VCE – Victorian Certificate of Education

​The 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 and TAFE (Technical and Further Education).

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 VCE, students can undertake vocational education and training (VET) through School-Based Apprenticeships or at a training organisation.

The following section provides useful information about VCE.

Choosing VCE studies

Students can choose from more than 90 subjects in VCE. Thirty of these subjects 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 subjects studied over two years. Students can vary the number of units they do in a year.

Students should choose subjects 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 (VET) in the VCE

Students in Years 11 and 12 can choose to complete a VET program as part of their VCE.

There are more than 30 programs students can choose from, ranging from hospitality and agriculture to information technology and engineering.

Students in the VCE VET program receive a nationally recognised training qualification as well as their VCE. Any VET qualification at Certificate II level or above can provide credits for VCE.

Students can also choose School Based Apprenticeships during their VCE.

Extension studies

Extension studies are university subjects taken with VCE, mostly by students who are high achievers and can handle a bigger workload. They are not VCE units and can’t be counted as part of the certificate.

Students should get advice from their school before beginning an extension study. Students then apply directly to the university that offers their chosen subject. A pass grade in the university subject usually means the student can take up their chosen subject at second-year level in university.

Options after VCE

VCE gives students the option of 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 at least 16 units. Three of these units must be from the English group, plus three Units 3 and 4 sequences in studies other than English. Thirteen of the 16 units can be from VET.

Each unit has outcomes which describe what students are expected to know and be able to do. For satisfactory completion, students need to demonstrate the outcomes outlined for each VCE study.

There are two types of graded VCE assessment: school-based assessment and external exams.

External exams (written, oral, performance or electronic) are set and marked by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA). Exams are usually held in November and sometimes June and October.

For more information, see: VCE – Victorian Certificate of Education

General Achievement Test (GAT)

The GAT is a test of general knowledge and skills in written communication, maths, science and technology, humanities, the arts and social sciences.

The GAT is an important part of VCE assessment procedures. Although it isn't part of the graduation requirements and doesn't count towards VCE results or ENTER, the GAT helps to check that school assessments and examinations are accurately assessed.

Students enrolled in Units 3 and 4 of any year of VCE study must sit the GAT, unless they 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 can get a replacement certificate or Statement of Results or VET Statement of Results.

For more information, see: Replacement Certificates and Results

What is the ATAR?

The ATAR (previously known as ENTER) is a percentage based ranking students receive when completing their VCE. The ATAR is not a score out of 100 – it is a rank. It shows a student's achievement in relation to other students. VTAC then forwards the ATAR along with application information to selection authorities at your desired university or TAFE.

How is the ATAR calculated?

VTAC uses VCE results issued by the VCAA (Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority) to calculate the ATAR. The ATAR is developed from a combination of the following:

• VTAC scaled study score in one of English, English Language, Literature or English as an Additional Language (EAL)
• The next best three VTAC scaled study scores permissible; and
• 10% of the fifth and sixth permissible scores that are available.
For more information on how the ATAR is calculated, see ATAR explained

 For details on getting your ATAR, see Year 12 results and getting you ATAR.

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 advice to make sure students have the right number and combination of units in their VCE program.

For more information on career planning, see: Beyond School