Subject Choices And Your Future Pathways

Research shows that two of the main influences on subject choice for many students are:

-          What subjects your friends are taking

-          Who is teaching a particular subject

Neither of these should influence your subject choice.  Your friends may not be in the same class as you next year, even if you take the same subjects.  Also, no one yet knows who will be teaching any subject next year, so concentrate instead on what you need for your future.

To pick your programme for the you should:

-          Choose the subjects that you are good at and that you enjoy.

-          Check you have (or are likely to have) achieved the prerequisites as indicated for each subject.

-          Keep your options open, as you are likely to pursue several different careers.

-          If you have a particular career in mind, check with Miss Quinnell, the school’s Careers Advisor, whether it has any compulsory subjects, and that you are choosing the most appropriate course.  Alternatively, check out the Careers NZ website –

-          Plan your course selection through to the end of your secondary schooling.  There is a planning page for this at the back of this handbook.  Think carefully before dropping a subject you have studied for several years.

-          Choose subjects that offer the level of credits you need to study.  With NCEA, it is appropriate to study subjects at different year levels.

-          Discuss your proposed course selection with:

o   Your family

o   This year’s teachers

o   The TiCs and HoFs of your chosen subject areas

o   The Careers Advisor

o   Your Dean





How good are you at a subject? How easily do you understand it? Your assessment results and your classwork should give you an idea of your ability. Be honest with yourself. Discuss your ability with your present teacher – you may have a false idea about how good you are at a subject. Be careful not to underestimate your ability – but be realistic.




Add your ability to your interests – the things that you enjoy doing. Reasons for enjoying subjects might be because of the work, the teachers, or because you seem to be good at it. If you enjoy doing something, there is a strong chance you will be good at it.




You may not know what you want to do when you leave school – most students your age don‘t. But if you have some broad areas of interest, for example science, health, art, computers, then it pays to find out which subjects will be the most helpful in allowing you to achieve your goals. Make sure you do this.


Carefully investigate all the subjects that you are interested in. Make your final choice, keeping this formula in mind.

Vocational Pathways

The Vocational Pathways provide new ways to achieve NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3 and develop pathways that progress to further study, training and employment. Achieving NCEA Level 2 is the foundation for success in further education and the world of work. Level 3 builds upon this through shared opportunities across school, tertiary, and industry training. The Vocational Pathways provide a framework for students to show how their learning and achievement is valued in the workplace by aligning learning to the skills needed for industry. 

There are six different Vocational Pathways:

Construction & Infrastructure, Creative Industries, Primary Industries, Services Industries, Social & Community Services and Manufacturing & Technology.

To get a Vocational Pathways Award, students must first gain NCEA Level 2.  A minimum of 20 credits must be from Sector related standards, with the remaining coming from Recommended Standards to make up 60 Pathway credits in total.

Vocational Pathway Promo video 2014 from Youth Guarantee on Vimeo.

Full information on the vocational pathways can be found on the Youth Guarantee website.