WACE Information

  1. Senior School
  2. WACE Information

Senior study and the Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) can be particularly daunting. All the rules and requirements as well as the huge range of subjects can scare and confuse you. It doesn't have to be that way. On this page you will find information and links to more information about the WACE rules and requirements as well as lots of helpful subject specific material.

WACE Study Requirements:

These are the minimum requirements for students to receive a Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) in 2016 and beyond.

Breadth and depth requirement

  • Completion of a minimum of 20 units or the equivalent. This requirement must include at least: (notes 1, 2 , 3, 4)
    • 10 units or the equivalent at Year 12
    • two Year 11 units from an English course and one pair of Year 12 units from an English course
    • one pair of units completed in Year 12 from each of List A (arts/languages/social sciences) and List B (mathematics/science/technology).
Achievement standard requirement
  • Achievement of at least 14 C grades or higher (or the equivalent) in Year 11 and 12 units, with a minimum of six C grades or the equivalent at Year 12. (notes 5 and 6)
  • Completion of at least four Year 12 ATAR courses or of a Certificate II (or higher) VET qualification.
Literacy and numeracy standard
  • Completion of at least four units of an English course post-Year 10 and studied over at least two years.
  • Demonstration of the minimum standard of literacy and numeracy. (notes 7 and 8)
Explanatory notes relating to WACE requirements - 2016 and beyond


  1. The breadth-and-depth requirement can be met through ATAR, General and Foundation courses. The achievement standard can be met through ATAR, General, VET industry specific and Foundation courses.
  2. Of the 20 units required for a WACE, up to a maximum of four Year 11 units and four Year 12 units may be substituted by VET qualifications and/or endorsed programs. A student may choose to substitute using only VET qualifications (up to a total of eight units) or using endorsed programs (up to a total of four units) or using a combination of VET and endorsed programs (up to a total of eight units but with a maximum of four units with endorsed programs).
  3. Students are able to substitute the course unit requirement with unit equivalents achieved through the completion of AQF VET qualifications at Certificate I, II, III and higher and/or endorsed programs.
  4. Students can repeat units. However, those units that have the same unit code, e.g. AEENG, and are repeated, do not contribute to the WACE requirements more than once.
  5. Students enrolled in Units 3 and 4 in an ATAR course must sit the external examination in that course. If students do not sit, or do not make a genuine attempt in this examination, the grades for the pair of units completed in that year will not contribute to the calculation of the achievement standard, but they will still count in the breadth-and-depth requirement. Students who do not sit the examination will not receive a course report. Year 12 students enrolled in Units 3 and 4 in a General or Foundation course must sit the EST in that course.
  6. Both VET qualifications and endorsed programs can indirectly contribute to the WACE standard requirement of a C grade in at least 14 units. A C grade in a maximum of eight units (four in Year 11 and four in Year 12) can be replaced by unit equivalents from VET qualification and/or endorsed programs. Of these eight unit equivalents, a maximum of four can be from endorsed programs (two in Year 11 and two in Year 12).
  7. The literacy and numeracy standard can be met either through the Online Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (OLNA) or by achieving Band 8 or above in the associated components of reading, writing or numeracy in the Year 9 NAPLAN assessments. Students undertaking the OLNA will be required to satisfy both the reading and writing components in order to demonstrate the minimum WACE literacy standard.
  8. If students do not demonstrate the literacy and numeracy standard by the time they exit secondary school, they can apply to the Authority to re-sit the assessment at any age.

To see this information directly on the SCSA website, you can read this.

The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR):

The ATAR is a ranking given to WACE students who meet certain course requirements. It is calculated by the Universities (through TISC) and is used to rank students for the purpose of offering them a place in University courses.
It is simply a number between 0 and 99.95 and ranks you relative to the other students in the same year as you.
For more information on the ATAR and how it is calculated, go here.
You only need a ATAR if you are intending to go to university once you leave school.

Study Strategies:

Effective study habits and techniques are the key to success in the WACE.
Click here to find out more about how to study effectively.

Exam Techniques: 

While you might be able to study effectively, you also need to know the best ways to approach exams.
Click here to get information on how to develop good exam techniques.