Year 10: How to pick your HSC subjects

06 May 2020

Our Year 10 students will soon be making some very exciting and important decisions - what courses to study in Year 11 and 12. It's time for our students to start actively thinking about their interests, and the important things to consider when making these choices.  For some, it's as straightforward as selecting their preferred subjects that allow them to follow their passions, and for others, it’s about carefully considering areas of strengths and a pattern of study that will support them during their final years of High School at Glenaeon.

Glenaeon offers a large range of subjects, from Modern History to Chemistry and from Music to Physics, and with the inclusion of students being able to study courses not run internally through distance education, the choices are almost endless.

Over the next few Newsletter editions we will publish stories designed to help our Year 10s with their choices.  Two current Year 12 students will share their course selection tips and their personal experience of making selections, plus we will have some of our wonderful Senior School teachers pitch their pet subjects. 

The Year 11 and 12 Information Evening will still go ahead, made possible during this period of remote learning by the wonders of Zoom, albeit in a new form. Throughout Week 3 of this term, students and parents will be able to Zoom with the Year 11 and 12 teachers to hear about the ins and outs of each subject, and the exciting areas of study into which each delve. Detailed information about the new format will be emailed to Year 10 students and parents by Liz Nevieve in the coming days, and she looks forward to introducing the subject selection process to you.

First up, current Year 12 Student Ruby Vella shares her reflections on selecting HSC subjects...

  • What subjects are you studying this year?

This year I’m studying German Continuers, German Extension, Music 1, English Advanced, English Extension, Mathematics Standard and Modern History.

  • How did you decide which subjects to study?

I chose subjects that I’m genuinely really interested in. For example, I’ve always been interested in learning a second language which I feel is a useful skill to take beyond school into a potential career path. In Year 10 I went to Germany on Exchange which inspired me to continue the language even more so.

In terms of Music I’ve loved playing the violin since I was nine. I felt that it was important to balance my subjects with an art form. Music, which is both creative and academic is another kind of language which I enjoy studying.

I’ve always been fascinated by Modern History and an interest in understanding more about the World Wars, Stalinist Russia and also the connections and relevance Modern History has to literature, which is another love of mine.

I began my Year 11 Maths study in the Advanced and Extension courses. While I enjoyed the topics I also found that the level of time and work required to keep up with a very strong Maths cohort I noticed that for me to do well in the subject I’d have to take time away from my other areas of interest and strengths in my other subjects. On saying that, I recommend the courses for those who love Maths and Mr van den Tol is an incredible teacher. However, I really enjoy the practical nature of the Mathematics Standard course which I chose at the beginning of Year 12. I find what we’re learning very useful and I enjoy being in a course that I can do well in.

I love English. I love diving into texts and discussing abstract concepts and analysing literature and writers’ works on a deep level.

  • What were the factors you considered when choosing?

In terms of choosing my subjects and the broader picture of what I want to do when I leave school, I’m interested in doing an International Studies course and working in one of many humanitarian fields. Modern History appealed to me as a subject that gives an understanding of what has happened in the past, especially relevant when considering going into a global field that involves international issues. I also chose German with International Studies in mind in order to potentially work on teams overseas.

  • Which subjects are you most passionate about?

I’d have to say that I’m most passionate about German. I enjoy the fact that it’s a subject in which you can really reap the benefits of practice. It’s satisfying to know that I can speak a language more easily as an outcome of all this study.

  • Were you happy with the level of choice you had?

I was very happy with the level of subject choice that I had. Although Glenaeon is a small school, I think that it offers a wide range of the most important studies and I was lucky enough to have been able to study all the courses of my choosing.

  • Who did you ask for advice before you made your decisions?

I was able to ask many teachers at Glenaeon such as Liz Nevieve about my subject choices and of course I talked to my parents. However, for the most part, I simply chose the subjects that I loved. Through this experience and throughout my entire experience in the senior years at Glenaeon, I have felt incredibly supported by the teachers around me. Due to the smaller size of each cohort in comparison to other schools, the teachers are extremely present and understanding of each individual.

  • How are you managing the workload?

The workload and pressure in year 12 is definitely difficult to manage at times and I have found aspects of this year quite challenging. However, I can clearly see that as long as I work hard, I will benefit and each student coming up to this final year of their schooling can be reassured that they will get through it just like myself and my classmates are!

  • How have you coped with COVID-19 challenges?

At the beginning of schooling-online at the end of last term, I found the shift of learning quite difficult to manage with the large workload in Year 12. However, as time passed I began to find a rhythm within the chaos. It can feel demotivating to learn without the structure of a school environment and the support of classmates. However, I am very looking forward to going back to school next week and making the most of my final year!

  • What advice would you give to our Year 10s who are about to make subject selection decisions?

I would like the Year 10s to know that the most important aspect of choosing your subjects for Year 11 and 12, is that these subjects are studies that you love. When you choose a subject that you love learning, you will be considerably more motivated to study and practice that subject and therefore, you will perform better! Nevertheless, listen to the wise advice of your parents and teachers. Enjoy school as best you can and make the most of this wonderful opportunity of education!