For some subjects in the SACE, bonus points are awarded. These bonus points are put forward by the Universities Language, Literacy and Mathematics Scheme which encourages students to prepare for further studies outside of high school.
These bonus points give your adjusted ATAR a boost to push your ranking up when applying for tertiary study through SATAC. Furthermore, there is a Universities Equity Scheme available to support students in rural areas, with disabilities, or in a struggling financial situation. To investigate this further, let's have a look at what these adjustment factors actually are and how they can help you.
So what are subject bonus points?
Bonus points are essentially adjustment factors for your ATAR. For the selected subjects, two bonus points are awarded if you complete one eligible subject, and you cannot collect more than four subject bonus points for your ATAR.
To simplify this, you will get two bonus points if you study one of the selected subjects, and four if you complete two of the eligible subjects. However, if you study three of the eligible subjects, you will receive four bonus points as four is the maximum provided.
The subjects which are included in the Universities Language, Literacy and Mathematics Scheme include English, English literary studies, mathematical methods, specialist mathematics, and 20 credits (a full year) of a language other than English such as French, Japanese or German. To receive these bonus points you must achieve a minimum grade of a C- or more. For further information, feel free to check out information on adjustment factors from SATAC at: https://www.satac.edu.au/adjustment-factors.
When your ATAR is finalised, SATAC will chuck these bonus points onto your ATAR to calculate your adjusted ATAR. This score is then used as a ranking in your preference list from your SATAC application. However, there are some university courses that do not accept this adjusted ATAR, only your raw ATAR. With this in mind, let's take a look at which courses are excluded from the Universities Language, Literacy and Mathematics Scheme.
Are there some university courses that don’t accept bonus points?
While the majority of university courses accept bonus points as part of the adjusted ATAR, there are some courses that will only take your raw ATAR (your ATAR excluding all adjustment factors). The courses that do not accept these points include the following:
● Bachelor of Clinical Sciences at Charles Darwin University
● Bachelor of Clinical Sciences/Doctor of Medicine at Flinders University
● Bachelor of Medical Studies/Doctor of Medicine at The University of Adelaide
● Bachelor of Science (Veterinary Bioscience) at The University of Adelaide
There are some other courses in the health sciences field which also do not accept SACE bonus points. Course entry requirements can change in the year you apply for them depending on how many people applied or were accepted into the university course in the year before. For more information on adjustment factors, it is best to check the entry requirements and prerequisites of the university course you are applying for on the university’s website. Alternatively, for more targeted guidance, you can speak to a staff member from the university personally by phone, email or at a university open day.
Do other states do bonus points or work out ATAR differently?
While the SACE uses the bonus point and adjustment factor system to calculate your adjusted ATAR, other states will determine ATARs differently. If you want to study at a university that is not in South Australia, you will need to take this into consideration as you will not be able to rely on SATAC adjustment factors.
For example, the UAC from NSW does not use bonus points like SATAC does, however, scaling is still used just like in South Australia to make ATARs comparable Australia wide. UAC still offer schemes such as the Educational Access Scheme to help the students who experienced a disadvantage during their schooling years. If you are thinking of studying a course in another state, it is best you find out the admission requirements from that university so that you are not disadvantaged when applying.
What is the Universities Equity Scheme and how can it help me?
The Universities Equity Scheme is essentially a plan which was developed to assist students who may have experienced a disadvantage throughout school. This scheme makes getting into university fair for all students and can adjust your ATAR in two ways. The first way depends on which school you attended. Some schools may be located in rural areas or experienced financial hardship, limiting the number of resources provided to students throughout their schooling. To find out if your school is included in the scheme, you can visit https://www.satac.edu.au/documents/universitiesequityscheme_eligibleschools_sa-nt_2022.pdf. The second way is dependent on whether you meet specific criteria to receive adjustment factors. The majority of these criteria focus on the financial situation of your caregivers. For more information on individual adjustments, you can visit https://www.satac.edu.au/adjustment-factors. If you experienced a disadvantage throughout your schooling and believe that you are eligible for the Universities Equity Scheme, you can apply for it through your SATAC application. Through this application, you may have to supply supporting documents to show that you meet the criteria.
The bottom line
The use of bonus points can be extremely beneficial when boosting your adjusted ATAR. By completing subjects under the Universities Language, Literacy and Mathematics Scheme, you will increase the chances of being selected for your desired university course when requiring a certain ATAR. However, If you experienced a disadvantage in your schooling, the Universities Equity Scheme will also give you a boost so that your hardship will not stop you from completing tertiary study. For further help with boosting your ATAR, you can always find your best local tutor at: https://kisacademics.com/find-a-tutor. Our tutors here at KIS academics understand how stressful this time of year can be and are always more than happy to support you!
Written by KIS Academics Tutor for SACE English, Biology and Psychology, Charlotte Kenning. Charlotte is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Speech Pathology at Flinders University and has received stellar reviews from her past KIS Academics students. You can view Charlotte's profile here and request her as a tutor.