Now, I’m sure many people during their QCE years will consider dropping a subject at least once. I know I certainly did, and I know many of my friends did.
Year 11 and 12 can be incredibly overwhelming and demanding, so it is important that you prioritise your wellbeing! There are a number of factors that you should be considering prior to dropping a subject and there are advantages and disadvantages in doing so.
So let’s get started on what you should factor in when deciding to drop a QCAA subject!
Factors to Consider Before You Drop a QCE Subject
The Time Demand of Your Subjects
Firstly, when you are considering dropping a subject, think about how much time you are able to dedicate to your studies outside of the classroom and then determine which subjects take up the most of your time.
Depending on which subjects you take, you may find that you have practically no time to enjoy yourself or see your friends — especially if you have other commitments such as work. In the long run, if you are spending too much time studying and not enough time relaxing/socialising, then that may negatively impact your wellbeing.
If you have one particular subject that is taking up the majority of your time, then that may impact your performance in your other subjects. It is important to consider whether continuing your studies in one subject will have an overall negative impact on your other subjects.
Is Maths Methods sucking up all of your free time? Here’s how to decide whether to drop Maths Methods for General Maths or not.
Your Weekly Schedule
Before you jump straight to dropping a subject, you should first evaluate your weekly schedule.
Is there any way that you can optimise the time you spend studying for each of your subjects, while still being able to maintain your other commitments? You should try to see if you can reorganise things before you jump to dropping a subject.
Further, consider whether there are ways that you could study more efficiently. If you are engaging in less-than-ideal study habits, then maybe you should consider trying out new techniques.
For example, re-writing your notes is a common habit of many students but it is an incredibly time-consuming habit with little payoff. You could save lots of time by writing your notes only once and figuring out some other ways to study.
TIP: You can cut so much waste out of your study time by just taking effective study notes during class!
Enjoyment of Your Subjects
Whether or not you enjoy your subjects is a big deal. If you aren’t enjoying what you are studying, then you are less likely to even study for it at all. As a rule of thumb, if you enjoy one subject more than another, then you should most certainly keep the subject that you better enjoy.
If you enjoy a subject, you increase the chance that you will perform well in it — all because you will be more motivated to study for it. Thus, if you have a subject that you just hate with every inch of your being — it’s basically screaming at you to drop it — then you may want to consider doing so.
If you don’t feel comfortable taking only 5 subjects (or if your school requires that you take 6), then you should look at your options and choose the one that you will enjoy the most.
Necessity of Your Subjects
Another thing you should consider is whether it is necessary to study this subject. Some schools may have different rules regarding subjects and so taking a certain subject becomes a necessity (for example, at my school studying Methods was a requirement if you wanted to study Physics).
Further, there are some statewide rules. In particular, to receive an ATAR you must study an English subject.
I, myself, hated English — so that was rather unfortunate for me. The point I’m trying to make is that in some cases, you may not be able to drop a particular subject.
Additionally, you may wish to consider which subjects will help you achieve your post-school goals. If you are set on going to uni and know what you want to study, you should take a look at whether certain subjects are prerequisites for your courses.
If a subject that you are thinking about dropping is a prerequisite, consider whether you would rather take the subject in high school or catch up on it at uni via a bridging course.
It is perfectly okay to feel challenged during Year 11 and 12. Say you got through Year 11 but you were exhausted by the end of it. It was just too much for you.
If that’s the case, then there is nothing wrong with dropping a subject. If you feel that studying 6 subjects is too much, or one of your subjects is just too overwhelming and you would like to switch to another, then you may want to consider dropping.
Your wellbeing should be your first priority — you can’t expect yourself to do your best in your studies, if you aren’t taking care of yourself!
Time to drop a subject for a part-time job? Check out how to write your first resume here!
Pros and Cons of Taking 5 Subjects
|- It is about the quality of your marks, not the quantity of your marks (doing well in 6 subjects isn’t any better than doing well in five subjects when it comes to your ATAR)
- You gain more time for your other subjects
- You may be happier and less exhausted
- You may find more enjoyment in your studies
|- You lose the “safety-net” of having 6 subjects
- You may have to take a bridging course at uni if you drop a subject that is a prerequisite
There are a few factors one should consider before going ahead with dropping a QCE subject. However, it can be noted that there are some cases in which dropping a subject should be seriously considered (i.e. when it is impacting your wellbeing).
Ultimately, dropping down to 5 subjects has both pros and cons — you may find that it is the best decision for you, or you may prefer having the safety-net of a backup subject.
One thing that is super important to highlight is that the scaling of a subject should be the very last reason you drop the subject.
There you have it!
We’ve now walked you through the different factors you should take into consideration before deciding if you should drop a QCE subject. Hopefully this creates more clarity for your final decision!
If you’re looking for other QCE resources, check out some of our articles below:
- The Ultimate List of QCAA Cognitive Verbs That You Need To Know
- What Are QCE Points and How Many Do You Need?
- How to Stay Motivated Throughout the Year During the QCE and Avoid Burnout
- Everything You Need to Know About the QCE and ATAR
- The Essential Guide to Applying for University Through QTAC
- QLD Subject Scaling: Which Subjects Scale the Best from QCAA?
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Katelyn Smith was a pioneer in the Queensland ATAR system. After graduating in 2020 with an ATAR of 98.40, she now studies a Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours) at The University of Queensland — majoring in Physics. Through her studies, she hopes to develop a greater appreciation for how the wonders of the universe work. When she isn’t slaving away behind her unnecessarily large textbooks, she enjoys catching up with friends, scrolling mindlessly through TikTok, and sleeping.