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Take the Stress Out of Choosing Your VCE Subjects with this 5 Step Plan

Choosing the subjects you want to do in Year 11 and 12 can be super stressful. It can seem like you need to work out your whole future and know what career you want, but you really don’t! It’s actually pretty simple when you break it down.

The first thing you need to know is that you actually aren’t choosing your future at university or TAFE now, you’ll do that towards the end of Year 12. The only thing you need to worry about right now is making sure that you leave open the options you want to have then.

Step 1: Consider the Vocational Major

Firstly, is university for you? If you don’t enjoy studying and want to get stuck into work as soon as possible, then you should consider the Vocational Major.  Not sure if uni is for you? You might want to keep that option open for now by getting an ATAR. There are ways to get in to uni without one if you change your mind later, but you may have to put in extra work (and money).

Step 2: Check out prerequisites

Is there any course at uni that you’re interested in that has prerequisites?  Many courses just require a 25 or 30 in English, and some don’t even need an ATAR. So check out university websites for any course you think there’s a chance you could be interested in – you may find that prerequisites aren’t a concern for you at all.

Step 3: If you need a high ATAR, think about scaling

Next, you need to think about how important a high ATAR is for you. If you want to do something like medicine or law than this will really matter, and in general you should try and pick subjects that will scale up. If your school gives you the option to do a Year 11 subject in Year 10 that can also really help (though obviously that’s not very helpful advice if you’re in Year 10 now). Otherwise don’t worry too much about scaling – picking a subject you don’t like and aren’t very good at just because it scales up is generally not a good idea.

Step 4: Pick subjects you want to do!

If you don’t need a really high ATAR then just pick subjects you think you’ll be interested in! It’s really that simple. You’ll have much more fun, and it gives you an opportunity to try things out and see what you might be interested in after school.  You might also pick something (like maths for example) because you think it might be useful, even if it isn’t a prerequisite.

Step 5: Check your workload won’t be too high

Once you’ve picked your subjects make sure you’ve got the workload balance right. Some subjects will be more work than others. Arts subjects tend to take up a lot of time, and if you’re doing something that’s a bit of a stretch for you you’ll probably need to put in extra work. Get a sense from your school what their expectations will be, and maybe have a chat with some older students who have done the subjects you’re considering. Also consider how much you have going on outside of school. It’s important you don’t overload yourself, so if you feel like you might have bitten off more than you can chew you can change one or more of your subjects.

Good luck choosing your subjects!  And as always when you need to make decisions, talking to people you trust can really help.

Later I’ll be doing a post on choosing your university or TAFE course, so subscribe if you haven’t already!