Deciding whether or not to drop a HSC subject entirely or to drop down a level is a bit like dropping an egg off a wall.
It can feel so good when you do it, but it can create a big old mess afterwards.
In this article and video, Rowan from #AOSTV shares our simple guide to figuring out whether or not you should drop a subject to ensure you avoid a HSC mess!
Ready to figure out whether you should drop that HSC subject or not? Let’s jump in!
Should I Drop a Subject Because It’ll Give Me Extra Time to Focus on Other Subjects?
We all know that one rotten egg can spoil the lot, and it’s the same with your HSC Subjects.
If you’re taking a HSC Subject that’s taking lots of time to study and is distracting you from your other subjects and preventing you from giving them the time and energy they need, it might be worth thinking about dropping that subject.
This is the most common reason students drop HSC subjects, but it should come with a warning about the Extra Study Time Myth.
When a student drops a subject and says “I’m going to have SO much more time to study for my other subjects”, do you know what tends to happen?
The student doesn’t use that time effectively and tends to procrastinate more!
So, before you decide to drop a subject on the basis of having more time to spend on your other subjects, here’s an action for you to put in place:
Sit down with your calendar and really identify each of the times you will have free to study once you drop that subject and plan how you’re going to study your other subjects once you’ve dropped one.
By doing this, you’re being really intentional and making a conscious effort to think about what you’re going to do and how you’re going to use your extra time to study for your other subjects.
This is a more effective way to use your time when dropping a subject, as most students simply get the extra time and fill it up with procrastination and non-study related activities!
Should I Drop a Subject Because It’ll Help Me Get Better Marks and a Better ATAR?
The second reason why many students decide to drop a HSC Subject is because their marks aren’t great in that subject.
For example, you might be taking Advanced Maths and are thinking about dropping down to General or Standard Maths because you haven’t been doing very well in Advanced.
This can be a really good decision if you’re thinking about maximising your ATAR. By dropping down you may be able to improve your marks in the lower level subject and the scaled mark you achieve could help your ATAR in the short term.
However, this reason for dropping a subject comes with it’s own warning: you still need to think about the long-term implications of your decision to drop a subject.
For example, you might be taking 3-Unit Maths and not love it and are thinking about dropping it, but if you’re thinking about what you want to do in the long-term after the HSC, and want to study Economics, at least 3-Unit Maths is likely a recommended or required subject to study Economics at university!
So, sure you can drop down from 3-Unit to 2-Unit maths, but this means that when you get to university, you’ll be faced with two scenarios:
You might need to take a bridging course that compresses the entire HSC Course into 1-2 weeks of class, or you might be more likely to fail the relevant subject at university simple because you don’t have the background knowledge that’s required.
So, just because dropping that subject might get you a better ATAR, you might also be underprepared for university subjects and start to fall behind.
IF you’re thinking about dropping a subject to help maximise your ATAR or because of marks, make sure you’re thinking about your short-term and long-term goals, with your ATAR being the short term, and university or your career in the long-term!
1. Take a look at the recommended or required subjects you need to take for the university courses you’re interested in. Because you don’t want to drop a subject, decide on a university and course you want to do and then realise you dropped a required or recommended subject!
2. Make your decision based on your long-term goals and whether a subject is a RECOMMENDED subject or a REQUIRED pre-requisite. In other words, does the uni recommend but not require you to take the subject, or do you need to have done the subject in order to do and succeed in the course?
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Isabella Hanley loves science. She loves science so much she’s making it her career. While completing her Bachelor of Medical Science she is also a Coach and Digital Content Manager at Art of Smart. She is super passionate about sharing her knowledge on surviving the HSC since completing the HSC herself in 2014. In her downtime she enjoys Netflix binging like a pro, singing in the shower and hanging out with her awesome rescue dog, Ruby.