How is the ATAR calculated?

The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank or ATAR is your key to the tertiary course of your choosing. But do you know how it is calculated?

ATAR scores are ranks, based on how well you achieve compared to the rest of the Year 12s this year. They are calculated from:

  • the VTAC Scaled Study Scores for the top four Unit 3&4 subjects, which must include your English subject, regardless of how well you do
  • 10% of the VTAC Scaled Study Scores of optional fifth and sixth Units 3&4 subjects.

The total scores (called ‘aggregates’) of all VCE students in the state are ranked from lowest to highest, with the top students being awarded an ATAR of 99.95. Each rank (e.g. 99.90, 99.85, etc.) includes approximately 30-35 students. Here’s an example (remembering that scaling and aggregates required for certain ATARs change from year to year):

Example ATAR calculation VTAC Scaled Study Score:
English 36
Psychology 47
Business Management 42
Legal Studies (10%) 3.9
Health & Human Development (10%) 3.7
Aggregate score 176.6
ATAR 95.95

The minimum number of Units 3&4 subjects required for an ATAR is four; the fifth and sixth subjects each offer a 10% bonus to the ATAR calculation. Therefore, to maximise your ATAR, you should consider a program that contains up to six Units 3&4 sequences.

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ACED wishes you the best VCE exam success!

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