top of page

Understanding VCE, ATAR and GAT

What is VCE

The Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) is the primary qualification for senior secondary students in Victoria. Successfully obtaining the VCE indicates that a student has completed secondary school and is prepared for further studies or job opportunities.

Diverse Study Options

The VCE offers a diverse range of over 90 subjects and 25 VCE VET (Vocational Education and Training) programs.

These subjects have specific areas of focus such as humanities, sciences, mathematics, technology, arts and languages, as well as vocational studies.

Beyond traditional VCE studies, there are 27 VCE VET programs available. These programs allow students to work towards a vocational qualification alongside their senior certificate.


How is VCE Structured

The VCE is made up of different subjects. Each study consists of four units, with each unit representing a semester's worth of work.

Typically, students take Units 1 and 2 in Year 11 or year 1 and Units 3 and 4 in Year 12 or year 2.

While Units 1 and 2 offer flexibility and can be taken individually, it's generally advised for students to complete all four units, using Units 1 and 2 as a foundational step.

What are the Graduation Requirements? To graduate with the VCE, students must complete a minimum of 16 units, typically most finish between 20 to 24 units.

  • 3 units from the English group, including a unit 3 and 4 sequence

  • at least 3 other sequences of unit 3 and 4 studies.


Assessment Methods Assessment in the VCE varies depending on the units. For Units 1 and 2, students are assessed based on their coursework assigned by teachers.

For Units 1 and 2, you'll be awarded either an S (Satisfactory) or an N (Non-Satisfactory). While your school might provide a grade for each unit, only the S contributes to your VCE.

Units 3 and 4 have formal graded evaluations, consisting of coursework from the school and a minimum of one exam set by VCAA. Each graded study in Units 3 and 4 gives students a score that compares their performance to other students.

What is ATAR

The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) is a method used to process study scores for tertiary admissions. ATAR uses scores from various VCE studies and provides a percentile rank for each student, reflecting their performance against other candidates.

This score ranges from 0 to 99.95 and is derived from the top four subjects, including an English subject, plus 10% of your fifth and sixth subjects.

General Achievement Test (GAT)

The GAT is an exam that evaluates students' general knowledge across a range of areas. While it doesn't directly impact VCE results, it plays a crucial role in ensuring the accurate assessment of school evaluations and examinations. GAT measures your general knowledge and skills in written communication, mathematics, science, technology, humanities, the arts and social sciences.

bottom of page