Media Releases

ATAR: the best predictor of uni success

02 Oct 2019

AS NSW HSC students head into their final preparations for their exams, many of them will be wondering if it’s all worth it and what the point is of getting a good ATAR.

While the ATAR is not the only important story to be told about the class of 2019, it is important for those hoping to head straight off to uni next year.

Comprehensive analysis of HSC data by the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) shows that the single biggest indicator of success in first year university is a student’s ATAR.

The data from the HSC years from 2013 to 2017 and the subsequent university commencement years from 2014 to 2018, showed that on average, over half of students with an ATAR of 60.00 or above pass all subjects in first year university, measured by a students’ first-year grade-point-average (GPA). It also found that the mean GPA in first year study increases as the students’ ATARs increase.

The correlation between ATAR and first-year GPA appears to be stronger for STEM-oriented degrees, as well as Management and Commerce. The correlation is weaker for Society and Culture, and Creative Arts, however most institutions have additional selection criteria – such as a personal statement, questionnaire, portfolio of work, audition, interview or a test – for entry to these courses.

But for a large number of courses where the fundamental requirement of the student is to possess the right level of academic ability to meet the demands of the course, the ATAR is an effective tool in predicting the likelihood of this outcome.

Kim Paino, General Manager of Marketing and Engagement at UAC says, 'Everybody hates the ATAR because it’s seen as adding more stress to students. And we agree that’s a real problem and it can be very negative for students. But at the same time the reality is that it’s important for students to try to focus and do their best in the exams. When they get their ATAR it won’t just be their entry ticket into a uni course, it will also tell them whether they’re ready for it.'

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For further information (media only) email media@uac.edu.au or contact:
Kim Paino, General Manager, Marketing and Engagement, UAC on (02) 9752 0760 or 0409 155 112.