What to consider when choosing school subjects


There are a few things you’ll need to weigh up when choosing your school subjects. It’s not just about what you enjoy (this is important to consider, as you’re likely to put more effort into the subjects you enjoy) but also about what subjects will be useful to you in the future. Ask, what are the subjects that are needed in the areas of work I am interested in?

Step 1. Know your options

  • The Garin Curriculum Overview  lists subjects that are available and the prerequisites for each subject.

Step 2. Think about your abilities and interests at school                                                                                                       

  • What subjects are you good at or not so good at? What do others say you are good at? School reports!
  • What does this tell you about yourself?
  • What are your strengths? Are you a good writer, good with numbers, a practical person?
  • Which subjects have you enjoyed studying?
  • Which do you dislike and why?Thinking about these sorts of things will help you figure out what subjects you could do and what jobs you might want to pursue in the future.

Step 3. How will your choices affect your future?

Where do your subjects lead. Information for job research:

  • Consider your future career and or tertiary training options. (University, polytechnics and apprenticeships).  See the tertiary study recommended subjects table below.
  • Each job summary on the Career NZ website www.careers.govt.nz and the http://www.schoolconnect.co.nz website includes information about recommended secondary school subjects in the ‘How to enter the job’ section. Also, Occupation Outlook for a break down by industry and newspaper and magazine articles eg. www.tearaway.co.nz
  • TV or radio programmes eg. Just the Job  website.
  • people with experience of the job asking friends of the family, neighbours and relatives
  • people who offer training in the area
  • your own work experience, including Gateway, Work day, Trades Academy

Step 4. Keep your career options open

Most people change their minds about what they want to do in the future. Your interests and abilities will change over time, or you might find out about new careers that you had never heard of before.

If you’re unsure about what job you want to do, try to study a wide range of subjects at school. This will give you more options later on. Keeping up with English, Maths and at least one Science subject is a good place to start. Keeping Science in Year 11 is highly recommended.