How to choose your VCE subjects

It's never too early to start thinking about VCE.

An important step towards VCE preparation is knowing which subjects to select.

Chances are, you’ve faced that ‘What do you want to do with your career?’ question from family and friends. The answer may be something you’re still figuring out.

That's OK, but be mindful that soon you’ll need to select which subjects you would like to study for VCE. It’s likely these subjects will influence what you choose to do beyond high school.

Before making your subject choices, take the time to consider a few factors that could make the task easier.

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Tips on getting started

  • Think about what subject areas you are passionate about, what you are good at and what you enjoy studying. Can you see yourself working in these areas in the future? Ask yourself if these subjects fire your curiosity and make you feel inspired.

  • Do a little investigating into the types of tertiary programs required for your area of interest. Certain programs call for students to pass VCE subjects to be eligible. They may even have some selection tasks or a folio of work that would need to be submitted to get into a Uni or TAFE.

  • Remember to follow you own interests. Some students fall into the trap of selecting subjects they think will reward them with a high ATAR score. It’s pointless to pick a subject based on scaling if you don’t enjoy it or are no good at it. Your ATAR is reflective of your performance across all of your studies.

Who to turn to for advice

  • Schools have career advisors and VCE co-ordinators who can provide guidance on career direction. They will have information on a variety of tertiary programs in your interest areas and what you need to do to be eligible for them.

  • Check out career expos and university open days. Sure, you’re two years off finishing your VCE, but it’s well worth being informed and up to date on the latest higher education options to choose from.

  • You’ll also find plenty of information online. A good place to start is the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre website, which provides tips on VCE subject selection and explains how ATARs are calculated. Youth Central is another independent source of information on everything from SACs (school assessed curriculum) to VET (Vocational Education and Training).
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Keeping options open

To pass VCE, students need to complete three units from the English group, including a unit 3-4 sequence, and at least three sequences of Unit 3–4 studies from other subjects.

When choosing what these other subjects will be, it’s important to know that some subjects will keep your options open more so than others. A maths or science subject, for example, is likely to be a prerequisite for anyone interested in a career in engineering or IT.

You may not know the exact program you wish to study in the future, but if you have a general idea, look at the entry requirements for a wide range of courses and find the prerequisite subjects they have in common. Including these in your VCE program will open the door to more options after highschool.

Don’t stress, VCE hasn’t arrived just yet! But when it does, you’ll be armed with the information you need to make the choices for your future.

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