The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) is a rank given to secondary school students on a range from 0 to 99.95.

The ATAR shows how you performed in your studies compared to other students completing an Australian Year 12 program.

SATAC calculates the ATAR for SACE and NTCET students.

What is the ATAR used for?

Tertiary institutions use the ATAR to select students for their courses. 

Course selection can be competitive. This happens when courses have more applicants than places available to offer. For this reason, tertiary institutions need a way of ranking applicants for each course. 

The ATAR is a fair and transparent tool used to compare the academic results of students for the purpose of tertiary selection. 

How to get an ATAR (SACE/NTCET students) 

To qualify for an ATAR you first need a university aggregate. SATAC calculates the university aggregate by combining the scaled scores from your best 90 credits of study. 

To be eligible for a university aggregate you need to: 

  • qualify for the SACE/NTCET 
  • follow the rules for precluded combinations 
  • follow the rules for counting restrictions 
  • complete at least 90 credits of study in Tertiary Admissions Subjects (TAS) and Recognised Studies at Stage 2 
  • of the 90 credits of study at least 60 credits of study must be from 20 credit TAS or valid pairs. 
The university aggregate is calculated from your best scaled scores from three 20 credit TAS (60 credits) plus the best outcome from the flexible option (30 credits). See the infographic at the link below for more information about the flexible option.

Scaled scores are reported to you out of 20.0 for 20 credit subjects and out of 10.0 for 10 credit subjects. If you don't attempt the publicly assessed component of a TAS (e.g. an exam or final recital) you will be given a scaled score of 0.0. Subjects with scaled scores of 0.0 can be used to calculate the university aggregate.

*90 credits of TAS must be completed in a maximum of three attempts which can be in non-consecutive years.

How SATAC calculates the ATAR 

To calculate an ATAR from your university aggregate, SATAC looks at the percentage of students who achieved the same aggregate as you, or better. 

We then assign a percentile rank (between 0 and 100) for each university aggregate achieved. For example: 

  • You get an aggregate of 78.00 out of 90.00. 
  • 10% of students also get 78.00 out of 90.00 or better. 
  • The aggregate of 78.00 now corresponds to a rank of 90.00 (100 minus 10). 
We do this every year for SACE and NTCET students who qualify for a university aggregate. The group of students who qualify for an aggregate in a given year is the cohort. 

The next step is looking at where the cohort sits compared to the entire population of students across Australia who are in the same age group. 

Each year the cohort may differ from other years in that it may represent a smaller or larger percentage of the population who are in the same age group. The percentage from the given year is the participation rate. 

We calculate the participation rate using population statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and measuring these against the size of the cohort. 

SATAC adjusts the percentile rank to take account of the participation rate and where you sit relative to the entire population. The result is the ATAR. 

So, if you achieve an ATAR of 95.00 it shows that you performed as well as, or better than, 95% of the population. 


It is important to remember that the ATAR is a rank, not a score. It compares overall performance across the group, rather than individual performance in specific subjects. Its purpose is to select students for tertiary courses.