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VCE Exams Navigator 2020 – General Achievement
Test (GAT)

All Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) and Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) students enrolled in one or more VCE or scored VCE VET Units 3–4 study this year are expected to sit the GAT, unless they are exempted by the VCAA after an application from their school principal. International Baccalaureate (IB) students who are in their final year of IB studies in 2020 are also required to sit the GAT if they want a notional Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) calculated.

If you have questions about the GAT, contact the VCAA: (03) 9032 1700, 1800 134 197 or

Why do you have to do the GAT?

The GAT is an essential part of the VCE assessment process. While it is important that you attempt the GAT, the test does not count directly towards your VCE. However, GAT results may play a very important part in determining your final assessments for the VCE. GAT results are used to check that your VCE external assessments and School-based Assessments have been accurately and fairly assessed. The GAT is used in these checks because its results are a good predictor of final assessment outcomes for VCE studies. If a student has done well in the GAT, they are likely to do well in their external assessments and School-based Assessments.

About the GAT

The GAT is a 3-hour test of your general knowledge and skills in:

  • written communication
  • mathematics, science and technology
  • humanities, the arts and social sciences.

There are two writing tasks and 70 multiple-choice questions. You may complete the tasks in any order, but it is recommended that you complete the writing tasks first, then the multiple-choice questions.

The following time allocations are recommended:
Writing Task 1 – 30 minutes
writing Task 2 – 30 minutes
Multiple-choice questions – 2 hours
Total – 3 hours

Writing tasks

Writing Task 1

Writing Task 1 will present written and graphical information in colour. You will be asked to write a piece that presents the main information in this material. You should not present an argument in your response. You will be assessed only on your writing skills and not on any extra knowledge you may have about the material.

Writing Task 1 will be assessed on:

  • how well you organise and present your understanding of the material
  • how effectively you communicate the information
  • how clearly you express yourself.

Writing Task 2

Writing Task 2 will present some statements on an issue. You will be asked to develop a piece of writing presenting a point of view on the issue, based on one or more of the statements. You can include other knowledge or information you may have to support your view. You should aim to present your reasons and arguments to support your view and to rebut opposing ideas. You should also aim to communicate clearly and effectively to the reader.

Writing Task 2 will be assessed on:

  • the extent to which you develop your point of view in a reasonable and convincing way
  • how effectively you express yourself.

Multiple-choice questions

The multiple-choice questions will cover mathematics, science, technology, humanities, the arts and social sciences. There will be 70 questions in this section, which will take about two hours to complete. You should attempt every question. Marks will not be deducted for incorrect answers.

You must use a pencil on the answer page for multiple-choice questions. There will be instructions on how to shade the boxes to show your answers.

The multiple-choice section consists of groups of questions or units. Each unit will offer one or more pieces of information and a number of questions about that information.

Permitted materials

You may take an English and/or bilingual printed dictionary into the GAT, but not a thesaurus or a combined thesaurus–dictionary. Electronic dictionaries and calculators are not permitted. You will need pens, pencils and an eraser to complete the GAT. You must use a pencil for the multiple-choice answer page.

Preparing for the GAT

No special study is required for the GAT. The general knowledge and skills that are tested are those you have built up through your previous study in English, mathematics, science, humanities, the arts and social sciences. Each question provides all the information needed to work out the correct answer.

You can get further information about the GAT, including previous GAT papers, answers to previous multiple-choice questions, and step-by-step instructions at How to complete the GAT.

Tips for doing the GAT

  • Read all the information carefully.
  • Read each question and try to pick out the key ideas and information.
  • For the multiple-choice questions, try to quickly reject choices that appear to be wrong, then read the question again and select the answer most likely to be right.
  • Attempt all questions and do not spend too much time on any one question. Questions can be revisited later.

How the GAT is used

School-based Assessment

The VCAA uses GAT results, along with other external assessments, to align each school’s local graded assessment scores to the statewide scale. The VCAA applies a process known as statistical moderation to all School-based Assessment to account for the differences in tasks and markings that may occur from school to school. This is to ensure that the final results are comparable across the state and are fair to all students.

The statistical moderation process compares the level and spread of school-based scores with that of the same group for the external assessment and the GAT. Based upon this comparison, the alignment to a statewide scale is determined.

This process allows schools to take into account their unique needs when delivering the VCE and ensures fairness in the calculation of student study scores.

Read more about statistical moderation.

VCE external assessments

The VCE external assessment marking process is rigorous, carefully and expertly conducted, and designed to be fair to all students. VCE external assessments are assessed twice, at a minimum, by two different assessors. Each assessment is done separately, and each assessor does not know the marks given by the other assessor. If there is insufficient agreement between their assessments, the student’s response is assessed again by another independent assessor.

When the assessment is complete, there is a final check to identify any students with scores that are significantly lower than expected. If a student’s score for an external assessment is statistically significantly different from the mark predicted by the GAT, the indicative grade given by the school and any other external assessment in the same study, the student’s response will be assessed again by the chief assessor’s panel.

Derived Examination Scores

GAT scores can contribute to the calculation of a Derived Examination Score (DES).

Read more about the DES.

GAT results

GAT results will be reported to you as part of your final results package. The GAT results may also be received via the optional student email service.

A GAT statement will show raw scores out of:

  • 40 for written communication
  • 35 for mathematics, science and technology
  • 35 for humanities, the arts and social sciences.

This statement will also report GAT results as a standardised score for each component. The standardised score will be calculated and reported using the same scale used for VCE study scores, that is, on a scale from 0 to 50 with a mean of 30 and a standard deviation of 7.

Your VCE or VCAL Statements of Results will show whether you sat for the GAT or if your absence was authorised. Your absence is only authorised if your school has obtained an exemption for you from the VCAA. Read more about Exemption criteria from the GAT.