How to choose your Year 9 Electives

How to choose your Year 9 Electives

It’s that time of year when year 8s are preparing for elective subject selection. Your teachers will be raving about their subjects, your friends pressing you to choose the same as them and your parents stressing as if they are the ones making the decision. There is a lot to think about! Are there so many subjects, you can’t choose? Or do they all sound dull and you’re struggling to find even one you like? Here are some things to think about and help you decide what to pick.

A bit on how it all works

Each school will operate slightly differently. In NSW, you are required to take ‘compulsory’ subjects. These are Maths, English, Science, History, Geography, PDHPE, and, at some independent schools, Religion. These will be taken over both years 9 and 10. In addition to these subjects, 2-3 electives can be chosen. Each school will offer a different range of electives. These may include Languages, TAS, PASS, History elective, Geography elective, Drama, Dance, Music, VET, Art, and more. Most electives will be taken over the two years in a 200-hour course. 

What should I think about before choosing?

It is normal to struggle to choose only 2 or 3 electives. It can be helpful to obtain a list of what electives are available to you. Once you have this list, cross off any subjects that you do not want to take until you have narrowed down the list to around 5-7. 

Think about double-ups. If PASS is on your list, keep in mind that you will also be taking PDHPE as a compulsory subject. Ask yourself…

Do I want to be doing this much PE? 

Will I be learning something different from the compulsory subject?

Will I want to do this subject for my HSC? 

This goes for all ‘double-up’ subjects: History, Geography, Maths, PDHPE, STEM, etc. It is important to remember that you do not have to take the elective of the subject in order to do it in years 11 and 12. Taking these off your list is an easy way to free up space for other electives without actually missing out on the subject content. 

What about practical subjects? Prac electives are great to have as a ‘fun’ subject. They have less theory work (less not none) and provide a break from the standard classroom subjects. Ask yourself…

Am I prepared to do the theory work as well?

Have I chosen too many prac electives?

Is one prac subject enough?

Are the subjects I have chosen too similar?

I love the practical elective I chose (textiles) but I wish I had chosen more! 

Don’t think about career-paths. If a certain subject such as commerce is on your list for the sole reason that it may help you get a job one day, do not pick it. If you do not enjoy the subject, you are wasting your time and chances are, you won’t do well in the subject either. Pick electives that you actually enjoy; if it will help you in a career one day, that is just a bonus.

Try to be well-rounded. If your list is currently made up of entirely prac subjects, think about dropping in a language or music. These electives can also be quite enjoyable.

Just remember to choose electives that you like – not because your parents, friends, and teachers like them. I wish you all the best in your subject selection!

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