What is the ATAR?

ATAR stands for ‘Australian Tertiary Admission Rank’.

The ATAR is a ‘rank’ which lists students from 99.95 to 0 in increments of 0.05 in order of academic achievement.

Students are ranked against their Year 7 cohort. This takes into account students who leave in Year 10 and 11. 

The highest ATAR a student can achieve is 99.95 which will place the student in the top 0.05% of the state.

About 45-50 students in NSW achieve an ATAR of 99.95 each year.

In NSW this rank is determined by the University Admissions Centre (UAC).

ATARs are released for eligible students each December on the UAC website.

Lower ATARs are published as <30.

For more information refer to the official UAC website.

What is the ATAR used for?

Universities use the ATAR results, sometimes with other selection criteria, to determine which students are eligible to sit for a particular University course.

The number of applicants for an individual course often exceeds the number of places available, so an ATAR cut off rank is necessary.

Only students who sit for the NSW HSC exams in 10 or more units of ATAR courses are eligible for a NSW ATAR.

The specifications of ATAR courses in NSW must include 2 units of English. Other necessary requirements are determined by the UAC such as the number of category A units. Always refer to the offcial UAC website for up to date information or ask your careers advisor at school.


What is an ATAR Calculator?

An ATAR calculator is a calculator that tries to estimate your ATAR result based upon scaled HSC data published by the UAC from previous years.


What is the most accurate ATAR Calculator?

There is no ‘most accurate’ ATAR calculator!


1. The quality of the data

All ATAR calculators rely upon data that has been scaled, rounded off, condensed then published by the UAC.

The most accurate ATAR results are those calculated by the University Admissions Centre(UAC) and released in December.

The UAC uses raw HSC data which is

  • unscaled and hasn’t been rounded off for each particular subject.
  • derived from the actual students who sit for the HSC exams. It is a perfect match every year.

2. Student variation

The ATAR varies from year to year depending upon the academic candidature sitting for each HSC subject.

Since this varies each year so does the ATAR


How accurate are ATAR Calculators?

All Atar calculators produce an estimate of your ranking using the same HSC data which has been modified and condensed for publication.

The algorithms used for the calculations cannot turn scaled, rounded off, condensed data into UAC raw data that exactly matches the current year group!

Sometimes the results are very close to actual ATAR results. Other times they vary more.


Why do the same HSC marks produce different ATARs from year to year?

Each year a different group of students sits for each HSC subject. That is why the same set of HSC marks produces a different ATAR each year.

Compare the ATAR estimates with ATAR estimates from the previous year using the same HSC results for identical subjects.


Should a student select subjects that scale well?


Choose the subjects you are interested in, capable of and that meet your long term goals.

If your best time for the 100 metres is 15.4 seconds you will not achieve a faster time by racing against a more competitive group. In fact the chances are that you’ll lose interest and become discouraged. Never choose a subject just because it scales well.

Scaling is designed to give you a mark of that reflects your true academic performance no matter what group of students you compete against. ie. Using the above analogy your time of 15.4 seconds is equivalent of a scaled mark. You are not suddenly going to turn into a sub 10 second runner by competing in the Olympics 100m final.

Many students sadly think they will achieve higher marks by choosing higher scaling subjects.

The students who perform best in the HSC choose subjects they are capable of. As they study they become more motivated because they understand the content. They then achieve greater success in their assessment tasks and tests. This further spurs them on.

Select the subjects you enjoy and that you are capable of and give it your best!