Navigating your subject selections for Years 11 and 12 is tricky. You are presented with a whole lot of options and expected to know how you want to spend the final two years of schooling, at a time in your life where choosing what to eat for breakfast is still a struggle. When you’re suddenly given all this freedom, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of it all and make a quick, poorly thought-out decision. A common mistake many students to make is not properly considering whether they should choose a course with a major work component. It takes a certain type of person to be able to cope with the pressures of a major work, and so, before you commit to doing one in Year 12, consider these questions to find out if it’s really the right choice for you.
Are you an independent worker?
The only way a major work is going to get completed is if you devote a considerable amount of time outside of school to getting it done. Whilst you may occasionally get allocated lessons to work on it, more often than not, most of the work gets done while you’re at home. It is in those rare moments during the week where you have decided to turn off Netflix, to stop scouring your kitchen for food and to actually sit down at your desk to do some work, that you are able to take some sizeable chunks out of your major’s growing to-do list. Being able to set aside this time requires a certain level of self-discipline.
While you will have your teacher to support you, you should not be solely dependent on them to remind you to get it done. To successfully complete a major work, you need to have the ability to be an independent worker – one who knows what needs to get done when and has the self-discipline to do so without first needing to be told.
Can you handle critical feedback?
(Spoiler: doing a major work involves a lot of this)
When you choose to do a major work, you are choosing to commit yourself to a single, considerably sized project for the next 12 months. Staring at one piece of work for that period of time would drive any sane person a bit crazy. Ideas start to blur, words get repetitive and it is very easy for one to lose direction. This is why it is so important to be getting feedback wherever you can. Teachers are an obvious source for this, but you should also be looking to friends and family for their opinions. All of these people want you to produce the best work possible and so their honesty will probably entail certain criticisms. The successful completion of your major work relies on your ability to take on board this constructive criticism and use it to better your project.
Are exams not your strong suit?
Choosing a subject with a major work component might just be the right decision for you if you struggle sitting exams. If a subject has a major work, that often means that the exam is shorter and has a smaller weighting. If you know that tests are not your strong suit, be strategic with your subject selection and opt to do a major work that will take some of the pressure off of you when it comes time to sit the HSC exams.
Are you bored easily?
For those of you who find themselves growing tired of the monotony of syllabus learning, doing a major work subject is a good break from the repetitive learning style of exam-based subjects. Working on your major can break up your study schedule and offer you a reprieve from your other subjects, whilst still doing something productive. Major works are often built around your own areas of interest and can, therefore, be enjoyable to work on. This helps to combat against boredom and a lack of motivation that may arise in other subject areas where you don’t have a choice in what you learn about.
Is it relevant to what you want to do in the future?
When deciding what subjects to take in Years 11 and 12, you should really consider choosing those that align with your future career path. A major work subject would be a good idea if you plan on entering an industry where you are expected to be producing work under strict deadlines. It can also be a good indicator of what the workload at university will be like for certain degrees, where there is a greater focus on independent learning and the completion of larger assignments. Experiencing this in high school through a major work can either confirm your future aspirations or help you realise that you want to go down a different path. Regardless of which of these it is, choosing to do a major work would be really beneficial for those who need some clarity about the type of work they want to be doing in the future.
It is really important that you do take the time to consider whether doing a major work subject is the best decision for you. A little extra research now can save you from a lot of stress and anxiety in Years 11 and 12, helping you make the most of your final years in high school.
Like what you’ve read? Decided a major work is the right choice for you? Check out some of these other articles for more help.
Jessica is a first-year university student completing a Bachelor of Arts/Advanced Studies (Media and Communications). Having completed the HSC in 2019, she is no stranger to the daily struggles of the current high school student. When not writing, you can find her scouring the web for cheap flights or playing with her dogs.