QCAA ATAR Scaling Report 2023 - How to Maximise your ATAR in 2024

a month ago   •   4 min read

By KIS Academics
Photo by Maya Maceka / Unsplash

You’ve heard about subject scaling, but how can it make or break your ATAR? How can you use it to your advantage? Well in the last three years of ATAR, we’ve been able to see how scaling affects student’s scores. Let’s take a deep dive into the 2023 scaling report and break it down so we can understand that magic number you get at the end of year 12!

What even is scaling anyway?

Scaling takes into account how competitive subjects are and what kinds of students do them. For example, if many students that do well across all of their subjects elect to do, for example, literature, then it is likely that literature will scale highly. On the flip side, if lots of students that perform poorly in all their subjects choose to do literature, then it will scale poorly. If you want a detailed explanation of how scaling works, visit QTAC website and search for the “Calculating the ATAR in Queensland- Technical Document”.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the suicide six: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Methods, Specialist, and English. It is common that high performing students will choose to do these subjects - not necessarily because they are harder, but because that’s what ‘all the smart kids do’. This mentality is what contributes to high scaling subjects.However, it is important to choose subjects based on what you will excel in, regardless of scaling. It is better to do a subject that you will enjoy and do well at than one that you will hate, spend no time studying, and do poorly in. Using your previous performances across subjects to inform your subject decisions is key. A good tool for working out how to maximize your ATAR is the QCE ATAR Calculator, which you can access here.

The three subjects with the most students:

In 2023, 26,530 students completed English. In the 50th- 90th percentiles, English scaled upwards. So, if you are likely to be in this range, then you should do English! However, if you are likely to sit in the 90th-99th percentile, it may be worth considering English and Literature Extension or Literature.

19,994 students completed General Mathematics, and this subject scaled down across all percentiles. It may be worth considering doing Maths Methods, which scaled pretty highly, even in the lower percentiles. Have a look below at the scaling for these two subjects:

13, 672 students completed Biology. Across all percentiles, this subject scaled down, but in the higher percentiles it only scaled down by ~4 points. See below:

Which subjects only scaled up?

These are the subjects that only got better, and you can see how they scaled below. Most impressive is the Spanish and Engineering scaling, which both jumped up ~5 points in the 90th percentile! It is worth noting that whilst scores for Arabic only scaled up, the 99th percentile of students only received a score of 83.18 scaled, which when compared to subjects where individuals score 100, would be unlikely to contribute positively to an 90+ ATAR score.

The Suicide Six revisited

So, here are the suicide six subjects making a re-appearance. As you can see, the 99th percentile for all of these subjects is pretty darn high! Even though these top score mostly scale down, if we compare the top marks to the top marks in our ‘Which subjects only scaled up?’ section, you will see that the top marks are higher for these subjects! This is because competitive students who wish to get the highest scores possible tend to do these subjects. This is why the suicide six is so popular. Also note that other percentiles (25th-90th) tend to scale upwards. So if you think you will end up in that ball park, you might want to consider these subjects. If you’re a competitive academic star, it’s also likely that you will find these subjects beneficial.

And that’s on scaling!

Hopefully, this article helps with your scaling questions! If your subject isn’t covered here, you can find the 2023 QCAA scaling report here!

If we haven’t covered your subject, or you’d like to study VCAA’s official scaling report in greater depth, it can be found here. To learn how to read this scaling report (it can look pretty overwhelming at first!), read our past blog post here.

Want more personalized study guidance to help drastically improve your marks? A private tutor can make the biggest difference!

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