SHOULD I DROP OR KEEP A PARTICULAR HSC SUBJECT? HOW DO I DECIDE? WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS? Year 11 and Year 12
You've just had a taste of your new year 11 subjects or been with your year 12 HSC subjects for just over a term. There's one particular subject you chose that you are having second thoughts about, and you don't know whether to keep, change, or drop it (if you have more than 10 units).
For me, that subject was Legal Studies, and it was a tough decision at the time, but in the end I decided to drop it. There are a few things you should consider before making this decision for yourself; your grades and interests, time spent on this subject, and how far into the course you are.
Grades & Interests
How are you performing in this particular subject and how much do you like it?
For me, it was an easy decision because I was struggling in HSC Legal Studies, and I wasn't particularly interested in it either.
If it is a topic that is of interest to you, but you are struggling with this subject, you should ask yourself "Will I improve down the track?" Generally speaking, if you like a subject, you will tend to work harder at it. But if you are in a situation where you are putting in a lot of work, but still not getting the results you think you'll need for the HSC, it might indicate dropping the subject could be beneficial.
On the other hand, if you are doing relatively well in this particular subject but you aren't very interested in it, you might decide to drop the subject in favour of something else that interests you more. The downside of this is that you will probably be better rewarded for your efforts in a subject that you are naturally good at, compared to the subject you want to pick up instead.
If you keep the subject, you may start liking the subject more as time goes on, given students generally tend to like subjects they are good at and may start finding it interesting. If you want to go ahead and drop the subject for something else you might enjoy more, just make sure you put in the additional effort to maintain your grades.
Remember, it is important to take into account the scaling ofy our subjects when judging how well you are doing in it. You may be doing better than you think (or even worse for that matter). You can try to gain a better understanding of how your subjects scale by looking at their ATAR equivalent marks here!
How much time are you spending on this particular subject compared to others?
Taking into account the scaling and your performance in this subject, how much time and effort do you put in compared to your other subjects? If you are spending much more time on this subject to achieve the same marks you received in other subjects, it may be more worth dropping so you can concentrate your efforts elsewhere. Vice versa, if you find this subject requires less time than others to achieve a good result, it might be better to keep it.
Time can become very precious in your HSC year, so you want to make sure you are making the best of it with your choices.
How far into the course you are
Consider how much effort you've already put in.
If it is at the start of the year or just one term in, when you've only studied around 25% of your courses, it would be a good time to re-evaluate your subjects (I dropped Legal Studies just after term one). However, if it is only a week before the trials or yearly exams (when you have virtually finished the course), it would be a waste to drop a subject and not to see it through.
That being said, if you have 12 units, and are clearly struggling with one of the subjects and it has no chance of being counted for the HSC, dropping it before trials/HSC might not always be a bad thing (provided you use the freed-up time to focus on studying and preparing for your remaining subjects).
(If you're in year 11, check with your deputy principal or teacher if you are still able to change.)
One other thing I will mention is that some people might feel that dropping a subject they are not good at might seem like a failure; an admission that you aren't good at something. But guess what? No one is ever good at everything they do, and it's very reasonable to want to change or drop a subject, especially if it means you get to focus on subjects that you are better at or more interested in, which may ultimately lead to better results in the HSC.
I am by no means suggesting you should drop a subject at the first signs of trouble, or bad marks in an exam. All I'm saying is that while persistence is a good characteristic to have, blind persistence may not always end up benefiting you.
I hope this has helped make your decision just a little easier, but you should still consider the pros and cons carefully, and consult with your teachers to make sure you will make the right choices about your subjects, as you usually cannot reapply for a subject you have dropped.
Jack Zheng | N° 5