Structure of the VCE
How the Victorian Certificate of Education is structured
The VCE (Victorian Certificate
of Education) is normally undertaken over two years, and is structured
around the completion of units of work. Each unit relates to a 'study' and
has a number 1, 2, 3 or 4. A VCE 'study' is more commonly referred to as a
'subject', and most studies are made up of four sequential units. Some
studies have a slightly different structure, and this is explained in the
individual descriptions and pathway charts throughout this guide. Each unit
lasts for one semester (half a year) and represents approximately 100 hours
of work of which about 50 hours will be covered in class time and about 50
hours outside of class time, i.e. homework.
Students may enter studies at
Units 1, 2 or 3, however there are many studies where it is not advisable to
attempt Units 3 & 4 without first having completed both Units 1 and 2, e.g.
Physics, LOTE, Mathematical Methods, Music Performance. In other cases it
can be quite easy to change from one study in Units 1 & 2, to a different
study for Units 3 & 4, where there is a common link or similar knowledge
base. For example, a student completing Units 1 & 2 of Economics would also
be prepared by that course to enter Business Management Units 3 & 4 because
the content and skills across the units are quite similar.
Units 1 and 2 are mainly
taught at the Year 11 level. Usually, Unit 1 will be offered in the
first half of the year and Unit 2 in the second half of the year.
Students may be able to change studies at the end of Unit 1 if they
choose to do so, however this is subject to places being available in
the study they wish to move to, and the change being possible within the
constraints of the timetable for that year.
Units 3 & 4 must be taken as a
sequence. Unit 3 must be in Semester 1 and Unit 4 must be in Semester 2.
This means that if you enrol in Unit 3 of a study, you are expected to
continue through to Unit 4 and complete the sequence. A Study Score will not
be awarded unless the outcomes for both Unit 3 and Unit 4 are satisfied in
the one year, except for students with Interrupted Studies status.
The VCAA expects that all
students will complete the scored assessment that leads to an ATAR. While
students can be awarded with their VCE with or without an ATAR score, the
vast majority University of courses as well as many TAFE courses require a
student to have a calculated ATAR. For information about the requirements of
an ATAR or how the ATAR is calculated, students should consult the VICTER
guide or ask for advice at the Careers Centre. The 2016 VICTER, however,
will not become available until August 2015.
From 2014, the Victorian
Government is awarding a new qualification called the VCE Baccalaureate to
students who include Mathematical Methods and/or Specialist Mathematics as
well as a LOTE in their VCE, both at the Units 3 and 4 level, as well as
meeting certain standards in their English studies. This award does not
replace the standard VCE or require the study of non-VCE units, but rather
it is a special recognition that a student has successfully completed a VCE
including the challenges of advanced mathematics and languages. For more
details please refer to the
VCE Baccalaureate page.