Can’t decide? Tactics for making decisions

Help making decisions
Got a decision to make but can’t see the wood from the trees? Use this list to help you focus. 

1.List the pros and cons

Take a piece of paper, divide it in two and write down the advantages and disadvantages of your decision. Then work your way through each of your points and think about how important each one is to you. What seems the best choice on balance?

2. Look ahead

Say you’re choosing your GCSE options and are trying to decide between art and German. Where could either choice lead? Does one choice reduce, maintain or increase the options open to you further down the line?

3. Start at the end and work backwards

This only really works if you know what where you want to go. So if you have a job in mind, what training or qualifications will you need? If you need a degree, what A-level subjects will you need to get a place on a university course, and in turn will you need any set GCSE subjects to take your chosen A-levels?

4. Consider effort v. results

How much time and energy will you have to put into each option and what is the likely result?  Back to art or German – if you’re naturally good at art you may get a good grade without much effort, but if you’re not so gifted at German, you’ll have to put in a lot more work to get the same grade.

5. Rate your options

This is a way to compare the value you place against each option. Say you’re choosing a sixth-form college, you could set measures such as course content, college facilities and journey time and score colleges out of five for each measure. You can also create an overall score for each option but bear in mind that some measures may be more important to you than others (if you want to get technical, you can always give a double score to any measure you think is more important).

6. Consider the mix

Try not to think about your choice purely in terms of A or B (yes it’s art or German again), but think about what else is going on (such as your other GCSEs). Which option is a good fit or welcome break from your other choices?

7. Remove extremes

List out all your options and strike off those at the top and bottom such as the best and worst; most and least expensive; nearest and furthest. What are you left with?

See more on making decisions

Choosing well: how to pick the right path for you

Choosing your GCSE options

Choosing A-level subjects: five points to consider