The Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) opens pathways to university, higher-level TAFE or Vocational Education and Training (VET) certificate courses, apprenticeships and traineeships, and the workforce. The VCE offers studies in humanities, science, mathematics, technologies, arts, physical education and languages, as well as VET programs.
Many Victorian students choose to finish secondary school studying the VCE because of its range of subjects and pathways.
The VCE curriculum offers more than 90 subjects and 27 VCE VET programs.
You are also able to enrol in the VCE Vocational Major (VM). This is a 2-year vocational and applied learning program within the VCE.
The VCE course is made up of subjects – like English and Biology – that are broken up into units. Most subjects are made up of 4 units: Units 1, 2, 3 and 4. A unit is one semester long.
Most students finish their VCE over 2 years. Units 1 and 2 of a subject are usually completed in Year 11, and Units 3 and 4 in Year 12.
You can study Units 1 and 2 of a VCE subject but you don’t get a study score by just finishing Units 1 and 2. If you complete Units 3 and 4 as a sequence in the same year, you can achieve a study score. A Unit 3–4 sequence means that you must undertake Unit 3 followed by Unit 4.
Each school decides what subjects and programs it offers. If your school doesn’t offer what you want, it might be available from another school or provider.
You may want to consider Virtual School Victoria or the Victorian School of Languages or other options like an Registered Training Organisation (RTO). Speak to your teacher about this.
You must successfully complete at least 16 units, including:
- 3 units from the English group, including a Unit 3–4 sequence
- at least 3 other Unit 3–4 sequences.
Most students study between 20 and 24 units, that’s 5 or 6 subjects, across Years 11 and 12.
There are 6 subjects in the English group. They are Bridging English as an Additional Language, English and English as an Additional Language, English Language, Foundation English, Literature, and VCE VM Literacy (only available for students enrolled in the VCE VM). You can read about the
differences between the English group subjects or ask your teacher to explain it to you.
You can choose the remaining units needed for your VCE – at least 3 sequences of Units 3 and 4 in any subject. This could even be an extra English group subject on top of your minimum English units.
You can complete your VCE over more than 2 years. For example, some students start the VCE in Year 10 with Units 1 and 2 of a subject and study Units 3 and 4 in Year 11.
Talk to your teacher or careers practitioner about how to structure your VCE program to best suit you.
The VCE VM is a 2-year vocational and applied learning program within the VCE with specific subjects designed to prepare students for life, further study and employment.
The VCE VM is a new vocational and applied learning program within the VCE.
The VCE VM will prepare you to move successfully into apprenticeships, traineeships, further education and training, university through alternative entry programs or directly into the workforce.
To recognise your achievements, when you’ve completed your VCE VM you will get your VCE with a Vocational Major.
Most students finish their VCE VM over 2 years. Units 1 and 2 of a subject are usually completed in Year 11, and Units 3 and 4 in Year 12. You can complete your VCE VM over more than 2 years. For example, some students complete a Year 13 so they can spread their learning over a longer period or complete a school-based apprenticeship.
Talk to your teacher or careers practitioner about how to structure your VCE VM program to best suit you.
The VCE VM has specific subjects designed to build skills and knowledge to prepare you for your life, further study and employment. They are VCE VM Literacy, VCE VM Numeracy, VCE VM Work Related Skills and VCE VM Personal Development Skills. The VCE VM also requires you to complete 180 nominal hours of VET at Certificate II level or above. Each subject has 4 units, and each unit has a set of outcomes which are assessed through a range of learning activities and tasks.
You will apply knowledge and skills in practical settings, undertake community based activities and projects that involve working in a team, and spend some time in a workplace.
You must successfully complete at least 16 units, including:
- 3 VCE VM Literacy or VCE English units (including a Unit 3–4 sequence)
- 2 VCE VM Numeracy or VCE Mathematics units
- 2 VCE VM Work Related Skills units
- 2 VCE VM Personal Development Skills units, and
- minimum of 180 nominal hours of VET at Certificate II level or above (read about VET on page 28).
Most students will undertake between 16–20 units over the 2 years. You must also complete a minimum of 3 Unit 3–4 sequences in addition to your sequence from the English group. You can include VCE VM subjects, other VCE subjects and VET. You can also receive credit for structured workplace learning recognition.
Your teacher determines if you have satisfactorily met the outcomes of a unit. This decision is based on the work you submitted and if you followed the VCAA and school rules and procedures.
Choose subjects that:
- interest you
- you are good at
- will help you do what you want after school – apply for university or a TAFE course or get a job in your chosen field.
Units 1 and 2 are marked by your school. Your teacher will set a range of assessments.
For Units 1 and 2 you will receive either S (satisfactory) or N (not satisfactory). Only the S counts towards your VCE.
Grades for Units 3 and 4 are more complicated. For Units 3 and 4 you will have grades calculated from A+ to E, or UG (ungraded) or NA (not assessed) for your assessment tasks, as well as an S or N.
The VCAA website has loads more information about the VCE assessment process.
For each VCE subject, there are 3 graded assessments each for Units 3 and 4. Not all VCE VET programs have scored assessments. Those that do have 2 graded assessments.
Depending on the subject, these may be school-based assessments, external assessments or a mix of both.
There are 2 kinds of
school-based assessments. They are:
- school-assessed coursework (SAC) – a set of assessment tasks that test your level of achievement in Units 3 and 4 outcomes of the study design
- school-assessed tasks (SATs) – set by the VCAA to test your practical skills and knowledge across the Units 3 and 4 outcomes of the study design.
Your teacher marks both SACs and SATs.
The VCAA statistically moderates school-based assessments at a Unit 3 and 4 level of all VCE subjects and VCE VET scored assessment programs. This helps make sure the marking system is fair to everybody doing the same subject, no matter which school they go to or who teaches them. School-based assessments are created by teachers, so it differs from school to school. The benefits of statistical moderation make school-based assessment results fair and equitable for all students.
External assessments are set and marked by the VCAA. They are the same for all students taking the same VCE subject. Usually this will be an examination – written, oral, performance, or in an electronic format. Music Composition, Music Inquiry and Extended Investigation also have an externally assessed task. You may be asked to submit a folio that contains exercises, an original work, audio recordings and documentation described in examination specifications published by the VCAA each year for an externally assessed task.
Subject experts mark your external assessments. All VCE subjects are marked to the same standard and go through many checks to make sure marking is fair and correct.
Exams are held in October and November. Your school will give you plenty of notice of your exact exam dates.
You can read more information about
VCE assessment process.
Each VCE VM unit of study has specified learning outcomes you need to meet.
For each of the outcomes in a unit you will receive either S (satisfactory) or N (not satisfactory). Each S you receive is a step toward completing one of the 16 units you need to achieve the VCE VM.
Your teacher will set a range of learning activities and tasks for each outcome and collect a range of evidence that demonstrates you have met the required learning outcomes in each unit.
For Units 3 and 4 you will have the opportunity to receive acknowledgement of your higher level of work through a level of achievement rating mark that reflects the level of achievement you have reached in work towards an outcome, as well as an S or N. The level of achievement will celebrate your development in the skills and knowledge in each outcome.
Unlike other VCE subjects, there are no external assessments like exams, apart from the General Achievement Test (GAT; see page 16). This means you will not get study scores for your VCE VM subjects.
Typically, students undertake scored assessment as part of their VCE. Scored assessment provides a more detailed record of your achievement and is the best way to maximise your chances and pathways to further education and training. However, you can complete your VCE Unit 3-4 subjects without being assessed for graded assessments and the calculation of a study score. Remember you don’t get an ATAR if you don’t have at least 4 study scores, including one in an English study.
Yes, you can repeat a unit in Year 11 or Year 12. If you repeat a unit, you must do the full unit again, including all assessments in a subsequent year.
There are no restrictions for repeating a unit, but you can only count the unit once towards VCE. If you want to get a study score, you will need an S (satisfactory completion) for the Unit 3–4 sequence and complete the required graded assessments in the year you repeat the unit.
You will get a study score if you achieve:
- at least 2 graded assessments
- an S for both Units 3 and 4 of the subject, in the same year.
Yes. If you have completed a Unit 3 and 4 subject before Year 12 and you want to get a better study score, you can repeat that subject. However, you may obtain credit only once for each unit. If you repeat a unit, you are required to repeat the full unit, including all assessments for the outcomes specified for the unit, in the current study design for the year of repetition. If you wish to receive a study score when repeating VCE units, you will need to satisfactorily complete the Unit 3–4 sequence in the year of repetition.
An ATAR is the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank. It's a figure (or ranking) between 0.00 and 99.95.
The ATAR is a figure that reflects your relative achievement compared to everyone else in Year 12. It is based on study scores and is a figure (or ranking) between 0.00 and 99.95.
Before offering places, tertiary institutions often look at each student’s ATAR and the combination of VCE subjects they finished.
To receive an ATAR you must complete 4 Unit 3–4 sequences, including a VCE English subject and get a study score for those subjects.
The Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) calculates your ATAR. For more about the ATAR and tertiary course options, see the VTAC website.
All students studying one or more Unit 3 and 4 VCE subjects (or scored VCE VET subjects) are expected to sit Sections A and B of the GAT. Students studying VCE VM subjects are expected to sit Section A of the GAT only.
The GAT measures your general knowledge and skills in literacy, numeracy, mathematics, science, technology, humanities, arts and social sciences.
GAT results will include information on your performance against literacy and numeracy standards typically expected of those leaving school.
Your GAT results do not count directly towards your VCE or VCE VM, but they are used to help check that school-based and external assessments have been fairly and accurately assessed.
The GAT may also be used to calculate a derived examination score. If you are ill or affected by personal circumstances during a VCE external assessment, and if your result is unlikely to be a fair or accurate indication of your learning or achievement, you will be eligible to apply for a derived examination score.
If you enrolled in at least one Unit 3 and 4 subject, you will be able to see your results online through the VCE Results and ATAR service in December. Enrol and save the link to the online service for checking later.
You will also receive a Statement of Results in December.
If you undertake Units 1 and 2, your statement will be sent to your school. If you are enrolled in at least one Unit 3 and 4 subject, the VCAA will mail your statement to your home.
If you are enrolled in at least one Unit 3 and 4 subject, you may also register to receive your results by email on the morning of results release.
Your statement will include:
- the S and N unit results
- the grades for your Units 3 and 4 school-based and external assessments
- your study score for your Units 3 and 4 subjects.
If you have successfully finished the VCE, you will receive a certificate, which will be sent to your school.
If you sat the GAT, your December results package will also include a GAT Statement of Results.
If you complete the VCE VM, you will receive your Victorian Certificate of Education – VCE Vocational Major.
If you’ve done well in your subjects and want to do better, you might be able to do a Higher Education Study (HES) in Year 12.
This will give you a defined pathway into tertiary education. It can count towards your VCE and contribute to your ATAR as a fifth or sixth study. It also gives you credit for the first year of a university course in that subject.
Most major universities in Victoria offer HES. See
Higher education studies in the VCE for a list of universities that offer HES and the prerequisites or other requirements for each of these studies.
Your school must approve you for the HES program. Only one HES can contribute towards your VCE.
The VCE – Baccalaureate is another form of recognition for high-achieving students and students undertaking specific study or activities.
These awards can provide opportunities and a portfolio to help your career and personal development.
The VCE – Baccalaureate recognises depth, breadth and achievement in subjects. To receive the VCE – Baccalaureate you must complete the VCE with:
- a study score of 30 or above for English, Literature or English Language, or a study score of 33 for English as an Additional Language
- a Unit 3–4 sequence in VCE Mathematical Methods or Specialist Mathematics
- a Unit 3–4 sequence in a VCE Languages subject
- study scores for at least 2 or more Unit 3–4 sequences.
If you complete the VCE – Baccalaureate, you will receive your Victorian Certificate of Education – Baccalaureate, which will be sent to your school.
Awards and recognition are available for high-achieving students, and students studying arts, design, technology or VCE Extended Investigation, or those involved in community service or public speaking.
Find out more about
student events and awards.