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Thread: Number of OWL subjects taken

  1. #1
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    Number of OWL subjects taken

    Here's a quick question for you.

    Harry took nine subjects at O.W.L. level, Hermione eleven (although the maths is iffy on that one), Percy and Bill got ten O.W.L.s apiece.

    But what I want to know is how few OWL subjects you think a student could take? Would they, for instance, be allowed to drop all their elective subjects and leave them with the seven core subjects (DADA, Herbology, Charms, Potions, Astronomy, History of Magic, Transfiguration).

    Or, if a student were spectacularly bad at a core subject, would they be allowed to drop it? I suspect not, but would be interested in your opinions.

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    Seventh Year Gryffindor
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    Hmm. Interesting. Well, isn't five the minimum number of GCSEs that you can take? Or is that just the minimum number that employers like?

    I think that if a student was incredibly bad at subjects and likely to fail all of them, teachers might suggest they drop a few and concentrate on ones that they do better at, so they might at least pass some things. However, I do think the teacher would tell the student to drop the electives first rather than the core subjects.

    The only way I see core subjects being dropped was if even after dropping the electives, they were still struggling really, really badly. And even then I can only see Astronomy and History of Magic being dropped.

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    Well, first the student would have to be allowed into the OWL level classes right? Snape demanded an O to get into OWL Potions, so if you didn't get one... you can't take OWL Potions.

    It's certainly possible that a student would drop core classes... though I'm not sure why they would drop all of their electives given that that helps decide their career.

    I think if given the choice, people would drop things like Astronomy and History of Magic. Binns isn't the kind of professor I imagine people wanting to stick around for.

    Edit: Oops, this is what I get for not reading the question carefully enough. Thanks everyone for reminding me of the difference between OWLs and NEWTs.
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    Originally posted by Aida:
    Well, first the student would have to be allowed into the OWL level classes right? Snape demanded an O to get into OWL Potions, so if you didn't get one... you can't take OWL Potions.
    No, that's NEWT. He demands that students get an O in their OWL to progress to NEWT level, but before OWL students are graded in percentages or marks out of ten, and they have to keep all their original subjects. The electives may determine your future career, but I've always though of the original subjects as the standard; they were always good to have, just like English, maths and science are over here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aida
    Well, first the student would have to be allowed into the OWL level classes right? Snape demanded an O to get into OWL Potions, so if you didn't get one... you can't take OWL Potions.
    He demanded an O in the OWL to get into NEWT potions.

    It's certainly possible that a student would drop core classes... though I'm not sure why they would drop all of their electives given that that helps decide their career.
    But they have to pick classes in year three, and at that age it doesn't decide their career. Harry just picks the things Ron does. I would also hazard a guess that if you're struggling across the board, then dropping Divination - or something - would at least free up more time for you to work on the other subjects.

    Thank you for the quick responses. I think I'll go for dropping the electives as I've just remembered that Crabbe and Goyle were supposed to be struggling at Potions but still did the classes in year five. Also Snape used the excuse of Remedial Potions as a cover for the Occlumency lessons which suggests there had been classes for some people in the past.


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    When they picked their subjects for year three, it was made clear that they would have to keep all the core subjects for third year, and as no other reference is made to be able to rearrange subjects until sixth year and NEWTs, I would assume that they have to keep on the core subjects to OWL level, a bit like there are some things that have to be done until GCSE (at most schools at least). I always thought that the third year choices were essentially picking your owls even if it was a couple of years in advance.

    I think the core is the minimum you'd have to do. Whether you'd be allowed to choose no additional electives though, I'm not sure. I imagine it would be encouraged, unless you're really terrible.

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