The mysterious “8th paper”
You can take an eighth paper during the second semester. This is common practice now and many people who achieve entrance to the more competitive courses take this. The beauty is that it does not count if things go terribly wrong and you fail it, yet it does count if you do well at it. You can just choose from the list the easiest course, and aim to boost your grades this way, but remember even if you think it is easy it might distract you from other studies, or, you know, having a life. The professional courses will take your best seven grades into consideration, so if you pick up an extra paper and do better than one of the prescribed HSFY papers this will replace your lesser mark*
Who should really consider it? We would recommend having a look at some of the papers if the results from the first semester left you in limbo somewhat, but you’re a hard worker and you are looking to boost your grade point average a few points.
There is a set list of papers from which you can choose an extra paper to pick up in the second semester. The options available should be outlined in your course information materials, and can also be found on the University website here. Some people will claim one course is easier than the other, treat this knowledge with skepticism and pursue something you might enjoy as well as do well in.
Many people choose to sacrifice what they are interested in for subjects that will get them the necessary marks. Depending on your grade average after the first semester this might be an option for you, but keep in mind that you are usually more likely to do well in a subject that you are interested in. Have a look at the previous exam scripts in order to see which one suits you, if any.
* Unfortunately, if you have scored below the minimum requirement for Medicine, Dentistry or Physiotherapy in ANY of the prescribed HSFY papers, you will be ineligible for those programs regardless of whether you take an eighth paper or not. So make sure you know what these requirements are and meet them! This is a common point of confusion amongst students.