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VCE Study Design Changes – 2020 Updates

By ATAR Notes - VCE in VCE
7th of May 2020
Units 3&4 - VCE study design changes - 2020 - ATAR Notes

As you may know, VCAA has recently uploaded adjusted study designs for 2020 only for some VCE Units 3&4 subjects. Changes include content removal and adjustments to assessment structure for some subjects. It is important to note that:

these changes are for 2020 only;
 these changes do not directly affect Units 1&2 or Year 10 subjects; and
changes to some subjects are more pronounced than changes to others.

Although these changes may be unexpected, they are designed to make things easier for students in 2020.

Below, you can find a summary of our interpretation of some of the changes. For more information, please consult VCAA’s study designs webpage.


All Sciences

→ Unit 4 AOS 1 and AOS 2 SACs may now be changed to reports, media analyses, data analyses, or a reflective journal
→ Unit 4 AOS 3 SAC:
§ Can now be a practical report rather than a poster
§ Can use secondary data instead of primary data (i.e. analyse a practical investigation rather than conduct one)
§ Still requires a logbook
§ Word count is now 600 words instead of 1000



Content removal:

→ Unit 4 AOS 2:
§ Preparing budgeted accounting reports and variance reports
§ Using ICT, including spreadsheets, to model and analyse the financial effects of alternative strategies to improve business performance
§ Ethical considerations



Content removal:

→ Unit 4 AOS 1:
§ Chromosomal abnormalities such as aneuploidy and polyploidy
§ Significant changes in life forms in Earth’s geological history including the rise of multicellular organisms, animals on land, the first flowering plants and mammals
§ Evidence of biological change from biogeography
§ Patterns of biological change over geological time including divergent evolution, convergent evolution and mass extinctions
§ mtDNA (the molecular clock) and DNA hybridisation
§ The evolution of novel phenotypes (e.g. Galapagos finches)
 Unit 4 AOS 2:
§ Genetic screening and DNA profiling techniques (you only need to discuss social and ethical issues for gene cloning)
§ Rational drug design
§ The use of chemical agents against pathogens including the distinction between antibiotics and antiviral drugs with reference to their mode of action and biological effectiveness


Business Management

Content removal:

→ Unit 4 AOS 2:
§ Management strategies for seeking new business opportunities
§ Principles of Senge’s Learning Organisation
§ Low-risk and high-risk strategies to overcome employee resistance
§ Effects of change on stakeholders
§ Evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of change strategies



Content removal:

→ Unit 4 AOS 1:
§ Mass spectrometry
§ Stereoisomers, optical isomers, and distinctions between cis- and trans-isomers
§ *Addition of skeletal formulas of alkanes, alkenes, etc.
§ Condensation reactions
§ Calculating atom economy and percentage yield of single-step or overall pathway reactions
§ Mass spectroscopy
→ Unit 4 AOS 2:
§ Application of food chemistry
§ Comparing glucose, fructose, sucrose and aspartame
§ Distinctions between fatty acids
§ Vitamins
§ Consequences of variation in enzyme substrate interactions
§ GI and glucose production in body
§ Oxidative rancidity
§ Coenzymes



Content removal:

→ Unit 4 AOS 2:
§ Welfare and tax reform policies influencing aggregate supply and living standards
§ Effect of immigration policies on the labour market and aggregate supply, influences on domestic macroeconomic goals
§ Evaluating aggregate supply policies in achieving Australia’s macroeconomic goals



→ Oral SAC in Unit 4 is now a written submission (still requires a written outline/statement of intention)


English Language

Content removal:

→ Unit 4 AOS 1:
§ Language establishing national identity,
§ Unique features of AusEnglish amongst other Englishes
§ Broad, General, and Cultivated accents



→ No content removed; Unit 4 SACs adjusted (2-3 minute oral instead of 3-4, and 150 word written piece instead of 250)


Further Maths

→ Students only complete the core and ONE module



Content removal:

→ Unit 4 AOS 2:
§ All forms of aid, aid programs, and how effective aid programs meet SDGs
§ Roles and examples of NGOs in promoting health and wellbeing
§ Social action promoting health and wellbeing



→ Students only have to study 5 texts instead of 6, and only complete one Close Analysis SAC in Unit 4 instead of two


Legal Studies

Content removal:

→ Unit 4 AOS 1:
§ Significance of one High Court case interpreting sections 7 and 24 of the Australian Constitution
§ Significance of one referendum in which the Australian people have protected or changed the Australian Constitution
§ Significance of one High Court case which has had an impact on the division of constitutional law-making powers
§ Impact of international declarations and treaties on the interpretation of the external affairs power


Maths Methods

Content removal:

→ AOS 4:
§ Discrete and random variables (replaced with binomial and normal distribution)
§ Probability density functions
§ Calculating mean, variance, and standard deviation (only need to interpret)
§ All of statistical inference
§ Sample proportions as random variables
§ Confidence intervals


Physical Education

Content removal:

→ Unit 4 AOS 1:
§ Fitness testing: purpose, aims, protocols, reliability, validity, screening, consent
§ Methods of standardised tests for power, agility, etc.



Content removal:

→ Unit 4 AOS 1:
§ Nature of waves, transverse vs. longitudinal waves, Doppler effect
§ Comparing wavelengths and frequencies of electromagnetic spectra
§ Polarisation of visible light
§ Analysis of refraction and Snell’s Law, and total internal reflection/critical angles
§ Investigating colour dispersion in prisms and components of white light
→ Unit 4 AOS 2:
§ Emission line spectra specifically from metal vapour lamps
§ Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle and diffraction from a single slit experiment (but still need to know Young’s double slit experiment)
§ Evaluating classical laws of physics for small scale motion
§ Production of light from matter, comparing light in lasers, synchrotrons, LEDs, and incandescent lights



Content removal:

→ Unit 4 AOS 1:
§ Brain wave patterns
§ Dyssomnias and parasomnias
§ CBT to treat insomnia
→ Unit 4 AOS 2:
§ All of the factors that contribute to the development and progression of mental health disorders, incl. bio/psycho/social risk factors and cumulative risk
§ Transtheoretical model of behaviour change


Specialist Maths

Content removal:

→ AOS 6: entire Probability and Statistics topic removed


If you wish to discuss the changes in further detail, feel free to join us on the ATAR Notes VCE Discussion Forums.