What Is The GAT?
The General Achievement Test (GAT) is a 3-hour pen-and-paper test used to assess the general knowledge and skills of students completing the VCE in Year 12. It covers a wide range of topics with a focus on English, Maths, Science and History. All students completing a Unit 3 or Unit 4 VCE course must sit the exam.
The GAT is broken down into two parts: Section A and Section B. Section A focusses on literacy and numeracy skills while Section B focusses on general knowledge and skills across arts, technology, mathematics, science and humanities. Overall, the GAT contains 2 written tasks and 70 multiple-choice questions. The VCAA recommends that you spend 30 minutes on each writing task and 2 hours on the multiple-choice questions.
What Is The GAT Used For?
The GAT is used to ensure that Victorian students in Year 12 meet the minimum literacy and numeracy standards. It also plays three other roles that relate to quality assurance of assessments.
1. School-Based Assessments & Scaling
The GAT plays an important role of moderating the different assessment marks across different schools in Victoria. It makes sure that marking from school to school is consistent and makes sure that internal assessment marks are comparable. A statistical moderation process compares the marks of students’ results in internal assessments to their external results and corrects the scores if necessary.
2. External Assessment Moderation
The GAT is also important for moderation of external assessment results. If there is a large difference between external assessment marks and the marks predicted by the GAT and internal assessments, the external marks are then reviewed by the chief assessor. Marks will go up or stay the same because of the this process, but they will not go down.
If you score well on the GAT but your external marks are not as strong as expected, your exam will be remarked. This means that you final exam scores may improve if you score well on the GAT!
3. Derived Examination Scores (DES)
If you are affected by illness, accident or trauma and miss an external assessment, your ATAR score will be calculated from your GAT scores. The GAT is used for this in addition to any other marks that are available such as from internal assessments, predicted external assessment scores, and indicative scores provided by your school.
Does The GAT Count Towards My ATAR?
Your GAT score does not directly count towards your ATAR score. Your ATAR is calculated based on your SAC marks and your final exam marks. As we mentioned above, GAT marks are used to standardise SAC marks across schools, and it may increase your external exam marks if your performance on the day is unexpected. Thus, your performance on the GAT can actually increase your final ATAR score!
We also noted that your GAT may be used to calculate your Derived Examination Score (DES) if you are unable to sit your final exams or exam at the end of Year 12.
What Is A Good GAT Score?
GAT scores will be reported to students as a part of their final results from the VCAA. Here is a sample statement of results. Your raw scores will be out of:
- 40 for written communication
- 30 for mathematics, science and technology
- 35 for humanities, the arts and social sciences
You will also get your GAT scores as standardised scores. These use the same scale as VCE subjects, on a scale from 0 to 50. Like VCE scores, the mean of each will be 30 and the standard deviation will be 7. It is difficult to say what a ‘good’ GAT score is as it depends on your individual goals. Students generally consider a good GAT score to be around 35 out of 50.
Should I Study For The GAT?
There is no need to study too much for the GAT. At the end of the day, you have a number of more important priorities in Year 12, and your other assessments are far more important. Having said that, you should still strive to do well, and doing practice papers is the best study method.
The practice papers on the VCAA website will help you to get an idea of the types of questions asked. They’ll also help you to practice the types of skills and thinking required in the exam. We’ve linked a bunch of past papers and answers below.
When Is The GAT?
The GAT is usually held towards the end of the year. It it can change slightly from year to year, and you can find more information on the VCAA website. In 2022, the GAT was held on the 7th of September.
In 2023, the GAT is scheduled for Thursday 15 June. To learn more about when the GAT is, check the VCAA website here.
Practice Tests & Past Papers
The VCAA publishes several past GAT papers. Below, we’ve linked a bunch of the most recent past papers from the last 4 years, along with the answer guides. To see all of the past papers available, check out this page from the VCAA.
|Year||GAT Question Book||GAT Answer Guide|
|2021||Question Book||Answer Guide|
|2020||Question Book||Answer Guide|
|2019||Question Book||Answer Guide|
|2018||Question Book||Answer Guide|
The General Achievement Test is seen like a waste of time for many VCE students. While it’s definitely not as important as your other assessment items, it does play important roles. It’s used for subject scaling and moderation between schools, and it may even be used to calculate your ATAR!
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