ATAR Fast Facts

There’s a lot to understand about the ATAR system, so we’ve put together a few facts that might interest you.


  • Your ATAR remains valid for life. You can use it to apply to study at university regardless of your age, provided it meets the entry requirements for your course.



  • Your ATAR is a nationally recognised number, so if you live in Queensland and your ATAR is 85.00, it’ll be the same no matter which state you apply to study in.


  • 30% of students entered university by alternative pathways in 2018 (according to vice-chancellor Professor Justin Beilby at Torrens University)


  • Getting a low ATAR isn’t the end of the world. These days, universities and other tertiary institutions offer lots of alternative pathways to get in.


  • You can still change your preferences after you receive your ATAR results, so if you’ve scored lower or higher than expected you’ve a chance to adjust your preferences to reflect that.


  • You can’t waste an ATAR – if you score 99.95 and choose to study a course with an entry requirement of 80.00 because it’s your top choice, go with it. Scoring a high ATAR simply means there are more courses that you’re eligible to apply for, you’ll have more options.


  • No ATAR – no problem. Studying VET and other tertiary qualifications don’t necessarily require you to have an ATAR, they provide nationally recognised qualifications and some universities will accept them as eligibility (sometimes even credit towards first year studies) if you’d like to apply to uni in future.


  • Once you’ve got into uni or another tertiary institution, nobody is likely to ask what your ATAR was again, let alone use it as criteria for course or job selection.


  • You aren’t defined by your ATAR and your opportunities in life won’t be limited by that number. You may have to take a different pathway to the one you’d originally planned, and it may take a little longer is all.


  • Using online “ATAR calculators” aren’t accurate, as scaling changes every year, so don’t take the results as gospel.


  • Studying more units could potentially get you a higher ATAR (if you apply yourself to all subjects the same), as admission centres select e.g. 8 of your best results to calculate you aggregate score, which determines your rank position.


  • Taking advanced subjects doesn’t mean you’ll get a higher ATAR, only the amount of work and effort you put in can do that.

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