Advice for choosing your subjects

There are three major educational decisions you have to make while at school. 
  • The first concerns your career choices, which is an integral part of the Career and Educational Planning Program from Year 8 – 12. 
  • The second will be the subjects you choose in Years 9 & 10 to support these career choices.
  • The third will be the subjects you choose for Years 11 & 12 if your career choices indicate that you must study beyond Year 10.
Each of these decisions is very important since it affects the type of job or tertiary study you can choose when you leave school.  Your course selections also directly affect your happiness and success while at school.
These are a number of guidelines to go by when choosing your subjects.  Choose subjects:
  • which will support your career options
  • which give you skills, knowledge, and attitudes useful to you in life
  • in which you can do well
  • you enjoy.
This may sound easy but it should involve a lot of thought, discussion, and research.  You need to find out about the different types of subjects and, in many cases, think further about career choices.  Never assume you know all about a subject at a higher year level because you have done that subject before.

Find out about subjects

To find out about any subject:
  • ask the teachers of that subject or the Head of Faculty
  • look at the books and materials in the subject
  • read about the subject in any booklets that your school produces
  • listen carefully when teachers tell you about the subject in class, at parades, or at parent nights.
  • speak to the HOD Careers for further advice in relation to suitable pathways.

Look at the work program

Schools write a work program for all their subjects.  These programs are available to students and parents.  If you are still unsure about the subject then you should look at these programs ask the Head of Faculty for more detailed information.
When investigating a subject try to find out not only about the content (ie what topics are covered in the subject) but also how the subject is taught and assessed.

Wrong reasons for choosing subjects

Many students choose subjects for the wrong reasons and as a result are not happy at school or can’t follow their career choice later.  Do not take (or avoid) a subject simply because:
  • one other person says it is a good or bad subject
  • your friends are, or are not taking it
  • you think it is easy or difficult
  • you like or dislike the teacher
  • “all the boys or girls take the subject”

Choosing your subjects

Think about careers

Our Career and Education Planning Program will ensure that you have some idea of career choices before choosing subjects.  It is better that you consider a few careers, not just one.  Try to choose a course that will keep career options open.

Be realistic

Remember, however, there is no point in taking subjects for particular careers if those career choices are completely unrealistic.  Similarly, avoid subjects you find too hard.  You may need to see your Guidance Officer about these matters.

Check prerequisites

Be aware of these important distinctions: some subjects are essential for further careers; others are not essential but still highly recommended; others are useful because they give a general background or involve some of the same skills.  Please note that many subjects CANNOT be taken up for the first time in Year 11, so having a good understanding of the pre-requisites is vital in selecting your subjects.  

Helpful books / resources

The following resources give information on subjects needed for careers:
  • the booklet Queensland Tertiary Courses for careers requiring tertiary study
  • the Job Guide for Queensland information sheets and other career information (in school library) for information on subjects needed for particular jobs
It may be difficult for students to know and make decisions about what career pathway to take after school. The careers section of this site contains a list of websites that have been designed for students to spend some time exploring opportunities which exist for them

Be up to date

Information on subjects required may change rapidly so you need to look up recent materials.  If you have a particular job in mind with a particular employer, then it is a good idea to ask the employers what he/she recommended.  If you are still unsure see your Guidance Officer.

Do not be afraid to ask

Remember that your choice of career is only one of the aspects to consider when choosing subjects.  Don’t avoid subjects just because they are not related to your chosen career.  Good performance in any subject will improve your results and help you gain employment.
If you need more help then seek it - otherwise you may regret it later.  Talk to your parents, your ECP teacher, Guidance Officer, Heads of Department, Principal or Deputy Principals.  Make use of the school subject selection program.  Look at the resources suggested in this article.  You’ll be doing yourself a favour.
Last reviewed 15 April 2020
Last updated 15 April 2020