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Choosing subjects for S3 and S4

During second and third year you'll be encouraged to think about your future learning and career pathways. You'll also need to make decisions about which subjects and courses to take in the senior phase.

This isn't always easy, but it is important! So, it's worth thinking them through properly and planning ahead.

What matters most is taking the subjects and courses that will suit you best.

Options and choices

The range of subjects and courses open to you will depend on your school, and its partners. These may include local colleges and community, youth and voluntary groups. Each school develops a curriculum to suit the needs of its own pupils.

At the end of third year you'll have the opportunity to review your subject choices; your teachers will use your S3 profile to help you decide which subjects and qualifications you want to study in fourth year and beyond.

Remember! It's important to choose subjects and courses that will keep your future study and career options as open as possible.

If you are thinking of going to university you need to be aware that some university courses including dentistry, dietetics, engineering, medicine, pharmacy, physiotherapy, radiography and science ask applicants for at least two science subjects. A few courses including chemical engineering, dentistry, medicine and orthoptics will ask for three sciences. Fortunately, Maths is counted as a science! And, it may be possible to take a third science in S6.

The 'do's and don'ts' of subject choice

Do...

Don't...

How to choose

Here are some simple steps you can take to help you choose.

  1. Work out which subjects you like most.
  2. Work out which subjects you are good at.
  3. Check with your teachers that they agree with your views on your progress.
  4. Find out about any subjects you haven't studied before. You can do this by:
    • reading the school's Options Booklet
    • talking with the teachers who deliver the subject in class
    • reading the subject descriptions in the Schools section of Planit.
  5. Think about your skills and interests. There are two online skills and interests self-assessments on Planit. Just sign up for a portfolio, complete the assessments and print out your report.
  6. Identify your strongest skills and favourite interests.
  7. Explore future career options - see the Careers A-Z and CareerMatch tools on Planit.

Don't worry if you don't have any particular career interests yet. It's OK, most people don't or have only vague ideas at this point.

Planit has lots of tools and resources designed to help you make your subject choices. As well as our bank of job profiles and the career interest quiz, CareerMatch,  you can also use:

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