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Choosing subjects in S5

Hello guys! How are you today? :biggrin:
I am going to move to Scotland and enrol a high school. As I am in S5, I need to choose 5 subjects, but I haven't studied any course . I don't want to be too stressful and that is difficult for me to catch up if I choose 5 higher subjects (as I am keen on choosing bio, chem ,hist,geo,math. Especially bio and chem, which are hard to crash.) Therefore I choose 5 N5 ,but I am worried is that fine to study 5 Highers in S6 and then apply University or repeat S6 to finish Avanced Higher?
Or will it be hard if I choose 5 Highers in S5? (with 2 science subjects)
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by lcn__le
Hello guys! How are you today?I am going to move to Scotland and enrolling a high school. As I am in S5, I need to choose 5 subjects, but I haven't studied any course . I don't want to be too stressful and that is difficult for me to catch up if I choose 5 higher subjects (as I am keen on choosing bio, chem ,hist,geo,math. Especially bio and chem, which are hard to crash.) Therefore I choose 5 N5 ,but I am worried is that fine to study 5 Highers in S6 and then apply University or repeat S6 to finish Avanced Higher?

Hello! Personally, I think it's fine to do Nat 5s in S5, but I would definitely have a chat with your teachers before since some competitive universities/courses do prefer applicants with Highers completed in S5.

I would recommend doing N5 English and Maths (if you're not studying them at Higher) since many jobs in the UK and Unis require a pass in these subjects.

In my school we were only allowed to do a maximum of 4 subjects in S6, (a mix of Highers and Advanced Highers are fine), but I guess that can change depending on schools. I don't know if you can repeat S6 though to do Advanced Highers...

When I did 5 Highers, looking back it was ok, but it was pretty stressful at times, more fast paced compared to N5 and I did have to put way more work and time into my subjects to do well. Strangely though I did find Higher Bio easier than N5 bio...
(edited 1 year ago)
Where from (what stage of education where you are, is there any overlap) and when are you coming? You are moving at a very difficult time. What ever I say below is how it was in my school as some schools can be different.

Both the NAT5 and Higher courses will be well under way and schools started back from summer break this week. In my school NAT5 started after easter and Higher/Advanced Higher early June straight after the NAT5 exams were finished. Prelims at our school were before Christmas break. Subject choices are restricted by columns and English is strongly recommended at NAT5 and Higher (almost mandatory).

You night not be allowed to take only 5 NAT5s in S5 as that would not be a full timetable. Pupils normally do 6-7 NAT5s, some do 8.

I have never heard of anyone repeating S6. Once S6 is done, if you don't have the highers/advanced higher you need for university (in scotland) the next step is usually going to college and the NC/HNC/HND route.

But, some school do things differently, you need to get in touch with the school you plan to go to, find out how they operate and talk to them about your aspirations.

good luck.
Reply 3
I am now in S4 and coming to Scotland in October. Yea, I am moving at a very difficult time as the school start in September :frown:
Reply 4
Original post by human404
Hello! Personally, I think it's fine to do Nat 5s in S5, but I would definitely have a chat with your teachers before since some competitive universities/courses do prefer applicants with Highers completed in S5.

I would recommend doing N5 English and Maths (if you're not studying them at Higher) since many jobs in the UK and Unis require a pass in these subjects.

In my school we were only allowed to do a maximum of 4 subjects in S6, (a mix of Highers and Advanced Highers are fine), but I guess that can change depending on schools. I don't know if you can repeat S6 though to do Advanced Highers...

When I did 5 Highers, looking back it was ok, but it was pretty stressful at times, more fast paced compared to N5 and I did have to put way more work and time into my subjects to do well. Strangely though I did find Higher Bio easier than N5 bio...

Ohh , Higher Bio is easier than N5 Bio?oo
Original post by lcn__le
Ohh , Higher Bio is easier than N5 Bio?oo

Well, personally I found Higher bio easier than N5 bio, but I don't know if that's the same for everyone.

I did think Higher Bio was way more interesting and some of it was common sense (particularly Unit 2) which made revising a lot easier.

I would say having an understanding of N5 bio is important if you want to succeed in Higher bio.

However, one thing to note is that problem solving questions can be harder.
(edited 1 year ago)
That is s***, got to assume your parents have no choice on the timing or any alternatives as it is really critical time for your education.

Where are you coming from? Have you sat exams in your current school? GCSEs?

You (or your parents) really need to speak to the school to find out what can be done as you will have missed a big chunk of the courses starting in October, but I expect they will have faced this before and will know what to do for the best.


Would your birthday allow you you to start in S4 rather than S5? Remember the cutoff dates for starting school in Scotland are different and there is also the option to defer a year automatically if you have a Jan-Feb, or Sep-Dec birthday if approved. That would let you settle in and do NAT5 in S4 in the coming year, then give you time to get H/AH in S5/S6.
i moved to scotland in s5 last year in the middle of the course (and got a place in november after a month of discussing withe the council) with no UK / international qualifications whatsoever except my country's. I took 6 highers due to a miscommunication with the head and it was all highers, all sciences plus higher english (first language, not ESOL). Lucky for me maths was what i was quite good at, physics was doable, but totally flunked bio and chem. But with lots of revisions and copying the studying and exam techniques of my mates i managed to get 3As, 2Bs, and a C in my worst subject (engineering). Overall I'd say doing 5 highers is doable if you put your mind to it. Good luck and welcome to scotland :biggrin:
Reply 8
Hi what were the revision and studying exam techniques u used. Need help!
Original post by Rottero_A21
i moved to scotland in s5 last year in the middle of the course (and got a place in november after a month of discussing withe the council) with no UK / international qualifications whatsoever except my country's. I took 6 highers due to a miscommunication with the head and it was all highers, all sciences plus higher english (first language, not ESOL). Lucky for me maths was what i was quite good at, physics was doable, but totally flunked bio and chem. But with lots of revisions and copying the studying and exam techniques of my mates i managed to get 3As, 2Bs, and a C in my worst subject (engineering). Overall I'd say doing 5 highers is doable if you put your mind to it. Good luck and welcome to scotland :biggrin:
Original post by f2jar
Hi what were the revision and studying exam techniques u used. Need help!

bear in mind that my revision technique might not be applicable to everyone hehe
1. Maths: i really hate to brag but I really didn't do lots of revision because some topics are already taught at my old school before moving and the others aren't really that hard if you practice enough. Write down notes along with examples then either do exercises on heinemann/hodder gibson books or google past papers (do the ones from 2021 then build up to 2017 (since older papers tend to be harder))
2. Physics: write down more notes than maths since there're more stuff to remember. Try visualizing questions as well as discussing them with friends or teachers, memorise important facts using flashcards
3. English: for critical essays you will be writing them based on a book/drama. Fully understand the essence of the plot then write down relevant notes. ANSWER the question, don't ramble on about something related to the text without actually answring the questions. For RUAE you need to understand the passage from the author's point of view as well as being able to identify their tone (cheerful, sad, sarcastic (easier to spot)). For your portofolio pick a topic that you're angry about, like climate change if it's a broadly discursive essay, or a villain with a traumatic backstory seeking reveng, if it's a broadly subjective essay. Rage-typing is usually very effective
4. Bio and Chem: write down even more notes
than Physics, practise answering open ended questions, and use flashcards

find mates who're studying the same subjects as you and get to know their revision techniques as well as their prespective on some topics. If you weren't taught in english in your old school your friends can show or teach you how to answer extended response and essay questions

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