When choosing school subjects, it is good to start by working out those you enjoy and those you are strongest at. For many pathways, you do not need to have studied particular NCEA subjects at school. However, if you have a career goal, then it is important to find out if any subjects are required.
Typically, required subjects needed to study or train for certain pathways are maths and sciences, so you need to bear this in mind. It is also helpful to know if any other subjects are recommended and useful for careers you might be interested in.
NCEA subjects you enjoy may link to your interests in and outside of school. Sometimes you may never have studied a subject but want to try it out. If a student has not got a clear idea of a future career, then keeping their subjects broad at school is a good idea.
Here is a really useful guide about How to Choose NCEA subjects.
Bear the following points in mind
- Some subjects are useful for knowledge and skills, but others are strongly recommended to see success in certain areas of tertiary study.
- Studying Science at NCEA Level 1 keeps options open for some trades and roles in the NZ Defence Force.
- Basic Maths and English are needed at Level 1 for most jobs.
- Only a very small number of university courses have compulsory requirements. These tend to be Science and Maths subjects.
- English-rich subjects (such as English, History, Classics, Geography etc) can be required for some degrees.
For further information on recommended and required subjects for careers pathways, read this: Liston Careers – Subject Selection Information Guide
Useful school subject information resources for tertiary study
- University of Auckland – Guide to Choosing School Subjects 2022
- University of Otago – Required & Recommended Background Subjects
- University of Wellington – Recommended School Subjects
- AUT – Choosing High School Subjects to Prepare For a University Future
- Massey University – Recommended & Required School Subjects in Prospectus (Pages 46-48)
- University of Waikato – Guide to Choosing School Subjects
- University of Canterbury – Year 13 High School Students
Some tools to help with school subject choice:
- AUT – Subject Choices Tool
- University of Auckland – Discover career pathways & study options
- Careers NZ – Subject Matcher
- University of Canterbury – What subjects do you enjoy?