Demystifying ATAR: What Does It Stand For?


The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) is a pivotal metric in the Australian education system, especially for high school students nearing the completion of their secondary education. Understanding what ATAR stands for and its implications is crucial for students aiming to pursue higher education in Australia. Let’s delve into the meaning of ATAR and its significance in the academic landscape.

The Meaning of ATAR

ATAR stands for Australian Tertiary Admission Rank. It is a percentile ranking that compares the overall academic achievement of a student against their age cohort nationwide, not just those who complete Year 12. The ATAR is a number between 0.00 and 99.95, where a higher ATAR signifies a better relative performance. For example, an ATAR of 80.00 means that a student has performed better than 80% of their age cohort.

The Purpose of ATAR

The primary purpose of the ATAR is to facilitate the admission of students into undergraduate courses at universities. It provides a uniform and equitable measure for comparing students from different schools and educational backgrounds. Universities use ATAR as a criterion to allocate places in courses, with more competitive courses typically requiring higher ATAR scores.

How ATAR Is Calculated

The calculation of ATAR is a complex process that involves scaling the raw marks from a student’s final year subjects. The scaling is designed to account for the level of competition and the relative difficulty of subjects, ensuring that students are neither advantaged nor disadvantaged by their choice of subjects. The specific calculations and the use of scaled scores vary slightly between different Australian states and territories, but the overarching principle remains consistent.

The Role of Tutoring in Improving ATAR

For students aiming to achieve a high ATAR, engaging with experienced tutors can be a strategic move. Subjects like mathematics, which are often scaled favourably, can significantly impact ATAR scores. Accessing a maths tutor online through platforms like Tutoring For Excellence can provide students with the personalized support they need to excel in their studies. Tutors can help reinforce foundational knowledge, address specific areas of difficulty, and develop effective study and exam strategies.

Choosing the Right Tutor

When seeking tutoring to improve ATAR scores, it’s essential to choose tutors who are not only knowledgeable in their subject areas but also familiar with the ATAR system and its requirements. Tutoring For Excellence offers a selection of tutors who are experienced in preparing students for their final exams and understand the nuances of the ATAR calculation process.


Understanding what ATAR stands for and its role in tertiary admissions is crucial for high school students in Australia. It is a key indicator of academic performance and a determinant in university course selections. For students aiming to maximise their ATAR, personalised tutoring can be an invaluable resource. Platforms like Tutoring For Excellence provide access to experienced tutors who can support students in achieving their academic goals and securing a promising future in their chosen field of study.


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