VCE - Victorian Certificate of Education
The Victorian senior secondary academic qualification is known as the VCE (the Victorian Certificate of Education). The VCE is available to students worldwide.
The VCE is awarded to students who successfully complete their secondary education. It is recognised internationally, and provides pathways to further study at leading universities around the world.
VCE Structure, Assessment and Results
The VCE has a modular structure, made up of subjects or "Studies". Most Studies consist of four modules or "Units", numbered 1-4. VCE Units 1 and 2 are usually undertaken in the first year of the VCE and can be chosen individually from the Studies offered at the school. VCE Units 3 and 4 are undertaken in the second or final year of the VCE and must be completed as a sequence - a student taking Unit 3 of a particular Study must also take Unit 4 of that Study.
International VCE providers will typically offer five or six VCE Studies. Students can graduate with the VCE by satisfactorily completing a minimum of 16 Units, three of which must be from the English group of Studies.
The VCE is usually completed in Years 11 and 12 (ages 16-18). Other arrangements can be negotiated to suit international providers.
Current international VCE program models include:
VCE Units 1 to 4, completed in Years 11 and 12 (or equivalent)
VCE Units 3 and 4, completed in Year 12, with students applying for credit for previous study in place of VCE Units 1 and 2
VCE Units 1 and 2, completed in Year 11, with students transferring to their Victorian partner school to complete Year 12
There are two types of graded assessment in the VCE – school based assessment and external examinations.
School-based assessment takes place during the school year and involves written and practical testing and project-based work.
External examinations (written, oral, performance or electronic) are usually held at the end of the school year and are set and marked by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA).
Options for VCE Providers - Mid-Year or End-of-Year Completion
VCE providers in Victoria and overseas can choose between two annual VCE curriculum and assessment schedules.
Schedule 1: February to December
The VCE is usually delivered in line with the Australian school year, which runs from February to December. External VCE examinations are held in October and November, at the end of the final year of VCE study.
Schedule 2: September to July
A selection of 12 VCE subjects (including all VCE subjects currently delivered in China) is also available for delivery on the northern hemisphere (September to July) school year.
Enrolments for VCE programs for the northern hemisphere school year will commence in September 2015.
The first VCE examinations for the northern hemisphere school year will take place in May and June 2017, and each year thereafter.
Schools interested in delivering the VCE overseas on the September to July schedule should contact VCAA International (details below).
For more information, see: VCE – Victorian Certificate of Education
GAT - General Achievement Test
The General Achievement Test (GAT) is a test of general knowledge and skills in written communication, mathematics, science and technology, humanities, the arts and social sciences.
The GAT is an important part of the VCE assessment procedure. Although it isn't part of the graduation requirements and doesn't count towards VCE results or ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank), the GAT plays an important role in checking that school assessments and examinations have been accurately assessed.
Students enrolled in Units 3 and 4 of any VCE study must sit the GAT unless exempted by the VCAA.
For more information, see: General Achievement Test
What is the ATAR?
The ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) is an overall measure of how well a student has performed in VCE studies and is calculated by the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC).
Nearly all university courses in Australia make some use of the ATAR to select students. Some courses select up to 80% of their places for students using ATAR alone. For the remainder of the places additional information is considered alongside the ATAR.
Students who have completed their VCE overseas receive an ATAR and receive the same consideration from Australian universities as students from Australia.
For more information, see: Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre