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About Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE)

The VCE is a senior secondary certificate of education that enables you to study a broad range of subjects (VCE studies) as well as programs from Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualifications. A full list of VCE studies can be found on the VCAA website, along with the study design for each.

The VCE is a world class credential recognised nationally and internationally for university entry. To enrol as an adult, you must:

  • not have undertaken full-time secondary schooling for the full year preceding the first year of enrolment as an adult
  • be at least 18 years of age on 1 January in the year of enrolment.

The VCE course is made up of studies and units. A study is the overall subject, for example, English or Biology. It is comprised of four units (Units 1, 2, 3 and 4), each of which is a semester in length.

You can study just Unit 1 of a study, or just Unit 2, or both Units 1 and 2. Units 3 and 4 of a study must be studied as a sequence and completed in the same year.

At Units 3 and 4 level, there are graded assessments for each study, consisting of assessment undertaken at your VCE provider and examinations set by the VCAA. If you complete at least two graded assessments, and satisfactorily complete Units 3 and 4, you will be awarded a study score.

A study score can be as high as 50, and shows how you performed in a VCE study or scored VCE VET program, relative to all other students doing that same study.

Study scores are used by the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) to calculate the Australian Tertiary Admissions Ranking (ATAR). If you intend to use your VCE to enrol in a tertiary course make sure you contact VTAC.

For some studies, it is advisable to complete Units 1 and 2 prior to enrolling in Units 3 and 4. Your VCE provider can advise you on study selection and whether those studies have educational pre-requisites.

To be awarded the VCE, adult students must satisfactorily complete at least eight units including:

  • a Unit 3 and 4 sequence from the English group of studies
  • three Units 3 and 4 sequences in studies other than English.

If you have already completed some VCE units, you have one of the following options:

  • completing the minimum requirements that apply to school students (16 units – including at least three units from the English group which must include a Unit 3 and 4 sequence, and three Units 3 and 4 sequences in studies other than English)
  • enrolling as an adult and completing eight units at Units 3 and 4 level.

There is no penalty for repeating VCE units. Repeating a study at the Unit 3 and 4 level may improve your study score and enhance your chances of getting into a tertiary course. However, you cannot count a unit more than once towards satisfactory completion of the VCE. It is necessary to repeat Unit 3 of VCE studies as well as Unit 4 to gain a study score.

If you are returning to study with credits from a senior secondary qualification that predates the VCE, you should contact the VCAA for advice.

Plan ahead – check key dates for VCE on the VCAA website.

Assessment

There are two types of graded assessment in the VCE: School-based Assessment and external assessment.

School-based Assessment is set by your teacher and includes School-assessed Coursework completed at school, and School-assessed Tasks completed at school and home. These are marked at your school, but the VCAA checks the marks to ensure all schools in Victoria are marking to the same standard. Details about School-based Assessment are specified in the VCE study designs.

External assessment is set and marked by the VCAA. These are held in October and November each year. Some studies have a performance or oral examination as well as a written one.

Results of School-based Assessment and external assessment in each study contribute towards your study score.

Time commitment

Most VCE studies require students to attend between four and five hours of classes per week per study. This may be scheduled as one session or spread over two or more sessions per week. To support your learning in class, you will be expected to spend an equivalent amount of time on study outside of class.

The VCE does not have to be completed in one year. Accumulation of units can be spread over a number of years, but a Unit 3 and 4 sequence of one study must be completed in one academic year to gain a study score.

GAT

Any student who is enrolled in a VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3 and 4 sequence is expected to sit the General Achievement Test (GAT) held in June each year. It plays an important role in checking that school-based and external assessments are accurate. Results of the GAT do not count towards the completion of the VCE.