Are you considering taking an accelerated VCE subject? Here’s your answers on all your questions relating to accelerated subjects!
When completing VCE, many students find it helpful to complete an accelerated subject. This is a decision which requires a lot of thought and research prior to starting VCE, but can assist students a lot as they approach the end of their VCE studies.
What is an accelerated subject?
Accelerated subjects are VCE unit 1/2 and 3/4 subjects completed at least a year earlier than anticipated. Typically, unit 1/2 subjects are undertaken in year 11, and unit 3/4 subjects are taken in year 12, so students may for example choose to do a certain unit 1/2 subject in year 10, and a unit 3/4 subject in year 11.
The selection of accelerated subjects will depend on your school, so it is important to speak with your school’s course coordinator, subject coordinators, and other relevant staff before selecting which accelerated subject you would like to complete. Popular choices for accelerated subjects such as biology, business management, geography and psychology are often chosen by students completing their unit 3/4 subject a year early since they are more memorisation-based. Languages are often another popular choice for students who are native speakers of a language or have studied a language for a long time.
How do I complete an accelerated subject?
The process of applying to complete an accelerated subject will depend on your school. However, one thing in common for most schools is that you will have to consult a course coordinator, subject coordinators, and other relevant staff to receive permission to complete a subject early. You may also need to obtain specific results in some of your subjects to be allowed to take an accelerated subject in the next year.
Why complete an accelerated subject?
There are many benefits of taking an accelerated subject.
Firstly, most students will find it difficult to take 5 or 6 unit 3/4 subjects in year 12, so they may choose to complete an accelerated subject. Most schools will typically require you to take a minimum of 4 or 5 unit 3/4 subjects in year 12, which hence leaves the possibility of taking an accelerated subject. This will mean that you can take less subjects in year 12, whilst still meeting the requirement of the minimum amount of VCE subjects you need to study. Taking 5 or 6 unit 3/4 subjects in year 12 is really challenging and stressful, so completing a subject early can give you more time to study and take breaks when you complete year 12. Also, since your unit 1/2 subjects will not be weighted towards your ATAR in year 12 (aside from the fact you need to achieve satisfactory completion), you can have more time to focus on your accelerated 3/4 subject. Keep in mind though that any unit 3/4 subjects you take in year 11 will be weighted towards your ATAR.
Completing accelerated VCE subjects will also introduce you to what it is like to take a VCE subject. Unit 3/4 subjects are a difficult transition from unit 1/2 as not only the content is more challenging, but the assessments such as SACs and exams are also very different for most subjects. Although the style of exam(s) may be different for subjects you take in year 12 as opposed to the accelerated subjects in year 11, you can still get to know the expectations of completing a VCE subject.
For example, I completed unit 3/4 French in year 11, and unit 3/4 Japanese Second Language in year 12. Doing French a year early taught me about the expectations around study, such as how practising a language is something that needs to be done daily, and not studied for right before an assessment. I also learnt many tips and tricks for preparing for the oral and written exams. After completing French, I was able to take the study and preparation skills I learned and apply them to Japanese. The experience of completing an accelerated subject really does help you in year 12!
Other information about accelerated subjects
If you are completing a unit 3/4 subject in year 11, you may need to complete the corresponding unit 1/2 subject in year 10. This means that you need to be sure of your subject selection in year 9. However, some schools may allow you to skip the unit 1/2 in year 10 and go straight to completing the unit 3/4 in year 11 for some subjects.
Some schools may allow you to take 2 accelerated VCE subjects, however, this is rare and the maximum number of accelerated subjects you can take is typically 1. If you are considering taking 2 accelerated subjects, be sure to consult your school first. Taking 2 accelerated subjects is also challenging since it increases your workload in year 11 considerably, however, it will also mean that your workload in year 12 will be much lighter.
Keep in mind that your accelerated subject should not be a subject that scales massively, but rather, a subject that you will enjoy and think will be convenient to complete a year early. This will give you motivation to study for it, and with more focus on the subject in year 11, you are likely to do well in it! You should do research on what accelerated subjects are available in your school, and which one is best for you.
This blog was written by our Chemistry tutor, Leonie! You can find her profile here
“My name is Leonie and I’m currently studying a Bachelor of Engineering and Arts at Monash University. Having recently completed VCE, I currently tutor physics, chemistry, maths and Japanese SL, with the hopes to help students make the most out of their studies and achieve the marks they are aiming for. “