Year 12 certificate and ATAR calculation – Compare all states in Australia
Each State and Territory has its own Year 12 certification system and ways to calculate your Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) score. Learn what is required for each state and generally about secondary school certifications.
The senior secondary certificates are recognised nationally in the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).
Preparing for tertiary courses – what is the ATAR
All Australian secondary education systems integrate senior secondary certification (year 12 matriculation) with tertiary selection through the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR)
University and Tertiary Institutions entry – Entrance Exams
There are no institutional entrance examinations and few faculty specific examinations for tertiary entrance in Australia. Entrance to medical school is one exception. The ATAR score is the sole basis for selection into most tertiary courses in Australia.
Purpose of the ATAR
The ATAR aims to give individuals a score on a scale that can be compared with students taking other subjects, students in other state systems or from overseas and students from other years.
The year 12 matriculation certificates are used to calculate the student’s ATAR ranking. In all states you have to choose whether you want to get an ATAR and then pick courses that are eligible – you can get a year 12 certificate without qualifying for an ATAR.
Two types of year 12 examination systems: scaling tests or curriculum-based tests
ACT and Queensland are the only two states in Australia that rely on a full two years of study for their year 12 certificates and use exams – scaling tests to calculate the ATAR. The tests are general ability tests and not curriculum based.
All other states rely on curriculum-based exams to decide the year 12 certificate results and thus the ATAR. These states start year 12 subjects in the last term of year 11.
New South Wales and Victoria use external assessments to statistically moderate internal assessments.
Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia use statistical, social and supervised moderation in which some form of sampling of student work is reviewed by the authority.
South Australia uses social and supervised moderation without formal statistical moderation.
The Australian systems differ in the fineness of the assessments they report.
Australian Capital Territory, Queensland
New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria
Click on your State or Territory to find out about the school leaving age, school certificates and how to get an ATAR.