Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

October 02, 2023, 05:32:19 am

Author Topic: What is the ATAR?  (Read 3911 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


  • Administrator
  • Great Wonder of ATAR Notes
  • *****
  • Posts: 10831
  • Respect: +7477
What is the ATAR?
« on: October 24, 2019, 03:24:58 pm »
Please note that all of the information in this thread is based on my personal interpretation of publicly available documents. There may be inaccuracies. Please feel free to ask questions! To make a post, you will need to be logged in to your ATAR Notes account. If you don't have one, you can register here.

> Part 2: How is the ATAR calculated?
> Part 3: How does inter-subject scaling work?

Hey team. The concept of the ATAR will be new to a lot of people, so I want to explain very briefly what it is and what it involves in this thread. :)

The idea behind the ATAR (the Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank) is to provide universities and other tertiary institutions an easy way of ranking students in terms of overall QCE performance. Having something like the ATAR means that they can very quickly judge whether or not to offer course entrance to students based on some sort of approximation of performance through QCE. Unis and other tertiary institutions have a limited number of places they can offer for various courses, so the ATAR basically lets them say, "we'll give you an offer, and you an offer, but unfortunately we won't give you an offer."

In terms of utility, that's about it. Once you've used the ATAR for its intended purpose - to apply for further education - its utility is pretty low. It won't be the case that in two years, or five years, or ten years, you'll be talking about the ATAR. It doesn't even come up at uni. I really encourage you to view the ATAR as what it is - a pathway (just one pathway) beyond Year 12. I also really encourage you to not view the ATAR as something that it isn't, namely an all-determining number that will absolutely dictate every single second of your life after high school.

The ATAR is reported as a single number between 0 and 99.95. ATARs are reported in increments of 0.05 - so you could get an ATAR of 99.95, or 99.90, or 99.85, and so on, but you couldn't get an ATAR of, say 98.32, or 99.99, or 97.54. If you achieve an ATAR of 30 or below, it's simply reported as "30 or below", so the basic scale you're looking at is <30 to 99.95.

The highest ATAR you can receive is 99.95. Why is that the case?

Well, in my opinion, the most important word of "Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank" is that last one - rank. The ATAR is not a score - at least, not in the traditional sense. What I mean by that is that even if you achieve, say, 60% on every single assessment between now and the end of Year 12, that doesn't necessarily mean you'll end up with an ATAR of 60.00. That's because what the ATAR actually reflects is the proportion of comparable students (ATAR-eligible students in that particular year) you have outperformed. What an ATAR of 60.00 would actually suggest is that you have outperformed 60% of your competition.

To be eligible for the ATAR, there are a few things you need to do. I won't go into heaps of depth here; you can find more information on QTAC's website, which I recommend perusing. But in basic terms, you must:

> satisfactorily complete an English subject (which doesn't necessarily have to contribute to your ATAR);
> complete five subjects (more on this below); and
> do both of the above within five years.

Your ATAR is calculated from your top five subjects, but your subjects can come in different forms. Your options are:

> five General Units 3&4 subjects; or
> four General Units 3&4 subjects and one Applied Units 3&4 subject; or
> four General Units 3&4 subjects and one VET qualification (Cert III or above).

Want to know more about how the ATAR is calculated behind the scenes? I will cover this in a separate thread. :)
« Last Edit: October 25, 2019, 04:18:13 pm by Joseph41 »

Oxford comma, Garamond, Avett Brothers, Orla Gartland enthusiast.