How QCE works and how to prepare for it

How to understand Queensland's Year 12 system

So, what is the QCE?

The QCE (or Queensland Certificate of Education) is the certification awarded to Year 12s following their completion of their senior studies – basically a high school diploma. The certification is granted to students given the successful completion of four core units in 5 general subjects.

In order to receive your QCE at the end of Year 12, you must satisfy a couple of requirements that we will lay out below.

For each general subject, there are 4 units (which correspond to 4 QCE credits). Units 1 and 2 are completed in Year 11 and are formative (ie. scores do not contribute to your final ATAR). Units 3 and 4 are completed in Year 12 and are summative (they do contribute to your ATAR).

Students must have a minimum of 20 credits to receive a QCE, but they can attain up to 28 credits. Most Queensland students will graduate with 24 QCE credits, made up of 4 units in 6 general subjects.

Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (or ATAR as it is more commonly known), is awarded to students who satisfy this eligibility criteria. It is provided to Year 12 graduates in conjunction with their QCE and is important for university entry. Whilst QCE is under the jurisdiction of the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA), the ATAR is calculated by the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC).

Another important thing to note is that the ATAR is a rank rather than a score - essentially meaning that it gives you a percentile of how you have ranked compared to all of the students in the state. Students who receive a 99.95 ATAR are in the top 0.05% of the state (around 30 people), whereas students with a 70 ATAR are in the top 30%.

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The QCE ATAR system can be quite complex, and understanding what's going on can be very daunting for new students and parents. If you ever need some assistance with QCE studies or subject specific help, KIS Academics tutors have a thorough understanding of their subjects and can assist in understanding curriculum requirements.

Make sure to reach through the below articles to gain a thorough understanding of how the QCE works and how each subject contributes to your final ATAR score.

Understanding the


system 🧠

The first thing we recommend you do is understand how the curriculum works. This will help you choose subjects, understand marking schemes and how it all impacts what university course you can do:

Calculating your



Once you've got an idea of what subjects you want to do and how you'll approach your studies, you can experiment with a predicted ATAR using an ATAR Calculator.

Get your


Internal Investigation Assessment

Marked ✅

In-school assessments are a common and important part of your final ATAR score. If you want an expert to look over your work and provide feedback before your teacher does, you've come to the right place!

Getting the right


resources 📚

Knowing how things work is only half the challenge. You'll need to make sure that you find the best resources available for each subject you choose to do. Here are some of the most popular resources for common subjects:

Finding the best


tutors 🎓

The best way to improve your chance of success is by finding a great mentor or tutor. Finding a good one can be difficult, but we recommend looking for a tutor who:
1️⃣ is young and relatable so lessons are engaging
2️⃣ has a good academic record, achieved a high ATAR themselves is an expert at your subject
3️⃣ loves teaching and genuinely cares about their students.
Here are some of our most popular tutors who fulfil all three criteria themselves:

Amelia Mackie


Hello!! I’m Amelia. I graduated high school with an ATAR 99.3, an English score of 50, and a 99th percentile score (3250) in the UCAT. I graduated from a Bachelor of Science (majoring in Biomedical Science) in 2023 with a GPA 6.75. During my undergraduate degree I was also fortunate to study for a semester overseas at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, in their Biomedical Science Honours program! I am currently in my first year of the Doctor of Medicine at UQ.

My hobbies include exercise, live music and spending time with friends, and these weren’t activities I was willing to give up completely in order to achieve academic success. Instead, through organisation, time management and efficient study; I was able to balance all three!

Since graduating in 2020, I have tutored for over 1000 hours for more than fifty students from Year 5-12, helping them to ace their exams and achieve their personal academic goals. My aim is to help my students succeed in their studies by taking a holistic approach to their learning. I wish to share my tips and tricks for success with my students and provide them with guidance and mentoring as they journey through their senior studies.

I particularly love helping students with Biology, English, and Medicine Entry. I also have experience working with students with ADHD, dyslexia, dyscalculia and learning differences. Please contact me if interested and I look forward to assisting you on your academic journey!

Aryan Hampapur


Hello there!! I'm Aryan and year 12 can be quite the nightmare, I strive such that students can survive to see another day and succeed in their academics.

I graduated high school at the Queensland Academies for Science, Mathematics and Technology as a summa cum laude achieving multiple awards not limited to a bronze medal in the 2019 World Mathematics Team Championship, as well as, a high distinction in the international chemistry quiz. I have also achieved a 3280 UCAT score.

Throughout year 12, I sought to find efficient yet effective study techniques and habits. Throughout high school, I have tested numerous approaches to find the best suit students. All in all, to help students achieve their academic goals in high school. As your tutor, I will ensure that you can use studying methods that suit you and can help you excel in your academic and non-academic life.

Nowadays, I split between teaching students, studying at medicine at The University of Newcastle and playing chess.

Roger Luo


Hello and welcome to my bio! My name is Roger and I am a second year dentistry student studying at Griffith University.

During my time in high school, I've been actively involved in various academic extracurriculars ranging from academic societies to competitions. Some of them include:

  • Founder of the History Society and President of Maths Society
  • NZ Maths Olympiad Camp and Chemistry Training Squad (Top 24 in NZ)
  • Top 30 in Otago Maths Competitions

Learning is an unique journey to each individual, that when sustained, can yield incredible results and be self-fulfilling and revelatory. During my classes, I hope to nurture a sustainable method of approach towards learning, whilst also aiming for the highest forms of achievement.

As someone with a good amount of experience tutoring, and having personally experimented with different approaches of understanding
concepts, I hope to offer the most efficient way of breaking down difficult concepts that is easy to follow and understand.

If you are a student seeking help with Maths or Sciences, or just looking for some advice, feel free to reach out to me and I look forward to chatting with you.

In my spare time, I like to watch sport, play music or go out to
town and eat.

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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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Hello there! I'm Manoj - the founder of Keep It Simple Academics (Or KIS Academics for short).

KIS Academics is an Australia-wide tutoring company that has helped hundreds of students achieve their academic potential. Through these last few years, I've learned a thing or two about how tutoring works. Now it's my goal to grow KIS Academics and help more students across Australia achieve their dreams (and somehow complete my medical degree in one piece 😅)

In the last three years:

✅ We've helped C students get straight As.

✅ We've helped wannabe doctors get into Australia's best medical schools

✅ We've helped students who live in rural towns gain opportunities to go to metropolitan universities.

✅ We've helped students who hate maths find their passion for it

✅ We've even helped some students get into an IVY league college.

But rather than listening to me ramble on about how great KIS Academics is, book a study skills consultation with one of our tutors and experience it firsthand!

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