What is an ATAR score and how is it calculated according to VCE scaling?

What is an ATAR score

The ATAR is a ranking of Year 12 results that measures your overall academic achievement compared with all other final year students in Australia (excluding Queensland). The ATAR is not a score out of 100 – it is a rank. The ATAR allows tertiary institutions to compare the overall achievements of all students who have completed Year 12.

In Victoria, ATARs are calculated by the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) when you complete the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE). VTAC uses the VCE results issued by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) to calculate ATAR scores. You must have completed at least four VCE studies in a recognised combination to have your ATAR calculated.

When you complete VCE, VTAC notifies you of your ATAR. If you apply for tertiary courses, VTAC forwards the ranking and applications to tertiary institutions. In addition to other course requirements, the ATAR score can determine your eligibility for tertiary courses. Each tertiary institution sets the ATARs required for its courses, as well as other course entry requirements.

How is the ATAR calculated using VCE scaling?

The ATAR is calculated by VTAC based on up to six VCE scaled study scores. Study scores are scaled up or down by VTAC according to the performance of students in a study in a particular year – which means scores change each year, making ATARs difficult to predict.

The ATAR is calculated from an aggregate, produced by adding together:

  1. your highest scaled study score in one of the English studies (English, English Language, English as an Additional Language (EAL), Literature),
  2. highest scaled study scores for three additional permissible studies, and
  3. 10% of the scaled study scores for the fifth and sixth permissible studies.

Students are then ranked in order of their aggregate and a percentage rank is assigned to distribute students as evenly as possible over a 100-point scale.

Finally, the percentage rank is converted to an ATAR score. The ATAR is an estimate of the percentage of the population that you outperformed. So if you receive an ATAR of 60, it means you performed better than 60% of students that year.

The ATAR is a number from 0 and 99.95 in intervals of 0.05. The highest rank is 99.95, the next highest 99.90, and so on. The lowest automatically reported rank is 30.00, with ranks below 30.00 being reported as ‘less than 30’.

Find out more about how ATARs are calculated.

Calculate your ATAR