The VCE (Victorian Certificate of Education) is the certificate high school students receive at the end of year 12, when they complete the required units of their studies. The ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank) is the rank a student receives at the end of year 12 – that is solely provided for the purpose of entering university (tertiary education).

Usually students in year 11 and 12 complete either 5 or 6 subjects (minimum is 4) in order to attain an ATAR (where the highest you can possibly get is 99.95 – In 2016, 33 students achieved this perfect rank in New South Wales).

Currently, the ATAR is calculated based on your VCE English score (or some chose to do Literature, English Language or EAL if eligible), 3 other of your highest scoring subjects and 10% of your 5th and 6th subjects.

This is how its broken down:

Screen Shot 2017-05-28 at 9.28.46 PM

There is a program that most students use to see what sort of marks they would need to get a certain ATAR – its called ATAR CALC (not 100% accurate, but pretty close).

Also note: If you are aiming to get a higher ATAR – it would be highly recommended to do one (or more if your school allows it) VCE subjects in year 11.

About scaling – this is a bit of weird topic that nobody has been able to explain to me quite as accurately as I would have liked to have – but all I can say is – that if a subject is deemed more demanding (which is not really the case in VCE, because most subjects require a great workload), certain subjects are scaled higher. For example, Specialist Maths is scaled by 9 points (meaning that 9 points are added to the score that you are able to get on the exam).

SACs – (School assessed curriculum) – these come in the form of mini-exams, oral presentations or assignments (that you hand in) etc. from which the school uses your result to determine your rank. A students rank plays a crucial role in the study score they receive at the end of the year. Once again – it’s not too clear how this exactly impacts your score but its important, so try your best even during SACs.

Here are some of the useful websites that I have found useful when studying and preparing for my VCE exams:

  • ATAR Notes – probably the best resource out there catered towards VCE students – it has notes (that can be downloaded for free) and forums where you can ask questions (about anything – related to your subject matter)
  • Crash Course (on Youtube) is amazing! It’s great for Biology and Chemistry – for in-depth yet quick explanations on some of the topics – if you would like to me do a blog post on youtube channels specific to certain subjects or topics, let me know in the comments there are heaps.
  • Andrew Douche’s podcasts for Biology 3/4 – they are so impressive! I had a lot of travelling up and down from school and these podcasts literally were the best thing ever.
  • Edrolo is great for revision and learning content designed specifically for the VCE course – definitely worth looking it up.
  • Khan Academy is great – they can be time consuming so watch and go through only the content specific to your course – I personally enjoyed the maths videos the most – they were great because you could attempt the questions along with the instructor).
  • Well, if you want to find some more information (in a more official and professional format – click here for the link to the VCAA page!)

Please do let me know if you have any questions!

Bye for now and best wishes with your studies!


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