It’s subject choice time for Grade 9s


In the coming months, Grade 9s will have to select the subjects they want to pursue from next year until they write their final matric exams.

Nola Payne, head of the faculty of Information and Communications Technology at The Independent Institute of Education said, “Subject choice season requires some serious soul searching and big decisions. It should already be top of the mind now for learners who want to give themselves the best chance for success in Grade 12 and beyond.”

Payne said it is important that subject choice conversations should start between them, their parents, guardians, teachers and friends. It is also important to use the various resources available to assist with this choice – particularly when children are uncertain about their future, said Payne.

The resources include educational psychologists and institutional advisors. “An educational psychologist [who is] associated with a higher education institution, whether public university or private, or even a professional in private practice, can be approached to do an aptitude test,” said Payne.

By spending time speaking to advisors at higher education institutions, youngsters will get a good idea of the range of potential qualifications they can pursue, and what the entrance requirements are.

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The following factors also need to be taken into consideration:

q If you know what you want to study:

Look at a range of different institutions and courses within your field of interest to allow yourself some choice and a Plan B after matric. Always consider a second option to avoid disappointment.

  • If you don’t know what to do after matric:

Choose subject combinations that will leave you with options and room to manoeuvre. If you struggle with maths and science, consider keeping only one of them so that you can focus your efforts and achieve good results. Maths literacy should only be considered as a last resort, as many courses require maths and you could be rejected based on the choice you made in Grade 9.

  •  Figure out what makes you happy:

Be alert to which subjects you feel most comfortable with. Do your research and find out how your favourite subjects manifest in the working world because they might be relevant to a field that you are not even aware of.

  • Determine your strengths:

Choose at least two subjects that will boost your average. Admission to higher education is performance-based, so it makes sense to do very well in some subjects.

  • Understand different routes to success:

There are now many options for further study. The South African National Senior Certificate and the Independent Examinations Board (IEB) have four pass levels, so even if you do not get a degree pass, you could still qualify for diploma or higher certificate study.

This is one of the first opportunities teenagers will have to practice strategic decision-making that will have a lasting effect on their lives, and it should be looked at as an exciting first step into their future as adults, and also a valuable learning and problem-solving lesson.”

Staff Reporter

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