NC Careers



The ATAR pathway is set up for one specific purpose – to give students a ranking (between 0.00 and 99.95) which will enable them to be sorted and selected for a university pathway based on their subject results. The Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) typically categorise their ATAR subjects as ‘General’ subjects and their non-ATAR subjects as ‘Applied’ subjects. 

The ATAR is calculated by combining a student’s best five subjects scaled scores. Scaled scores will be derived from a student’s subject results as reported to QTAC by the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA), using a process of inter-subject scaling. Receiving an ATAR score is not an indication of school completion which is instead measured by a Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE). What is very important to note, is that an ATAR pathway is heavily academic and successfully achieving a reasonable ATAR score will usually require plenty of study and homework (around three hours per subject per week) and relies on a student’s ability to successfully pass high-pressure examinations. Throughout Units 3 and 4 students may be required to undertake several types of assessment including:

  • Examination
  • Extended response
  • Investigation
  • Performance
  • Product
  • Project

For more information on this please follow this link.

Students need to be aware that all the Mathematics and Science courses culminate in externally marked examinations in Term 4 of Year 12 which will measure their knowledge, understanding, and skills from the entire Year 12 course, and these examinations count for 50% of the overall course. 

All other subjects also have an external exam, but these are only 25% of the overall score and they are only focused on the content from Unit 4.

Picking the ‘hard’ subjects does not guarantee that students will receive a high ATAR score – you also need to do well in them. A balance of five General subjects, that you enjoy and are good at, is the best pathway to success.

  • How is it calculated?
  • Types of subjects - General vs Applied vs Vocational
  • Subject internal vs external assessment percentages


The APPLIED pathway is appropriate for students who are not looking at a tertiary pathway but are instead interested in a range of different and often practical subject areas. Students who choose an Applied pathway are usually focused on achieving their QCE and directly entering the workforce after graduating high school. Applied subjects tend to focus on different skill sets than General subjects, and they are not defined by high-pressure externally marked examinations. Assessments are typically practical or reflective and do not expect students to cover a year’s worth of knowledge/ skills in any assignment or examination. ATAR students can choose one Applied subject to count toward their ATAR if they want to.

Skills and Training

A SKILLS AND TRAINING pathway is specifically tailored to students who are interested in getting work experience whilst at school. As well as the Vocational courses we offer at Nudgee, we have partnered with a range of Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) to provide our students with a variety of Vocational options which range from academic Vocational options, like a Diploma of Business, to practical options, like a Certificate III in Fitness. Students pursuing an ATAR or Applied pathway can also include Vocational options as part of their study. Because some VET studies are organised with external providers, studies of those courses may require students/parents to pay some study fees to the provider. For more details please explore the Skills and Training page.


The BLENDED pathway is essentially a variety of the above options. You can complete General subjects, alongside Applied subjects, alongside Vocational pathways (although there are some important considerations to note if you are wanting ATAR eligibility) - the decision is up to the student and what they are interested in. While it is important for them to keep their eyes fixed on the future and consider what they may need to complete in high school to successfully pursue study or work after school, there are many pathways that can take them to their goal.