1. Doing subjects that scale a lot e.g. VCE Specialist Maths will ensure that I get a high ATAR:
This is incorrect. Picking your subjects purely based on how much it scales by will not guarantee you a high ATAR. In fact, it can work against you. Unless you are really good at Specialist Maths then you won’t end up with a good study score which may affect your overall ATAR. Your best choice is to choose subjects that you are good at or enjoy as this will give you a better chance of getting a better study score, and hence better ATAR.
2. You need to study super hard to get a good ATAR:
Yes and no. You do need to ensure that you work consistently throughout the year and ensure that you keep up to date with the content and do regular revision. However, you don’t need to be studying 24 hours 7 days a week – that would be insane! You can still do things that you like e.g. play sport or music but you want to make sure that you don’t let those things overshadow your studies.
It all comes down to balancing your commitments and prioritisation. If you are organised and try to plan ahead then there should be no reason why you cannot do other things and do well in your VCE.
3. The higher the ATAR for a course is, the better it is:
There is no evidence to support this and as mentioned previously the ATAR for certain courses are the way they are because the university admission system is a demand-driven system. The more demand for a course the higher the ATAR will be for that course.
4. You’re wasting your ATAR if you don’t go into a course that is commensurate with your ATAR:
This is not really the case. You cannot really waste your ATAR if you go into a course that has a lower ATAR than what you got. If you got an ATAR to be able to study law, but you don’t see yourself working as a lawyer then there is no point in going to study law. It is a waste of time and money. Do what you are passionate about! It is true that the higher the ATAR you get the more doors it will open up for you, but if you are not passionate about something then you won’t do well in it – that is just a fact!
Likewise, don’t pick a course that you think will pay well. Your decision should not purely be based on money.
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