Australian Tertiary Admission Rank

What is the ATAR?

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The ATAR is a rank, not a mark.

The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) is a number between 0.00 and 99.95 that indicates a student’s position relative to all the students in their age group (ie all 16 to 20 year olds in NSW). So, an ATAR of 80.00 means that you are 20 per cent from the top of your age group (not your Year 12 group).

Universities use the ATAR to help them select students for their courses and admission to most tertiary courses is based on your selection rank (your ATAR + any applicable adjustments). Most universities also use other criteria when selecting students (eg a personal statement, a questionnaire, a portfolio of work, an audition, an interview or a test).

The average ATAR is usually around 70.00.

If every school student went on to achieve an ATAR, the average ATAR would be 50.00. But because some students leave school early and the ones who stay on to receive an ATAR are a smaller, more academically able group, the average ATAR is higher.

ATARs are calculated in each state to reflect a student’s rank against other students in their state. In NSW, the ATAR is calculated and released by UAC. In the ACT, it’s calculated by the ACT Board of Senior Secondary Studies, in consultation with UAC, and released by schools. NSW and ACT ATARs are equivalent to those in other states. For example, an ATAR of 85.00 in NSW or the ACT is equivalent to an ATAR of 85.00 in other states.

HSC marks and the ATAR: what’s the difference?

The most important thing to know is that HSC marks and the ATAR have different purposes:

  • Your HSC mark for each course tells you about your performance in your exam and assessments. There's no quota as to the number of students who can achieve top marks.
  • Your ATAR tells you about your position, or ranking, compared to other students in NSW and takes into account your achievement in all your HSC courses. Its only purpose is to help universities select applicants for their courses.

You can think of it like a running race: your HSC is your time (and is not compared to anyone else's time), and your ATAR is your place (first, second, third, and so on).

Your HSC marks:

  • are presented as marks out of 100
  • tell you how well you’ve performed in each of your courses, according to standards set by NESA
  • can only be compared to the marks of students who completed the same HSC courses
  • are provided by NESA.

Your ATAR:

  • is a rank, not a mark or a percentage
  • tells you where you’re positioned overall in relation to other students
  • tells you how you compare with other students who have completed different combinations of HSC courses
  • is provided by UAC.
ATAR Compass

Enter your predicted HSC marks and ATAR Compass will estimate your ATAR

Estimate your ATAR