It’s Gotta Be Somebody – Why Not You?

By ATAR Notes in VCE
6th of August 2018

January, February, March, April, May, June, July. They’ve all been and gone. And now that we’re nearing the end of the year – or at least the final few months of the academic year – you might be reflecting on where you sit at present.

Some of you will be happy with your marks right now. Others, not so much. But either way, you should take comfort in the knowledge that from this point on, destiny is still in your hands. Here’s why.


Raw internal marks don’t mean that much.

That’s not to say that internal assessments aren’t important at all, because they are. But the specific mark you achieve – whether it’s a 50%, a 70% or a 90% – doesn’t really matter at the end of the day. Why? Because a 70% on an internal assessment isn’t necessarily the equivalent of a 70% on a VCAA exam.

Some schools have harder SACs; other schools have easier SACs. Some schools mark stringently; others mark leniently. And with this in mind, we really can’t compare raw schools from school to school. If we’re presented with the information below, for example:

  1. Student A: averaging 80% in Psychology
  2. Student B: averaging 60% in Psychology

… then there’s absolutely no way here for us to tell which student is actually “ahead” without a whole lot more information. There are many, many other factors at play. It’s easy to get down on yourself for your SAC averages and the like but it’s ultimately a fruitless process because, for the reasons presented above, raw internal marks aren’t the be all and end all.


Scores are standardised.

And for that reason, you don’t need an average of 99 throughout the year to get a 99 ATAR. You don’t need an 80 average to get an 80 ATAR. That’s just not how ATARs work. If you’re interested, you can read more about the technical side of VCE here. But in essence, study scores, which make up your aggregate, which in turn makes up your ATAR, work on a bell-curve distribution. And ATARs aren’t really “scores”, but percentile rankings. What this means is that somebody has to get a 99.95. Somebody has to get a 99.90. Because, ultimately, somebody has to be at the top of the state.

So – why not you?

Even if you’ve got to this point of the year and feel as though you haven’t quite hit your potential, I ask:

Why not you?

There’s still time. You can still make huge improvements.


Those “guaranteed 99ers” really aren’t.

The other thing is that a lot of students have a weird perception that other students are “guaranteed” a really high ATAR. This really doesn’t benefit anybody, and it’s also just not at all true. If people seem like they’re super on track, and have everything sorted, and are just perfect humans, they’re not.

They’re just like you, they make mistakes, and there’s no reason you can’t smash the rest of VCE and hit your goals. 💪


In summary, there’s only so much you can read into performance up until August, and you still have ample opportunities to really make the best of your VCE journey. Whether you take those opportunities or not? Well, that’s really up to you.