Australian Tertiary Admission Rank

Who gets an ATAR?

To be eligible for an ATAR in NSW, you must satisfactorily complete at least 10 units of ATAR courses. These ATAR courses must include at least:

  • 8 units from Category A courses
  • 2 units of English
  • three Board Developed courses of 2 units or greater
  • four subject areas.

Your ATAR is then calculated from your:

  • best 2 units of English
  • best 8 units from your remaining units, which can include no more than 2 units of Category B courses.

How your ATAR is calculated

Check your ATAR eligibility using UAC's Subject Compass tool

International Baccalaureate (IB Diploma) candidates are not eligible to receive an ATAR. Instead, if they’ve been awarded the IB Diploma or Bilingual Diploma, they are allocated a UAC rank based on their total IB score.

Also, students undertaking tertiary preparation programs such as the Tertiary Preparation Certificate (TPC) and Open Foundation do not receive an ATAR.

The difference between HSC subject areas and courses

Within an HSC subject area (eg mathematics) there may be a number of courses (eg Mathematics Standard 2, Mathematics Advanced, Mathematics Extension 1, Mathematics Extension 2).

Access a list of HSC courses and their subject areas

If a student studies, for example, Mathematics Extension 1, Mathematics Extension 2, English Advanced, English Extension 1 and Biology they will not meet the four subject area requirement because they have only studied three subject areas: Mathematics, English and Biology.

Similarly, if a student studies English Advanced, English Extension 1, English Extension 2, Mathematics Extension 1, Mathematics Extension 2, Modern History, and History Extension they will not meet the four subject area requirement because they have only studied three subject areas: Mathematics, English and Modern History. When Combined with Modern History, History Extension falls under the subject area of Modern History. When combined with Ancient History it falls under the subject area of Ancient History.

The same applies to Science Extension: it takes on the same subject area as the 2-unit course it is combined with. For example, when combined with Chemistry, it takes on the subject area of Chemistry.

What it means to satisfactorily complete a course

You'll be considered to have satisfactorily completed a course if, in your principal’s view, there is sufficient evidence that you have:

  • followed the course developed or endorsed by NESA
  • applied yourself with diligence and sustained effort to the set tasks and experiences provided in the course by the school
  • achieved some or all of the course outcomes
  • made a genuine attempt at assessment tasks that total more than 50% of the available school assessment marks for that course.

You also need to make a serious attempt at the examination for the course. For more information about HSC eligibility requirements, visit the NESA website. Failure to satisfactorily complete a course will result in that course not contributing to the eligibility requirements. If the course is a 2-unit course with an associated extension course, failure to satisfactorily complete the 2-unit course will result in neither the 2-unit nor the extension course contributing towards your ATAR.

Limited ATAR

Some institutions allow applicants completing Year 12 to use a Limited ATAR, along with other selection criteria, to gain entry to tertiary study. Check each institution's admission criteria.


To be eligible for a Limited ATAR, you must meet both of the following conditions:

  • be at least 20 years of age on 1 March the year you finish your HSC studies
  • be taking between 5 and 9 units of ATAR courses, including at least 1 unit of a Category A English course.


A Limited ATAR is calculated from the best 5 units of courses completed, rather than the 10 used for the standard ATAR.

The Limited ATAR is calculated using scaled marks from ATAR courses comprising:

  • at least 1 unit of English (Category A course only)
  • the best 4 other units of Category A courses.

All units must be:

  • completed in the same year
  • made up of Category A courses.