Subject Selection

Choosing school subjects

Choose subjects you enjoy as you will be motivated to learn.

Here are some tips to help you make a decision about what school subjects to choose:

Know your options

Here at Southland Boys’ High School we offer a number of different options such as Technology, Catering, Design & Visual Communication and Languages just to name a few.  Some of the options you can take may vary depending on your timetable.

Curriculum Pathways

Curriculum Pathway 2022

Think about your abilities and interests at school

What subjects are you good at or not so good at? What does this tell you about yourself? Are you a good writer, good with numbers, a practical person? Which subjects have you enjoyed studying? Which do you dislike and why?

Keep your career options open

Most people change their minds about what they want to do in the future. Your interests and abilities will change over time, or you might find out about new careers that you had never heard of before.

If you’re unsure about what job you want to do, try to study a wide range of subjects at school. This will give you more options later on.

Choosing your Subjects

Instructions for using the portal to complete subject selection – Juniors


  • The subjects you are studying this year and your achievements so far.  Talk to subject teachers if you have doubts about your ability to cope with the work
  • Note any compulsory subjects
  • Select the optional subjects that interest you and you are good at
  • Your possible career.  Check out requirements and discuss these with Careers and Guidance staff
  • Most scientific or engineering careers must include Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry
  • Few science careers require Physics without Chemistry; or Biology without Chemistry
  • Mathematics and English are needed for most careers
  • Employers are more often interested in your results and attitude to work rather than the actual subjects chosen
  • Try to avoid choosing subjects for the wrong reason.  It would be foolish to give too much weight to:

– Teachers you like or dislike
– The subjects your friends are planning to take
– Subjects you think might help you pass examinations, but are not in your future career interests


  1. Your choice of subject will be checked by senior staff.  If considered necessary, or where subject choice and career are at variance, an interview will be arranged.
  2. Subject availability is dependent each year upon staffing, student numbers and funding.  As much as possible we try to meet the needs of each student.

Print out this plan to help you decide which subjects to take in your next school year.

Choosing school subjects

Step 1: Work out what subjects you enjoy:

  • Subjects I like doing now
  • Subjects I’m interested in doing next year that I haven’t already studied
  • Subjects that include activities I like doing outside of school
    • e.g. playing music, helping people, thinking creatively

Step 2: Work out what subjects you are good at

  • Subjects I am strongest in
  • Subjects others say I’m good at

Step 3: Find out what subjects you need for your career ideas

Explore the Jobs database on the Careers New Zealand website to find out what subjects you need for your career ideas.

  • Career ideas
  • Subjects I need

Course Selection Assistance

Normally, we run an evening for parents to be able to come and discuss any questions surrounding options selections, but unfortunately, Level 2 COVID-19 precautions mean that we are unable to run this as we have in previous years.

We understand that you will likely have specific questions about courses that you would like addressed to help you and your son make the right choices for his needs.

The following staff will be happy to answer your questions regarding courses.

Subject Area Head of Faculty or Department Email address
Art Jenny Adamson
Careers Loretta Schmidt
Commerce Nikki Armishaw
Digital Technologies Daniel Greenwood
Drama and Theatre Tech Pip Smith
English Laurel Hepburn
Health & Physical Well-Being Sander Meijer
Languages Midori Sasaki
Learning Support Nic Lamont
Maths John Moore
Media Studies Simone Cameron
Music Michael Buick
Outdoor Education Libby Hamilton
Science Chris Boyce

Ian Welsh

Social Sciences Alex Hughes
Te Reo Maori Junior Tonga
Technology Ambrose Bisschops
Vocational Pathways Michael Buick


If you have questions about NCEA in general, or are uncertain about who to speak to, please contact Michael Buick, Senior Master – Curriculum ( ) for more assistance.

Looking for career ideas?

Use the interactive tools on the Careers New Zealand website to help you get some career ideas:

Subject Matcher – job ideas based on subjects you enjoy

Jobs by Interest – jobs that relate to areas of work you are interested in

CareerQuest – job ideas based on your interests

Skill Matcher – job ideas based on your skills

Vocational Pathways Introduction

Vocational Pathways for Students and Whanau (External Website)

Still unsure about what career would suit you?

It’s OK if you don’t know what you want to do in the future. Studying a broad range of subjects will keep your career options open.  Keeping up with English, Maths and at least one Science subject is a good place to start.

Talk it over

Talk about your subject choices with your parents and whānau, teachers and careers advisers.

Talk to Careers New Zealand advisers if you need more help.
Call 0800 222 733 or chat online.

Levels and Credits

Y11 Level 1 NCEA – working towards (100-120 credits)

Y12 Level 2 NCEA – working towards (100-120 credits)

Y13 Level 3 NCEA – working towards (80- 100 credits)

Please note: students can work at more than one Level in a year, depending on their previous year’s grades e.g. Level 2 English but working at Level 1 Maths if they did not pass Maths in the previous year.


  • Students begin working on Level 1 credits in Year 10


  • To qualify for Level 2 you must have completed your Level 1 course
  • In general, all subjects have entry requirements.  Students should check with teachers to find out what these are.  Entry requirements are established based on engagement, attitude and previous work
  • Placement in Level 2 is at the discretion of the school
  • You will be required to study six subjects
  • English is highly recommended (refer to University Entrance requirements)


  • To gain entry to Level 3 you must have completed your Level 2 course ie: you must have attained 14 credits or more in every subject in your Level 2 course.
  • All students take 5 subjects
  • Any subject can be selected, if it can be timetabled, staffed and there are sufficient numbers
  • Boys aiming for tertiary study should study 5 subjects in Year 13

For more information please go to the Careers Services website:  and click on the parents, family and whānau link.

Here you will find interactive tools that will help you and your son with subject choices, where each subject can lead to and much more.