BlogStudyShould You Drop Down from Maths Methods to General Maths for QCAA?

Should You Drop Down from Maths Methods to General Maths for QCAA?

Student Studying Maths - Dropping Maths Methods

Unsure if you should drop Maths Methods and take on General Maths as a result? We’re here to help!

The gap in knowledge between Maths Methods and General Maths is very substantial. It can often be tricky to gauge which subject is right for you, especially at the beginning of Year 11, when you’re just starting out.

Keep reading to discover things you should consider if you’re thinking about dropping out of Maths Methods!

How big is the difference between the levels of Maths?
Which level of Maths is best for your ATAR?
Which Maths subject is best for your degree choice?
Reasons to Consider Dropping Maths Methods

How big is the difference between the levels of Maths?

General Maths VS Maths Methods

Pretty big! Maths Methods is primarily based around calculus, limits and more ‘abstract’ mathematical concepts. To simplify, Methods is, in essence, a later pathway into the more theoretical side of mathematics, rather than practical.

It’s the sort of understanding that is required for future doctors, physicists, chemists, and higher branches of science. Of course, if you thoroughly enjoy Maths, and you are exceptionally good at it, you can consider joining Specialist Maths, which is even more theoretical and abstract than Methods — but our focus today is on Methods or General.

While Methods is required for mathematical concepts that go beyond your day to day life, unless you work as a high-end scientist, General Maths is exactly that: general.

It gives you a general understanding of some basic mathematical concepts across the four units, with a special focus on finance, which ends up being extremely useful. It does not prepare you in depth for later careers where Maths is one of the primary focusses of your chosen profession.

Which level of Maths is best for your ATAR?

This is a complicated question. If we were to look at the subjects themselves, assuming you were to achieve the exact same grade in both, Maths Methods would be worth more points towards your final ATAR than General Maths. That said, this scenario is rarely the case.

While you can totally ace Methods, most people will tend to do worse in this subject, as the gap in knowledge between its standard counterpart is so large. In other words, an very high grade in General Maths will ultimately get you more ATAR points than a scraping through ‘pass’ Maths Methods, despite the latter being a more worthy subject overall in terms of scaled results.

The truth is, if you were to do well in all your subjects, the difference wouldn’t matter much, and might not even turn out to exist. Don’t be discouraged to remain in Methods if you’re good at it though!

Which Maths subject is best for your degree choice?

A big factor in choosing your level of Maths is whether the subject is a requirement of your desired university course.

Check out our guide to filling out your QTAC application!

You may not need Methods for some courses, however the majority of higher end science, mathematics and business degrees will likely require methods as a prerequisite. If this is the case for you, you don’t have a choice. 

In another scenario, it may be that your course does not require Methods as a prerequisite, but may have Methods as assumed knowledge. In this case, do not stress! At uni, you’ll be taught the mathematical skills needed in your degree.

If your degree does not require Methods, you might consider dropping down to General Maths to relieve some stress that comes with doing high difficulty and demanding subjects. 

Read more on if dropping a QCE Subject might be the right move for you!

This article isn’t meant to discourage you from taking Methods, but rather to be aware that dropping into General isn’t an academic failure! On the contrary, it can impact your grades positively overall, and in case you’re no good at Methods, you can totally regain ground lost in general towards your ATAR.

Reasons to Consider Dropping Maths Methods

Reason #1: Stress

Person feeling stressed

This is largely subjective. Most people, however, tend to find Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Maths Methods stressful.

This is because the amount of knowledge and inflexible problem solving skills required are a lot compared to other subjects, where problems are more varied, but easier to solve.

If you’re trying to get into a degree where two or three sciences are required, chances are you’ll be pretty stressed already, and this isn’t good for your grades. Add to this another stressful subject, and you might end up not doing so well. 

Likewise, if you are meticulous, can manage stress well and you enjoy or are naturally talented at sciences and maths, there is no reason to drop Maths Methods if it is something you enjoy doing.

Of course, for most people this isn’t the case. Not everyone is working towards a career as a doctor or engineer ultimately. 

Reason #2: Time


Methods can be a great preparation for those professions that require constant work and precision, as well as meticulousness, in an academic sense. The content to learn, practise and get right in Methods is roughly double that of General, and much more difficult.

So expect to spend a lot of time studying. If that’s your thing, great! Maybe you’re so good that you can pick up things on the go with little practise. If this is you, stick with it.

However, most of us would like some time to work, go out with friends and have fun. The amount of time you should be spending studying should be no more than what’s necessary, and most people are not prepared to.

Reason #3: Grades

Results - Dropping Maths Methods

This is the most common reason and the best reason that you should drop Methods — your grades. The difficulty gap is so big that your grades may suffer if you are not a Maths person.

In this case you should seriously consider dropping down. This will mean that you’ll be playing at your preferred difficulty, without sacrificing the grades, which will ultimately yield a better ATAR. This applies only if you find Maths challenging. 

There you have it!

Now you’ve got an idea of the main things you should factor into your decision to drop Maths Methods. Something you should keep in mind is how your decision will impact your ATAR!

If you’re looking to study at uni once you finish high school, you’ll want to maximise your ATAR for direct entry into uni. Sometimes, this will mean dropping out of a subject if it isn’t required for your degree.

At the end of the day though, it’s your choice as to whether you stick with Maths Methods or General Maths! Good luck!

Based in Brisbane and curious to know about which schools perform well based on ATAR results? We’ve got the lowdown with The Ultimate Brisbane ATAR School Ranking List.

Are you looking for some extra guidance with Maths?

We have an incredible team of QLD tutors and mentors!

We can help you master the syllabus and ace your upcoming Maths assessments with personalised lessons conducted one-on-one in your home or online!

Looking for local tutoring on the Gold Coast? We can help! Contact us today to get started with online or face-to-face personalised tutoring!

We’ve supported over 8,000 students over the last 11 years, and on average our students score mark improvements of over 20%!

To find out more and get started with an inspirational QLD tutor and mentor, get in touch today or give us a ring on 1300 267 888!

Vittorio Manessi is an Art of Smart tutor based in Queensland studying environmental science. He was one of the first Year 12 students to study under the new ATAR system in Queensland. He enjoys Maths, Science, English and Ancient History and is keen to share his knowledge of the QCE by making awesome resources.

45,861 students have a head start...

Get exclusive study content & advice from our team of experts delivered weekly to your inbox!

AOS Website Asset 2

Looking for Maths Support?

Discover how we can help you!

AOS Website Asset 1