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How to choose subjects in high school

As you progress throughout school, you’ll find that you’re given more freedom to choose subjects you’d like to study. This is great, as it allows you to consider the path that you’d like to follow after school and prepare yourself accordingly – but make no mistake, it’s certainly one of the most daunting aspects of school. It’s easy to feel like you’re suddenly being forced to choose exactly what you’re going to do with your life, often without having the time you’d like to carefully weigh up your options.

 

If you’re here because you’ve realised that the deadline for choosing subjects is fast approaching, and you’ve still got no idea what you want to do – don’t stress! We’re here to help you. Everybody is different, of course, so we can’t tell you exactly what to pick – but there are a few ways you can find what’s best for you.

 

A good way to approach choosing subjects is to consider the answer to the following three questions:

 

·       What do I enjoy?

·       What am I good at?

·       What will I need for my next move?

 

We’ve outlined some of the considerations you may have when exploring these answers down below.

 

What do I enjoy?
It’s always important to start off the process with figuring out which subjects you enjoy. Sure, it’s great to be the best at something, and find things that will pave a path into a comfortably-paying job – but if you’re not enjoying yourself while you’re doing it, what’s the point?

 

Naturally, when you enjoy a subject, you’ll be motivated to put in the effort to do well in it. So as a first port of call, start to fill up your bucket of subjects with one or two that you genuinely enjoy studying.

 

What am I good at?
By the time you need to fill up the majority of your timetable with subjects you choose yourself, you’ll probably have a good idea of which subjects you’re good at. It’s also a good idea to include as many of these as you can. You’ll end up with better marks overall, and give yourself a better idea of which areas you want to explore further after leaving school.

 

Sometimes, these subjects won’t always be the ones you’ve got top marks in. For example, if you’ve worked especially hard to get good results in Maths, but you’ve achieved pretty well in History without even really trying, it might be worth taking History further to see how well you can do once you apply yourself.

 

What do I need for my next move?
Of course, you can’t forget to study the subjects that you’ll need for your next step. For many people, this next step will be University, and most University programmes will have certain requirements.

 

Again, this can be the part of the process that stresses most people out. If you’re wanting to do a specialist programme like Engineering or Medicine, then there will usually be specific subjects you need to do in high school in order to gain entry through the normal route. If you’re considering one of these programmes, it’s always worth checking the website for a handful of Universities to understand what their non-negotiables are.

 

However, if you’re not quite sure yet, then don’t worry! Taking a diversity of subjects is usually the best way to cover your bases. Often, admissions officers will want to see that you’re a well-rounded student, rather than pigeon-holing yourself too early. Review your overall subject portfolio to ensure that there’s at least one or two from different subject areas (Sciences, Social Sciences, Arts, etc.) – and you should be on the right track.

 


OK, what now?
If you’re extremely lucky, then you might find that there’s one subject, or group of subjects, that answers all of the above three questions. If that’s the case, then pat yourself on the back – you’ve already found yourself a fulfilling path to go down!

 

However, this isn’t usually the case. Often, students will find that their answers are different for each of the three questions. Maybe you enjoy music, you’ve found that you get your best marks in Maths, but you’ve been told that you should consider learning to code and study Computer Science at university. What now?

 

Thankfully, while you’re at high school, you have the ability to cater for different areas of your life, given the fact that you’re typically able to choose to study between four and six subjects in your later years. In this case, it’s always a good idea to cover your bases for requirements like University Entrance, then fill the remaining gaps in your timetable with a mixture of subjects that you’re good at, and those you enjoy.

 

There’s no need to feel like you need to eventually filter your high school subject picks down to a single area. Many people choose to study conjoint degrees at University, giving them the ability to develop two areas of their life at the same time (often, one they’re good at and want to do as a career, and one that serves more for enjoyment). If you want to understand more about the benefits of developing your skills in two areas, then this post by Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert cartoons, might be a good read.

 

Finally, it’s also worth remembering that you always want to leave room for your answers to the above three questions to change in the future. School is a time of deep personal growth, and part of this is experiencing shifts in what you enjoy, what you’re good at, and where you want to go next.

 

While you can’t predict who you’ll be in five or ten years’ time, it’s always good to approach any decision like choosing subjects without the mental block of thinking that you’re locked in to a particular path forever. It’s an important decision, for sure, but there’s plenty of time to figure out what you like and re-evaluate – so don’t let the pressure get to you too much!

 

 

At EduExperts, we’re in the business of helping students get the most out of their education. That means helping you find the subjects that you’ll get the most out of, and helping you with your journey in each of these subjects once you’ve chosen them.

 

Find out more and kick-start your educational journey by getting in touch with your local EduExperts centre today!

 

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