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3 Things to consider before dropping a subject in year 12

By Lily Dalton on 17 November 2016HSCGeneralSubject adviceNSWblog

Year 12 is a lot like a balancing act and as much as we’d all love for the next year to be an easy ride where we cruise control ourselves to a dream ATAR, there’s always going to be times we find ourselves knee deep in a situation we don’t want to be in.

They might throw you an essay question on a topic you swear you’ve never heard of leaving you sitting there blankly for half the exam time and winding up with a mark of disaster/10. Or you could suddenly hate a subject so much that you begin including it in the most absurd scenarios of ‘would you rather’.

In these situations, your only option is generally to cop it. Unless however, you have that one get-out-of-jail-free card up your sleeve: spare units.

This means that you can drop the subject without ever needing to give it another thought.

Sounds nice? We think so too.

But we also think there’s a few things you need to consider before dropping.

1. Are you overreacting?

In year 12 one bad mark can turn even the best of us into drama queen’s who think they’re going to ‘fail’ the HSC and be left with ‘zero’ life prospects. In the same way it’s easy to let one dodgy teacher or one boring topic trick you into feeling like you’re being ‘forced’ to drop the subject, because well, that’s your only option. But before making any rash decisions it’s super important to put things into perspective.

You should never make a decision based on one assessment, and if you’re having problems with a teacher there’s always options such as asking to move classes.

Of course, if you’ve been consistently doing badly to the point where it’s affecting your other subjects then dropping might definitely be a viable option. But always look at the bigger picture and maybe chat to a few people to get a second opinion first.

2. University pre-requisites and assumed knowledge

Even though most of us aren’t lucky enough to be in the position of having a 100% certain idea of what we want to do post school, it’s really important to still think ahead.

A lot of uni degrees have prerequisite subjects or assumed knowledge such as a certain level of Maths or a particular science. So obviously if you think you might be interested in going into a particular field, like Engineering or Med to name a few, then make sure to keep in mind what the entry requirements are before dropping a subject.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t other options available, like bridging courses and first year units but the small amount of effort it takes to stick out a certain subject in school often outweighs the time and money needed to catch up later on.

3. What units will you be left with?

Even though a few blog posts back we did tell you that there was no such thing as a perfect number of units, it’s still very important to think about what combination of subjects you’re going to be left with once you’ve made the drop. For example, even though 10 units might work for a lot of us, if you drop to 10 early on then you might find yourself in the same situation with another subject later in the year only to be filled with regret for wasting your decision to drop too early in the game.

Another thing that’s definitely worth thinking about is what kind of workload you’re going to leave yourself with if you choose to drop a subject or two. Here, it’s about working to your strengths while also maintaining a good balance for the year across your subjects.

This might mean keeping Maths to break up a whole load of essay writing subjects, or Visual Arts to break up theory with some practical. Balanced workload, balanced mental health. Hopefully.

So before you drop it like it’s hot, take a second to step back and weigh up the pros and cons, because keeping these things in mind before you hand in that signed form will make sure that you’re making the best decision for you.

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