How the ATAR works

Understand your State's curriculum so you can perform at your best

How does the ATAR work across Australian States?

What is the ATAR?

The ATAR is the ‘Australian Tertiary Admission Rank.’

The ATAR is a score used by Australian universities to grant admission into university degrees. A higher ATAR score is more difficult to get, and is required for more competitive university degrees like medicine and engineering.

The ATAR is used all across Australia, but each state has a different system, curriculum and subjects when it comes to working out an ATAR.

The most common curriculums in Australia are:

  • The HSC - used by schools in Sydney and NSW
  • The VCE - used by schools in Melbourne and VIC
  • The QCE ATAR - used by schools in Brisbane and QLD
  • The SACE and NTCET- used by schools in Adelaide and SA, as well as Darwin and NT
  • The WACE ATAR - used by schools in Perth and WA
  • The IB - an International Baccalaureate only offered by some schools, but recognised internationally

The way ATARs are calculated across states can vary a lot, but traditionally your ATAR will be a number between 0.00 and 99.95, measured in increments of 0.05. So, with the highest ATAR being 99.95, the next highest is 99.90 and so on. The number is a rank (not a mark out of 100) and is indicative of your position relative to all other students in your state’s year. For example, if you receive an ATAR of 75.00 that would place you in the top 25% of your cohort.

What is the ATAR used for?

The ATAR is used by universities across Australia, providing a measure to accept a certain number of students into courses with the appropriate ‘cut-off’ or ‘minimum’ ATAR.

The minimum ATAR is often transferred to a ‘Selection Rank’ by universities - this includes the ATAR plus any relevant adjustment factors (previously referred to as ‘bonus points’). These adjustment factors will not change your personal ATAR but will change your selection rank that can help you get into a certain degree. The selection rank adjustments are based on a range of factors including high performance in Year 12 subjects relevant to your degree, living or attending a school in a certain area, financial hardship or athletic achievements. Most states have their own Education Access Scheme (EAS) that consider these factors.

You can find more information about EAS with your state's relevant Tertiary Admissions Centre:

  • NSW - Universities Admissions Centre (UAC)
  • Victoria - Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC)
  • Queensland - Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC)
  • South Australia/Northern Territory – South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC)
  • Tasmania - University of Tasmania
  • Western Australia – Tertiary Institutions Service Centre (TISC)

We know all of this ATAR informatioon can seem extremely confusing and daunting but it is important that you trust the process and do all you can too learn and understand it!

Make sure to learn as much as you can about how the ATAR works in your state and use it to your advantage when choosing subjects, preferencing universities and choosing tutors.

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As a year 11 student doing ATAR, I was looking for a tutor that could help me with French. KIS Academics was incredibly helpful and fast at finding me a wace french tutor who could assist me with my studies. My tutor Eliza Carey over the past few months has helped me so much not only in French but in biology and maths as well. I’m incredibly grateful for the effort and commitment she has put into helping me be more comfortable and less stressed about the subjects I was having difficulty with. It’s been nothing but an honour to be tutored by Eliza and I strongly recommend her as a tutor

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