There are lots of terms and acronyms to describe the tertiary admissions process. You might not be familiar with them all.

To help you with the concepts described in this website we’ve explained some common terms below.

ATAR Australian Tertiary Admission Rank
CSPA Core Skills Profile for Adults
IB International Baccalaureate
NTCET Northern Territory Certificate of Education and Training
SACE South Australian Certificate of Education
TAS Tertiary Admissions Subject
TES Tertiary Entrance Statement
VET Vocational Education and Training

Adjustment factors are extra points used in combination with your university aggregate to determine a course selection rank.

Background knowledge in a SACE/NTCET Stage 1 or Stage 2 subject, or an identified skill, that will enhance a student’s understanding of the content of a given undergraduate course.

The ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) is a rank given to students on a range from 0 to 99.95 to show their competitiveness, or how well they have performed, in relation to other Year 12 students in Australia.

In the SACE, subject Completion means achieving a grade of E or better at Stage 1 and a grade of E- or better at Stage 2. Successful Completion of a subject means achieving a grade of C or better at Stage 1 and a grade of C- or better at Stage 2.

Counting restrictions are used where it is desirable to limit the number of credits that can count towards the ATAR in a specific subject area. This is to ensure students study a broad range of subjects.

Flexible option refers to the final 30 credits of study contributing to the university aggregate. The 30 credits of the flexible option can include the scores from 10 or 20 credit TAS and/or Recognised Studies.

Two subjects form a precluded combination if they have a significant overlap in content. They cannot both count towards your ATAR.

Prerequisites are SACE or NTCET Stage 2 subjects (or equivalent) in which a student must achieve a minimum grade of C- (or equivalent) to be eligible for selection into a course.

For IB diploma students, where a prerequisite can be met by a standard level (SL) subject a minimum grade of 4 is required. Higher level (HL) subject prerequisites can be met with a minimum grade of 3.

Raw scores are the numeric results of individual assessment components in a SACE or NTCET subject.

Recognised Studies are subjects or learning, other than SACE or NTCET subjects, that can count towards an ATAR. Recognised Studies can include International Baccalaureate Diploma subjects, interstate Year 12 subjects, university subjects, or VET awards. Studies must have the approval of the SACE Board to count towards the SACE or NTCET, and approval from the universities to count towards an ATAR.

Scaling is a mathematical process that provides a basis for comparing performance in different SACE/NTCET Stage 2 subjects which have different objectives, content and assessment processes. Raw scores obtained for subjects are scaled to ensure they are comparable before they are totalled to produce the university aggregate.

A scaled score is the result of transforming the raw score of a subject on a consistent scale for all students.

A selection rank determines a student’s competitiveness relative to other applicants for the same course. The selection rank can be based on the ATAR, or it might be altered by adjustment factors or other selection criteria relevant for the course.

Tertiary Admissions Subjects - or TAS - are SACE Stage 2 subject approved by SATAC’s member institutions as providing appropriate preparation for tertiary studies. SATAC’s member institutions require students to study a minimum number of credits of TAS to be eligible to receive an ATAR.

The Tertiary Entrance Statement is a document which shows information relevant to tertiary entrance, such as the university aggregate and ATAR. SATAC issues the TES on behalf of Flinders University, the University of Adelaide, University of South Australia, and TAFE SA.

The university aggregate is a score reported in the range 0-90.00 calculated from the scaled results of a students performance in Tertiary Admissions Subjects. The university aggregate is converted to an ATAR.

A valid pair is formed when two 10 credit TAS from the same subject area used instead a 20 credit TAS in the calculation of an ATAR.