How SACE works and how to prepare for it

How to understand South Australia's Year 12 system

How the SACE works:

The SACE involves Stage 1 subjects and Stage 2 subjects. Stage 1 subjects are mostly taken in Year 11, and Stage 2 subjects are mostly taken in Year 12.

Each semester of a subject is worth 10 credits when passed (but we’re aiming for way higher here!). Credits can also be gained through recognised VET courses and other Recognised Studies.

Here’s a breakdown of credit requirements:

50 Credits - Compulsory Subjects

Students must complete 20 credits of English subjects, and 10 credits of mathematics subjects. In addition to this, they must also complete:

The Personal Learning Plan (10 credits)

The Personal Learning Plan (PLP) is a Stage 1, 10-credit subject. The PLP has a focus on student initiative by developing research skills and strategies to improve personal qualities.

It’s often the first SACE subject a student will take, as most schools offer PLP in Year 10. Overall, the PLP is a Stage 1 subject that helps students plan for their academic and professional goals by developing research skills and strategies to improve personal qualities.

The Research Project A or B (10 credits)

The Research Project (RP) is a Stage 2, 10-credit subject. There are two variants: Research Project A does not allow the student to pursue an ATAR, while Research Project B enables both ATAR and non-ATAR pathways.

Students can choose from two distinct research project variants - A or B. Depending on the school, this subject may be taken during Years 11 or 12. Pupils are challenged to find a relevant question of their own design which they explore through rigorous methodology before analysing results for any unforeseen issues that have cropped up along the way.

60 Credits - Stage 2 or VET

Of the SACE/NTCET, 60 credits must come from Stage 2 subjects and/or recognised vocational education and training course(s). Students can undertake the two in whatever ratio they choose.

90 Credits - Other Studies

The rest of the 90 credits can be made up of any Recognised Studies. This may be:

  • any SACE/NTCET subjects
  • interstate/international senior secondary learning
  • tertiary studies, including recognised VET and university studies
  • community learning, through formal programs (like AMEB or St. John’s) or self-direction (like leading community projects or being a primary carer)
  • plus way more!


SACE/NTCET subjects are evaluated through internal (school-based) and external (set by the SACE Board) assessments. External assessments allow for moderated marking standards, and not all subjects have an exam for the external assessment. For example, an English external piece may be an assignment completed over weeks, and an arts external assessment may be a live performance instead.

Continue reading...

Understanding the SACE ATAR system can be daunting, but KIS Academics tutors can help with subject-specific assistance and understanding curriculum requirements.

For more information on how the SACE works and how each subject contributes to your final ATAR score, check out the resources below.

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


Research Project

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:

Dhwani Suthar


Hey! My name is Dhwani. I am a current Bachelor of Medical Radiation (Medical Imaging) student at the University of South Australia.

I graduated high school as the School Dux for the subjects of Chemistry, Biology and General Mathematics and with an ATAR of 99.95.

I have had a lot of experience conducting one-on-one tutoring with students and have also helped students bring up their grades for subjects that they found very difficult. I did this by making up fun ways to help tailor the content in the way the student understood the best. This could be by condensing the information into trigger words or by using real-life examples. We will also go through any tricky questions and any instances where you need further clarification on concepts.

Nonetheless, I will be available 24/7 in case any questions come up while you are trying to sleep!

Yumeng Liu


Hi, I'm Yumeng! I'm a student at the Australian National University with a major in chemistry, and minors in biology and computer science.
I’ve worked as a tutor since high school – and I’ve loved every second of it. I try to create an environment where you’ll feel comfortable making mistakes, asking for help, and taking initiative for what you learn. After all, that’s what we’re here for! It’s not just about the content itself, but all the study techniques and problem-solving skills that’ll stick with you.
I’m super passionate about science communication. A lot of people picture science as something really prestigious, but whatever goals you have for the future, having an understanding for the sciences is essential in navigating the world. STEM isn’t just about theories and formulas either. It’s so important to make science accessible, and to be able to critically examine all the information we’re bombarded with – which is why I love English too! It might not seem like it, but just like anything else in school, there’s methodology in analysing and creating texts.
I’m keen to share all the tips and tricks I’ve collected to smash your studies. Hopefully by the end of it, you’ll walk away just as excited about these subjects as I am. Looking forward to meeting you!

Anna Champion


Hi, I'm Anna!

I'm currently a Law and International Relations student at The Australian National University in Canberra - however I am originally from Adelaide, so I studied the SACE for Year 12. I am passionate about humanities and English, achieving SACE Merits in English Literary Studies, Modern History, Legal Studies and General Mathematics when I was in year 12.

I love reading and analysing texts in English, and I am hoping I can share this passion with you - I promise doing assignments doesn't always have to be a slog, anything can be manageable if it is broken up the right way! Outside of schoolwork, I love to learn languages - I'm currently learning French!

I hope I can share all my tips and tricks for studying the SACE, helping you to reach your full potential, hoping you walk away motivated, and ready to smash your studies!

Looking forward to meeting you!

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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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I got the top mark for my SAC which was really nice, and I think that’s all because of my tutor”

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In the last three years:

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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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