This is the time of year when year 10 students will start to make serious decisions regarding which subjects they will choose to complete for their VCE.

Many schools will offer students the opportunity to complete a year 12 subject while they are in year 11 and while most students will take advantage of this option, other students decide not to and instead opt to complete all their Year 12 subjects in the following year. In our experience we find that taking a VCE subject in year 10 has many advantages.

The Structure Of VCE: A Brief Overview

When VCE students finish their exams at the end of year 12, they each receive a total score, which is used to calculate their ultimate ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank).

The ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank) is based on up to six VCE results and is calculated using:

  • Your best score in any one of the English studies (English, Literature, English Language) plus
  • The scores of your next three studies (which together with the English subject make the “Primary Four”), plus
  • 10% of the scores for any fifth and sixth study with you may have completed (these are called increments)

These scores are combined to produce an ATAR aggregate, which is a number between 0 and over 210. All students are ranked in order according to this aggregate and the percentage rank is converted to an ATAR, which is a number between 0 and 99.95.

What this means is that a total of 6 subjects can contribute to a student’s total ATAR. Students who only do 5 subjects miss out on a valuable possible 10%. Despite this, most schools only allow students to complete 5 subjects in year 12. The only way to get around this, and avoid missing out on that precious 10%, is to complete a VCE subject early. This is an increasingly popular option. Each year more and more dedicated students choose to start a year 11 subject in year 10 and complete their year 12 exams in year 11.

Three Reasons You Should Take A VCE Subject In Year 10

Here are some reasons why students should take up the option to complete a year 12 subject early:

1. Gain Valuable Experience

Apart from ensuring that you have completed a 6th subject, the main benefit of completing a VCE subject a year early is the valuable experience it gives students. Students who take a year 12 subject in year 11 will gain valuable insight into what it takes to study for and sit a proper VCE exam. They will learn how to prioritise their time, organise their notes, revise questions and deal with exam pressures. And, best of all, they will learn all of these skills before they even commence year 12 and tackle the full load of subjects.

2. Focus Your Energy

The other benefit of completing a year 12 subject in year 11 is the potential to get a high score. Year 11 students don’t have the distractions and pressures unique to year 12 students. They don’t have to deal with prefect positions, graduation ceremonies, university applications, or the pressure of studying for 5 other year 12 exams. Because of this, a student who takes a year 12 subject early can focus significantly much more attention and energy on that one subject. Because they only have a single year 12 exam to study for that year, their chances of getting a high score dramatically increases.

3. Cover Your Bases

Considering that VTAC uses scores of up to 6 subjects to calculate the ATAR aggregate (English, the scores of your next 3 best subjects and 10% of any fifth and sixth subject), choosing 6 subjects is strongly recommended to maximise the ATAR you will ultimately achieve. Many schools offer Year 11 students the opportunity to study one Year 12 subject. Take advantage of this if the opportunity presents itself.

Most importantly, 6 subjects is obviously better than 5. A student who completes a subject early will have an automatic 10% advantage over a student who only completes 5. On a more pragmatic note, a 6th subject will ensure that a poor mark in one subject will have significantly less of an impact on the student’s overall score.

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If you think your child should start a VCE subject a year early, or you would like to know more about how you can improve your child’s chances of ATAR success, feel free to call us on 1800 668 177 or email us for more information!

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