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

To help you with the processes outlined in this website we’ve explained some common terms and concepts 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.

If you have a current SATAC Undergraduate application, you can log into it via mySATAC to check your Year 12 rank for each preference. If you are eligible for any adjustment factors and the preference considers them, the Year 12 rank displayed will include these. Some preferences may not display a Year 12 rank even if you have received an ATAR – this is because those courses consider entry requirements in addition to, or instead of, a Year 12 rank.

No. As long as you successfully complete the subject (minimum grade of C- or better) and the course/s you are applying for considers subject-based adjustments, you will receive the adjustment factors even if that subject does not make up the 90 credits used in your ATAR calculation.

No, the adjustment factor schemes administered by SATAC are only applicable in a SATAC Undergraduate application. If you are applying through a different tertiary admissions centre or institution, they will not use SATAC’s adjustment factor schemes, but may have their own schemes which can augment your Year 12 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.

Yes, more than one type of Recognised Studies can be used in the 30-credit flexible option of your ATAR calculation. But remember, Recognised Studies can only contribute a maximum of 20 credits to your ATAR. So, if you complete more than one type of Recognised Studies, depending on the credit value of each type, SATAC will either use 20 credits from one type, or 10 credits each from two types – whichever gives you the best outcome.

Yes. As long as your Recognised Studies was completed in the same year (or earlier) that SATAC calculated your ATAR for the first time, that Recognised Studies can be used in subsequent recalculations of your ATAR. You should, however, note that the ATAR can only include study completed across a maximum of three attempts which can be in non-consecutive years.

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.