• Rob Austin

ATAR Cheat Sheet

Updated: Jul 16, 2019

We all know that Queensland is joining the rest of Australia from 2020 and adopting the ATAR. But just in case you need a quick overview of the whys and wherefores, here are some fast facts.......

First the Acronyms....

  • OP - The overall position

  • ATAR - Australian Tertiary Admission Rank

ATAR vs OP, so what's the difference?

OP ranks are based on the results of five senior Authority subjects and give students a rank between one and 25 (with one being the highest score).

ATAR is far more precise as it scores students between 0 and 99.95 (with 99.95 being the highest). This score is a percentile ranking of a student’s overall achievement out of all potential Year 12 school students. This group includes all ATAR-eligible and ineligible students.

How is the ATAR actually calculated?

The ATAR will be calculated based on either:

  • a student's best 5 General subject results, or

  • a student's best results in a combination of 4 General subject results, plus 1 Applied subject result or completed VET qualification at Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Certificate III level or above.

  • If a student is eligible for an ATAR in both categories, QTAC will use their highest ATAR

Is that fair? Some subjects are harder than others...

This is where scaling comes in. Scaling allows comparison based on the difficulty of achieving a result and looks at how students taking a particular subject perform in other subjects. This indicates the difficulty of the subject and is used to determine how hard a subject is overall when compared to other subjects by looking at large groups of students.

Unlike NSW and Victoria, English needs to be passed, but may not necessarily be included in the total used to calculate a student's rank.

So how do ATAR scores actually map to OP bands?

This table provides an approximation only:

When do the changes take effect?

The ATAR replaces the OP from 2020






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