Terms and definitions

Frequently used statements

Minimum tertiary entrance requirements

You must meet minimum tertiary entrance requirements for Victoria to be eligible for entry into courses (Certificate IV and above) through VTAC. To meet the minimum tertiary entrance requirements you must have satisfactorily completed the VCE or its equivalent - including the appropriate number of units and have completed Units 3 and 4 of an English study in that sequence in the same year.

Course and institutional requirements

You must meet institutional and course requirements to be eligible for entry into a course. No matter how good your ATAR is, unless you also meet the prerequisites and complete the extra requirements you will not be considered by course selection officers for their courses.


Prerequisite studies are those VCE studies that you must have successfully completed in order to qualify for a course. Courses with prerequisites specify which VCE units are required and the result that must be achieved. CourseSearch lists the prerequisites required for the courses you will be applying for.

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Extra requirements

These are requirements set for a course-in addition to the VCE-that you must satisfy to be considered for selection.

Extra requirements under the course information in CourseSearch.

Middle band

Many courses specify additional factors that are considered for applicants whose ATAR falls in the middle band. The middle band is the ATAR range just below the minimum ATAR for automatic selection for a course.

Study groupings

There are many study groupings used in prerequisite, middle-band and ATAR calculation statements. English and mathematics are the most common. For a complete list refer to study groupings.

Mathematics studies

Further Mathematics; Mathematical Methods (CAS); Specialist Mathematics; any Mathematics Higher Education study.

English studies

English; English (ESL); Literature; English Language; any English Higher Education study.

(VCE) VET studies

VET programs with Unit 3 and 4 sequences can contribute to the ATAR in two ways. VET sequences with scored assessment may be included in the calculation of the ATAR aggregate. VET studies with no scored assessment may be counted as fifth and/or sixth studies. The increment will be 10% of the average of the primary four ATAR subject scores.

Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL)

Like the VCE, the VCAL is a recognised senior qualification. The VCAL is another pathway to tertiary study. Students who undertake the VCAL are generally focused on training at TAFE, apprenticeships or getting a job after completing Year 12.

Terms associated with the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR)


The ATAR is an overall percentile ranking reflecting your comparative Year 12 achievement relative to the relevant age group in a given year. Your ATAR is developed from an aggregate of your VCE study scores. The aggregate is calculated by adding the scores of the primary four studies to a maximum of two available (and permissible) increments. To be eligible for an ATAR you need a minimum of four permissible scorable studies and have successfully completed the VCE.

Study score

A score from 0-50, determined by the VCAA, which shows how you performed in a study relative to all other students doing that same study. It is based on your results in school assessments and examinations.


A study score provides an indication of your relative performance in a particular study. Scaling adjusts for differences in abilities of students undertaking different studies, so that the scaled study scores are comparable across different studies. It ensures that students are neither advantaged or disadvantaged on the basis of the studies they choose. All VCAA study scores are scaled (see scaling) by VTAC.

ATAR subject score

The scaled score is referred to as the ATAR subject score and contributes towards the calculation of the ATAR.

Restrictions on studies used in the ATAR calculation

Studies with similar emphasis or content may not be used in combination for the calculation of the ATAR. For a complete list of these restrictions, refer to study restrictions

ATAR calculation

Primary four

The four studies that are counted first in the calculation of the ATAR. The primary four aggregate is made up of the ATAR subject score in one of English, English (ESL), Literature or English Language added to the next best three permissible ATAR subject scores.


An increment is 10% of any fifth and/or sixth permissible ATAR subject score that is available. Increments are added to the primary four during the calculation of the ATAR.


The total produced by adding the primary four to a maximum of two available (and permissible) increments.

Other commonly used terms


Commonwealth supported place; place in a degree course subsidised by the Australian Government


interactive program on the VTAC website that allows you to customise course searches based on your VCE program


function on the VTAC website that allows you to search or browse through all courses with applications through VTAC


current Year 12 students


Non-Year 12 students


award for a 3-4 year completed tertiary course


award for a 2-3 year completed tertiary course


Special Entry Access Scheme; umbrella program for special entry at participating institutions