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Thread: HELP with Subject Selection (URGENT)

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    HELP with Subject Selection (URGENT)

    Hi,
    I'm currently having issues with deciding on my subjects for Year 11. I'm looking to do a Bachelor of Commerce or Economics in Uni (go down the finance/business path in terms for careers). As on right now, the only definite subjects I'm doing are:
    Advanced English
    Advanced Mathematics
    Business Studies

    I think the first decision I'd have to make is whether I am doing Extension for Maths and English. For Maths, I'm 2nd in my grade at a partially selective school (Parra) however I'm not very good at the harder and more complex maths questions which is why I question my math abilities - our tests are composed of relatively simple and straightforward questions and class work doesn't really focus on harder questions. Should I do Ext? As for English, I am topping my grade however I never really had a strong passion for English. I don't mind Advanced but Extension for me seems like a big step up especially because I don't have that powerful desire and interest however my current and previous English teachers do believe I have the potential to do Ext. Again, not sure if I should do it?

    Based on my decisions on doing Extensions, I'll still have more units to fill up. Another big thing is that I'm not a really big person for science - I just simply don't get some of the stuff alot of the time yet I still get good results. I hated Year 10 Physics and the stigma of Phsyics being a very hard subject on top of my disinterest for it makes me not wanna do it however I'm kinda open to Chemistry and Biology (chem more). Is chemistry hard? SOmetimes, I can't grasp simple chem concepts however part of me wants to do it.

    Lastly, the other subjects I;m thinking of to fill the rest of my units are: Economics (because I am looking down the finance/business career path), Modern History (top in my grade and Head teacher really wants me to do it), Legal Studies (relatively interested but concerned about my critical thinking) and Chemistry/Biology. Another thing to note is the fact that without sciences, I'd have pretty much 3 or 4 Humanities subjects and I believe each Humanities itself is quite a lot of content so I fear I wouldn't be able to cope (on top of potentially some ext).

    Sorry, this is a really long post but I really need help and all help is appreciated!

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    Junior Member Frostguard's Avatar
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    Re: HELP with Subject Selection (URGENT)

    If you truly want a career in Commerce/Finance and whatnot choose Business Studies and Economics. The two complement each other and have correlating concepts/information that can be readily applied to in both subjects. You've got your two Humanities right there and be warned you will have a lot of content but because you're interested in the financial sector and stuff, I'm sure it won't be as dull or intensive.

    As for English Extension- it's a great thing you're topping your grade but honestly, if you're not really interested in detailed and complex theories that is learnt in English Extension, then you shouldn't take it. I like to stress that you choose subjects you love/interest for. Even if you do choose Emf Ext, you may find the class tedious, boring and unmotivated (which is a huge assumption but remember don't choose a subject that makes you look good but choose a subject that you like and have interest it) Maybe stick with English Advanced and destroy everyone OR because you're doing so well, you could take Eng Ext for the first few weeks (I'm not sure if your school has a sort of trial period where students not can pick and drop subjects to their likings but yeah just be careful with this one, you might not be as enthusiastic or excited like other subjects)

    As for Maths Extension- you're also doing excellent, coming 2nd is a great achievement and whilst you may be hesitant, don't underestimate your abilities, so I think you should choose Maths Extension. I'm sure the concepts will be difficult but through hard work and maybe ask your friends, teachers or anyone to give you a helping hand on solving the difficult equations. If you really cannot handle the content, then just stick with Advanced Maths and be sure to knock everyone out of the park and get a goooood ATAR.

    So now you have about 2 subjects left- of the three Sciences, you seem to be more interested in Chemistry, you dislike Physics so maybe don't think about choosing that and you prefer Chem over Biology. Same thing with Maths, you might have trouble with basic concepts but then again everybody has problems whether it's the difficult or easy concepts, I think you should pick up Chemistry. You said that part of me wants to do it, suggesting that there's a part of you somewhere that's leaning towards Chemistry and I dont think it's too hard of a subject (IMO chem requires a decent knowledge in both maths and eng, bio requires English and physics requires maths) but I'm sure a person like you could easily overcome the basic concepts and once again look at past papers, ask your teachers and peers for help whenever necessary.

    So I think that leaves either Modern History/Legal Studies and Biology (I've chosen all 3 and it really depends if you're a Science person or a Humanities person) and up in your description you said that you're not really a big person for Science so I think taking one Science is decent enough. So that would leave Modern or Legal. I'm not really sure about these two tbh because you're topping History and head teacher recommends you to do it but I'm not sure if you're interested in Modern History or not, and you seem to have relative interest in Legal so for now, take Legal Studies and you don't have to be worried about your critical thinking, imo, it's mostly common sense and just writing essays and answering short questions.

    But yeah i don't know what to else but good Luck for the future and your subject selection
    Take Adv Eng/Maths+ Eco + Business + Chem + Legal (?= still not sure if you actually have interest in Modern History anymore but If you do, take Modern over legal)
    Last edited by Frostguard; 15 Jul 2017 at 12:38 AM.
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    Re: HELP with Subject Selection (URGENT)

    Hey, thanks! That first response was really helpful. Still have a few questions though. In the last 2 sentences, you said "Take Adv Eng/Math" I'm a bit confused because you recommended me doing Ext Maths haha.

    Additionally, I probably forgot to mention it but I find an interest in both Modern History and Legal Studies --> Modern because we do stuff like Civil Rights Movement and World Wars in Junior History and I kinda like it but also i seem to just have a random interest in Legal Studies despite never having done legal work before as opposed to technically doing modern history stuff in Year 10.
    So yeah at the moment it seems like Ext Math, Business, Eco and Chem are definite. What would you say on Legal vs Modern given my circumstance.

    Also, would 4 Humanities be too much to handle (in the scenario I do no sciences at all and need 4 subjects to satisfy minimum requirement)

    Thanks!

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    HELP with Subject Selection (URGENT)

    Hey!

    I stress, do NOT take English Extension if you dread going to your English classes right now. In year 10, I was topping English too, but I thoroughly enjoyed the subject, hence why I chose it for Year 11. I'm currently in the Preliminary English Extension course and the content is far better than Advanced, which is why I like it. However, if I didn't enjoy English as a subject in general, I know for a fact that I would despise it. The lessons are honestly tedious and exhausting to get through because of the analytical and contextual depth that is involved in the study, so you really do have to put your heart into it. Thus, it's difficult to perform well if you end up hating it because the standard of the essays and creatives are far higher than they will be for Advanced English. I'm ranking 3rd atm for Extension, but mostly because writing is both my strength and, somewhat, a passion. I had a friend who did this subject due to her high academic achievements in English during year 10, and she ended up dropping it halfway through the term because of how rigorous the course was. Despite coming 3rd in Advanced, she placed last in Extension because she lacked the drive to critically evaluate at the depth required for this course due to her hatred for it. The subject is one unit, yes, but the workload is essentially double that of Advanced English, which is 2 units, (atleast in my school if is) so it really depends if you value it enough for that to be worthy. Therefore, I would reconsider this if I were you.

    You say you enjoy Maths and that you're doing well in it, so I would recommend taking Maths Extension (presuming you're currently in the 5.3 course). I did Maths Extension at the beginning of the year because I received a letter of recommendation to do it from my teachers, but ended up dropping it because it was exhausting to keep up with the rest of the cohort. Because you have an extra two hours per week, you basically have to commit to maths every night in order to stay on top of things. With that being said, this could easily be a breeze if you enjoyed and understood the concepts. However, the Extension tests are definitely challenging. I would study so hard for these exams with a goal of 50%, because anything above that was absolutely out of reach for me. Despite excelling in maths in year 10, these tests were so tough to wrap my head around. For the majority of the Maths Ext exams, the average for the cohort was only 40%. You really have to know your stuff and have an exceptional ability to apply this understanding to questions you wouldn't have even thought were possible to perform well. The good thing about this course is that everything in Advanced Mathematics becomes super easy to ace. I ended up dropping it though because the Extension course really made me hate maths due it being so demanding and I didn't think it was worth the stress I put myself through for it. If I were you, I'd take it just to see how it goes. You can always drop it whenever if you find it too difficult.

    Bottom line is, do subjects you enjoy. Don't worry about scaling. I learnt this the hard way. I did biology thinking I would grow to like it, but now I'm failing it because I don't care to study for it due to my hatred for the subject. So yeah, remember this.


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    Last edited by Lumenoria; 15 Jul 2017 at 1:04 AM.
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    Preliminary 2017; Advanced English | English Extension 1 | Mathematics | Legal Studies | Economics | Biology | Multimedia
    ATAR Aim; 95

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    Re: HELP with Subject Selection (URGENT)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lumenoria View Post
    Despite excelling in maths in year 10, these tests were so tough to wrap my head around. For the majority of the Maths Ext exams, the average for the cohort was only 40%. You really have to know your stuff and have an exceptional ability to apply this understanding to questions you wouldn't have even thought were possible to perform well.
    Hey Lumenoria! TBH I don't even know myself if i dread English. I'm kind of sitting on the fence between liking it and hating it. At times, I don't really mind it but at other times I absolutely hate it --> Part of why it is difficult for me deciding.

    Furthermore, what you said about "applying your understanding", that's what troubles me. I mean I can apply them to straightforward questions but when the concepts are incorporated in more difficult questions, ones that "you wouldn't even thought were possible" is when I struggle and I feel like this can affect me significantly unless I get my shit together with solving complex questions; in general I'm terrible at problem solving. So on top of this difficulty questioning my ability to do Ext, how can i improve on problem solving because to me it seems like problem solving skills come naturally.

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    Re: HELP with Subject Selection (URGENT)

    Quote Originally Posted by zdf View Post
    Hey, thanks! That first response was really helpful. Still have a few questions though. In the last 2 sentences, you said "Take Adv Eng/Math" I'm a bit confused because you recommended me doing Ext Maths haha.

    Additionally, I probably forgot to mention it but I find an interest in both Modern History and Legal Studies --> Modern because we do stuff like Civil Rights Movement and World Wars in Junior History and I kinda like it but also i seem to just have a random interest in Legal Studies despite never having done legal work before as opposed to technically doing modern history stuff in Year 10.
    So yeah at the moment it seems like Ext Math, Business, Eco and Chem are definite. What would you say on Legal vs Modern given my circumstance.

    Also, would 4 Humanities be too much to handle (in the scenario I do no sciences at all and need 4 subjects to satisfy minimum requirement)

    Thanks!
    lol sorry I meant take Advanced English + Maths Extension, my bad for making it confusing
    Damn asking my opinion on Legal Studies and Modern History (funnily my best and two favourite subjects haha)
    From what I can see, Modern History scales a little bit higher and usually has more students taking the course compared to Legal Studies, which has lower scaling, barely, and has about 10 less students (my modern cohort is very competitive - 1/70 equals 98% 2/70 equals 96% and 10/70 equals only 90%) and the content is more source based eg my first topic was us civil rights and it was based in normal multiple choice, short answer and extended)

    Most of the people who choose Legal haven't necessarily done any legal work either because the prospect of studying law itself is very rewarding and interesting but then again, if you don't do well then it doesn't really matter - also Legal Studies does not mean law in real life, it's like a simplified version of law and will just give you an indication of how law is like in university and as a future career. So honestly, purely based off your current marks and the fact you're topping the grade and have head teacher recommendation, take Modern History and if you don't like it or feel like you should be doing it, then change over to Legal Studies (both subjects are fairly familiar, however I'd say Modern has more memorisation about specific dates and events and you'll be expected to sympathise with certain aspects eg Holocaust and WWI/WWII living conditions.

    As for taking four Humanities - I think this is actually quite normal, however because you're doing it from different faculties and areas, be prepared to be smacked in the face with assessments literally every week (All 12 of my units or 6 subjects is from different departments so when it comes assessment season I get one legit every week like Term 3 will be Week 1,3,5,6,7,8 and 9) Like I said you're either a Science or Humanities student with some kids taking 2 Sciences + Extension + 1 Humanity or like me where I choose 1 Science + 3 Humanities. But just be ready to get assessments often and make sure to perfect your essay writing skills and short answers and probably write notes if you can't remember the content - especially Economics that subject is note taking torture lmao
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    Re: HELP with Subject Selection (URGENT)

    Quote Originally Posted by Frostguard View Post
    But just be ready to get assessments often and make sure to perfect your essay writing skills and short answers and probably write notes if you can't remember the content - especially Economics that subject is note taking torture lmao
    I'm starting to side with Modern now haha thanks for the help!
    Also, alot of teachers talked about how we need to have good essay skills for subjects like Business, Economics, Legal etc. Are these 'essay skills' like the essays you are taught to write in English. In other words, if you aren't very good at writing essays in English, are you screwed? Or by 'essay skills' do they just mean knowing your structure and just basic things like providing reasoning and justification and linking your arguments etc.

    Thanks!

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    Junior Member Frostguard's Avatar
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    Re: HELP with Subject Selection (URGENT)

    Quote Originally Posted by zdf View Post
    I'm starting to side with Modern now haha thanks for the help!
    Also, alot of teachers talked about how we need to have good essay skills for subjects like Business, Economics, Legal etc. Are these 'essay skills' like the essays you are taught to write in English. In other words, if you aren't very good at writing essays in English, are you screwed? Or by 'essay skills' do they just mean knowing your structure and just basic things like providing reasoning and justification and linking your arguments etc.

    Thanks!
    By essay writing I mean, just knowing how to structure a typical essay intro body conclusion and like you said providing reasoning, justification, evidence and whatnot. With all your Humanities based subjects it'll be really important that you can adapt your essay skills to answer what the question is asking you, you'll get a lot of 'To what extent' and 'Assess the effectiveness' questions and always make sure to link back to the question to show you understand what the question is asking. Even if you aren't good at essay writing, that can be easily improved by practising past papers and to apply the correct knowledge and information. Basically the more information you regurgitate, the better off you will do Hehe you're leaning over to Modern History now muahahahahaha
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    Re: HELP with Subject Selection (URGENT)

    HEYY
    Ok so if you aren't totally in love with English and completely enjoy it, don't do it. I came 2nd in English in Year 10 and my teacher urged me to do Extension but I never chose it and just did Advanced because I hated English in Year 10 with a burning passion (it just happened to be my best subject) and that was the right decision for me. You don't hate it with a burning passion so you COULD do it but you said you didn't necessarily like it so I don't think you should. I was good in maths too (def not the greatest tho) but I chose Extension and that too was the right decision for me because I LOVE the content and genuinely enjoy going to maths class and doing the work. So if you genuinely like Maths and you did loads better than I did in year 10, you should defs go for it!! As for Eco etc. go for it because you already have an interest in that field (I also do eco and hate hate hate it i regret choosing it but whatevs dropping next year) Chem and Bio are both pretty good subjects (prelim bio is pretty dry tho...) so maybe look up the content and check if its worth trying out? Anyways good luck!

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    Re: HELP with Subject Selection (URGENT)

    Hi,
    Yeah, I'm really considering taking Advanced English now. I've been talking to a few former students at my school who got 90+ ATAR's (one got 99) and one of them was seemingly urging me to do Physics and Chemistry because of the fact that it scales well and despite me saying I am not really interested in science he still urged me to do it saying that HSC isn't meant to be fun and was suggesting I replace Business Studies with Physics because business scales poorly as opposed to Physics. Thoughts on whether I should take up Physics? In fact, I don't necessarily have to replace business with it as I only have 11 units (adv Eng, ext Math, Business, Eco, Chem) and still need 1 or 2 units to meet the minimum requirements.

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    Re: HELP with Subject Selection (URGENT)

    Quote Originally Posted by zdf View Post
    Hey Lumenoria! TBH I don't even know myself if i dread English. I'm kind of sitting on the fence between liking it and hating it. At times, I don't really mind it but at other times I absolutely hate it --> Part of why it is difficult for me deciding.

    Furthermore, what you said about "applying your understanding", that's what troubles me. I mean I can apply them to straightforward questions but when the concepts are incorporated in more difficult questions, ones that "you wouldn't even thought were possible" is when I struggle and I feel like this can affect me significantly unless I get my shit together with solving complex questions; in general I'm terrible at problem solving. So on top of this difficulty questioning my ability to do Ext, how can i improve on problem solving because to me it seems like problem solving skills come naturally.
    Well, I don't know if this will help, but the content in English Extension is far more interesting than the boring Advanced English course. It's just the course is quite demanding in terms of analytical and contextual depth. To get an idea of how the course is like, you will be studying 3 texts IN IMMENSE DETAIL and then studying AT LEAST 2 related texts compounded with a detailed understanding of your module (with rigorous preparation for essay writing and creatives). It ultimately results with a challenging course that can be potentially quite time consuming - as all Extension units typically are. It is developing a personal understanding of your elective that defines the higher-end marks and allows your responses to be authentic and well-rounded. If you're on the fence about it, then I would take the course just to see how it goes. In all honesty, I think English Extension really enhanced my love for English that wasn't quite there before. I used to love maths in Year 10, so when I took both English Ext and Maths Ext, I was almost certain that I would end up dropping English Ext but it turned out to be quite the opposite. It is quite unpredictable really, because Year 10 is completely different to Year 11. Although very demanding, English Extension is quite rewarding. You garner a newfound appreciation of textual forms and features as well as increased insight into the significant value of texts. Assessments are marked to a higher degree than Advanced and therefore require exponentially more time and effort, but this may be beneficial for your analytical ability in Advanced. The workload can get intense, however if you think there is a possibility that you may enjoy the additional challenges of English, then I would say go for it! Besides, you can always drop if you do not feel the subject as useful or too difficult.

    To address your second concern - even though natural mathematical ability plays a role in your performance, it is often quite minimal. The answer to your question is simply practice. Without practice, you cannot reach your potential. This is because the more you practise questions and understand its concepts, the more likely you'll be able to apply that knowledge successfully to other questions. I have a tendency to steer away from problems I am unfamiliar when studying maths out of fear and lack of motivation to learn - DO NOT DO THIS. In order to effectively study, you must place emphasis on your weaknesses instead of your strengths otherwise it is near impossible to move forward and overcome these grey areas. It is easy to look at a problem, do it and then give up upon realising that the answer is completely off - we've all been there. But in Maths Extension, this is really not an option because, frankly, a lot of the questions you face in the exams are of this nature. You can't let this deter you and you cannot allow bad exam results throw you off, but this may occur more frequently than you're accustomed to - I know it sure as hell did for me, especially when I knew I studied as much as I possibly could've two weeks in advance. You have to apply all the techniques you know. You have to make judgement calls over which approaches might be fruitful, which are tedious, when to switch strategies, when to section off a part of the problem to study independently of the rest. It might be tedious, yes, but I suppose this is the beauty of mathematics, isn't it? For me, I often approached difficult questions by breaking the problem down into easier problems or problems that I am more familiar with. Basically, just nail the fundamental aspects and work your way up onto the more advanced parts through a LOT of practice. I found that when I was taking Extension Maths, it absorbed all of my time to the point where I was hardly focusing on any other subject in terms of study. So while it is quite a large commitment, it is certainly nothing you can't handle if you maintain the continuous drive to perform well.

    Preliminary 2017; Advanced English | English Extension 1 | Mathematics | Legal Studies | Economics | Biology | Multimedia
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    Re: HELP with Subject Selection (URGENT)

    Hey guys,
    Heard business studies was a very poor scaling subject and I spoke to my tutor about it and he recommend that I abstain from it.
    https://www.matrix.edu.au/all-about-atar-scaling/
    That's what he showed me, and I'm now reconsidering or should I completely disregard the poor scaling? Possible replacements for it could be Physics, Modern or Legal but I'm not sure.. thoughts?

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    Re: HELP with Subject Selection (URGENT)

    Quote Originally Posted by zdf View Post
    Hey guys,
    Heard business studies was a very poor scaling subject and I spoke to my tutor about it and he recommend that I abstain from it.
    https://www.matrix.edu.au/all-about-atar-scaling/
    That's what he showed me, and I'm now reconsidering or should I completely disregard the poor scaling? Possible replacements for it could be Physics, Modern or Legal but I'm not sure.. thoughts?
    What ATAR are you aiming for?
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    Re: HELP with Subject Selection (URGENT)

    I don't exactly have a specific aim. Preferably 97+

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    Re: HELP with Subject Selection (URGENT)

    Quote Originally Posted by zdf View Post
    I don't exactly have a specific aim. Preferably 97+
    you can get a high atar with any subject combination. Just work your arse off and make sure you have high ranks/marks because a low scaling subject scales well if you perform well in it

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    Re: HELP with Subject Selection (URGENT)

    The current subject combination I'm deciding between is:
    Adv Eng, Ext Math, Chemsitry, Physics, Economics, Business
    Adv Eng, Ext Math, Chemsitry, Physics, Economics, Modern History/Legal Studies
    Adv Eng Ext Math, Chemistry/Physics, Economics, Modern History, Legal Studies/Business Studies
    I'm all over the place.. and on top of that I have to decide on a 12U combo where Ext Math and Ext Eng are in it because I'm applying for Sydney Boys High School where Ext Eng is compulsory and they'll only let me select 12U as opposed to my current school letting me choose 12U - 14U.

    So yeah.. I'm in quite a mess. On that note @Jaxxnuts, moving to Sydney Boys will also see me have a lower rank as I'm top 3 rank in Parra but surely not at Sydney Boys

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    Re: HELP with Subject Selection (URGENT)

    Quote Originally Posted by zdf View Post
    So yeah.. I'm in quite a mess. On that note @Jaxxnuts, moving to Sydney Boys will also see me have a lower rank as I'm top 3 rank in Parra but surely not at Sydney Boys
    Good point but you can still get good marks, even if your internal ranks aren't good. Just aim for the best mark/rank possible for internals (it's a fight for ranks) and for HSC externals get the best possible mark by working together with your cohort

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    Re: HELP with Subject Selection (URGENT)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaxxnuts View Post
    Good point but you can still get good marks, even if your internal ranks aren't good. Just aim for the best mark/rank possible for internals (it's a fight for ranks) and for HSC externals get the best possible mark by working together with your cohort
    Will dropping down alot of ranks from top in a partially selective school to 50-100 in Sydney Boys affect me significantly and negatively?

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    Re: HELP with Subject Selection (URGENT)

    Quote Originally Posted by zdf View Post
    Will dropping down alot of ranks from top in a partially selective school to 50-100 in Sydney Boys affect me significantly and negatively?
    I don't think it would because in a selective school there's a large amount of band 6s and 99+ atars
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    Re: HELP with Subject Selection (URGENT)

    Quote Originally Posted by zdf View Post
    I'm all over the place.. and on top of that I have to decide on a 12U combo where Ext Math and Ext Eng are in it because I'm applying for Sydney Boys High School where Ext Eng is compulsory and they'll only let me select 12U as opposed to my current school letting me choose 12U - 14U.
    Really? Where does it say that?
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    Re: HELP with Subject Selection (URGENT)

    Quote Originally Posted by zdf View Post
    Hey guys,
    Heard business studies was a very poor scaling subject and I spoke to my tutor about it and he recommend that I abstain from it.
    https://www.matrix.edu.au/all-about-atar-scaling/
    That's what he showed me, and I'm now reconsidering or should I completely disregard the poor scaling? Possible replacements for it could be Physics, Modern or Legal but I'm not sure.. thoughts?
    Honestly if you're aiming for 97+ I don't think doing business is gonna bring down ur atar. Aside from scaling you have to consider the difficulty of the subject as well as your interest and ability in it, because getting a band 6 is much easier in business than it is in physics I would say, because a lot of people choose subjects just based on scaling and later end up regretting it, but if u actually enjoy physics and are good at it, I would choose that over business
    pikachu975 likes this.
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    zdf
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    Re: HELP with Subject Selection (URGENT)

    Quote Originally Posted by jazz519 View Post
    Honestly if you're aiming for 97+ I don't think doing business is gonna bring down ur atar. Aside from scaling you have to consider the difficulty of the subject as well as your interest and ability in it, because getting a band 6 is much easier in business than it is in physics I would say, because a lot of people choose subjects just based on scaling and later end up regretting it, but if u actually enjoy physics and are good at it, I would choose that over business
    I've never really been a big science person, more of a humanities. Just wondering whether I should be open to going for sciences and trying it because of its better scaling

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    Re: HELP with Subject Selection (URGENT)

    Quote Originally Posted by zdf View Post
    I've never really been a big science person, more of a humanities. Just wondering whether I should be open to going for sciences and trying it because of its better scaling
    There are benefits to taking subjects with better scaling but still there are plenty of people who take humanity subjects and get high atars
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    Re: HELP with Subject Selection (URGENT)

    Quote Originally Posted by jazz519 View Post
    There are benefits to taking subjects with better scaling but still there are plenty of people who take humanity subjects and get high atars
    What is considered a high atar? 95+?

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    Re: HELP with Subject Selection (URGENT)

    Quote Originally Posted by zdf View Post
    What is considered a high atar? 95+?
    I've seen people with 99+ atars before who had humanity subjects
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