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July 23, 2019, 05:06:50 pm

Author Topic: Choosing the Right Subjects for Year 11  (Read 346 times)

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Choosing the Right Subjects for Year 11
« on: January 17, 2019, 07:03:19 pm »

This is my first real post to the forums and I was inspired to make this after a couple year 11 students from my school had texted me, stressing out about their subject choices. As a current year 12 student, with the benefit of hindsight, I know exactly how I would've chosen my subjects differently. My parents were no help and told me I could 'do whatever I wanted' - which was great, don't get me wrong, but it would've been nice to have some sort of guidance and all my teachers just wanted me to do their subjects for my last two years of schooling.

When looking on the internet for someone to talk to/some advice, there weren't any posts on any forums or anyone openly saying they would love to help out. Although I am relatively happy with the subjects I've chosen, I still feel one or two of my subjects are going to be absolutely detrimental to my ATAR (I guess we'll find out soon anyways)

So, I've compiled a list of things that I wish I was told at the beginning of year 11;

Treat the first week or so as a 'trial period'
In the first week of year 11, most classes are getting settled in and most schools allow you to change your subjects and move around to ensure you choose something that interests you. My biggest regret is not using this period effectively, don't be afraid to change from business studies to biology and then back to business studies because you thought it was more enjoyable. Use this time to try out every single class that you were even remotely interested in, have a feel for the teacher, the class environment, and a bit of the content and use this information to make a more informative decision.

Scaling should NOT be at the forefront of your decision making
I know all your teachers say this but it's one of those things that I know no one listens to. Whilst scaling is relatively important, it only works to your advantage when you are doing better than the rest of your peers - this means being above the average set by your cohort. There is no point in doing physics and failing, when you could be doing legal and getting in the 90s. When your ATAR is calculated, it ranks your aggregate (which is all your marks for each subject added together), therefore a 90 in legal will boost your ATAR and a 50 in physics would probably do the opposite.

Choose subjects that you can do well in (and don't follow your friends)
Usually if you are interested in a course, you will want to study for it which would result in better marks. So, it's safe to say that unless you need a subject as a prerequisite (and even then, there's always bridging courses), don't do that subject, unless you believe you can do well in it. You should aim to do subjects that you can come first (or close to it) in. The second part is something I hate to address, but do not do a subject because your friend(s) is/are in the class. They will most likely distract you and year 11/12 is a stressful time, expect fights/drama to happen (even if you've known them since primary). Choose subjects that will benefit you in the long run rather than to have someone you know in the class. Use this as an opportunity to make new friends with similar interests

Look at the HSC exams of the subjects you want to take
I know, it's a little early for that, but trust me, this is the best thing you can do to ensure you're making the best possible choice. I remember checking the legal HSC exam and it is probably the only subject I am glad I took. Looking at the HSC exam allows you to see what you're in for at the end of the course, if you're bad at essays, you wouldn't do legal because 65% of the exam is made up of essays. Whether you like it or not, year 11 preps you for this exam so looking at it lets you have a glimpse of the exam structure and the content.

Avoid the 1 unit year 11 subjects that you have to drop in year 12
I personally didn't do subjects like SLR/PVDI and the like. Whilst doing these subjects were probably a great relief from the stress of normal subjects, most of my grade who did these subjects, instantly regretted it as they didn't have the freedom to drop a course that they didn't like (this was especially the case in my economics class). I had 12 units in y11, I could drop any one of those courses if I felt I didn't enjoy them and still have enough units to receive an ATAR. Doing an 'extra' subject in year 11 is probably the best decision you can make, it gives you more freedom in the event that you're doing bad in a course or you don't like it.

Try not to listen to 'expectations'
Although I didn't have my parents telling me I had to do all three sciences and mx1, I felt a lot of pressure from my teachers and my friends in my grade. As a 2u accelerant I was immediately expected to choose mx1 and eventually mx2, even though I felt I wasn't particularly good at maths. Economics wasn't initially offered to my cohort (as not enough people wanted to do it), so my commerce teacher (who was also the eco teacher) convinced me to talk to my cohort and get enough members to establish a class. Although I did well in these subjects, I didn't enjoy them and couldn't wait to leave to attend something I enjoyed, like English or legal. Remember its your last two years of high school and you should do the subjects that you want to do - not the subjects you are expected to do (unless you need it for your degree in uni)

Sorry for the extremely long essay, I really hope this helped and widened your horizons into choosing the best possible subjects to increase your ATAR to its fullest potential. Also - please remember there is no way to absolutely guarantee your success but choosing the right subjects is definitely a big part of it. If you need personalised advice/just wanted to talk about the subjects I am currently doing, please feel free to PM me at any time :)

Thanks for reading and good luck for what I know will be an amazing year 11,
meerae :)
« Last Edit: February 19, 2019, 08:00:03 am by meerae »
2018 hsc; mathematics
2019 hsc; english adv english ext 1&2 math ext 1 legal studies economics

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