How To Choose A Stream In Class 11

How To Choose A Stream In Class 11

Most students face the dilemma of how to choose the right stream in class 11. Choosing a stream not only decides the subjects to study for the next two years in class 11 & 12, but a student’s entire future might depend on this specific decision.

How to choose a stream in class 11 can seem like a difficult question, but it can become easy if you are aware of your options and consider all the important factors by exerting self-awareness, engaging in research, and taking help from counsellors, teachers and parents. One important aspect while choosing a stream in class 11 is that you should always select a stream based on your interest, personality, aptitude and long term goals in life.Read more: Career options after 12th

Let’s talk about some of the factors that will help you understand how to choose the right stream in class 11.

How to select stream in class 11- Become self-aware

It is important to know what you enjoy (your interest) and what you do well/or are good at (your capabilities/skills). This will make it easier for you to choose the right subjects in class 11. You must not choose Science or Commerce or Humanities only because you are fascinated by the idea of it or your parents feel its a good choice; instead take up those subjects that you score well in, enjoy studying, and possess the aptitude for.

Ask yourself these questions before choosing a stream in Class 11:

Does maths come to you naturally? Do you sit and enjoy solving mathematical problems? Or is it world history and geography that fascinate you more?

Are you more towards art, craft? Or do you feel you are good at languages? Does Physics feel comfortable to you or the planets and stars fascinate you?

Have a clear and accurate picture of who you are – including your strengths, capabilities, interests, and motivations.

Choosing a stream in class 11- Know the available streams

CBSE or most state boards offer 3 stream options that determine the subjects you will study in your class 11th and 12th:

  1. Science

  2. Commerce

  3. Arts/Humanities

Science – Different combinations of this stream are Physics, Chemistry, Maths (PCM) /Physics, Chemistry, Biology (PCB)/ Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Biology (PCMB). You can become an Engineer, Doctor, Scientist, Microbiologist, Physicist, and much more after studying science in classes 11 &12.

Also read: Courses after 12th Science

Commerce: This stream offers subjects like Business Studies, Accountancy, Economics, Maths, etc. You can become a Chartered Accountant, Investment Banker, Economist, Marketing Manager, and much more after studying commerce.

Also read: Courses after 12th Commerce

Arts/ Humanities: This stream offers subjects like History, Geography, Psychology, Political Science, Sociology, etc. You can become a Lawyer, Psychologist, Historian, Journalist, and so on, after studying these subjects.

Also read: Courses after 12th Arts

  • CBSE Board: As per the official scheme of CBSE, class 11 & 12 is an integrated course, students are allowed to pick up a maximum of 9 subjects and a minimum of 5 subjects. The students can choose one language and four electives in any combination provided it is being taught in the school. You can check out the combination of subjects offered in different streams on

  • IGCSE Board: If you are studying in the IGCSE schools, you have to choose a minimum of 5 subjects to qualify for taking the exams in class 11. You can check out the combination of subjects offered in class 11 on

  • CISCE Board: CISCE(ICSE exams for class 10 & ISC exam for class 12) usually asks students to choose their subjects in class 9 as a base preparation for classes 11 & 12. You can choose 5 elective subjects in addition to English in class 11. You can check out more information on stream selection on

  • State Boards - These boards offer curriculum to state schools and colleges with pre-university courses(PUC). This is a 2 year board exam system where state education conducts board exams for classes 10 & 12. State boards offer the same subjects as CBSE like maths, science, history, geography, economics etc. Students have to choose 4 subjects and 2 languages. The only difference is the choice of first language which is different in each state and is usually the local language of the state along with English as a second language.

How to select stream class 11- Find the match between you and the streams

After you have gathered information about yourself and are aware of the available streams in class 11, try to match your strengths and weaknesses with the requirements of the course and your career options ahead. Find out every possible detail about the streams like subjects, difficulty level, higher education course, and career prospects. Make a list of the professional courses that you may want to pursue after class 12 with a particular stream. This will also give you an idea about the career prospects associated with that stream. Matching the two is the name of the game!

How to select stream in class 11- Seek help from Career Counsellors

If you are not sure about choosing a suitable path after class 10th and need guidance in choosing the right stream in class 11th, visiting a career counsellor is your best bet. Career counsellors use a set of assessment tools like aptitude test, personality profiling and interest inventories which help you understand your strengths and consequently find out a stream that will best suit you. The test is usually followed by a one-on-one counselling session where they interpret the results of the tests conducted and give you a road map. They guide you on how to choose the best career options and suitable stream in class 11.

Read more - NCERT Syllabus for Class 11

Discuss with your parents and teachers on how to select stream in class 11

The maximum time that you spend is either at school or home. So, parents and teachers can help and guide you to understand your inner strengths and interests. Their insights can be very useful in answering that important question of how to choose a stream in class 11.You can also talk to other people like your seniors, peers, and siblings who have been through this same process and can help you to understand in detail about what each stream will involve. Many schools also allow you to take a few classes for each subject before you finalize and choose your stream for class 11.Read more - NCERT Books for Class 11

How to select stream in class 11- Be apart, rather than part of the crowd

This is the time when most of you might get influenced by your friends, family members, peers, siblings, neighbours and end up opting a stream in class 11 that does not match your interest and aptitude. So, go beyond and read the course structure of the subjects, to gain a better understanding of what you will study.

5 Steps in choosing a stream in class 11

If the factors given above are used, choosing a stream in class 11 would be easy. A recap of these factors sums up the following

  1. Know your interest areas; pick subjects that you love

  2. Research a bit on the streams available, subjects to study and career options

  3. Narrow down to what suits you best

  4. Talk to a career counsellor, friends, parents and seniors or even take a test

  5. Use all the above to narrow the choices and then choose the stream in class 11 as per your aptitude and interests.

These are different criteria that one must keep in mind while trying to solve the crucial dilemma of how to choose the right stream in class 11. The foremost criterion is to select a stream that matches your interest, aptitude, and personality. Start exploring different streams from class 10 and see what it entails. This will help you to make an informed decision. Also, be aware that there will be a world of a difference between what you have studied up till class 10 and what you will be studying in the next two years. Choosing the right stream can make a significant impact on your life. So keep an account of all the factors that will help you to take the right step for building a successful career in the future.

Make an informed choice!

Read more: Career options after 12th

Author- This article has been written by Yashodhra Arora, who is a Counselling Psychologist with extensive experience in Career Counselling for high school students.