Navigating subject selection for Year 11

Sarah-Eleni Zaferis

Teacher and School Enablement Leader at Atomi


min read

If you are concerned about subject selection, you're not alone. In fact, 80% of Year 10 students reported feeling stressed about choosing which subjects to select for their senior years (ACER, 2020). 

The good news is that there are some considerations you can make when deciding which subjects might be right for you. In this article, we unpack a few key themes you should consider when choosing. This includes arming yourself with data, looking at your interests and thinking about your post-school goals. 

Data is your best friend

It can be challenging to separate what you are good at from what you enjoy doing, and while both are important, let's focus on your strengths first. 

Completing your senior years can feel like a long process, so selecting a subject that you already excel in may make the journey easier. However, you have so many subjects to choose from, so working out where your strengths lie can be challenging. 

If you have been using a platform like Atomi, thankfully, all the hard work has been done for you. By looking at your marks across each of your subject areas and the strength scores, you will be able to find clear strengths (and gaps) within each of your subjects. From there, you can determine which classes you are already naturally strong in. While your whole decision-making process shouldn't only be based on marks, it can help guide your thinking. 

If you don’t have a platform like Atomi, using test marks and teacher feedback is another way to work out where you are already kicking goals. 

By selecting subjects you are strong in, you may find the transition to more challenging content easier when moving up a year level. So, when the stakes get higher, the adjustment to the senior years of high school isn’t as intense. 

Focus on your interests

Now, let's talk about your interests. Selecting subjects you enjoy studying can be extremely helpful. Over the next two years, you will be deep-diving into each subject area, spending a lot of time learning and reviewing new knowledge and skills. In fact, the  Youth Mental Health Foundation highlights the importance of selecting subjects you are genuinely passionate about. Why? When you are forced to study subjects you have little to no interest in, you can become disengaged, lack motivation and begin to see a decline in achievement. None of which sounds good to us. 

Atomi Tip: Don’t only look at which subjects you enjoy now, but also ask your teachers to discuss what you will learn in your senior years. The content and skills can look different, so getting a sense of what you will be studying later might help you make your choice. 

Think about your post-school goals

It can also be helpful to think about your post-school goals. I know making that call in Year 10 can be difficult, so this process won’t always be so clear-cut. However, if you know what course you want to take after high school, checking if there are any prerequisite subjects is an excellent place to start. You can find this information from your school's career advisor or university websites. 

The course you want to take may have various requirements, meaning you need to dig deeper and think outside the box. For example, you may like to study economics at university, so taking a science course to develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills may be a good idea. Alternatively, if you are thinking about something more creative, like graphic design or architecture, an art course may help you develop the necessary skills for university. 

A final note on subject selection

There is no need to face the daunting choice alone. Ask questions and get advice from all people within your support circle. This could include parents, caregivers, family members, teachers, older students or mentors. Gathering other people's advice and suggestions helps alleviate the stress of making the right choice, and hearing different perspectives may give you something else to think about. 


Published on

June 18, 2024

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