It is an exciting time in our academic year for students in Years 8 and 10 as we move forward to finalising subject selections for 2021. This will be the first opportunity our Year 8 students have to choose two subjects for Year 9 and an expanded opportunity for Year 10 students who will need to make detailed choices for Year 11 subjects.

This can also be challenging time for many students and their families trying to make the best choice of subjects when they are still unsure about further study and career options. This concern is quite understandable at this stage and for that reason, I will share with you some strategies for choosing subjects that help to keep options open when finishing school.

When choosing subjects for Year 9, the soundest piece of advice is to make choices based on interest and enjoyment of the subject. Interest and the positive emotions that emerge from learning success are powerful motivators and create the kind of engagement that will yield success. The effort required to succeed can seem less taxing if we enjoy what we are learning. It is like the old saying that we never work a day in our lives if we enjoy our jobs.

For Year 8 students, they should also be thinking about the subject selections they might want to take in Year 11. While most HSC courses like Visual Arts, Music and Design and Technology have no prerequisites, having studied these subjects in Years 9 and 10 will certainly place students well should they select them in Year 11. Students in Year 8 also choose two elective subjects, one subject from each of two groups. Subject selection forms will be distributed to students next week for submission by Friday 31 July.

The advice regarding enjoyment is the same for Year 10 students progressing to Year 11 in 2021. Choosing a study pathway that will provide the greatest engagement and enjoyment will always be a stronger intrinsic motivation to succeed.

There is no scaling of the HSC results in any subject by NESA and the HSC examination results are adjusted to align with the performance descriptors for each of the six bands. The school assessment results are moderated to align with the HSC examination results of the school cohort. The ATAR is based on the HSC result and does involve scaling to credit those students who chose and succeeded in more demanding and rigorous subjects. It must be said though, that there are no scaling advantages to be had for any student who does not perform well in the subject. For example, a Band 2 in Physics will be scaled in much the same way as a Band 2 in Business Studies, so focussing on students’ personal best is the strongest asset for any individual. Choosing subjects suited to previous results and a passion for learning in those subjects will yield the best possible chance of success.If students are unsure, the post-school opportunities can be broadened by choosing at least one subject from the major groups. For example, choosing English, Mathematics, one science subject, one history or social science subject and one design or creative arts subject would provide a broad range of options for any number of tertiary and career opportunities. If students have specific university courses in mind, they should check if the universities have prerequisites for entry into those courses. A six-week bridging course between finishing school and starting university will not come close to two years of study at school. Help your children to make the best subject choices by supporting them in their research on possible careers and study options. The government’s JobOutlook website provides a good starting point in this regard as does the University Admissions Centre website and those of the universities.

Students in Year 10 must select subjects for Year 11 that allow for a minimum of 12 units to be awarded a Preliminary Course grade and transition to the final HSC year. Both 1 and 2 unit subjects can be chosen from seven groups where only one subject can be selected from each group. All students must select a mandatory English subject from Group 1 and can choose freely from the other groups.

Year 10 students have attended a Subject Market and will have received their subject selection forms which are due for submission on Friday 31 July.

Further information on each of the subjects being offered at ASG can be found at the subject selection website:

Jonathan Saurine
Head of Academic Innovation