want to drop that. But if you messed up a course quite badly, you should consider what caused it to happen before rushing to drop it. (Being bored of it technically counts as a reason to drop because it means you just weren’t engaged.)


D) Why’d you pick it to begin with?

Were you experimenting? Were you picking it to be with friends? Did you just pick it because you had no other choice? For questions like these, if your answer was yes and you feel like dropping it then that probably is the correct direction to go. Think about what caused this debate in the first place. Of course, you’re welcome to post about it and we can help make a judgment for you.


E) Miscellaneous

With the important aspects addressed, the rest is up to you. You could be biased about a teacher or something, but there’s no real definitive answer from here.


The gossip over ‘Scaling’

You will notice that in the lists above, this was never mentioned. This is because scaling is perhaps the last reason to drop a course. The scaling system is designed to reward people who try, but punish those that do not. Scaling will not save you if you put little to no effort in a subject; it only helps if you try.

Hopefully after you’ve considered all these factors you’ll be able to make a more informed decision on ‘dropping’. Good luck in your QCE, and as always, if you have any queries, join in the discussion!


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