Universities use the ATAR to help them to select students for their courses. Admissions to most tertiary courses are based on your selection rank (your ATAR and any applicable adjustments). Most universities also use other criteria when selecting students. For example, a personal statement, portfolio of work and interviews.
The ATAR is based on an aggregate of scaled marks in 10 units of ATAR courses containing:
- Your best 2 units of English.
- Your best 8 units from any Board Developed Courses.
Students ATAR results are released by the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC).
Who receives an ATAR?
HSC students who indicate on their HSC Entry Form that they wish to be notified of their ATAR will receive an ATAR Advice Notice from UAC at about the same time they receive their HSC results from NSW Education Standards Authority in December.
However, not all ATAR Advice Notices will show an ATAR.
- students who achieve an ATAR between 0.00 and 30.00: they will have their ATAR reported as ‘30 or below’.
- students who do not meet the ATAR rules: the statement ‘Not eligible for an ATAR’ will appear on the ATAR Advice Notice.
It is important to note that the ranking of students depends solely on their performance in the HSC.
What are the ATAR rules?
To be eligible for an ATAR you must complete at least ten units of HSC Board Developed courses including English.
- An ATAR will be awarded, subject to the following restrictions and conditions:
- you must satisfactorily complete English
- no more than two (2) units of Category B courses will be used in the calculation of your ATAR.
- you may accumulate courses over a period of no more than five years
- if you repeat a course, or component of a course, only the last satisfactory attempt will be used in the calculation of your ATAR
- if you enrol in a repeat course and subsequently withdraw (either officially by advising your Principal or NSW Education Standards Authority, or unofficially by non-attendance at the appropriate examination), you will be considered as not having completed the course and it will be regarded as a non-satisfactory attempt. In this case, the mark from your previous satisfactory attempt in the course will be available for inclusion in your ATAR.
Maximising your ATAR
To maximise their rank position students should choose courses:
- that are within their capability;
- that they are are interested in or enjoy doing;
- that satisfy course pre-requisites (see Mrs Jackson if you need confirmation of this).
To determine the ATAR, marks from the school and the HSC are scaled before they are added to give the aggregates from which the ATAR is determined.
Rumours abound as to the exact process of scaling, and many students believe that by choosing certain subjects their results will automatically be scaled up. Students who choose courses not suited to their needs, interest or abilities, in the mistaken belief that they will still maximise their ATAR, may very well disadvantage themselves by performing relatively poorly and achieve a low contributing mark to their ATAR.
Students need to focus ther endeavours on the HSC so that they work consistently and diligently throughout the courses, otherwise they will not achieve to a level of which they are capable. This will necessarily involve some hard decisions being made about priorities regarding work, leisure time and other extracurricular activities.
Students should be encouraged to set clear goals before they commence their course (and write them down as a reminder), and critically assess their progress on a continuous basis. As part of our student development program with the school, all Year 11 and 12 students are extensively instructed and supported in valuable study skills, including time management and goal setting. They are also provided with ongoing support in this vital area.
50% of the final HSC mark is based on school assessment tasks, completed throughout HSC courses.