What Is An ATAR Score 2024: Complete Guide

Atar Score

Are you a scholar looking to pursue higher education in Australia? If so, there are several steps to follow, starting with checking the admission requirements. While these may vary among universities and programs, certain eligibility criteria remain consistent. One such criterion is the ATAR score, which compares your 12th-grade results to those of other Australian students. However, aspects of the ATAR score can be confusing. Before proceeding with your application, consult our guide for clarity on its meaning, calculation, eligibility, and more. Keep reading to learn more!

What Is An ATAR Score?

Despite the colloquial term ‘ATAR score,’ ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) is a ranking system used by institutes of tertiary education to assess applicants’ positions compared to others. It is primarily calculated for 12th-grade students or equivalent seeking admission to higher education courses. The final ATAR falls within the range of 0.00 to 99.95, with 99.95 being the highest possible rank. While it may seem intuitive to perceive it as a score or percentage due to its scale of almost 100, ATAR is, in fact, a rank indicating your position relative to peers. For example, an ATAR of 90 means you rank higher than 90% of your peers.

The average ATAR typically hovers around 70.00. This is because many students opt out before graduation to pursue trades or other skill-based careers that do not require an ATAR. Conversely, those who receive an ATAR score tend to be more academically inclined and focused on their future education and careers. If all candidates took the ATAR, the average score would be 50.00. Despite this, ATAR remains a crucial factor in admissions, alongside other relevant tests. However, it’s important to note that ATAR is not the sole criterion for admission. Colleges often conduct interviews or other assessments and may require applicants to submit personal statements, questionnaires, or portfolios.

Eligibility – Atar Score

Atar Score

There are a few eligibility criteria that you need to complete before obtaining your ATAR study score. You need to acquire study scores in a minimum of four Units 3 and 4 VCE subjects. VCE is the Victorian Certificate of Education, after completing which the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre calculates your ATAR. The centre uses the results issued by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority to calculate ATAR scores. In addition to the above subjects, English must be one mandatorily. Also, this is the process in Victoria. ATAR is calculated in each state and is eligible in others. For example, an ATAR score of 75.00 in New South Wales will remain at 75.00 in other states as well.

Once you’re done with your VCE courses, the above-mentioned Admissions Centre will alert you of your ATAR score. If you decide to apply for higher programmes or tertiary courses, VTAC will send your ranking details to the institute. ATAR is not only crucial but also a very beneficial tool since it allows you to conveniently check your eligibility for any university or college before moving ahead with the application process.

How Is ATAR Score Calculated?

Here are the steps to calculating ATAR – 

  • The four highest scores acquired in year 12 exams are considered. These are added together to form the TEA – Tertiary Entrance Aggregate.
  • One of the four subjects must be English studies, English language, English as an additional language or literature.
  • Your raw score in each subject is between 0 and 50, which is then scaled up or down by the VTAC. This is done based on the difficulty level of the subject to ensure a fair competition for all students.
  • Depending on their aggregate, students are ranked and assigned a percentage rank to distribute the eligible candidates evenly over a 100-point scale.
  • This percentage rank is then converted to ATAR.

Since the scaling is conducted in a way that is fair to the performance of all eligible students in the year, it often becomes difficult to predict the final ATAR score. Despite that, students can calculate their ATAR online to get an idea of where they stand.

Difference Between Your HSC Marks And ATAR

Here’s the difference between your HSC marks and the ATAR score you would obtain at a glance.

HSC marks indicate the performance in a particular exam/course by reflecting the marks or percentage obtained.ATAR is a rank that indicates the student’s position in comparison to other peers and considers all the HSC courses together.
HSC marks are usually given out of 100 or calculated to an equivalent.ATAR is on a scale of 0.00 and 99.95.
HSC marks can only be compared to other students with the same courses. ATAR can be compared with a student who has taken any courses.
It is an independent score that reflects only your performance.It is a relative figure that reflects your academic position concerning others.

What Is A Good ATAR Score?

A good ATAR score is one that secures admission to your desired college or university. While individual perspectives vary, generally, any score above 80.00 is considered above average, and a score of 90-95+ is deemed excellent. Conversely, a score below 70.00 may be viewed as subpar. Scores falling below 30.00 are reported as ‘less than 30.’ However, the significance of an ATAR score depends on the specific course and university chosen. It’s important to note that an exceptional ATAR score not only facilitates admission to prestigious institutions but also enhances eligibility for scholarships and financial aid.

Popular Universities And Their Requirements

Here are some of the top universities in Australia, their popular courses and their respective necessary ATAR requirements.

UniversityATAR for ArtATAR for BusinessATAR for Science
University of Queensland70.0070.0080.00
QUT70.00 – 72.0071.0070.00
Griffith University65.0065.0065.00
University of Sydney80.0080.0080.00
University of Melbourne85.0085.0088.00
Monash University70.00 – 72.0071.0075.00 – 82.05


Q1. Is ATAR the only option for admission to universities?

Ans: Fortunately, applying to a university through your ATAR score is not the only option. Candidates who don’t have the desired score or didn’t opt to receive it can still pursue higher education through other gateways. Several colleges don’t require ATAR scores, or you can transition into tertiary institutes through other flexible study options like distance learning, part-time or online courses.

Q2. Are 11th grade marks considered in ATAR?

Ans: The ATAR score is typically calculated using the grades obtained in the 12th-grade courses. Thus, the scores of your 11th-grade subjects won’t directly affect the ATAR score. However, whatever you learn in your 11th grade will most likely form the foundation for 12th-grade courses. So it’s crucial to work hard in the previous years as well to obtain a good figure in ATAR.

Q3. Which subjects should I choose for a better ATAR?

Ans: While there isn’t a set of subjects that can get you a higher ATAR score, it is recommended to choose the subjects that you genuinely enjoy studying so you can put in the required hard work with initiative. Additionally, you can refer to the requirements of your chosen programme at the university or college you wish to attend since they often have specific subject requirements.

Q4. What is a good ATAR score in Australia?

Ans: A figure higher than 80 is typically considered good in Australia.

Q5. What’s the highest ATAR score?

Ans: Since it is calculated on a scale of 0.00 to 99.95, the ATAR top score can be a maximum of 99.95.

Thank you for reading our guide to ATAR score! Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

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