Choosing Elective Subjects in the Middle Years

Your school subjects build knowledge and skills that provide a foundation for future school subjects, courses and career options.

In most schools in Australia, students choose elective subjects.


There are four main considerations when choosing elective school subjects.

  1. Choose subjects that, with appropriate effort, you are likely to achieve success. It is important to achieve the best possible results from your school subjects as this will keep more options open in the future.
  2. Select subjects you will enjoy. You are more likely to do well when you enjoy the subjects you are studying.
  3. Choose subjects from a variety of learning areas to get a balanced academic programme. This is important because the middle years at school are a time for learning and exploring. By exploring a broad range of learning areas, you will be in a better position to make informed choices in preparation for your future. In addition, studying subjects from a range of learning areas will help you to:
    • Keep your options for the future open
    • Discover what subjects you really enjoy and why
    • Learn about your subject strengths

School Subjects and Career Goals

Schools do not usually allow students in the middle years to drop subjects that are often essential to get into certain courses at university. In the middle years, students are usually not permitted to drop subjects such as English, Science and Maths. These subjects are often prerequisites (i.e., essential) to get into a range of courses that you can study at university, TAFE or a private college and apprenticeships. How well you perform in a subject can influence the courses you may be eligible for immediately after finishing school. For example, a student who achieves a poor Maths result in the middle years and later in the secondary years may struggle to pass the correct Maths subject to get into a university course like Engineering. So, it important that you try your best in all your subjects throughout your schooling.

If you are interested in a career in visual or performing arts or design, you may wish to consider studying related subjects in the middle and secondary years. This will help you to build the skills you need to be considered for entry into creative courses at TAFE, university or private colleges. Entry into visual or performing arts and design courses is usually based on a your school results and one or more of:

  • A portfolio of recent work
  • An audition
  • Completion of a design or creative task
  • Suitability interview

If would like to gain an apprenticeship, there are some school subjects that may be beneficial. For example:

  • For students interested in becoming a Chef, it may be helpful to study subjects such as Food and Nutrition and VET Hospitality course in the senior secondary years.
  • For students interested in an apprenticeship in the Construction industry, it may be helpful to study woodwork subjects and VET Construction in the senior secondary years.