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ATAR explained

From 2021, USQ will be accepting students with a Queensland Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) replacing the Overall Position (OP), as the standard pathway to tertiary study for year 12 high school students.

What is an ATAR?
ATAR is the primary criteria to assess and compare the results of high school students for entry into and undergraduate university degree.

ATARs are expressed as a number on a scale from 99.95 (highest) to 0.00 (lowest) in 0.05 increments with ATARs below 30.00 are reported as “30.00 or less”. The amount of students in each increment is determined by the Year 12 population in Queensland.

An ATAR of 75.00 does not mean you score of 75%, it indicates you were placed in the top 25% of Queensland in your Year 12 cohort.

The Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC) calculates ATARs for Queensland school leavers.

The ATAR is calculated using a student’s best 5 General subject results or:

  • best results across 4 General subjects plus an Applied subject
  • best results across 4 General subjects plus a VET qualification at a Certificate lll level or above.

The Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) then provide QTAC with student subject results and completed VET qualifications to complete the ATAR calculation.

Further information on Queensland ATAR is available.

QCE and ATAR are different and have different purposes.

The Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) will remain as Queensland’s senior secondary school qualification. 
ATAR tells us the students ranking compared to other students in the state. The only intended purpose of ATAR is to assist universities with selecting applicants. 

QCE is awarded and released by the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) whereas the ATAR is calculated and released by the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC).

General subjects will replace authority subjects in the new ATAR system.

Some USQ degrees only require assumed knowledge, however some have English as an entry requirements and some degrees may require Mathematics and/or Science. There are many general subjects you can choose from to meet pre-requisites for English, Mathematics and Science.

Categories  General subjects 
English  English
English as an additional language
Literature English
Literature Extension 
Mathematics  General Mathematics
Mathematical Methods
Specialist Mathematics
Science  Agricultural Science
Earth & Environmental Science
Marine Science

To meet the pre-requisites you must have a minimum grade C in Units 3 & 4. It is important to check what pre-requisites are required for the program you want to study when you make your year 10 subject selection.

Further information on USQ entry requirements is available.

If you do not receive an ATAR or achieve the result you were hoping for, don't worry USQ has pathway options for you. USQ will continue to accept certificate III or higher as a pathway option.

OP to ATAR conversion

Although there is no direct translation of OP to ATAR, QTAC have created a conversion guide detailing how the ATAR equated to Queensland Ops.


Adjustment factors pathways

You may be able to increase your selection rank with an Adjustment factor pathway, helping you gain entry into your choose USQ degree.

Find out more