Introduction to Year 11 Subjects

Overview of Preliminary Course requirements for students


In Stage 6 (Year 11 and 12), all courses have a value of 1 unit or 2 units. Most courses are 2 unit courses. All 2 Unit courses are divided into a Preliminary Course, completed in Year 11 Terms 1-3, and an HSC course, beginning in Year 11 Term 4 and concluding with the final HSC examinations. To take an HSC course, a student must have successfully completed the corresponding Preliminary course.


Director of Curriculum Strategy: Philip Mundy

Subject Requirements
Building Your Subject Package

In the Preliminary Course (Year 11), students must take:
• 2 units of English (Standard or Advanced)
• 2 units of Mathematics (Standard or Advanced)*
• 2 unit elective
• 2 unit elective
• 2 unit elective
• 2 unit elective

This results in a total of 12 units, which is the minimum number required to complete the Preliminary year.

On top of these base 12 units, students may then optionally choose to add 1U English Extension or 1U Mathematics Extension. Suitable students can also choose to take the compressed 1U Studies of Religion course, where they take both the preliminary and HSC course in Year 11. This must be taken in conjunction with English or Maths Extension and students take one less 2-unit Elective course.

* We encourage all students to study a Mathematics course. If a student does not wish to take Mathematics, they can choose the “Request Meeting” option in the online form. Students will then need to attend a meeting with the Director of Studies to discuss their subject package. Unfortunately there is no guarantee of an alternative subject and it is possible that a student will still be required to study Mathematics in the Preliminary Course (Terms 1-3).

When building your subject package, please note the following:

  • All students will still have one period of Christian Studies per week.
  • Students can take a maximum of 2 units of external study (e.g. TVET courses, external language)
  • Language courses offered at Barker (2U Continuers) require students to have studied the corresponding language in Year 10.
  • Where possible, 1 Unit courses will be incorporated into the regular timetable. However, these classes are often taught in early morning lessons commencing at 7:30am.

Three principles should be borne in mind when choosing your subjects:

  • What do I like and enjoy? Choose subjects which interest you.
  • What am I good at? Choose subjects in which you are capable of doing well.
  • What might I need for the future? Realistically consider your post-school career and goals, and choose subjects that will assist you to meet these.

You should select your pattern of study carefully as the subjects chosen at the beginning of Year 11 set the pattern for your HSC year. You cannot pick up a subject in Year 12 if you have not studied it in Year 11. Students will only be allowed to swap courses up to the end of Week 4 of Term 1, and even then only if the timetable and class sizes allow it. Students wishing to change courses may be required to carry out an assessment task to determine their suitability for the new course, and it is the responsibility of the student to catch up on work already covered prior to the change.

Please note that classes will only form if sufficient numbers of students select that subject. 

NSW Education Standards Authority Regulations

To meet the following NESA regulations for the award of the Higher School Certificate, students must:
• Complete a minimum of 12 units in the Preliminary Course
• Complete a minimum of 10 units in the HSC course
• Complete the Preliminary course satisfactorily before they are eligible to commence the corresponding HSC Course (Year 12)

In both the Preliminary and HSC years, students must also:
• Complete at least 6 units from Board Developed Courses (all courses taught onsite at Barker are Board Developed Courses) including at least 2 units of a Board Developed Course in English
• Complete at least three courses of 2 units value or greater
• Complete at least four subjects (Extension subjects count as the same subject as the corresponding 2-unit course)
• No more than 6 units of Science in the Preliminary course
• No more than 7 units of Science in the HSC course

The Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) is based on a students' performance in 10 units of HSC courses, comprising:
• At least two units of English
• 8 more units chosen from the remaining courses

University Entry and Bonus Point Schemes

Many universities use flexible entry and bonus point schemes. Regional universities, for example, will offer students bonus points if they come from schools within their catchment area. However, that there is no consistency in how these schemes are applied from one university to the next. A particular university’s bonus point scheme should not be a factor when making decisions about subjects.

Information about those schemes can be found at the various university websites. If parents or students have any questions regarding Bonus Point Schemes, they should contact the Dean of Careers and External Programs.

Ultimately the responsibility rests with the student for understanding the conditions of bonus points for which they might qualify.

Year 11