Recognised Studies are subjects or learning experiences other than SACE or NTCET subjects that can count towards your ATAR.

Recognised Studies are usually academic studies or vocational learning. Life experiences or community learning usually won’t be accepted.

If approved, you can use Recognised Studies to form part of the flexible option in the university aggregate calculation.

There are a few conditions you need to meet before non-SACE learning can count towards an ATAR. We’ll explain the rules for Recognised Studies below, and you can find more information on our website.

SACE Board recognition

The SACE Board must approve any subjects or other learning experiences as counting at Stage 2 level before SATAC will consider them for Recognised Studies.

If it won’t count towards your SACE or NTCET, it won’t count as Recognised Studies.

Level of study and achievement

Recognised Studies must be equal to, or higher than, Stage 2 level as defined by the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). The AQF is a national system of classification for education and training awards in Australia.

For vocational education and training (VET) to count, you must complete a qualification at AQF Certificate III level or higher.

You will need to achieve results equal to or better than a SACE or NTCET grade of C- or better.

When to complete Recognised Studies

You will need to complete your Recognised Studies in the same year (or earlier) that SATAC calculates your ATAR for the first time.

The final results of your studies must be provided to the SACE Board no later than the end of the Clerical Check Period. The Clerical Check Period is mid-February of the following year.

You won’t be able to have your ATAR recalculated to include Recognised Studies done in later years.

Approval of Recognised Studies

Some types of study are pre-approved as Recognised Studies. These include:

  • Higher and Standard Level International Baccalaureate (IB) subjects
  • specified Australian interstate Year 12 subjects which count towards the ATAR in their home state
  • completed VET awards at Certificate III level and above

For other types of study, you will need to seek approval for it to count as Recognised Studies.

The SACE Board will first need to approve the learning as counting towards Stage 2 of your SACE or NTCET. SATAC will only consider learning once it has SACE Board approval.

We’ll notify the SACE Board of the decision; they will then inform your school.

Some students choose to include university subjects in their flexible option. University subjects are not pre-approved as Recognised Studies. You will need to apply to have them approved.

We’ll approve most degree-level subjects on application provided they aren’t introductory. There are some circumstances though where we won’t approve university-level subjects.

It’s important to apply for approval the year before you intend to study the subject, in case your application is rejected.

Precluded combinations

SATAC will check to see if there’s significant content overlap with the other Stage 2 subjects you’re studying. If there is a significant overlap, they will form a precluded combination.

When two subjects form a precluded combination, they cannot both count towards your ATAR.

Scaling and Recognised Studies

SATAC assigns scaled score equivalents to Recognised Studies. This ensures the ATAR calculation is fair for everyone.

For VET studies we will use the average of your best 70 credits of TAS to give a scaled score.

Grades and grading systems can vary between different types of qualifications. It’s not possible to achieve a scaled score of 20.00 in some types of study because of the grading system used. This includes IB Diploma subjects and some interstate Year 12 subjects.

Some learning won’t count as Recognised Studies…

Studies that won’t count as Recognised Studies include:

  • Any study counting for less than 10 credits (including academic subjects)
  • Learning gained in community-developed programs
  • Learning gained through self-directed community learning
  • Stage 2 exit assessments including 10 credits given in lieu of one semester of a 20 credit Stage 2 subject
  • Individual VET units of competency
  • Interstate Year 12 subjects that cannot contribute to the ATAR in their home state

Who to contact about Recognised Studies

Schools should contact the SACE Board about counting other learning towards the SACE. More information about recognised learning is available from the SACE Board.

Please note that SATAC cannot advise you on outcomes or decisions made by the SACE Board. It is the responsibility of students (with the assistance of schools) to make sure that patterns of study which include recognised learning and Recognised Studies meet their goals (e.g. completing the SACE or gaining an ATAR).

Decisions regarding Recognised Studies counting towards the ATAR are the responsibility of SATAC's member institutions.

The scaled score contribution of a Recognised Studies higher education subject will be the highest option from the following:

  • an equivalent scaled score based on grades (see table below), or
  • the average scaled scores of the first 70 credits of Tertiary Admissions Subjects (TAS) used in the calculation of the university aggregate
Scaled score equivalents for higher education subjects
Grade Scaled score
HD 20.0
D 19.8
C 18.0
P1 15.8
P2 11.5
P (wher P1 is not in grading system) 15.8
P (where P1 is in grading system) 11.5
Conceded pass 10.0
Non-graded passes Average of first 70 credits is used

The scaled score contribution of a completed VET qualification will be the average scaled scores of the first 70 credits of TAS used in the calculation of the university aggregate.

Where a VET qualification will only count for 10 credits the value described above is halved.

Please note, the SACE Board's 'Recognition Arrangements for Vocational Education and Training (VET) in the SACE' policy determines how many credits a VET qualification will count for at Stage 2 and hence for Recognised Studies.

For interstate subjects, the scaled score in the home state will be equated to South Australian scaled scores on an equivalent percentile basis. For example, a Victorian scaled score of 41.0 (out of 50) would equate to a South Australian scaled score of 18.5 (out of 20); 31.8 would equate to a South Australian scaled score of 15.5.

Note: For some types of year 12 study it is not possible to achieve a scaled score of 20.00 due to the grading systems used. This includes some interstate Year 12 subjects.

The scaled score contribution of IB standard level (SL) and higher level (HL) subjects are as follows:

Scaled score equivalents for IB subjects
IB score Scaled score
7 19.0
6 18.2
5 16.6
4 14.2
3 (HL only) 12.0

Note: For some types of year 12 study it is not possible to achieve a scaled score of 20.00 due to the grading systems used. This includes IB Diploma subjects.