What kind of achievements are considered outstanding for students in Australia? In Australia, after completing high school, students in the 12th grade must take the graduation exam organised by the state government. Students who pass the exam will receive a high school diploma issued by the respective state. Australia is a federal country, and each state has independent legislative, judicial, and administrative institutions. Therefore, there may be some differences in the high school exam systems and details among different states.
Originally, different states in Australia used different high school exam systems. If you applied to universities across states, your exam scores needed to be converted, causing a lot of trouble for students. So, starting from 2009, Australia began to uniformly adopt the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) across the country.
ATAR represents a ranking ranging from 0 to 99.95, with adjacent intervals of 0.05. The top rank is 99.95, the next is 99.90, and so on. The percentile rank of ATAR is 30.00, and below 30.00, specific numbers are not displayed, only “below 30” is indicated. Therefore, if you have an ATAR below 30.00, it means you did not pass or fail; every ATAR student has successfully passed the Australian high school exam.
From the ATAR results, you can roughly see how many students you have surpassed. If your ATAR is 60, it means your academic performance is ranked in the top 40%, better than 60% of students that year. Students with the same total score also have the same ATAR percentile rank. This allows universities to determine your position in the overall ranking of students and set admission scores accordingly. Additionally, ATAR serves as the admission score for various university majors. For example, if the admission score for a specific major at a university is 95.65, it means you need an ATAR of 95.65 to be admitted to that major.
However, the Australian high school exam also considers students’ regular grades, emphasizing the importance of everyday academic performance. This setup avoids the possibility of a single exam determining a student’s future.
The subjects studied in Australian high schools cover a wide range, preparing students for various university majors. Therefore, when choosing subjects, students need to consider their interests, areas of expertise, future career plans, and the university majors they want to apply for.