How WACE works and how to prepare for it

How to understand Western Australia's Year 12 system

What is WACE?

WACE stands for the Western Australian Certificate of Education. This is a certificate that students receive on successful completion of the requirements of the WACE at the conclusion of their senior secondary education. This is what is recognised by all universities in Australia and other tertiary institutions.

Requirements for sitting the WACE exams:

To qualify for WACE by Year 11, students need to achieve achieve WACE Literacy and Numeracy Standard by:

  • pre-qualifying by achieving Band 8 or higher in the Year 9 NAPLAN


  • Online Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (OLNA) (if they did not succeed in NAPLAN Year 9 or had not completed NAPLAN as they came from a different country)

Choosing subjects for Year 11 and 12

Students are to choose their subjects for Year 10, 11 and 12 if they choose the WACE ATAR pathway. It is recommended that they choose their subjects in year 10, so they can best prepare for WACE related topics in Year 11.

Requirements for subject choices for WACE:

  • 2 Year 12 ATAR subjects must come from List A (arts, languages, humanities subjects)
  • 2 Year 12 ATAR subjects must come from List B (mathematics, science, technology subjects)

Although requirements are for year 12 courses, schools require you to choose 2 list A subjects and 2 list B so that you don't change the subject in-between year 11 and year 12. In fact, students are highly discouraged from changing subjects between Year 11 and 12!

Plus, there are certain combinations of subjects you are not allowed to do in WACE. Such as:

  • Maths Applications ATAR with Maths Specialist ATAR
  • Maths Applications ATAR with Maths Methods ATAR with Maths Specialist ATAR
  • only Maths Specialist ATAR
  • English ATAR with Literature ATAR

There are also certain subjects that must be taken together, for instance, if you take Maths Specialist, it is imperative that you also take Maths Methods.

It should also be noted that some schools do not offer all subjects, so it is important for students to look at the subject list that the school gives, just to see if they can do the subject they wish.

Continue reading...

The WACE ATAR system can definitely be quite complex, and understanding what is actually going on can be very daunting, especially for new students and their parents. However, if you ever need some assistance with WACE 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 WACE 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


English Essays

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:

Tisha Shah


Hi there! My name is Tisha and I'm a first year student studying Law and Economics at the ANU! I love to read, dance, binge Netflix shows and above all - help you reach your highest academic potential :) I've always enjoyed studying English and the Humanities, and will be able to use my high school experience and success to provide you with a well rounded understanding of course concepts, as well as how to apply them in exam and test situations! I am passionate and enthusiastic and will work with you to personalize your learning journey to best suit your needs and goals. Whether it be extending your knowledge, or building strong foundational skills - I'm always here to help, provide guidance and most importantly, moral support when things get rough. Regardless of what year group you are in, I would love to help you achieve your academic goals and feel more confident about your skills. For ATAR students specifically, I have a strong grounding in English, Literature and the Humanities and can provide you with feedback, in depth resources, and heaps of tips and tricks to maximise those marks and do your best! I have had lots of practice in honing in essay writing and research skills, and can assist you in developing a strong writing style and character.

William Nixon


Hi there, I’m Will! My tutoring journey began when I was in year 11 and one of my teachers asked if I could help out a few year 8 kids with maths before school on Fridays. I said yes, and I can honestly say that has been one of the best decisions I’ve made so far in my life. In my 3+ years of tutoring so far I loved every minute of it, and really have been able to develop a range of not only communication skills, but also gaining the ability to step into the marker’s mind - which is something that I think is really important when answering questions, to know what information is relevant, and what is not. Outside of tutoring I am currently studying Biomedical Engineering and Medical Sciences at the University of Sydney and I also love spending time with my friends and playing or watching a bit of sport – particularly tennis and formula 1 respectively. So if you are looking for a young, passionate tutor who can match you or your child’s learning level to maximise their potential, feel free to reach out.

Maddison Ayton


Hi! I'm Maddison, and I'm familiar with the stress that comes with completing your WACE. I want to alleviate some of the anxiety surrounding your final years at high school by ensuring complete comprehension of the syllabus, memorisation techniques, and exam preparedness. By instilling a firm grasp of content and strategies for answering exam questions, we can make sure you ace your WACE!
Living over an hour away from my high school and completing 6 ATAR subjects and extracurricular activities, I had to find ways to manage stress, understand the content, and prepare for tests efficiently. I can offer you some of the tips and tricks I've come up with, as well as some things I've learned about studying at university!
I'm currently studying a Doctor of Medicine at UWA. I like to dedicate my time to the university club committees I'm on, and I love volunteering. I also have lots of penpals all across the world with whom I regularly keep in touch 😊

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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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