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what to drop? (1 Viewer)

cyniczny

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we got a few exam results back and although most were good, french continuers was pretty bad. i got 13/15 in writing, but only 15/25 in listening, which is easily my weakest area. the exam also weighed 40%, which means even if i full mark the rest of the assessments i won't be getting a very high overall score. there's only 3 people in my french class, so even if i rank last i'll be getting my own mark since the others are pretty good, but i don't know if i can pull myself up to a band 6 which is quite important to me. i also do french extension, and i've found it really fun and i don't want to drop it - no assessments yet though.

before we got these results i was planning to drop maths standard since it wasn't relevant to my future courses etc. and it doesn't scale too well, leaving me on 11 units. however, i ranked first in year 11 and for our assignment this term i got 99% - so i'm thinking i should drop my 3 units of french and go down to 10 units overall, since if i keep maths up it'll boost my atar more than french. i'm hesitant about that though, because a lot of people from advanced dropped down, and i'm assuming they'll naturally be better than me, so ranking first will be harder.

anyone have any ideas on what to drop?
 

5uckerberg

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First and foremost what do you intend to do with yourself what do you like doing? I am about to say something that I would claim to be very tempting but given this is you not me I will try to weigh up the situation. Since you are not so inclined into maths then your subjects by assumption would be French Extension, English Advanced, Legal Studies and Business Studies and Economics and lastly Standard Maths. Did I get any wrong?
 

cyniczny

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my other subjects are 4u english, legal, and polish continuers - doing quite well in all those units so not worried about them - only about maths/french tbh
 

jimmysmith560

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Let's compare your situation in each subject in a thorough manner, including the advantages and disadvantages of taking one of the paths that you are considering, which will hopefully enable you to make an informed decision.

Path 1 - Keep French Continuers and French Extension and drop Mathematics Standard:

The advantages of this path include:
  • You enjoy French Extension, and don't want to drop it. This can act as a motive to also keep French Continuers as you need to take French Continuers concurrently with French Extension since the former is a corequisite to the latter.
  • While favourable performance, demonstrated through favourable results, is essential, the marks that you achieve in your school-based assessment tasks/exams are not the focus, ranks are. While 40% has already been determined, there is still 60% yet to be determined, meaning that you still have a significant chance of turning things around in your favour by addressing your area(s) of weakness (such as listening), leading to a favourable rank (1st in the case of your 3-student cohort). This would be optimal in terms of your Assessment Mark as the highest Assessment Mark is adjusted to equal the highest Examination Mark of any student in your school cohort. Even you remain ranked third, you may still be able to benefit from the fact that the lowest Assessment Mark is adjusted to equal the lowest Examination Mark of any student in your school cohort, provided you achieve the lowest Examination Mark, which can still be a very good mark as you are suggesting that the other 2 students are good at this subject.
  • There is no assessable listening component in terms of French Extension.
  • You are yet to complete an assessment task for French Extension, meaning that you definitely have a good chance to perform well in this subject.
The disadvantages of this path include:
  • Despite the lack of a listening component, French Extension is a more demanding subject than French Continuers. Whether this will be a problem is dependent on your own performance in French Extension, which you can definitely control through effective preparations.
  • Benefiting from the moderation process while being ranked third is only a possibility that cannot necessarily be guaranteed. Ranking as high as possible is always the better option.
Path 2 - Keep Mathematics Standard and drop both French Continuers and French Extension:

The advantages of this path include:
  • You are performing well in Mathematics Standard and may continue performing well in the rest of your school-based assessment tasks/exams, maximising your chances of ranking favourably and ultimately maximising its overall contribution to your ATAR.
The disadvantages of this path include:
  • Mathematics Standard is not relevant in terms of your future studies.
  • There may be increased competition within your cohort from existing Mathematics Standard students in addition to students who dropped from Mathematics Advanced to Mathematics Standard.
  • Choosing this path will leave you with 10 units and hence no backup of any kind, as opposed to 11 units, where you may benefit from 1 backup unit. Whether you will need a backup unit is dependent on your performance. Students may or may not end up needing their backup unit(s), depending on their overall performance.
  • While not a primary factor, choosing this path means keeping a relatively low scaling subject and dropping French Continuers and French Extension, which scale approximately the same as Mathematics Advanced and Mathematics Extension 1 respectively.
I hope this helps! 😄
 

sab13562

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Let's compare your situation in each subject in a thorough manner, including the advantages and disadvantages of taking one of the paths that you are considering, which will hopefully enable you to make an informed decision.

Path 1 - Keep French Continuers and French Extension and drop Mathematics Standard:

The advantages of this path include:
  • You enjoy French Extension, and don't want to drop it. This can act as a motive to also keep French Continuers as you need to take French Continuers concurrently with French Extension since the former is a corequisite to the latter.
  • While favourable performance, demonstrated through favourable results, is essential, the marks that you achieve in your school-based assessment tasks/exams are not the focus, ranks are. While 40% has already been determined, there is still 60% yet to be determined, meaning that you still have a significant chance of turning things around in your favour by addressing your area(s) of weakness (such as listening), leading to a favourable rank (1st in the case of your 3-student cohort). This would be optimal in terms of your Assessment Mark as the highest Assessment Mark is adjusted to equal the highest Examination Mark of any student in your school cohort. Even you remain ranked third, you may still be able to benefit from the fact that the lowest Assessment Mark is adjusted to equal the lowest Examination Mark of any student in your school cohort, provided you achieve the lowest Examination Mark, which can still be a very good mark as you are suggesting that the other 2 students are good at this subject.
  • There is no assessable listening component in terms of French Extension.
  • You are yet to complete an assessment task for French Extension, meaning that you definitely have a good chance to perform well in this subject.
The disadvantages of this path include:
  • Despite the lack of a listening component, French Extension is a more demanding subject than French Continuers. Whether this will be a problem is dependent on your own performance in French Extension, which you can definitely control through effective preparations.
  • Benefiting from the moderation process while being ranked third is only a possibility that cannot necessarily be guaranteed. Ranking as high as possible is always the better option.
Path 2 - Keep Mathematics Standard and drop both French Continuers and French Extension:

The advantages of this path include:
  • You are performing well in Mathematics Standard and may continue performing well in the rest of your school-based assessment tasks/exams, maximising your chances of ranking favourably and ultimately maximising its overall contribution to your ATAR.
The disadvantages of this path include:
  • Mathematics Standard is not relevant in terms of your future studies.
  • There may be increased competition within your cohort from existing Mathematics Standard students in addition to students who dropped from Mathematics Advanced to Mathematics Standard.
  • Choosing this path will leave you with 10 units and hence no backup of any kind, as opposed to 11 units, where you may benefit from 1 backup unit. Whether you will need a backup unit is dependent on your performance. Students may or may not end up needing their backup unit(s), depending on their overall performance.
  • While not a primary factor, choosing this path means keeping a relatively low scaling subject and dropping French Continuers and French Extension, which scale approximately the same as Mathematics Advanced and Mathematics Extension 1 respectively.
I hope this helps! 😄
Just curious but any ideas why French scales higher than Arabic, or why Arabic scales so low in general (continuers) despite being one of the hardest languages In the world?
 

jimmysmith560

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Just curious but any ideas why French scales higher than Arabic, or why Arabic scales so low in general (continuers) despite being one of the hardest languages In the world?
I believe the main reason as to the lower scaling of Arabic compared to French (for example Arabic Continuers vs French Continuers) is due to the type of students taking either subject. What I mean by type is the average level of students in each language, which is affected by whether a student is a native speaker/has a strong linguistic background in the target language. A significant number of students taking Arabic for the HSC either come directly from Arabic-speaking countries or are Australian-born students whose parents encouraged to learn their native language. Of course, there may be students who are not native Arabic speakers/do not have a strong linguistic background in the target language who have a genuine interest in learning the language, leading to them taking the language, although this is not as common with respect to Arabic.

On the other hand, a significant number of students taking French for the HSC come from diverse linguistic backgrounds (i.e. they are not native French speakers/have a strong linguistic background in the target language). Of course, there are definitely students taking French who come directly from French-speaking countries or are Australian-born students whose parents encouraged to learn their native language, although it is important to note that this number is significantly lower than that of equivalent students taking Arabic.
 

sab13562

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Just curious but any ideas why French scales higher than Arabic, or why Arabic scales so low in general (continuers) despite being one of the hardest languages In the world?
[/Q
I believe the main reason as to the lower scaling of Arabic compared to French (for example Arabic Continuers vs French Continuers) is due to the type of students taking either subject. What I mean by type is the average level of students in each language, which is affected by whether a student is a native speaker/has a strong linguistic background in the target language. A significant number of students taking Arabic for the HSC either come directly from Arabic-speaking countries or are Australian-born students whose parents encouraged to learn their native language. Of course, there may be students who are not native Arabic speakers/do not have a strong linguistic background in the target language who have a genuine interest in learning the language, leading to them taking the language, although this is not as common with respect to Arabic.

On the other hand, a significant number of students taking French for the HSC come from diverse linguistic backgrounds (i.e. they are not native French speakers/have a strong linguistic background in the target language). Of course, there are definitely students taking French who come directly from French-speaking countries or are Australian-born students whose parents encouraged to learn their native language, although it is important to note that this number is significantly lower than that of equivalent students taking Arabic.
That makes a lot of sense, but coming from a native speaker, it still does require a lot of effort to do the subject, though probably not as much as non natives. And many students don't study arabic due to its low scaling.

Do you think more people would study Arabic if the scaling were to increase to a level the same or similar to French, more specifically non natives?

I've also realised that the number of students learning languages in the HSC has been decreasing in recent years. What do you think of this and could that link back to the low scaling language subjects have in general?
 

jimmysmith560

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That makes a lot of sense, but coming from a native speaker, it still does require a lot of effort to do the subject, though probably not as much as non natives. And many students don't study arabic due to its low scaling.

Do you think more people would study Arabic if the scaling were to increase to a level the same or similar to French, more specifically non natives?

I've also realised that the number of students learning languages in the HSC has been decreasing in recent years. What do you think of this and could that link back to the low scaling language subjects have in general?
If you don’t mind me asking, I have a few questions regarding the notion of being a native speaker:
  • What is your background?
  • Did you move to Australia from your country of origin in recent years?
Native Arabic speakers who grew up in an Arabic-speaking country and learned Arabic there generally experience very little difficulty (if any) with HSC Arabic (including Arabic Extension) for three reasons:
  • Beginners, Continuers and Extension levels of HSC language subjects are intended as second-language courses for students who either have little to no exposure to the language (Beginners) and wish to change that as well as students who have developed some capacity in the target language and wish to further their exposure (Continuers and Extension). This applies to both Arabic and French (in addition to other languages such as Spanish, Italian and Japanese), although a significant number of students taking French for the HSC actually meet this description, whereas in Arabic, this is to a quite lower extent as I mentioned above.
  • Consistent with the first reason, students who learn Arabic at school in an Arabic-speaking country typically develop a high ability in the language that is beyond the scope of Arabic Extension. For example, concepts such as الإعراب and البحر الشعري (both of which are taught in Arabic-speaking countries) are well beyond the scope of Arabic Extension and assist students in strengthening their overall ability in Standard Arabic. This becomes an advantage to such students as they seek to take Arabic for the HSC. This is in terms of sections requiring a response in Arabic, such as speaking and writing sections.
  • Regarding sections where analytical ability is important, such as reading and responding sections, texts explored in Arabic-speaking countries are more complex than texts explored in Arabic Continuers and Arabic Extension, meaning that such students that decide to take Arabic for the HSC will definitely notice that difference in difficulty/complexity.
I don't believe that many students don't take HSC Arabic due to its scaling. The reason as to the lower candidature of HSC Arabic is because Arabic is not perceived as a popular/mainstream language, as opposed to French, and, more recently, Japanese. Based on this, the only instance where the scaling of HSC Arabic courses can improve is if Arabic becomes a mainstream/popular language and attracts a larger number of non-native speakers. You may have noticed that Japanese was the HSC language subject with the most enrolments this year. This is likely due to the increasing popularity of anime and consequently the increasing number of anime fans who wish to learn Japanese.

I wouldn't say that language subjects have bad scaling in general. While this notion may apply to Beginners language courses, such as French Beginners, other languages/levels scale quite well. For example, French Extension scales approximately the same as Mathematics Extension 1 and Latin Extension scales higher than French Extension. Regarding the decreasing number of HSC language subject enrolments in recent years, it is definitely a sad phenomenon to witness and could be linked to the decreasing interest of newer HSC cohorts in learning a language. If you have a look at LOTE forums on BoS between 2011 and 2016, you may notice that there was a much higher number of threads targeting language subjects in that period than in recent years.

With that being said, multilingualism retains its importance in our modern world.
 

sab13562

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If you don’t mind me asking, I have a few questions regarding the notion of being a native speaker:
  • What is your background?
  • Did you move to Australia from your country of origin in recent years?
Native Arabic speakers who grew up in an Arabic-speaking country and learned Arabic there generally experience very little difficulty (if any) with HSC Arabic (including Arabic Extension) for three reasons:
  • Beginners, Continuers and Extension levels of HSC language subjects are intended as second-language courses for students who either have little to no exposure to the language (Beginners) and wish to change that as well as students who have developed some capacity in the target language and wish to further their exposure (Continuers and Extension). This applies to both Arabic and French (in addition to other languages such as Spanish, Italian and Japanese), although a significant number of students taking French for the HSC actually meet this description, whereas in Arabic, this is to a quite lower extent as I mentioned above.
  • Consistent with the first reason, students who learn Arabic at school in an Arabic-speaking country typically develop a high ability in the language that is beyond the scope of Arabic Extension. For example, concepts such as الإعراب and البحر الشعري (both of which are taught in Arabic-speaking countries) are well beyond the scope of Arabic Extension and assist students in strengthening their overall ability in Standard Arabic. This becomes an advantage to such students as they seek to take Arabic for the HSC. This is in terms of sections requiring a response in Arabic, such as speaking and writing sections.
  • Regarding sections where analytical ability is important, such as reading and responding sections, texts explored in Arabic-speaking countries are more complex than texts explored in Arabic Continuers and Arabic Extension, meaning that such students that decide to take Arabic for the HSC will definitely notice that difference in difficulty/complexity.
I don't believe that many students don't take HSC Arabic due to its scaling. The reason as to the lower candidature of HSC Arabic is because Arabic is not perceived as a popular/mainstream language, as opposed to French, and, more recently, Japanese. Based on this, the only instance where the scaling of HSC Arabic courses can improve is if Arabic becomes a mainstream/popular language and attracts a larger number of non-native speakers. You may have noticed that Japanese was the HSC language subject with the most enrolments this year. This is likely due to the increasing popularity of anime and consequently the increasing number of anime fans who wish to learn Japanese.

I wouldn't say that language subjects have bad scaling in general. While this notion may apply to Beginners language courses, such as French Beginners, other languages/levels scale quite well. For example, French Extension scales approximately the same as Mathematics Extension 1 and Latin Extension scales higher than French Extension. Regarding the decreasing number of HSC language subject enrolments in recent years, it is definitely a sad phenomenon to witness and could be linked to the decreasing interest of newer HSC cohorts in learning a language. If you have a look at LOTE forums on BoS between 2011 and 2016, you may notice that there was a much higher number of threads targeting language subjects in that period than in recent years.

With that being said, multilingualism retains its importance in our modern world.
I was born here but come from an Arabic background. I wouldn't say I'm 100% fluent, but I do speak quite a lot of Arabic. Nevertheless, the course was quite challenging and required plenty practice for me.

Since in my school, all people in my class were also born here, I did not realise that many native speakers born overseas actually do Arabic HSC here, and like you said, they do much harder and advanced Arabic than us, which would make sense as to why Arabic doesn't scale the best, but then wouldn't the same apply for French, or is the number of nativr and fluent French students taking HSC French much lower than Arabic?

As for scaling influencing their decision to do Arabic, all my classmates in my Year which I have spoken to have said that the scaling has discouraged them to continue studying Arabic. It was offered as an elective in years 9 and 10, and almost all of us took it, but most didn't do it in their senior years because of scaling. Even the year 10s, when I ask them, they say "Arabic (continuers, beginners is not offered at my school) is a low scaler, that's why I won't be choosing it for year 11." This year, our class consisted of only 3 students, with around 50 taking it in years 9 and 10. Sydney Uni actually has an article on this topic, and has contacted Nesa but not much has changed. The other factors you have mentioned also make sense.

I have tampered with Atar calculators, and found continuers for most languages generally scale low, though not as bad as Beginners, but the Extension languages are great.

Also wow, I did not know French Extension scales so high.

Maybe another reason is less people are doing languages overall is because it does not relate to their career, and many students choose their subjects based on this. 🤔
 

jimmysmith560

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I was born here but come from an Arabic background. I wouldn't say I'm 100% fluent, but I do speak quite a lot of Arabic. Nevertheless, the course was quite challenging and required plenty practice for me.

Since in my school, all people in my class were also born here, I did not realise that many native speakers born overseas actually do Arabic HSC here, and like you said, they do much harder and advanced Arabic than us, which would make sense as to why Arabic doesn't scale the best, but then wouldn't the same apply for French, or is the number of nativr and fluent French students taking HSC French much lower than Arabic?

As for scaling influencing their decision to do Arabic, all my classmates in my Year which I have spoken to have said that the scaling has discouraged them to continue studying Arabic. It was offered as an elective in years 9 and 10, and almost all of us took it, but most didn't do it in their senior years because of scaling. Even the year 10s, when I ask them, they say "Arabic (continuers, beginners is not offered at my school) is a low scaler, that's why I won't be choosing it for year 11." This year, our class consisted of only 3 students, with around 50 taking it in years 9 and 10. Sydney Uni actually has an article on this topic, and has contacted Nesa but not much has changed. The other factors you have mentioned also make sense.

I have tampered with Atar calculators, and found continuers for most languages generally scale low, though not as bad as Beginners, but the Extension languages are great.

Also wow, I did not know French Extension scales so high.

Maybe another reason is less people are doing languages overall is because it does not relate to their career, and many students choose their subjects based on this. 🤔
This is consistent with my point. If you were born in your country of origin and learned Arabic there then moved to Australia and took Arabic for your HSC, you would've noticed a considerable difference in difficulty (in a positive way that is). Regardless, I'm sure that all the effort and practice that you put throughout your senior years will not go in vain, and that you will definitely be happy with your result! 😄

Yep! A significant number of those students attend the Secondary College of Languages (previously known as the Saturday School of Community Languages) which is very similar to the NSW School of Languages in the sense that it allows students to take a language subject not offered at their home school, although at the former, the language requested must be the student’s heritage/background community language, unlike the latter, where students can take any language subject that they wish, as long that they meet the general criteria specified by NESA. Another difference is that the Secondary College of Languages offers Arabic, whereas the NSW School of Languages does not. And yes, the number of francophone students taking French for the HSC is indeed lower than its equivalent number in terms of Arabic. This is possibly due to the Arabic-speaking community being larger than its francophone counterpart.

If your classmates chose not to continue studying Arabic due to its unfavourable scaling, then it is likely that they also find it difficult and would consequently find that it is not worth the effort. This is because the more favourable a student's performance is in a particular subject, the less significant the effect of scaling will be. Based on this, a link between the scaling and difficulty of a subject can be established. Take Mathematics Standard for example, it is not considered to be a high scaling subject, although favourable performance is definitely possible in this subject, and when this is the case, the effect of scaling will likely be negligible. This is the aspect that native speakers don't mind, as they know that their performance will be favourable despite the unfavourable scaling because to them, HSC Arabic is of lower difficulty.

Regarding Arabic Beginners, it has been suspended following the 2019 HSC examination because when the candidature of an HSC course falls below 15 for each of three consecutive years, the subject is suspended and this is why Arabic Beginners is not offered at your school:


Arabic is a very rich language, and it is definitely sad that not many non-natives attempt to take Arabic for the HSC. This is likely due to a number of factors:
  • Arabic is one of the most difficult languages in the world (there are debates as to whether it is more difficult than Mandarin, which it is, in some aspects, although that is a different topic). This alone may discourage students thinking about choosing it for their HSC from doing so (especially non-natives).
  • Significant difficulty for non-natives, in addition to rather unfavourable scaling, can only make matters worse for those thinking about taking Arabic for the HSC.
  • Popularity is also an important factor (as mentioned above). Despite the fact that a language like Japanese uses three different writing systems (all of which share no similarity with English), one can notice an increase in the number of students taking Japanese for the HSC, which is highly likely due to the increasing popularity of anime. If the Arabic language had this popularity, there would have likely been an increase in the number of students (particularly non-natives) taking it for the HSC, despite its difficulty.
Indeed, most Extension language courses offer more favourable scaling as you mentioned.

That is definitely a possible reason as to why fewer people are taking language subjects for the HSC, although if we consider former HSC students like you and me, you took Economics and Business Studies which are relevant to what you intend to study and I took Business Studies which is also relevant to what I am currently studying, although this did not stop us from taking Arabic and French for our HSC.

:D .انه موضوع مثير للاهتمام بلا شك
 

sab13562

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This is consistent with my point. If you were born in your country of origin and learned Arabic there then moved to Australia and took Arabic for your HSC, you would've noticed a considerable difference in difficulty (in a positive way that is). Regardless, I'm sure that all the effort and practice that you put throughout your senior years will not go in vain, and that you will definitely be happy with your result! 😄

Yep! A significant number of those students attend the Secondary College of Languages (previously known as the Saturday School of Community Languages) which is very similar to the NSW School of Languages in the sense that it allows students to take a language subject not offered at their home school, although at the former, the language requested must be the student’s heritage/background community language, unlike the latter, where students can take any language subject that they wish, as long that they meet the general criteria specified by NESA. Another difference is that the Secondary College of Languages offers Arabic, whereas the NSW School of Languages does not. And yes, the number of francophone students taking French for the HSC is indeed lower than its equivalent number in terms of Arabic. This is possibly due to the Arabic-speaking community being larger than its francophone counterpart.

If your classmates chose not to continue studying Arabic due to its unfavourable scaling, then it is likely that they also find it difficult and would consequently find that it is not worth the effort. This is because the more favourable a student's performance is in a particular subject, the less significant the effect of scaling will be. Based on this, a link between the scaling and difficulty of a subject can be established. Take Mathematics Standard for example, it is not considered to be a high scaling subject, although favourable performance is definitely possible in this subject, and when this is the case, the effect of scaling will likely be negligible. This is the aspect that native speakers don't mind, as they know that their performance will be favourable despite the unfavourable scaling because to them, HSC Arabic is of lower difficulty.

Regarding Arabic Beginners, it has been suspended following the 2019 HSC examination because when the candidature of an HSC course falls below 15 for each of three consecutive years, the subject is suspended and this is why Arabic Beginners is not offered at your school:


Arabic is a very rich language, and it is definitely sad that not many non-natives attempt to take Arabic for the HSC. This is likely due to a number of factors:
  • Arabic is one of the most difficult languages in the world (there are debates as to whether it is more difficult than Mandarin, which it is, in some aspects, although that is a different topic). This alone may discourage students thinking about choosing it for their HSC from doing so (especially non-natives).
  • Significant difficulty for non-natives, in addition to rather unfavourable scaling, can only make matters worse for those thinking about taking Arabic for the HSC.
  • Popularity is also an important factor (as mentioned above). Despite the fact that a language like Japanese uses three different writing systems (all of which share no similarity with English), one can notice an increase in the number of students taking Japanese for the HSC, which is highly likely due to the increasing popularity of anime. If the Arabic language had this popularity, there would have likely been an increase in the number of students (particularly non-natives) taking it for the HSC, despite its difficulty.
Indeed, most Extension language courses offer more favourable scaling as you mentioned.

That is definitely a possible reason as to why fewer people are taking language subjects for the HSC, although if we consider former HSC students like you and me, you took Economics and Business Studies which are relevant to what you intend to study and I took Business Studies which is also relevant to what I am currently studying, although this did not stop us from taking Arabic and French for our HSC.

:D .انه موضوع مثير للاهتمام بلا شك
100% agree with your statements.

Interestingly enough, most people who study Japanese are unaware of the three writing systems up until they study it. This was also the case for me, though I am studying it online at my own pace rather than taking it as a school subject.

نعم انه فعلا موضوع مثير للاهتمام. شكرا على تعليقاتك، لقد أعجبني هذا الحديث كثيرا.
 

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