The Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) is one of the qualifications you can get if you finish Year 11 and 12 at high school in Victoria. After completing the VCE, students get an ATAR score to use to apply for university or TAFE. .In Victoria, ATAR is derived from mapping a student’s aggregate score to the national averages. This score is used by university and tertiary education programs as a clear and intuitive ranking to select prospective applicants for their programs
VCE studies refer to the various subjects available to students to contribute to their successful completion of the qualification. There are currently 128 VCE studies, ranging from diverse fields such as the humanities, science, technology and mathematics. Studies are also permitted to study one or more VCE VET programs, vocational education-based subjects which contribute to the completion of the VCE, whilst also resulting in a nationally-recognised VET qualification.
Although a student may choose to study any VCE subject in theory, this is dependent on availability of the specified study at the student’s school. Certain schools do not offer certain studies, and as a result, students may pick alternate ones, or choose to study a particular subject through an external institution such as Virtual School Victoria (formerly Distance Education Centre Victoria).
To be awarded the VCE, a student must successfully complete at least:
- All 4 units of an English subject
- Three additional Unit 3/4 sequences
- Pass with a satisfactory of at least 16 units out of the normal 20-24 units
This therefore means that a student must study at least four subjects to be awarded the VCE. Selection of studies depends on other factors as well, such as prerequisites for university courses.
A student who satisfactorily completes units 3/4 of a VCE study is eligible for a study score of between 0 and 50. Study scores are calculated by VCAA, and indicate a student’s performance in relation to all other students who undertook that study.
Scaling is the process that adjusts VCE study scores into ATAR subject scores. The Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) adjusts all VCE study scores to equalise results between studies with stronger cohorts, and those with weaker ones. Contrary to common perception, scaling is not based on the difficulty of the subject, as each study score is in fact a ranking.
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