We hope you find this guide useful in helping you to understand the requirements, rules and procedures of the Victorian Certificate of Education.
During their VCE years, students are expected to take more responsibility for their learning and the management of their studies. This involves making study a priority, being organised, committing to regular homework and revision times and being proactive in approaching teachers for assistance. If a student wishes to achieve high results in their chosen subjects, they must understand that it does involve a committed and consistent effort throughout the VCE years. Students will need to understand that achieving the results they desire will take a lot more than simply completing the minimum of required tasks.
A challenge of the VCE is for students to find a balance between the priority of study but also allowing for other commitments, such as a job, sport or time with family and friends. Organisation is the key to finding this balance and it is highly recommended that students develop a realistic weekly timetable where they devote a reasonable amount of time to their study and other commitments.
This journey can be a challenging one, requiring a student’s dedication and persistence as well as the support of their teachers and parents. We all share the goal of optimising each student’s chances of being successful in their application to their chosen tertiary course, or for finding satisfying employment in the workforce.
We wish our students well as they embark on these important final years of their secondary education and look forward to working closely with them to achieve their goals.
The Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) is the qualification that students in Victoria receive on the satisfactory completion of their secondary education. The VCE is a two-year (four semester) program of study.
VCE Units 1 and 2 are designed to be taken by Year 11 students but certain studies may be undertaken by some Year 10 students. VCE Units 3 and 4 are designed to be taken by Year 12 students but Year 11 students may choose to undertake one VCE Unit 3 and 4 study. Units 3 and 4 must be taken as a sequence. Most students will complete 22 semester-length units over two years.
To complete the VCE students must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 16 units of study which must include a minimum of three units, including the Unit 3 and 4 sequence of English or EAL. This may be as follows:
Sample VCE study program
- 2 VCE Units in Year 10
- 12 VCE Units in Year 11
- 10 VCE Units in Year 12.
Satisfactory completion of each unit is based on the student’s demonstrated achievement of learning outcomes. These outcomes are specified in the VCAA Study Designs. The decision about satisfactory completion of the outcomes is based on the student’s performance on assessment tasks designed for the unit. Students must satisfactorily complete all outcomes for each unit.
Unit Outcomes: Outcomes form the basis for satisfactory completion of VCE units. Each VCE unit includes a set of two to four Outcomes. All Outcomes must be achieved for satisfactory completion of the given unit. For Units 1 and 2 the S or N result is the only information required by the VCAA for satisfactory completion.
Assessment of VCE Units 3 & 4
All studies have both school-based assessment Either SACs (school assessed coursework) or SATSs (school assessed tasks) and external examination. Marks for SACs are moderated against examination results and the GAT: SAT results may be reviewed by visitation.
Written examinations for Units 3 and 4 take place in November and all studies have at least one written examination.
All students enrolled in a Unit 3 and 4 study must complete the GAT (general achievement test) in June every year that they are enrolled in Unit 3 and 4 study.
VCE and Subject Pathway Planning
- Information about VCE and subject planning will be introduced to Year 10 students in SPARC.
- Students will begin completing subject research guided by the Head of Learning and Director of Careers & Student Opportunities.
- Students will be provided with documentation to complete that will carefully guide them to the information that they need to make their subject decisions.
- Parents are encouraged to engage in this process with their son/daughter and to assist them where possible.
VCE Information and Subject information
- For students and families in Year 10 this evening is compulsory
- It provides an important opportunity for students, parents, and guardians to get a strong understanding of the VCE requirements and explore subject offerings.
- VCE teachers and a selection of Tertiary providers will be present so you can explore subject offerings and connect and ask questions of these experts.
- The process for Year 10 individual VCE pathway conversations is outlined.
- A member of the Academic Learning team and a Careers Practitioner will meet with each Year 10 student for the purpose of answering specific questions and to discuss the subjects selected by the student. Student pathway intentions and the aptitude of the student for subjects will be discussed.
- Parents are invited to attend this interview and the interview times will be booked in a similar manner to the way Parent/Teacher/Student Interviews have been booked in previous years. Details of this booking process will be provided via a separate email.
- Students are asked to complete relevant documentation in preparation for this interview. This is largely the completion of the documentation mentioned above. This information is intended to facilitate the interview.
Web Preferences Due
- Students to enter their subject selections via Web Preferences.
- Parents will be asked to provide electronic consent for the subjects selected by the student.
- Students should pay particular attention to the ordering of preferences on the survey as this information is used to construct the timetabling blocks. Once the blocks are created there are limitations placed on subject changes.
- Once all student forms have been processed, students will have courses confirmed. As indicated the Year 10 and VCE handbook, some subjects may only be available at one campus and some subjects can only be offered given sufficient demand. If students are unable to be given a subject from their preferences or reserve list, further counselling and advice will be given to ensure a viable alternative.
Students are encouraged to consult widely with school staff and to explore the various sources of information available throughout the subject selection process.
Please don’t hesitate to contact Jacqueline Atkins if you have any queries about the subject selection process, Suzanne van Strien about the VCE in general, or Jodie McCarthy about careers and pathways.
Students overall achievements for each study will be calculated and reported as a Study Score (or Relative Position) on a scale of 0 to 50.
The Study Score is then ‘scaled’. Add the scaled score for English, and the next best three scaled scores (referred to as the Primary 4) and 10% of each extra score (up to a maximum of 6 subjects in total) to give an aggregate. This aggregate is converted to a percentile ranking call the ATAR.
Higher Education studies and VET studies can count in this aggregate.
Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank
An ATAR will be calculated in the following manner
- A study score (out of 50) will be calculated by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority and awarded for each Unit 3 and 4 sequence that a student completes.
- Scores will be scaled by the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC). The scores for English and any three other studies are added to create the primary four. Ten percent of up to two other studies can then be added to the primary four to create an aggregate.
- The aggregate scores are then ranked from the highest to the lowest in the nation with each student receiving an ATAR. The highest possible ATAR will be 99.95 – indicating that the student achieved a tertiary score which placed him/her in the top 0.05% of students in the State.
Study scores will be scaled (adjusted) by VTAC for tertiary selection purposes only. This will be done so that all studies are accorded the agreed weight in the calculation of a tertiary entrance score and will be included in the calculation of the equivalent Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR). Students should not choose a subject based on scaling. Rather they should choose subjects they are successful at; subjects they have a passion for and subjects that are prerequisites for future study.
Please click on links below to find out more
VCE subject selection is an exciting opportunity in your Senior School journey! You are encouraged to select VCE units using the following criteria.
- Prerequisites for tertiary studies – choose units that are required for tertiary courses.
- Student personal interests, skills and abilities –choose units you will like and will excel in.
- Challenge & curiosity – research studies to find ones that motivate you to learn.
The following resources are recommended for use in making subject selection decisions for your VCE.
|VTAC Course Search Archive (under “find courses” tab). Use for a comprehensive list of courses available for tertiary study in Victoria. NB the listed prerequisites are for the current Year 12 (updated late July each year).|
|VCE Subject selection (2026 tertiary entry) General overview of the VCE subjects required for entry to particular courses. All higher education courses require Unit 3 & 4 English sequence as a prerequisite.|
|The Good University Guide A fabulous nationwide resource for course and career information|
|Career Bullseye – Designed to assist students to link different occupations with the subjects studied at school. This is an interactive website – ideal as a starting point for career research. It has links to courses, skills and attributes needed for occupations as well as employment and salary projections. You need to create an account to access.|
|VTAC Prerequisite Guides
Please note Year 10 prerequisites for 2026 will be released in July 2023. * Use VTAC 2025 as a guide*
|VET -Nationally recognised qualification|
|VCE subject study designs research studies to select subjects that motivate and challenge you to be your best learner.|
|Career News (career events, tertiary course information)|
|Morrisby Profile is an online set of assessments and questionnaires resulting in an interactive web-based report. Students complete their profile in Semester Two of Year 9. Students have a log in and can use this key career resource through to Year 12 completion.|
|St Margaret’s Berwick Grammar Careers website is an active platform with a wealth of information to meet the needs of our students and school community with current and diverse information and resources.|
|Labour Market Insights -provides an overview of trends in the Australian Labour Market and allows users to explore a wide range of factors, importantly skill shortage areas and industry employment prospects, etc.|
Need VCE Advice?
Contact Suzanne van Strien,
Head of Senior College
Need Year 10 Help?
Contact Jacqueline Atkins,
Head of Learning
Need Careers and Pathways Advice?
Contact Jodie McCarthy,
Director of Careers and student opportunities