Who sits the GAT
Both Sections A and B
- Students enrolled in one or more VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3–4 sequence, including students not planning to undertake scored assessment
- Includes students who have met the literacy and numeracy standards in a previous year
Section A only
- Students enrolled in one or more VCE Vocational Major Unit 3–4 sequence or Senior VCAL studies but who are not enrolled in any VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3–4 sequences
- If a student has already met the standards in a previous year and they are enrolled in VCE Vocational Major but not in any VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3–4 sequences, they will not be expected to sit Section A. However, they may opt to do so if they wish
GAT structure and samples
The GAT is structured into Section A and Section B, with a range of question difficulties.
Marks are not deducted for incorrect answers.
Time allocations are provided for each component to make sure students attempt all sections of the GAT. Even if one section is not completed within the suggested time allocation, students should move on to attempt the next section. Students can return to any incomplete questions at the end of the test.
Section A: Literacy and numeracy skills
Section A is a literacy and numeracy assessment comprised of:
- a 2-part writing task – 30 minutes
- 50 numeracy multiple-choice questions – 45 minutes
- 50 reading multiple-choice questions – 45 minutes
Students are presented with a stimulus (for example an image or text) and asked to respond to 2 prompts.
The first part is a short-answer type (10 minutes). The second part (20 minutes) allows for a more detailed response.
Students are assessed on the effectiveness of the writing for the audience and purpose, ideas, and structure and cohesion. In addition, mechanical aspects of writing, including grammar, punctuation and spelling, are assessed.
The multiple-choice questions cover numeracy and literacy (reading). Questions are based on a range of contexts including those you may encounter in daily life. Each part is allocated 45 minutes.
See GAT Section A samples
Section B: General knowledge and skills
Section B is comprised of:
- an extended writing task – 30 minutes
- 25 mathematics, science and technology multiple-choice questions – 30 minutes
- 25 arts and humanities multiple-choice questions – 30 minutes
Students develop a piece of writing presenting a point of view in response to several prompts. In addition to the information provided, students can draw on their own ideas to communicate clearly and effectively to the reader.
The multiple-choice questions cover mathematics, science, technology, humanities, the arts and social sciences. This section consists of groups of questions or units. Each unit offers one or more pieces of information with several questions relating to that information.
Past GAT papers
Quality assurance and the GAT
As well as providing students an opportunity to demonstrate they meet the Victorian Literacy and Numeracy Standards, the GAT plays an important role in the quality assurance of VCE assessments.
The VCAA applies statistical moderation procedures to school-based assessment scores to make sure they are comparable across the state and fair to all students. The statistical moderation process compares the level and spread of each school’s assessments of its students in each study with the level and spread of the same students’ scores in the external assessment, and adjusts the school scores, if necessary.
In some studies, GAT scores will also be used for statistical moderation. This will be done only if they provide a better match with school-based assessments throughout the state. The external assessment scores will always have the major influence in the statistical moderation calculations.
The GAT is used as part of a final check on external assessment scores. If there is a significant statistical difference between the final score for an external assessment and the score predicted by the GAT and school indicative grades, the external assessment will be assessed again by the chief assessor. Scores may go up or stay the same, but they will not go down as a result of this final check.
The calculation for the DES uses all available scores for the student in the affected study, the indicative grade for any external assessments provided by the school and the GAT component scores. For each approved application for a specific external assessment, the VCAA will calculate a range of possible scores using the DES. This will be calculated statistically from the student’s other assessments, including:
- moderated school-based assessments
- GAT component scores
- other external assessment scores, if applicable
- indicative grades provided by the school
The contribution made by the graded assessments, the indicative grade and the GAT component scores is determined by analysis of the comparison data with the final score for the specific external assessments for all students who have not applied for a DES. For all external assessments, the two graded school-based assessment scores provide the greatest contribution to all the predictors.
If a student is eligible for a DES and the highest of the predictors is greater than the achieved external assessment score, the highest predictor is chosen as the final score for the student in the relevant external assessment.
Exemption from the GAT
It is important for students enrolled in one or more VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3–4 sequence to sit Sections A and B of the GAT, and for students enrolled in one or more VCE VM Unit 3–4 sequence or Senior VCAL studies to sit Section A.
Eligibility for exemption from the GAT
A student may be deemed eligible for an exemption from the GAT if they meet one or more of the following criteria:
- they have a condition, circumstance or impairment for which arrangements cannot reasonably be made. Special Examination Arrangements (SEAs) for the GAT can be provided for students with a vision impairment or students who are deaf or hard of hearing
- they are prevented from sitting the GAT by injury, illness, personal trauma or a serious intervening event
- they are employed and cannot be absent from work (evidence from their employer is required)
A personal trauma may include, but is not limited to, the death or serious illness of, or an accident involving, a family member.
A serious intervening event may include:
- an accident before or on the day of the GAT
- attendance at a funeral of a family member or other person of close relationship
- required attendance at a legal proceeding
Applications submitted on the basis of illness, injury, personal trauma or a serious intervening event require independent evidence from an appropriate professional.
An application for an exemption from the GAT cannot be submitted solely on the basis of:
- a student requiring Special Examination Arrangements
- a student not completing any graded assessment
- interrupted studies status or compassionate late withdrawal
- a student being interstate or overseas at the time of the GAT
Special Examination Arrangements
A request for an exemption from the GAT on the grounds of requiring SEAs will not be approved unless the necessary arrangements exceed those normally offered for the GAT.
Students who experience the onset of an illness, the exacerbation of an existing condition or the occurrence of an injury or personal trauma in the period before or on the day of the GAT should discuss with their VCE coordinator a school application for Emergency Special Examination Arrangements, which may assist them to sit the GAT.
Students not completing any graded assessments
Students not completing any graded assessments associated with VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3–4 sequences are expected to sit the GAT and will not be granted an exemption on these grounds.
Interrupted studies status and compassionate late withdrawal
It is important for a student who has been granted interrupted studies status to attempt the GAT in both academic years, but particularly in the academic year they return to complete the study.
If a student has been withdrawn from all VCE or scored VCE VET units at Units 3 and 4 levels before the GAT, there is no need to apply for an exemption from the GAT. A student who has been withdrawn after the GAT is not eligible to apply for an exemption from the GAT.
Interstate and overseas arrangements
Students may be eligible to sit the GAT interstate or overseas if they:
- are on an exchange program overseas
- are on exchange in Victoria and are returning home immediately before or during the VCE external assessment period
- are representing Australia in an official capacity, for example, at a sporting, academic, military or cultural event
- have a parent(s) or guardian(s) who has been asked to work interstate or overseas
Schools must submit an
Application to sit VCE external assessments interstate or overseas form to the VCAA.
Evidence of eligibility must be submitted with the application form.
Events such as family holidays, birthdays and weddings are not considered valid grounds for an application to sit VCE external assessments interstate or overseas.
How to apply for exemption from the GAT
If a student’s circumstances meet the eligibility requirements for an exemption from the GAT, their school may apply to the VCAA using the
Application for authorised absence from the General Achievement Test (GAT) form.
Applications on the grounds of accident, illness or injury must be substantiated with evidence from an independent health professional, who will need to complete Section B of the application form.
Applications on the grounds of a personal trauma or serious intervening event must be substantiated with evidence from an appropriate independent professional. This independent professional will need to complete Section C of the application form.
Intermediate VCAL and the GAT
Students who are enrolled in an Intermediate VCAL program in 2023 that includes any VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3–4 sequences are expected to sit both Sections of the GAT.
If a student is enrolled in an Intermediate VCAL program in 2023 but is not enrolled in any VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3–4 sequences, they are not expected to sit the GAT.
GAT Statement of Results
A GAT Statement of Results is mailed to each student.
Student literacy and numeracy skills are assessed against new standards in reading, writing and numeracy introduced into Part A of the GAT.
The GAT Statement of Results indicates if the student has met the standard, not met the standard, or met the standard and demonstrated a level of excellence.
In addition, where a student has completed both Sections A and B their results will include a score for each GAT component. The components are:
- Writing (Section A) and written communication (Section B)
- Numeracy (Section A) and mathematics, science and technology (Section B)
- Reading (Section A) and humanities, the arts and social sciences (Section B)
The VCE or VCAL Statement of Results indicates if a student obtained results in the GAT or had an authorised or unauthorised absence from one or both sections.
Students cannot apply for a DES for the GAT.
Sample GAT Statement of Results