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 are generally not accepted.

Some types of Recognised Studies 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

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

Rules for Recognised Studies

There are a few conditions you need to meet before non-SACE learning can count towards an ATAR. We explain the rules for Recognised Studies below.

SACE Board recognition

The SACE Board must approve any subjects or other learning experiences as counting at Stage 2 level.

If it will not count towards your SACE or NTCET, it will not count as Recognised Studies.

Level of study and achievement

Recognised Studies must be equal to, or higher than, Stage 2 level.

For vocational education and training (VET) to count as Recognised Studies, you must complete a qualification at AQF Level 3 or higher.

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

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.

ATARs cannot be recalculated to include Recognised Studies done after you have received 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 (mid-February of the following year).

Approving Recognised Studies

Learning that is approved as counting towards SACE/NTCET Stage 2 by the SACE Board will either be pre-approved or require approval to count as Recognised Studies.

SATAC will notify the SACE Board of the outcome of any learning that requires approval, the SACE Board 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.

SATAC will approve most degree-level subjects on application provided they are not introductory subjects.

It is 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 is significant content overlap with the other Stage 2 subjects you are 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 tertiary admissions subjects (TAS) to give a scaled score.

Grades and grading systems can vary between different types of qualifications. It is 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 will not count as Recognised Studies

Studies that will not 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

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.