So it’s around the time of the year where students are choosing their subjects for next year. Year 12 students are looking at their options for further study and submitting their preferences, Year 11 students are choosing which subjects to continue and which ones to drop and Year 10 students are reading up on VCE unit guides, deciding which ones to take. Additionally, some of the younger year levels might also be facing a difficult decision right now, and that is whether to take on an early start VCE subject for next year.
Now I know schools only have limited amount of subjects available for early start, but if there is a subject (or two) that is within your interests and in the school early start curriculum, here are 4 reasons as to why you should do it:
1. You have the maximum number of subjects contributing to your ATAR
If you do an early start subject in Year 10, given that you do not fail, you will finish the 3/4 unit and the exam at the end of Year 11. This means that you will not have to drop one of your subjects to make your final five subjects in Year 12. Consequently, you can continue all of your subjects (or take on a new one if you didn’t like the 1/2 units of a subject you did in Year 11) and complete five subjects at the end of the year. All in all, having just finished five subjects and one at the end of Year 11, you will have six subjects contributing to your ATAR, the maximum amount of subjects that can factor into your score.
Now I know that your 5th and 6th best subjects will only contribute a 10% aggregate to your score, which is not much. However, it still makes a difference and could be what pushes your ATAR across the line to be eligible for your desired course or a scholarship.
2. You can get one subject out of the way
Doing one subject earlier takes pressure off the subjects that you do in Year 12 as they are no longer the sole contributors to your final ATAR. You can study in the comfort of knowing you’ve already knocked one subject out of the way. This is not to say you shouldn’t still try your best in your remaining subjects, it will just alleviate some pressure and allow you to study with a calmer mindset.
3. You get to familiarise yourself with a VCE subject before Year 11
Doing an early start subject gives you an advantage of experiencing a Unit 3/4 subject ahead of going into your final year. This gives you a chance of familiarising yourself with the tasks and demands of Units 3/4 so you aren’t going in completely blind at the beginning of Year 12. You are also able to prepare for and take a real exam, an invaluable experience to take into the following year.
I know many schools do mock SACs and mock exams to get you ready for Year 12, but there isn’t anything quite as effective as the real thing to prepare you.
4. It leaves room for error
Now I am by no means telling you to bomb your early start subject, but if by chance you do not do as well as you hoped, your remaining subjects will be your second chance in a way. You can take the early start subject as a learning experience, and take on the lessons you learnt from doing it to assure you do not make the same mistakes in Year 12. Ask yourself why you didn’t do well? How can you improve so you can excel in your other 3/4 subjects next year?
If you’re not convinced yet, here are some thoughts from our team:
Mark: "I didn't do an early start subject in year 11. I regret it, it didn't give me practice for year 12 and I missed the safety net that other students had gotten. One of the biggest regrets I've had in high school really. I knew I might've gotten better if I did (do an early start subject)."
Himal: "I did Bio in year 10 as an early start thinking I was going to enjoy it. I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would and I wasn't getting the marks I wanted so I didn't continue it in year 11. I did however, pick up year 12 Business Management in year 11 which I preferred much more than Bio. I do believe the early start is a test run for year 12 and it gives you the chance to stuff up if you do. It gave me a clear view of just how demanding year 12 subjects are and I'm really thankful I had an early start."
Amanda: "I did Biology and Chinese (second language) in Year 11. Overall, it was really enjoyable and fun! Although, I didn't perform as well as I had hoped, the awful feeling of disappointment pushed me to work a lot harder in Year 12! So, doing an early start subject is almost like a practice run for Year 12 and if you work hard, it does alleviate some stress in the last year of high school!"
A maximum amount of subjects contributing to your ATAR, less pressure on your remaining subjects, experiencing and learning from a Unit 3/4 before taking on your other subjects’ 3/4 units; really, the only downside to doing an early start VCE subject is that you’ll have to do the GAT twice.
Written by Anna :>