The HELM subject combination, comprising History, Economics, Literature and Mathematics as core subjects, is one of the most common humanities subject combinations you will find in Junior College.
As someone who has taken this subject combination (and survived), I will be sharing my experience with the HELM subject combination as well as our University prospects.
What is the HELM subject combination?
The HELM subject combination comprises four main subjects – History, Economics, Literature and Mathematics. You will have the option of taking these subjects at either H1 or H2 Level.
Apart from these subjects, you would also have to take H1 Project Work, and H1 General Paper or H2 Knowledge and Inquiry.
You can check out my guide on KI here.
An important thing to note while considering the HELM subject combination is that it lies under the Arts Stream in JC.
This means that you would not be able to take on any science subjects like Physics or Chemistry!
My Subject Combination
Personally, I took 4 H2s and 1 H1, with my H2s being History, Economics, Literature and Knowledge and Inquiry, while my H1 subject was Mathematics.
I took H1 Mathematics because I was particularly interested in learning KI and would be unable to take that subject if I opted for H2 Mathematics. Additionally, as Mathematics was not my strongest subject, it seemed like a much better option to take it at a H1 Level, which was much easier than H2 Mathematics.
However, you do not necessarily have to take four H2 subjects. You can always choose to take 3 H2s and 1 H1 subject, out of the four core subjects mentioned earlier.
I would advise you to play to your strengths while considering your subject combination, and remember that you will always get an opportunity to drop subjects in the later parts of J1 or even in J2!
For the Arts Stream in Junior College, I would estimate that HELM students took up around half of the Humanities cohort. Depending on your cohort size, this could mean that the HELM population would range from 100-300 students.
As I was in a Junior College that was better known for its Arts Department, particularly the History and Literature department, I would say that this combination was quite popular.
What was my timetable like for the HELM combination?
If you take a HELM combination, your timetable would be pretty regular, as HELM is an extremely common subject combination.
However, if your combination varies from the basic HELM combination, for example if you took Knowledge and Inquiry like me, or if you took China Studies, Translation, Music, Art etc, do expect to have longer school hours, and irregular break times.
Attached below is an example of a regular HELM timetable from when I was in Junior College.
As you can see, a normal day begins anywhere from 8am to 9am, and I usually ended my day around 3pm to 4pm. The average day usually comprised of around 2hrs of breaktime.
Furthermore, compared to my science stream friends who had to come to school early to conduct practical lessons, I would say the HELM timetable has the better end of the stick.
Overall, I found this timetable suitable for my needs, providing me with sufficient breaks to eat and play in school. Additionally, the earlier ending times of 3-4pm gave me enough time to study or complete my homework for the day without being too exhausted from lessons.
Hence if you are like me and you prefer a shorter timetable but with sufficient break times, I am sure you would enjoy the HELM combination.
What are the university prospects for a HELM student?
Apart from the University courses that require you to have taken science subjects, you would be eligible for most of the courses at University.
Some popular courses for students with the HELM subject combination include:
In this article, I have gone through the HELM subject combination, some variations to the combination, the cohort size, timetabling and university prospects for this combination.
If you are a prospective student looking to take up HELM, I hope this article has cleared some confusion and helped you gain a better understanding of this subject combination.