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Two students in school uniforms sit in a classroom discussing ATAR

Does Year 11 count towards ATAR?

Study tips
Published 30 Aug, 2023  ·  4-minute read

Do unit 1 and 2 count towards your ATAR in Queensland? No. Does that mean you should write off Year 11 as 12 months of fun? Also no. Here’s why.

Year 11 is a vital step towards your future after high school. But it’s much more than a simple box you need to tick to move onto Year 12, receive your QCE (Queensland Certificate of Education), get your ATAR and be on your way.

In this article, we’re going to break down what your Year 11 grades count towards, what they don’t, and why you should care about them anyway.   

Does Year 11 go towards your ATAR in Queensland?

The marks you receive for units 1 and 2 of your senior school subjects will not count towards the ATAR you get at the end of Year 12. However, the subjects you choose for Year 11 and 12 will affect your eligibility for an ATAR.

Does Year 11 go towards your Queensland Certificate of Education?

In case you’re wondering, units 1 and 2 won’t go towards your final subject results at the end of Year 12 either (they’re calculated based on the grades you get in units 3 and 4). The grades you get in Year 11 will, however, affect your eligibility for the QCE.

To qualify for the QCE, you must satisfactorily complete units 1 and 2 of your senior school subjects, which often means achieving a grade C or higher.

What’s the difference between ATAR and QCE?

If you’ve gotten this far and you’re scratching your head at all these acronyms, here’s a clear breakdown of what they mean.

Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE)
  • Is a rank from 0 to 99.95.
  • Helps you access further education (including university) after high school.

“Tells us about a student’s position (or ranking) compared to all other students in the state. The only intended purpose for the ATAR is to assist with selecting applicants for tertiary study.”

Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre, 2021.

  • Is a certificate.
  • Is evidence that you have completed senior secondary schooling and of your achievements in your subjects.

“Certifies learning, showing the individual has achieved a specific standard of education at senior schooling level and may be considered by employers and the general community.”

Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre, 2021.

It's important to remember that the eligibility requirements for an ATAR and for the QCE are different – just because you’re eligible for QCE, does not necessarily mean you’re eligible for ATAR.

Does Year 11 affect your ATAR?

Absolutely! Even though none of your actual Year 11 grades are counting towards your ATAR, that doesn’t mean what you learn will be totally useless. In fact, your Year 11 classes provide fundamental knowledge for those all-important final Year 12 exams. You need to learn to walk before you run, or so they say. If you can grasp the basic concepts of your subjects in Year 11, that will set you up for success in those more complicated lessons coming in Year 12.

Year 11 is also the prime time to really hone your study skills and habits. If you’re aiming for a high ATAR, you should begin working towards this from the very start of Year 11. This means consistent revision, adhering to a study plan and finding out what methods help you understand and remember what you’ve learnt in the long term.

Two high school students look at a tablet in a school yard

Does Year 11 matter for entry into university?

Your academic performance in Year 11 can have an effect on your entry into university. In Year 11, you begin learning the fundamentals of subjects that may be prerequisites (units 3 and 4) for entry into the university programs you wish to study. The knowledge you gain in Year 11 will help you get the marks you need in units 3 and 4 to meet these prerequisites.

Your academic performance in Year 11 can also open opportunities that will help you get into university. Find out more below.

UQ’s Enhanced Studies Program

The Enhanced Studies Program (ESP) at UQ is an opportunity for high school students to experience what it’s like to study at university.

If you’ve performed well in your studies in Semester 1 of Year 11, you may be eligible to apply for the ESP. It allows you to take a university subject in Semester 1 of Year 12.

There are several benefits to studying a university subject in Year 12 through the ESP:

  • It counts towards your QCE.
  • Upon completion of the subject, you can receive 1 rank adjustment to boost your UQ entrance rank.
  • You don’t have to pay tuition fees on the subject.
  • You may be able to gain credit for the subject once you enrol in a related program at UQ.

An Enhanced Studies Program subject isn’t the only subject you can take in Year 12 that provides adjustment factors for entry into UQ. Discover what other subjects can help boost your ATAR.

So, to sum up, if you’re asking something like ‘do Year 11 exam results matter when it comes to ATAR?’, the answer is not really. But your commitment to your studies and performance in Year 11 as a whole can have an impact on the knowledge you acquire for Year 12 (which does impact your ATAR) and your opportunities in the future.

Our final advice? Give Year 11 your best shot. If nothing else, it’ll limit the amount of stress you place on yourself in Year 12, because you’ll go into your final year of high school prepared.

Ready to start acing your ATAR subjects? Read up on our study tips for Year 11 and 12 subjects.

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