How to choose your subjects for 5th year

Banner of How to choose your subjects for 5th year

How to choose your subjects for 5th year

Subject Choice is the first critical step to overcome on the journey through the senior cycle experience. Not enough attention is often given to this critical step and, as a consequence, students can often realise half way through the first year of the senior cycle that they have chosen one, and sometimes two, inappropriate subjects. In this guest blog post Berni Sheridan, a career guidance teacher and founder of thestudentscoach.com shares her four golden rules for subject choice:


Think Flexibility

Most students do not know exactly what career they wish to pursue at this stage of their lives and often those that think they know can change their minds later!  With that in mind, it is important to choose a mix of subjects that provides you with the flexibility to choose any college and a wide range of courses. 


Think big picture

In choosing your subjects, while it is important to pick the subjects you enjoy and have a strength in, it is wise to look at the demands of the subjects combined, in order to maximise the number of points you can achieve.  Some subjects are way more demanding in terms of study requirements than others.  Give serious consideration to subjects with projects attached as they often they have a practical dimension, and tend not to be as demanding in terms of the quantity of theory to be studied. Also, importantly, the project component can take the pressure out of the final exam.  


Less is more sometimes

Students often look at taking on seven and sometimes eight higher subjects, with one subject often being studied outside of school.  My experience is that students doing a higher level subject outside of school find it onerous as, typically, they will get only one class/grind per week and a lot of independent learning is required.  By year 2, students with eight subjects, in  particular, can be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work.  Think strategically in choosing the number of subjects taken at higher level and remember you can only use the points from six subjects.  The fewer the number of higher level subjects - the greater the time allocation for each subject.  In this instance less is often more!


Talk to someone

If I could give only one single piece of advice to students at this stage, it would be to invest in a 1:1 with a career specialist, to ensure you have a mix of subjects which are right for YOU!   Whilst we can all generalise about subject choice, the reality is, it is a very individual decision, as each student brings different strengths, different challenges and different goals.  One session with the right career specialist will set you on the right road and give you an additional boost of confidence as you set off on your Senior Cycle journey.  


Yes, the senior cycle can be a journey with highs and lows but can also represent a golden opportunity to develop key life skills – resilience – confidence – determination – confidence – the choice is yours!

About the Author

Bernie Sheridan has been working in the area of career guidance for almost 10 years with particular emphasis on the senior cycle process. She is passionate about helping students gain clarity on their career of choice - setting goals and a program of work to enable them to reach their goals. You can find out more about Bernie at her website thestudentscoach.com


Latest Posts
Thumbnail of All Leaving Cert H1 Student Subject Guides
All Leaving Cert H1 Student Subject Guides
Over the past year we've recruited H1 students and expert teachers to write subject guides for us to give their tips and tricks on how to get a H1 in their subjects. To make it easier for you, we've put them all in one place; here! Take a look at the list below and have a read of any of the guides which are relevant to you. All our available H1 Subject Guides...
read more

Thumbnail of Junior Cert Maths Video Solutions Now Available
Junior Cert Maths Video Solutions Now Available
Worked Solutions to 2017 Maths Questions Now Available We've teamed up with TheMathsTutor.ie to provide students with video solutions of each exam question from the 2017 Junior Cert HL and OL papers. These videos will give you a better understanding of how to solve each question as they are walked-through clearly. Also, check out our exclusive offer&n...
read more

Thumbnail of Leaving Cert Maths Video Solutions Now Available
Leaving Cert Maths Video Solutions Now Available
Worked Solutions to 2017 Maths Questions Now Available We've teamed up with TheMathsTutor.ie to provide students with video solutions of each exam question from the 2017 Leaving Cert paper. These videos will give you a better understanding of how to solve each question as they are walked-through simply and expertly. Also, check out our exclusive offer...
read more

See All