This calculator estimates the exam scores required to reach your goal study score, and shows how SAC moderation may affect your SAC scores based on the exam results of students in your school.
The maximum possible study score is 50. Study scores are fitted to a bell curve with a median of 30, which means about half of all students score 30 or above. A study score of 40 or above is very hard to achieve - less than 9% of students are awarded 40+ study scores for each subject!
For most VCE subjects, your internal SAC scores contribute 50% to your study score, and the final exam contributes the other 50%. For VCE Science subjects, the internal SAC scores contribute 40% and the final exam contributes the other 60%. For VCE Mathematics, the internal SAC scores contribute 34% and the final two exams contribute the other 66%.
School Assessed Coursework (SACs)
As the name suggests, the SACs are assessment tasks set and assessed by individual schools and teachers. The format for each SAC is prescribed by VCAA, and depending on the subject they can include tests, projects, investigation tasks, oral presentations, practical tasks etc.
'SAC moderation' is the process by which VCAA allocates your SAC grade, by comparing your SAC results relative to the other students at your school, then comparing your school's GAT (General Achievement Task) and exam results to other schools. For example, Student A achieves an English SAC result in the top 20% for School A, which has a median study score of 30 for English. Student B achieves a SAC result in the top 20% for School B, but School B has a median study score of 35 for English. School B will have higher GAT and exam results, which indicates that the SAC result of Student B is relatively higher, so VCAA will moderate the SAC results accordingly.
The time limit and number of marks in each exam varies between subjects, but is generally consistent within each subject. For example, the Biology exam is 2.5 hours long and contains 120 marks. The difficulty of the exams can vary somewhat from year to year. For example, in 2019 a Biology exam score of 95 or more out of 120 earned a student an A+. But in 2020 it took a score of at least 107 out of 120 to earn an A+. This indicates that the 2019 Biology exam was probably objectively harder than the 2020 exam. But the ranking system is still fair, because you are only ranked against other students sitting the same exam as you.
Raw and scaled study scores
'Scaling' is the process by which VTAC adjust the raw study scores for each subject, by comparing students' results across all subjects. For example, VTAC's algorithm has determined that it tends to be harder to score a raw 30 study score in Chemistry than it is to score a raw 30 study score in Business Management. So the raw 30 in Chemistry is scaled higher when calculating students ATAR scores.
The calculator below uses VCAA Exam Grade Distributions from 2017 to 2020 to estimate expected exam scores required to achieve your goal study score. Scaling is estimated using Scaling Reports published by VTAC, and the SAC moderation process is estimated using previous results for each school published by VCAA. (see the Data Sources section below)
VCAA Grade Distributions (2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020)
VTAC Scaling Reports (2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020)
VCAA Senior Secondary Achievement Data (school median study scores)
VCE High Achievers data (study scores of 40 or above, published by VCAA. Thanks to quppa.net for hosting archives from previous years).
This tool is designed to help students understand how SAC scores, exam scores and study scores are related in most cases. It will not be accurate in all cases. The largest sources of uncertainty in the estimation model are
- SAC moderation, especially for schools with small student populations, and
- mark boundaries for study scores above 45 are highly dependent on the actual VCAA exam questions, which change from year to year.