English, science, maths – what to choose?! There are so many subjects to choose from and we know picking for the upcoming year can be tricky. We’ve compiled some top tips, key terms and advice to help you out at this time.

Get rid of that subject confusion now!

Key Terms

Something that you have to do.

e.g., “English Level 1 is compulsory for all students” means, “you have to take English Level 1, even if you might not want to.”

Something that you don’t have to do but probably should.

e.g., “Maths is recommended for all students” means, “It’s a good idea to take Maths, even if you don’t have to.”

Something that you have to do before you can do something else.

e.g., “English Level 1 is a prerequisite for English Level 2″ means, “you have to take English at Level 1 if you want to take English at Level 2.”

Entry Requirements 
The number of NCEA Credits (usually in a specific subject) that you have to achieve before you can enrol in a specific course of tertiary study.  

University Entrance
Sometimes called “UE” – this is the number of NCEA credits you need to get into your chosen university. 

Tertiary Study 
Any studying you do after high school, like going to university or a polytech.


Keep your options open

❏ Choose subjects with broad skills like Maths and English

Check that your choices match with your career plan

❏ Research pathways and study options and check the pre-requisites

Pick subjects that you’re actually interested in learning about

❏ Don’t just take a class because your friend is doing it

Don’t be afraid to do something different

❏ If there’s something you’re passionate about, give it a shot! Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing

Confused? Ask for help!

❏ Talk to your careers advisor or subject teachers about what options you have – or talk to older students about their experiences and what the classes are like


Start by asking yourself:

  • What subjects do you enjoy?
  • What subjects are you good at?
  • What are you interested in studying, even if you might not have tried it yet?

Then think about your next move:

  • What subjects do you want to take next year? Are there any prerequisites you need to take this year?
  • Is there a course you’re thinking about studying after high school? What subjects will you need for that?

 think about what skills you want to learn

  • What subjects offer you the chance to practice or learn these skills

Think about how you’re going to manage your time:

  • Do you have enough space in your timetable for all the subjects you want to take? You might need to prioritise your choices in case you can’t fit everything in