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Year 12 can be a very stressful and uncertain time. All of your hard work throughout the year will come down to a single 4-digit number. It is 100% normal to have a rollercoaster of emotions, and it’s only natural to wonder what a bad, average and good ATAR score is.

In this article we’ll break down the numbers and give you a clear indication of what a good ATAR score is as well as some advice to help you achieve your goal ATAR.

While it’s great to strive to achieve the best result you can, try to resist the urge to compare yourself to others. Someone will always have a higher or lower ATAR than you. Comparison is the thief of joy.

Want to calculate your ATAR? Check out our ATAR Calculator!

What Is An ATAR Score?

Before we look at what a good ATAR is, it’s first important to have a general idea about what an ATAR actually is. A common misconception is that ATARs are ‘scores’ or ‘percentages’. This is not the case. Instead, ATAR stands for an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank, and the number you receive is exactly that — a rank!

The highest possible ATAR is 99.95 (which around 30 students achieve each year), and the ranks decrease in 0.05 increments. The next highest is 99.90, then 99.85, and so on all the way down to 30. An ATAR of less than 30 is simply reported as < 30. We know we said that ATARs aren’t percentages, though at the very high end this is roughly accurate. For example, students with 99.95 ATARs are roughly in the top 0.05%, 99.90 would be the top 0.1%, and 98 or above would be around the top 2%.

What Is A Good ATAR?

An ATAR score of 80+ is generally considered ‘good’ and an ATAR of 90+ is generally considered ‘great’. Students who score ATARs of 95+ often put in countless hours of study, work consistently throughout the year, and get extra help through private tutoring.

An ATAR of 98+ is an incredible achievement (roughly equivalent to an OP 1 in Queensland’s old system) and students who achieve this are exceptionally dedicated. These students are those who are aiming for competitive degrees such as medicine, dentistry, BAFE and law.

At the end of the day, a good ATAR score is simply one that will get you into the degree of your choice. This can differ quite a lot depending on what you want to study, and where. Below, we’ll break down what a good ATAR score is for each of the main degree types and universities in Australia.

What Is An Average ATAR Score?

Across Australia, the average ATAR for students graduating Year 12 is around 70. The average ATAR score decreases to around 50 when students who are ATAR ineligible are considered. These are students who dropped out of school, pursued other pathways, or failed Year 12.

What Is A Bad ATAR Score?

It is very difficult to give a definitive answer to what a bad ATAR is. It is entirely subjective, just like what a good ATAR is for a particular student. A bad ATAR for one student may be a great ATAR for another. This is because it all comes down to what degree you are planning on studying.

If you want to study science, a good ATAR score would be 80. This would be a bad ATAR though for a student who wants to gain entry into Melbourne’s Chancellor Scholarship that requires an ATAR of 99.90. If your ATAR gets you into the degree of your choice, it is good. If it doesn’t, it may be considered ‘bad’.

In general, most students consider an ATAR of below 30 to be bad. This is because the actual ATAR score is not reported for an ATAR less than 30, it is just stated as <30. Still, this ATAR may be good and all that is required for a student who wants to pursue a trade or enrol in TAFE.

What Is A Good ATAR Score For Arts?

A good ATAR score for arts degrees is around 70. Here are the approximate minimum ATAR scores for the major universities offering arts degrees. These are just an indication and you should check the actual university websites for exact cutoffs.

What Is A Good ATAR Score For Science?

A good ATAR score for arts degrees is around 80. Here are the approximate minimum ATAR scores for the major universities offering science degrees. These are just an indication and you should check the actual university websites for exact cutoffs.

What Is A Good ATAR Score For Business?

A good ATAR score for business or commerce degrees is around 85. Here are the approximate minimum ATAR scores for the major universities offering business degrees. These are just an indication and you should check the actual university websites for exact cutoffs.

What About Other Degrees?

Here are the approximate minimum ATAR scores for other degrees you may be interested in. These are just an indication and you should check the actual university websites for exact cutoffs.

Conclusion

We hope you now have a good idea of what a good ATAR score is for you. Remember that a good ATAR is only one that allows you to get into the course that you want to study. It’s also important to keep everything in perspective.

Your ATAR is only used for entry into university. After that, it’s entirely useless. While your ATAR is important, and you should strive to achieve the best score you can, remember that there are far more important things in life.

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