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Warners Bay High School

Warners Bay High School

Quality Education for All

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Yr10 Advice

Subject Selection.

Year 10 students all over NSW are choosing subjects for Years 11 & 12.

Once subjects are chosen it can be difficult/impossible to change them during the next two years if you wish to graduate at the end of Year 12 with your HSC, so it is important to make good choices. This is because most HSC (Year 12) courses require you to have completed the Preliminary (Year 11) course before you can take them.

OK! So how do you choose your subjects?

The first piece of advice would be to talk to your careers adviser. Then talk to everyone else! Teachers, parents, friends, work experience employers, university, TAFE and private provider advisers, and then make up your own mind! Its the next 50 years of your life that you are planning!


You should take subjects that you like, subjects that you are interested in, subjects that you are good at, and subjects that lead towards your career choice. If your ATAR is very important to you and for example your choice of degree needs a ATAR of 90+, then you should choose courses that you are good at. Otherwise, you should choose courses that you like or are interested in.

Year 10 to Year 11 Subject Selection.

Subjects, courses and units.  
Science, English, etc are subjects.   
Within these subjects: Physics, English Advanced, etc are courses. 
A unit is an amount of time that you spend studying a course.  (Approximately 2 hours or 3 periods per week) 
Most courses are taken for approximately 4 hours or 6 periods per week, which is 2 units.

Normal pattern of courses.  
To qualify for a Higher School Certificate (HSC) you must successfully complete 12 preliminary units and 10 HSC units.  For most students this means 6 courses (12 units) in year 11 and at least 5 courses (10 units) in year 12.

Some VET courses can count as either preliminary or HSC courses, but for the majority of subjects the preliminary course must be completed before going on to the HSC course.

During subject selection, schools have to organize teachers and classes for the following year, and obviously they cannot afford to have classes with only one or two students.  Similarly, if the maximum class size is 24 students and 28 want to take the course, then 4 students will miss out.  So students often do not get their first choice of subjects.  Because of this students are usually asked to choose more than 6 courses and they may have to take their 2nd choice courses.  If a student had to take a particular course, the only options may be either going to another school or distance learning.

Rules for a HSC

  • At least 6 units of Board Developed Courses.

  • At least 2 units of a Board Developed Course in English 

    or English Studies Content Endorsed Course

  • At least 3 courses of 2 unit value or greater.

  • At least 4 subjects.

Vocational Education & Training Courses (VET).
VET courses are a great alternative to academic courses for students who want to finish year 12, but who are not heading for university.  This is because they give a recognized qualification towards a job, they give advanced standing in related TAFE courses, and they make students more employable.  Doing a VET course may also be a good idea for any student.  Because they are more practical, they lighten the study load for students who take them, compared to others who may be doing 12 units of academic courses in Year 11.  Some VET courses do not count towards an ATAR, so if you are planning on going to university make sure that you choose a course that counts!

Rules for a ATAR.

  • At least 10 units of ATAR courses.

  • At least 8 units from Category A Units.

  • At least 2 units of English (Standard or Advanced)

  • At least 3 Board Developed Courses of 2 units or greater.

  • At least 4 subjects

Most courses are Category A, but some which the Board of Studies consider to be less academic are Category B.  Only 1 Category B course can count towards your ATAR.