There is always a feeling of doubt and a state of confusion that class 10th students face while choosing their stream, especially those who are planning to take up Science. The indecisiveness lies in choosing between Mathematics and Biology, or both of them together along with Physics and Chemistry.
If you have decided or in the process of deciding to take up all the four subjects together i.e. PCMB (Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics & Biology), let me tell you, it’s a BIG step to take since you’ll be balancing all tough subjects.
Before you make this decision or go along with anyone’s advice, it is important for you to introspect, What is my goal in life? Are my subjects in sync with my goal? In addition to this, there are a few other important things to consider before you make your final decision.
Here are 6 considerations to help you answer the question, “Should I take PCMB in Class 11th?”
1. PCMB opens up all career options, but it’s not necessarily a practical approach
Undoubtedly, a PCMB subject combination makes you eligible for virtually all career options out there. From Medicine to Research to Business to Social Sciences, you can explore a plethora of career options after your class 12th. While you’ll be spoilt for choice, having too many choices isn’t always a good thing, it can make you more confused about your career choices. Right now, since you are just entering class 11th, you still have time to explore and shortlist career options for yourself.
During your class 12th, you would be engaged with your board exams and entrance exams preparation. Amidst managing all these other things, making your career choice from an umpteen number of options is only going to make your job harder and possibly less accurate. Thus, it is advisable to shortlist your career options right away and choose the best stream and subjects aligned to them.
2. A PCMB combination helps you explore multi-disciplinary career options
There are a lot of career fields today that are interdisciplinary in nature, lying at the junction between Math, Biology and other sciences. These are fields you can explore only if you have a knowledge of both Mathematics and Biology, such as Biotechnology, Biomedical Engineering, Bio-Statistics, Epidemiology, Bio-Informatics, Bio-Mathematics, Population Ecology, Genetic Engineering, Bio-Mechanics, Agricultural Engineering, and so on. If these fields interest you and you wish to explore a career in any of them, then opting for Mathematics and Biology together would make sense.
Before you decide to pursue any of these careers, make sure that you do your thorough research about them, what the fields are, their scope and professional opportunities, etc. Do not take the plunge just because these fields sound interesting, but make an informed choice.
3. Engineering or Medical? Swinging between the two isn’t the best idea
It is a general trend among PCMB students of writing both the Engineering (JEE) and Medical (NEET) entrance examinations. Again, this is done to keep both career options open, in case one doesn’t work out. However, as I mentioned above, doing so is not advisable since it only serves to increase your confusion, not decrease it. It is highly unlikely that you would be equally interested (and suited) to both of the career options, and choosing one or the other just because you cleared its entrance exam is not a wise choice.
Moreover, juggling between both the exams is not an easy task at all and very few people excel in it. It is important to understand that a lot of mental effort and hard work is required in cracking these entrance examinations along with board preparation. While attempting to clear both examinations, you might end up not clearing any. Thus, if you are planning to choose PCMB to attempt both examinations, I will advise you against it. It is better to be sure about your career choice and invest your efforts at the right place.
4. A PCMB combination requires you to be laborious and hardworking
With a PCMB combination of subjects, your capacity to understand and memorize the toughest concepts eventually becomes stronger as you are exposed to a lot of technical concepts, scientific theories and practical questions. At the same time, the difficulty level of a PCMB combination is quite high, since you’ll be managing both Mathematics and Biology, as opposed to a relatively lighter subject (like Computer Science, Physical Education, etc.). With school studies, entrance exam preparation and coaching classes, you would be dealing with a very hectic schedule, with very less time left for recreational activities.
Thus, it is important for you to judge if you can manage all of these or not. Preparation for these subjects can be handled conveniently, provided it is done with proper planning and focus.
5. You might experience a trade-off between number of career options and marks scored
As we discussed above, a PCMB combination can be tough to manage and students generally tend to score lesser in comparison to students who have opted for other relatively lighter (and more scoring) subjects.
Now, if you’re planning to opt for a B.A.(H)/B.Sc.(H) course after 12th, the admissions will mostly be on merit. It is well-known that cut-offs for the top universities today tend to be quite high, and thus your board percentage matters a lot there. So, while a PCMB combination does open up a lot of career options, if you do not score well enough in class 12th, you might still not end up being eligible for some of them on the basis of your score.
This trade-off between your number of career options and your marks is a delicate balance, and thus you should carefully consider your longer-term goals. If you are aiming at courses that require admission through merit, then a PCMB combination might not be the right choice aligned with your goals.
6. Your previous records can be a reliable indicator of your future performance
Seeing how you have performed in both subjects in the past can be a good deciding factor as to which subject to take further, either Maths or Biology or both of them. If your scores have been consistently less in any of these subjects, and you struggle to maintain a decent score, then opting for PCMB might not prove to be an informed stream choice.
However, if you are scoring well and are still not sure about your subjects, a career assessment (measuring your aptitude levels in different areas, along with your interests and personality traits) can be useful in deciding your stream and career choices. The Mindler assessment is a useful and highly accurate assessment, that helps you evaluate your suitability for different subjects and suggests the perfect stream for you. Click here to try a free version of the assessment.
The stream that you will choose after your 10th grade is capable of influencing your entire career journey. Thus, it is really important that you consider both sides of the coin before you arrive upon your stream decision. In case you have already chosen these subjects and are finding it difficult to cope, don’t worry. You might still have time to change your subjects. Talk to your teachers, school counsellors, and career counsellors about this and they will help you in making a wise career choice.
Are you undergoing a dilemma about your stream choice and are unable to decide? Share your concerns with us in the comments!