HSC ATAR Prediction is easier than it seems
Students who understand scaling are rarely surprised when their ATAR comes out.
They can often predict their ATAR very accurately well before they sit their HSC exams. The typical wisdom is to study your hardest for every subject, but if you look carefully at these scaling graphs, you can see that it’s much better to “pick your battles.”
For instance, if you were positioned in the top 10% in your school for Mathematics Extension 2, but only the top 50% in English, you would be better off, in terms of increasing your ATAR by allocating time from Maths to English. Further improvement in Maths Extension 2 produces proportionately smaller gains in your ATAR.
Many students tend to study the subjects they like the most and neglect subjects they are weaker at – it’s human nature! From an ATAR point of view, this is disastrous because it leads to over-studying subjects in which you are already receiving relatively highly scaled marks and neglecting the very subject which for which there is the greatest scope to boost your final ATAR.
How can I score a 99 ATAR?
Take a look at the images below and see what your ranking should be in the following subjects:
ATAR Targeting and Subject Selection
Understanding scaling can give you a very strong competitive advantage.
You should be able to see exactly which subjects are adding value (or ATAR points) so that you can allocate your time efficiently between your subjects. This can also be done with the help of our Free ATAR Calculator! Click here to try it and profile your ATAR, or break down your ATAR by course or University.
Find the UAC score (out of 500) you need to achieve your desired ATAR
We recommend using the UAC vs. ATAR Graph below to determine the score out of 500 you need for your target ATAR. We have already done this for ATARs of 99, 97 and 95.
Divide this score by 10, to find out what average UAC score you need in each subject. For example, an ATAR of 99 requires -450, so this means 45 for every subject.
Find the relative rank you need to achieve the required UAC score
Use the Percentile vs. Scaled Mark graph below to determine what rank you need to achieve the desired UAC score.
For instance, in order to get 45 in Maths Extension 2, you will need to be in the top 57%, but to get 45 in Physics, you need to be in the top 5%. You now use this as a benchmark for your performance.
Find out what percentile or HSC mark your current performance will give you
You now know what you need to score in each subject to achieve your desired ATAR in each subject.
Hence, you need to determine what percentile you are in to see if you are above or below that benchmark. The most accurate way is to ask your school’s Director of Studies what someone with your current rank scored last year. Otherwise, you may need to ‘guesstimate’ – for instance if you are average in 4 Unit Maths, and your school is about the stat average, then you would need to be in the top 50%. If your school is twice as good as the state, you may only need to be in the top 70%.
Set the right goals and allocate your time accordingly
You should know whether you are on target or not in each particular subject for your ATAR. By seeing whether you are ‘over the bar’ or ‘under the bar’ you can see where best to allocate your time in order to maximise your ATAR.
For instance, suppose you are aiming for 99. If you are already in the top 50% for English, you should spend more time in English than Maths for the next assessment. Improving further in Maths provides decreasing marginal returns.
Click here to try our Talent 100 ATAR Calculator, and don’t forget to save your account so you can go back and optimise your subjects throughout the year.