Study Pattern Requirements

  1. Senior School
  2. Study Pattern Requirements

In Years 11 and 12 courses are taught unit by unit. Assessment is conducted and recorded unit by unit. A unit of study is organised around a particular theme or discipline eg: American Literature would be the study of American Literature under the subject of English. A unit 's value is based on time: One standard unit of study towards a Senior Secondary Certificate represents a minimum of 55 hours of timetabled classes generally over one semester.

Courses consist of a combination of units with coherence of purpose (there are no compulsory courses or units). There are different types of courses based on number of units:

Course Type

Unit Value


2-3 standard units (110+hours)


3.5-5 standard units (220+hours)

Major Minor

5.5-6.5 standard units (330+hours)

Double Major

7-8 standard units (400+hours)






Courses (and units) have different classifications. They can be classified as either A, T, M, H, C, E, R and V Courses (and units).

The maximum number of standard units that a course can contribute to the ACT Senior Secondary certificate is 8.

Assessment is continuous school based assessment. There are no examinations set by a central authority for any subject. Courses are taught and assessed unit by unit.

ACT Qualifications

Formal documents issued by the Board at the end of Year 12 include:

  • ACT Senior Secondary Certificate 
  • Tertiary Entrance Statement 
  • Vocational Certificates or Vocational Partial Completions which list the competencies that have been achieved under the Australian Qualification Framework
The ACT BSSS brochure  What Certificates could you obtain? also provides useful information about the ACT Senior Secondary System.


ACT Senior Secondary Certificate

To be awarded an ACT Senior Secondary Certificate you must complete a pattern of study which includes a minimum of 17 standard units forming at least 3 A, T, H or M courses in a period not exceeding 5 years. There may be one break in study of up to one year.

ACT Tertiary Entrance Statement

The Tertiary Entrance Statement reports a student's ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) and information on the T courses the student studied. To be awarded a Tertiary Entrance Statement (TES) you must complete a minimum of 20 standard units of which 18 standard units must be classified as A, C, E, T, M or H and at least the equivalent of 12.5 standard units must be T or H. These units must be arranged to form at least 3 majors and 3 minors or 4 majors and 1 minor course and of these at least 3 majors and 1 minor course must be classified as T. You must also sit the ACT scaling test (AST) in your final year of study. These studies must be completed in no less than 3.5 semesters and no more than 5 years. With the approval of the Principal you may take one break in study of up to one year.

Your ATAR is calculated from your best 3 T majors scaled course scores plus 0.6 of the next best scaled course score. These scaled course scores are added to form the aggregate score. You are then ranked based on your aggregate score. The ATAR is calculated based on this ranking and information supplied by the NSW Technical Committee on Scaling.

The ACT BSSS brochure What's the ATAR? also provides useful information about the ACT Tertiary Entrance Statement and the ATAR.