Mojza Blog

how to manage extra subjects

by Zunaira Faisal | 11 Dec 2022

Managing extra subjects has always been a challenging task for most Cambridge students. This is mainly due to the fact that they already struggle to achieve good grades in their mandatory subjects, so additional subjects prove to be an arduous matter for them. Well, no need to worry! We are here to help you along the path of managing those extra subjects and to ensure that you get amazing grades in them. 

Why should one take additional subjects at all?

A question that gets frequently asked is “What’s the point of taking extra subjects?” The advantages of extra subjects are numerous. Starting off, they can help you in exploring different fields and may even help you find an interest that you didn’t know you had. A student that was asked about his views on taking extra subjects said “Without having studied these extra subjects, I never would have known that I liked arts and math more than biology.” Furthermore, taking extra subjects can be a great way to test your ability to handle pressure and learn how to be more manageable. However, this is a very risky thing to do and if you feel like they might affect your grade in the mandatory subjects, it is best not to take them.

Is it better to appear for the exams of extra subjects as a school candidate or not?

The answer to this question varies from school to school. Appearing as a school candidate would help you if you were appearing in the October/November exam series since the school could give you preparation leave and treat you with more leniency than other, non-appearing students. But all things considered, since most schools do not offer a wide array of additional subjects, students have to appear privately. 

Studying each subject is different, but there are a few commonly chosen ones by IGCSE/O-Level students. Here are some short guides for three:


Additional Mathematics

One of the most common extra subjects is additional mathematics. This subject helps you with O Levels/IGCSE mathematics and greatly helps you in A Level Mathematics, Paper 1, and the SAT Maths section. This subject is considered one of the most difficult subjects due to its complexity, but if treated correctly, it can also be transformed into the subject you like most. When studying add maths, it is highly important to keep things in practice or you might forget previous concepts and struggle with new ones.  The only real way to get a good grade in this subject is past paper practice, so try and get as much of that as you can. The questions mainly come as a combination of different topics so it’s best not to compartmentalize information. A few student-recommended YouTube channels for additional mathematics are the A Level Math videos of Zainematics and the additional mathematics videos of Mathlete.

Access Mojza’s resources for Additional Mathematics here!


This subject is very popular among students with different interests since it offers a variety of options that students can choose from. It is a very interesting subject and if you prepare it correctly, you can very easily score a high grade. 

Most students prefer to opt for Core Content B because it has more teacher notes and resources. For in-depth studies, the most popular options among students are Germany and World War I. An important thing to remember is that if you choose World War 1 along with Option B, it is better to cover the war first since it is much easier to understand Core Content B if you have already covered it. 

Cambridge IGCSE History (0470)

When asked, most students recommended the Cambridge-endorsed textbook for world history since it has most of the information and doesn’t leave the need for additional resources (Cover Attached).  

Moreover, in order to retain the information, it is best to allot the subject a specific amount of time daily for revision and past paper practice. A tip that students highly recommended is, if you’re finding a topic that’s especially cumbersome to memorize, make a few notes about the worst parts and relate them to their respective details. For example, if you’re finding it difficult to memorize the terms of the treaties other than Versailles, take out the stuff that was common in them; loss of land, reparations, etc. and make explicit notes about the differences like how the union with Austria was forbidden.

Some student-recommended resources for the subject are:

 And ofcourse, our own library of resources for World History

Environmental Management

This subject is similar to the Environment of Pakistan (2059/02) in many aspects and actually does have nearly 60% of the same syllabus. It is considered one of the relatively easier subjects since it has a simple paper pattern and syllabus. However, according to many students who have studied Environmental Management, the examiner may ask some out-of-syllabus questions. Hence, it is necessary to be prepared for those or it might cost you several marks in the exam. Furthermore, the exam also has several questions that are considered to be of general knowledge and may not be a part of the syllabus. So, it is of utter importance to be well-informed in general knowledge before giving the exam. Another tip that has helped students with the exam of this subject is to read the question several times and try to understand what the examiner is asking. The subject requires regular past paper practice which may not be daily but should, ideally, be at least 3-4 times a week. The best way to study this subject is to listen to the lectures of your teacher very carefully and make note of every detail. Self-made notes are the best way to help you get the optimum results in Environmental Management.

Here are Mojza’s resources for Environmental Management

Managing extra subjects can be difficult. However, there are a few general tips you can follow to make it easier: 

1. Give the subject attention whenever you can

The most important tip that has helped many students in handling additional subjects is to give them as much attention as possible without neglecting other subjects. This means giving the subject regular attention even if it is for a very short amount of time. A few students said that they would give the additional subjects daily attention even if they could only do it for 30 minutes. This would help them keep momentum and not become irregular. 

2. Make a monthly plan

Making a monthly plan is actually a great way to manage any subject, not just additional ones. You should set goals and have monthly targets for your progress in the subject and then try to achieve them by the end of the month. These monthly plans can also be further divided into weekly and even daily goals to make it easier for you to study extra subjects. But remember, these goals should be approachable and ideally not contradict any other goals you have for your mandatory subjects.

3. Do not shy away from asking for help

At times, many of us are reluctant to ask for help when we need it. One thing that is really important is remembering that we all need help sometimes, especially since extra subjects are sometimes harder than the required ones. If you need any help, just ask your seniors or your teacher to answer any doubts that you might have. Hesitation in asking questions may eventually lead to unclear concepts and that can be very damaging to your grade.

4. Past Papers, ECR’s and Examiner Reports dare not be ignored!

Do past papers once you finish a unit as you go – this is very important. You’ll become more confident when it comes to answering questions, and question papers often have very specific questions/areas, so starting past papers from the very beginning will help you prepare better. Later, always check up with the marking scheme and note down whatever points you missed so you remember them later on. Examiner reports are extremely important; once you’re halfway done with the syllabus, make sure to go through them to understand how the examiner expects you to answer questions. You have to dedicate a lot of time to past papers and examiner reports to answer the questions the way the examiner expects you to. The reason why the threshold for most extra subjects is low is that most students don’t know how to attempt the questions.

5. Flashcards

For any memory-based subject, repetition matters a lot to remembering information up until the exam. Make flashcards for this and keep revising them as you go along. An excellent website for this is RemNote, it allows you to automatically make flashcards as you type out your notes.

6. Keep revising regularly until the exam date

No matter how confident you feel about your preparation, it’s important to keep revising and solving past papers until the exam. You never know if something slips from your memory at any time. To reinforce the content, solving past papers repeatedly is the best. Testing triggers your other hemispheres of the brain and this helps a ton with remembering things for a longer period! 


Taking up extra subjects and achieving good grades in them holds enormous benefits for your future studies. Moreover, they greatly assist in helping you identify your interests and possible career choices. Although preparing for them may seem like a daunting task at first, it gets a lot easier if you know how to do so correctly!


Author: Zunaira Faisal


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Published 11 December 2022
Last Updated: 18 July 2023
Written by Zunaira Faisal