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:

Benedict Widjaja


Hello! I'm Benedict Widjaja, a recent graduate from Perth Modern School with an ATAR of 99.65, and a recipient of the Melbourne National Merit Scholarship. I'm currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne, studying courses in physics, mathematics, computing and economics.

During high school, I explored my passion for calligraphy and art, learnt to play the piano, and picked up a few new languages, all whilst consistently achieving high marks in all my subjects. I was able to do this, because 1) I was genuinely interested in the subjects I studied, and 2) I invested the time into understanding the nuances of each and every subject, what assessors are looking for, and how to actually study. Now, I'd love to share all this with you! 

In order to ensure that our time together is well-spent, I'll tailor our lessons relevant to what you are currently studying and any upcoming tests you may have. My focus will be on giving you a solid grasp of key concepts, combined with a practical knowledge of how to approach and take assessments - specific to each subject I offer. We'll work on practice problems and past exams (especially for ATAR courses). For this, I have an extensive bank of notes & past exams that I myself used, along with all the amazing resources at KIS Academics!!  

Additionally, I can be your mentor, offering guidance on balancing academics and extracurriculars, navigating university and scholarship applications, and making informed subject selections—as I have recently gone through these myself.

If this resonates with you or if you'd like to learn more, reach out and contact me! We'll then organise a free 30-minute consultation to discuss your academic goals. I look forward to meeting you and supporting you through your academic journey.

Alana Gregory


Hi! My name is Alana. I graduated high school with an ATAR of 99.45 and a UCAT score of 2900. I also achieved a score of 100% in my WACE French second language Oral exam. I am currently studying Medicine (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) at Curtin University in Western Australia. Studying in high school (particularly in years 11 and 12) was a challenge so I’m here to make it a little bit easier for you!

Throughout my time in school my hobbies included athletics and swimming, music and catching up with my friends. Although it was hard to balance what I loved with my studies, these were activities I didn’t want to give up completely in order to do well in assessments/exams. Through meticulous time management and organisation, I was able to balance my studies and hobbies and gain entry into my dream course at university.

As a recent high school graduate, I am very familiar with the WACE curriculum for the subjects I studied. My goal is to help students to succeed in their studies through encouragement, support and a personalised approach to each lesson. I love sharing all my little tips for success with students and hope to be a strong and positive mentor to guide them through their studies.

I particularly enjoy tutoring students in Human Biology and Chemistry, as well as UCAT preparation/Medical school entry. If you’re interested or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I look forward to helping you in your academic journey!

Clara Chen


Hey there, I'm Clara!
I graduated high school as WACE Dux of School and I'm currently studying Medicine at UWA. I know how stressful high school, and especially years 11-12, can be so I'm here to hopefully make this journey easier for you.

I'd love to share all the knowledge I've gathered from my years at school across the various subjects, as well as my tips for time management and organisation so that you can make time outside of studying for the things you love to do! My goal is to equip you with study skills that you can continue to rely on in your further education, as you become an independent learner.

I have ample experience in tutoring students with special needs, and I always tailor my lessons to your individual learning style, goals and preferences.

Contrary to some of my classmates, I absolutely loved Maths (and Science) so I hope to inspire that same passion and positive attitude in my students. I am also more than happy to help with UCAT/medical school entry preparation, having received multiple offers for universities across Australia and achieving a 98th percentile UCAT score.

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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

Maddie M.
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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”

Medha / Year 12 Student

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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.

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

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