How to choose your subjects for Year 12

How to choose your subjects for Year 12
16 October 2020    Donnay Torr    0 comments
Deciding which subjects you want to focus on in Year 11 and Year 12 can be a real headache. You might THINK you love English, but what if Emily Dickinson’s “I died for beauty but was scarce...” suddenly has you waking up in a cold sweat just before final exams?! The horror! Never mind not knowing what to pick because you have no idea what you want to do with your life… Most of us have been there. We survived. You will too. Start by asking yourself these questions...

(Wait a sec: not sure what your purpose or passion is? Try the Haystack Method first!)

Down the rabbit hole of your future

What am I passionate about?

Figuring out what you really enjoy and care about is kind of important. You’re going to spend loads of time working on the subjects you’ve chosen, and if you’re not really interested in them (or only chose them because your parents told you to), you won’t put in the work and effort needed to do well.
And yes, we know that simply loving a certain subject is no guarantee that you’ll do well at it, but you do have a higher probability of scoring good results if you enjoy your subjects and are willing to put in the work.

Do this: Take some time to think about what really matters to you. Make a list of the things that get you excited or passionate, or interests you. Now list all the HSC/ VCE/ SACE/ WACE subjects you enjoy, and see where your passions might overlap with your subject choices. You could even ask your parents what you tend to go on and on about without even realising – it might show what you care about!

Another trick is to spend some time researching different industries to get an idea of what the jobs that appeal to you might be like before you lock in your subject:

What are my natural skills?

Once you have an idea of what makes you tick, it’s a very good idea to figure out what your natural skills and strengths are. If you choose Year 12 subjects that suit your skills and interests, you’re more likely to stick with them, and eventually they’ll translate into an actual career you really care about.

You might already be aware of some of them, or have absolutely no clue… Either way, check out the free Skillsroad Career Quiz: it’s designed by a psychologist and based on the “seven job clusters”, and will give you insight into your personality, strengths and natural skills. Our Career Quiz will even provide some advice on careers that might suit you!

Bonus: you can access a customised report on potential Year 12 subjects you should consider, based on your Career Quiz results. Check out the Career Quiz below, and then access the reports here.

Skillsroad Career Quiz

What is my end goal?

Your subject choice for Year 11 and Year 12 will probably be impacted by what kind of career path you’d like to follow, and which study options you’re considering to get there. It’s a good idea to suss out what the requirements for different study courses you’re considering are before you lock in your subject choices.

Uni courses, for example, have “Assumed Knowledge” and “Recommended Knowledge” requirements for different courses, which means that if you don’t study certain subjects in Year 11 and 12, it might make studying your chosen degrees at Uni very difficult (or even impossible).

TAFE courses don’t have such strict requirements, and might be a way more flexible study option, especially if you don’t like the idea of full-time nose-to-the-books grinding. They’ll give you a good idea of any requirements needed when you check out the courses you’re interested in.

Even better: apprenticeships and traineeships don’t require any kind of experience or subject specifics: you can start them from scratch (you can even start an SBAT at school!). Bonus: you start earning money while you’re learning on the job. Win win, if you ask us…

Of course, if you know that you’d like to become an apprentice carpenter and joiner, for example, taking subjects such as carpentry will set you up for a good start.

Find out more about what different study options entail here: If you’re still unsure about what kind of career you’d like to pursue, don’t worry too much about it. Just get a good sense of what you’re good at and what your skills are, and pick your subjects based on that.

Skillsroad’s Job Fit test can give you an idea of how suited you are to the job you’d like to do one day, and also provides advice about what kind of education or training you might need. Access the free Job Fit test below for insight!

You're a good fit, baby

What type of workload can I manage during Year 11 and Year 12?

None of us want to take on more work than we can handle – but you’ll also be surprised how much you CAN handle if you put your mind to it. Suss out which of your chosen subjects will require massive amounts of time and energy, and then decide how you will approach them. Getting organised and following a schedule from the start will make things way easier when final exams come around!

Also remember that you can always drop down from a subject if you need to, but you can’t move up, so rather aim for the moon and land in the stars if you decide things are a bit too tough (Cheesy, we know). So, challenge yourself first, and see how you go.

Remember that you can always ask for help from parents and teachers, too, to advise you on how best to structure your workload. You’re not alone in this!


Should I factor in the scaling of my subjects?

This should actually be the last thing you consider. And while it totally depends on you, we’d suggest not just picking subjects based on how they’ll boost your end results. The ATAR is not the be all and end all! Taking subjects you love and are good at above subjects that simply scale well is a better way to guarantee that you’ll put in the hard work and achieve good results (in which case, the scaling doesn’t matter that much anyway).

But, of course, it also depends on the future career path you’d like to pursue, and the educational options you need to take to get there. If you are going to focus on scaling, opt for the higher level in any subject – you can always drop down later if you need to.

The future is not set in stone

Remember: whichever subjects you choose, they won’t determine your whole future. You might choose certain subjects in Year 10 to focus on in Year 11, but that won’t necessarily determine what you do in Year 12. Most schools have trial periods and cut-off dates by which you can change subjects, so talk to your teacher or careers advisor to find out what works best for you.

Final thought

The world of work is rapidly changing, so the most helpful thing you can do is to think in terms of skills, not careers. Getting to know yourself is a good start. Then, work at honing and developing your natural skills, and learning how these skills can transfer across numerous industries and fields in the future. It’s an approach that will really help you in your working life!
Main image: Siora Photography on Unsplash
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