What Is the ATAR?
The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank, or ATAR is a number between 0 and 99.95 that tells you where you rank in your year group.
It’s based on overall academic performance and is designed to be a predictor of your first-year performance at uni. Your ATAR is your percentile position out of all students who started year 7 with you. So, an ATAR of 70 doesn’t mean you got 70% – it means that you’re in the top 30% of your year group.
How Is Your ATAR Calculated?
The board of studies gives the Universities Admission Centre (or UAC) all the raw unbanded HSC marks. But comparing across courses is like comparing bananas and lemons. We want to compare bananas with bananas to help work out how a student compares to another, UAC starts by giving all courses the same average mark and the same spread of marks, which shows us how far the marks are scattered on either side of the average.
How Does Scaling Affect Your Mark? The Serious Scaling Begins
Universities Admission Centre (UAC) scales according to the performance of all the students that year, not whether we think courses are hard or easy. No subject will guarantee you a high ATAR and no subject will condemn you to a low ATAR. The poorer the overall performance of the cohort taking a course, the closer to the top of the state you need to be in order to benefit from scaling. There’s no way to game the ATAR system. Your time is much better spent studying for your exams.
After scaling, we take your two best units of English and 8 best other units to give you a mark out of 500. Then we rank the whole year according to their mark out of 500. Your ATAR is your rank as a percentage of your cohort.
How IS the ATAR Used?
Each university sets a minimum ATAAR for each course. And the cut-off is the score of the person with the lowest ATAR admitted to the course that year. The system automatically works down your list of performances and makes you an offer for the highest performance quality. You will get an offer ahead of someone with a lower ATAR who put the same choice higher on their UAC form. So make sure you put what you really want to do as your first preference. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Top 3 Things to Remember-
- An ATAR of 70 means you’re in the top 30% of your cohort.
- Put your efforts into studying.
- Put your ideal course as your first preference.
Professor Jacqui Ramagge, Head of School of Mathematics & Statistics, The University of Sydney