Year 11 & 12 Requirements

Students should undertake courses in year 11 and 12 tailored to their individual requirements and academic ability.

Students should choose courses based on a realistic view of what will deliver the greatest chance of success in line with;

  • Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) Requirements
  • Skills and abilities
  • Interests, passions and dislikes.
  • Career aspirations
  • Level of commitment required compared with past history and performance
  • Student wellbeing

In addition to VET offerings the College offers courses in the following categories:

  1. ATAR – allow students to access University
  2. General  – allow students to access TAFE, employment and a variety of other training organisations

Multiple pathways to the WACE

The WACE breadth and depth of study requirement previously outlined, specifies that students must complete a minimum of 20 units (10 courses) during Years 11 and 12, including a minimum of 10 Year 12 units or equivalents. Students may use ATAR courses, three categories of General courses (standard General, Foundation, but not Preliminary), VET programs, or endorsed programs to meet this requirement.

There are limits to the number or VET programs (not VET industry specific courses) and endorsed programs that may contribute to achievement of the WACE.

School based Achievement

A student’s school-based achievement in ATAR and General courses (except VETIS and Preliminary) is recorded in grades (A, B, C, D or E) and marks out of 100 for each completed course unit or pair of units.

Student achievement in VET Certificate courses is recorded as ‘completed’ upon completion of all course requirements. The notation ‘completed’ counts as a C grade or better in all other General courses.

Student achievement in VET programs is competency-based and specific requirements are outlined in national training packages or accredited courses.

ATAR course examinations

ATAR course examinations are conducted for each ATAR course.

Examinations are compulsory for all students enrolled in ATAR courses.

Courses available

Schools choose to offer courses to meet the needs and interests of their students in accordance with the resources they have available. The wide range of WACE courses:

  • enables students to study courses similar to those offered in other parts of Australia
  • provides multiple pathways to university, training and employment.

There are typically two groups of WACE courses:

  • ATAR Courses – for students who are typically aiming to enrol in university directly from school. These courses will be examined by the Authority and the results accepted by TISC for the purpose of university selection.
  • General Courses – for students who are typically aiming to enter further training or the workforce directly from school. These courses will not be examined by the Authority.

Students can select from ATAR or General courses  but students wishing to receive an ATAR are required to complete a minimum of four ATAR courses in Year 12.

Each course has four units, each unit is typically completed in a semester. Units 1 and 2 (Year 11) are typically studied as a pair, Units 3 and 4 (Year 12) must be studied as a pair.

The complexity of the syllabus content increases from Year 11 to Year 12. For this reason, a student cannot complete Year 12 units in a course and then enrol in Year 11 units in the same course.

There are no restrictions on course selections for achievement of the WACE except for:

  • the List A and List B requirement
  • the enrolment criteria for Languages and English as an Additional Language or Dialect.

Students considering university studies should go to the TISC website for information on university entry requirements and the ATAR. 

University Entrance


(i) University of Notre Dame Australia
The University of Notre Dame Australia is a Catholic independent university situated in Fremantle that seeks to enrol students who wish to make a special contribution to society. Notre Dame does not rely on the ATAR to determine university entrance. The selection system for Notre Dame is a highly sophisticated one where applicants apply to the university directly, not through the Tertiary Institutions Services Centre (TISC).

Selection Criteria for Notre Dame:
a) Full academic records for Years 11 and 12, including SCSA Statement of Results.
b) Meet SCSA Secondary Graduation requirements.
c) Meet the University’s English Language requirement.
d) Should have an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (minimum rank of 70.00 or higher).
e) A personal statement provided by the student in a form of an essay, outlining individual qualities, goals and motivation for seeking admission to Notre Dame.
f) References from school and work contacts.
g) A completed application form including supporting documentation.
h) Personal interview with a member of the University.

Alternative Entry to Notre Dame
The Tertiary Enabling Program is a 13-week, one semester program, which runs twice a year, for students who have narrowly failed to satisfy the academic requirements for admission. Students should submit an application to the course of their choice at Notre Dame and they will be advised as to whether they have been accepted into the course or they should apply for the Tertiary Enabling Program. Students/parents should check the University of Notre Dame website for more details.

(ii) University Entrance – Public Universities in WA
In order to qualify for admission to Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, Murdoch University or the University of Western Australia, a student must fulfil the following criteria:

a) Meet the WACE requirements prescribed by the SCSA.
b) Achieve English Language Competence as prescribed by the individual universities.
c) Attain a sufficiently high ATAR for entry to a particular university course.
d) Satisfy any prerequisites or special requirements for entry to particular courses.

Any Year 11 student from Mater Dei College intending to study for University Entrance should note the following requirements:

a) Students will select six accredited Courses including Religious Education.
b) A minimum of four ATAR Courses combination needs to be chosen in Year 12.
c) English or Literature must be studied.
d) The Tertiary Entrance Aggregate will be determined on the sum of the best 4 ATAR Courses studied at the end of Year 12.
e) The mix of different stages of Courses units should be determined by a student’s abilities, interests and intentions.
f) Course prerequisites for university courses of interest must be met.
g) Students who achieve a majority of ‘C’ and ‘B’ grades in Year 10 should consider taking five ATAR Courses and one General Course in Year 11.
h) Students who achieve a majority of ‘A’ grades in Year 10 should consider taking six ATAR Courses for in Year 11.
i) Certain Course combinations are not acceptable in relation to the calculation of the ATAR. An example of an unacceptable combination is English and Literature.


Access to courses at public universities is decided by a student’s ATAR. This is a number out of 100 that indicates a student’s relative position compared with all other students who graduated from Year 12.

An ATAR ranges from zero to 99.95. An ATAR of 88.50 for example, would mean that this student was in the top 11.50% of all Year 12 students or in other words, the student was better than 88.49% of Year 12 students, irrespective of whether they intended to apply for university entrance. The ATAR is derived from the Tertiary Entrance Aggregate (TEA).

The TEA is calculated by adding the best four scaled scores in courses or subjects. Scores can contribute toward a student’s TER over five consecutive years. Students will be informed of their ATAR as well as their ATAR. Information relating to cut-offs for various university courses provided by universities and reported in the newspapers will refer to the ATAR.

Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR)

The following points have been agreed to by the four public universities.

a) All SCSA-Developed Courses of Study are eligible for use in determining an ATAR.
b) For a student’s Course to be used in the calculation of his/her ATAR:
• The entire Course needs to be completed
• The external assessments need to be undertaken
c) The final Course Level of Achievement will be a 50:50 combination of internal and external assessments.
d) A student’s TEA will be determined by the sum of a student’s best four scaled scores.
e) There will be no need for List 1, List 2 (in this aggregate) as breadth of study is covered by the WACE requirements.
f) There will be some unacceptable Course combinations for the determination of the ATAR (English and Literature)
g) For the purpose of determining an ATAR all universities will allow accumulation of final Course Levels of Achievement over a period of years.
h) The determination of a student’s ATAR is independent of his/her achieving WACE.

Please check the Tertiary Institutions Service Centre website for more details


Other ways of gaining University Entrance other than using an ATAR score

Some universities have developed entry procedures other than ATAR. For the most up-to-date information please visit the specific university websites.

Notre Dame: 

A one-year bridging course that builds the confidence and skills required to successfully undertake university study.

Various methods including portfolio/ summer school enabling course

OnTrack and OnTrack Sprint are fee-free university preparation courses that provide an alternative entry pathways into Murdoch University. Upon successful completion of the OnTrack or OnTrack Sprint program you will be eligible for an offer to study any course at Murdoch University that has an indicative ATAR of 70 or less.

Uni Prep course. Free six months, must have WACE Graduation to enter

Portfolio entry
Have an ATAR too low for entry

Access UWA
Study 4 units and you may then be considered for admissions.

Overview of WACE Requirements

By the completion of Year 12 students must have met the following requirements (typically over Year 11 and 12) to attain the Western Australian Certificate Of Education (WACE)

General requirements
Students must:
• demonstrate a minimum standard of literacy and a minimum standard of numeracy.
• complete a minimum of 20 units, or equivalents.
• complete at least four Year 12 ATAR courses* or complete a Certificate Il (or higher)

Literacy and numeracy standard
Students must demonstrate the WACE literacy standard and WACE numeracy standard.
For the WACE literacy standard, students must demonstrate the minimum standard of literacy by achieving Band 8 or higher in the reading and writing tests of the Year 9 National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) or by successfully completing the reading and writing components of the Authority’s Online Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (OLNA).
For the WACE numeracy standard, students must achieve either Band 8 or higher in the numeracy test of Year 9 NAPLAN or successfully complete the numeracy component of the OLNA.
This means that a student who achieves Band 8 or above in the reading, writing or numeracy test of the Year 9 NAPLAN will be considered to have pre-qualified for the corresponding component and thus deemed to have successfully completed that component.
Students who have not pre-qualified in reading, writing or numeracy are required to sit the corresponding component/s of the OLNA in Semester 1 of Year 10. If students do not demonstrate the standard in Semester 1, then they must sit the component/s in Semester 2 of Year 10 and, if required, Semester 1 of Year 11. Subsequently, students may choose when next to sit the component/s. Students will have up to six opportunities (in March and September each year) before completing Year 12 to demonstrate the WACE minimum standards of literacy and numeracy.

Breadth-and-depth requirement
Students must:

* complete a minimum of 20 units, which may include unit equivalents attained through VET
* a minimum of ten Year 12 units, or the equivalent
* four units from an English learning area course, post-Year 10, including at least one pair of Year 1 2units from an English learning area course
• one pair of Year 12 units from each of List A (arts/languages/social sciences) and List B (mathematics/science/technology).

Achievement standard
Students must achieve at least 14 C grades or higher (or the equivalent, ) in Year 11 and 12 units, including at least six C grades (or equivalents) in Year 12 units.
For further Information please access the School Curriculum Standards Authority


Students who are not working towards an ATAR pathway must complete a Certificate II or higher qualification to meet WACE requirements. These can also be recognised for unit equivalence for the completion of 20 course unit requirement.
Vocational Education and Training in schools engages students in work-related learning built on strategic partnerships between schools, business, industry and the wider community. VET can be undertaken as part of the WACE and its completion by the student provides credit towards a nationally recognised VET qualification within the Australian Qualifications Framework, providing a broad range of post-school options and pathways.


A VET stand alone programme is non-integrated vocational education and training resulting in the achievement of a full or partial certificate qualification from the Australian Qualifications Framework. Students engaging in VET stand alone programmes, resulting in the attainment of units of competency, qualifications or accredited courses listed on the website ( are awarded WACE unit equivalence as an endorsed programme. At Mater Dei College this may be accomplished through Certificate Courses (National Training Packages).
Certificate Courses (National Training Packages)
A training package is an integrated set of nationally endorsed competency standards, assessment guidelines and qualifications for a specific industry, industry sector or enterprise. Each training package provides a consistent and reliable set of components for training, recognising and assessing people’s skills. Training packages encourage learning and assessment in a work-related environment, which leads to verifiable workplace outcomes.

The benefits of Training Packages include:
• Training that meets the needs and requirements of industry and standards set by industry.
• Qualifications are consistent and nationally recognised, making it easier for students to move between States and for employers to hire people who have worked for other companies or interstate.
• Individuals and businesses are assured of the quality of training and qualifications in areas that specifically suit the needs of the enterprise.

Post School VET
Training providers or RTOs (Registered Training Organisations) formerly known as TAFE’s provide training opportunities for students wishing to pursue a vocational career pathway. This is usually through the delivery of nationally recognised industry based qualifications through certificate courses (I, II, III, IV) and diploma’s. This is also the recognised pathway for apprenticeships and traineeships.

Entrance Requirements:
Most RTO’s require applicants to meet minimum benchmark requirements for communication and math skills or a lower level qualification ie. you may need to complete a Certificate II in a particular industry area before you enrol in the Certificate III of that area.
For some courses, for example arts and multimedia, you may need to submit a folio. There are also courses not recommended for people just leaving school either because of few job opportunities for young people or because you need specific skills gained through lower level courses.
Some highly competitive or specialist courses may require you to address selection criteria, you will need to provide documentary evidence of your previous education, volunteer/workplace experience and other relevant information. In these instances, people with the highest score against the selection criteria are offered the available places.
More Information: For further information on Vocational Education and Training pathways you should contact individual RTO’s such as North Metro TAFE and South Metro TAFE. The Training WA website provides information on all available courses and RTO’s in Western including links to the Australian Apprentice Centre.