How do study scores get scaled?

You probably know that all study scores get scaled… somehow. ACED is here to help! Read on to understand how and why study scores get scaled.

Why do study scores get scaled?

All raw study scores get scaled by VTAC – the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre, who coordinate selection for uni and TAFE places. VTAC adjusts the raw study scores to take into account how difficult it is to achieve a certain score. For example, if it is really difficult to get a study score of 30 in Maths Methods compared to Further Maths, then Maths Methods would need to scale up against Further Maths.

How do study scores get scaled?

In each study, the study scores are adjusted so that the distribution of scores in that study matches the distribution of scores obtained by the same group of students in all of their other studies.

…For example, in Chemistry, the average study score was 30, but all of the students who took Chemistry averaged 34 for all their studies. This shows that the students who did Chemistry were of above average strength in their other studies. Therefore, the scaling process adjusted the study scores upwards so that the average VTAC Scaled Study Score for Chemistry was set at 34.

To continue with another example, Psychology students averaged 28 in all of their studies. So, the scaling process adjusted the study scores downwards so that the average VTAC Scaled Study Score for Psychology was 28.

Even if you are doing a subject that traditionally gets scaled down, the adjustment will not affect you as much if you get a high study score. That’s why you should do everything possible to achieve your best. In Psychology, the students who achieved a raw study score of 45 also averaged a study score of 45 in their other subjects. This is why a 45 in Psychology did not scale down. If you get a 50, your study score will never be scaled down. Basically, do your best in all of your subjects, and scaling is likely to be in your favour.

VCE studies are always scaled based on the performance of students each year – therefore, it is impossible to predict how your subjects will scale this year. For example, if Chemistry students this year average 25 in all of their studies, then Chemistry will scale down. Don’t let scaling influence your decision to study a subject – it is far better to do subjects you enjoy, which will make your VCE more enjoyable. A 50 study score in Further Maths will be equivalent to a 50 in Maths Methods!

These VTAC Scaled Study Scores then get added together to form an ATAR.

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ACED wishes you the best VCE exam success!

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