Raw study scores and scaled scores. Which one matters for my ATAR?

What is the difference between a raw score and a scaled score? Which one matters for my ATAR?

For each subject you complete in Year 12, you receive a study score. In VCE, these study scores for each subject then form part of your final ATAR. But the study score you obtain out of 50 is not a mark per se. It is more like a standing that highlights how you did in that subject compared to everyone else enrolled in that subject in the same year. To make it more confusing, there are two versions of the study score you receive, a raw score and a scaled score.

Why are there two kinds of study scores?

As VCE provides students with the opportunity to undertake various different subjects, it is difficult to standardise the marking for all these subjects. This makes it incredibly difficult to calculate the ATAR for students that took utterly different subjects. One way to standardise the different marks obtained in differing subjects is the scaled study scores. A scaled study score will take into account the level of competition within different study areas. While many believe this scaling is based on a subject’s perceived difficulty, it is mainly based on the competitiveness in that area of study.

These scaled scores undergo a specific calculation used to rank students in order and assigned percentage ranks to distribute the students. This percentage rank is converted to an ATAR score. Therefore when selecting your subjects, you must consider which subjects suit you and your interests. But be mindful of which subjects are scaled up or down, as this will affect your overall ATAR. 

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