The Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) is awarded to students who successfully complete their secondary education. It is recognised internationally, and provides pathways to employment as well as to further study at university, TAFE (Technical and Further Education).
The VCE is usually completed in Years 11 and 12, but can be started in Year 10. About half of Year 10 students undertake some VCE units. VCE can also be studied by adults and completed in one year.
Within the VCE, students can undertake vocational education and training (VCE VET); this can be via School Based Apprenticeships or at a training organisation.
The following section provides useful information on the VCE:
Choosing VCE studies
Students can choose from more than 90 studies (subjects) in the VCE. Of these, 30 are VCE Vocational Education and Training (VET) programs that provide a nationally recognised industry qualification.
Each school decides what VCE studies and VCE VET programs it will offer. A VCE program generally consists of 20 to 24 studies taken over two years, and students can vary the number of units they do in a year.
When making a choice students should consider studies that:
- interest them
- they are good at
- lead to a job they are interested in
- prepare them for further training or tertiary courses they are considering
- lead to a VET qualification within the VCE.
Vocational Education and Training in the VCE
Students in Years 11 and 12 may choose to complete a Vocational Education and Training (VET) program as part of their VCE.
There are currently more than 30 programs from which students can choose, ranging from hospitality and agriculture to information technology and engineering.
Undertaking a VCE VET program means that students receive a nationally recognised training qualification as well as their VCE. In addition any VET qualification at Certificate II or above can provide credits for VCE.
Students are also able to choose School Based Apprenticeships while studying their VCE.
Extension studies are university subjects taken with the VCE, mostly by students who are high achievers and can handle a bigger workload. They are not VCE units and cannot be counted as part of the certificate.
Students apply directly to the university that offers the study of their choice, and should seek the advice of their school before beginning an extension study. A pass usually enables the student to take up a chosen subject at second-year level at university.
Options after VCE
VCE provides a pathway into further study at university or TAFE, apprenticeships, traineeships or employment.
For more information, see: Beyond School
VCE assessment and results
Students graduate with the VCE by satisfactorily completing a minimum of 16 units, three of which must be from the English group, plus three Units 3 and 4 sequences in studies other than English. Of these 16 units, 13 can be from VET.
Each unit has outcomes which describe what students are expected to know and be able to do. The decision about satisfactory completion of units is based on a student's ability to demonstrate outcomes specified for each VCE study. There are also two types of graded assessment in the VCE – school based assessment and examinations.
External examinations (written, oral, performance or electronic) are set and marked by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA). Most exams are held in November, although some are held in June and October.
For more information, see: VCE – Victorian Certificate of Education
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 procedures. Although it isn't part of the graduation requirements and doesn't count towards VCE results or ENTER, 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 – whether in Year 11 or Year 12 – must sit the GAT unless you are exempted by the VCAA.
Students GAT results are reported with their Statement of Results.
For more information, see: General Achievement Test
Getting replacement VCE results
The VCAA offers a service where students may obtain a replacement certificate or Statement of Results or VET Statement of Results.
For more information, see: Replacement Certificates and Results
What is the ENTER?
The Equivalent National Tertiary Entrance Rank (ENTER) 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 make some use of the ENTER to select students. Some courses select up to 80% of their places for students using ENTER alone. For the remainder of the places additional information is considered alongside ENTER.
For more information, see: Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre
How to get started
Your child’s school can help your child get started. Schools hold information sessions for students and parents and provide specific advice to ensure students have the right number and combination of units to make up a VCE program.
For more information on career planning, see: Beyond School