Welcome to VCE

Modified May 28, 2024
6 min
Modified May 28, 2024

A vibrant and diverse programme

Geelong Grammar students can select from a broad range of subjects across a spectrum of disciplines. Our VCE programme offers a vibrant and engaging curriculum that ensures the gifts of every student are energised and optimised.

VCE studies are made up of Units 1, 2, 3 or 4. Each unit is a semester, or half year in length. Students may choose to study Unit 1 or Unit 2 of a subject as stand-alone units, however Units 3 and 4 must be studied as a sequence.

Most students will undertake 22 units over the two-year VCE period; 12 units at Year 11, and 10 units at Year 12.

Students who display the academic ability and maturity in Year 9 have the option of completing either VCE Unit 1 or 2 or both in Year 10. Similarly, Year 11 students wishing to study a Unit 3 and 4 sequence need to be achieving an overall B average in Year 10 and a B+ in the prerequisite subject.

Hear more about the VCE

Course Requirements

To obtain the VCE, students must satisfactorily complete sixteen units, including:

At least three units from the English group: English, English (EAL) or Literature, and at least three other Unit 3 and 4 sequences.

At least one of the English units must be a Unit 3 and 4.

What is the ATAR?

The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) is a means of ranking senior student performance in their VCE and is important to tertiary institutions for student selection. Its calculation is undertaken by the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC).

The ATAR uses study scores from Unit 3 and 4 VCE studies and, where appropriate, VCE VET programs. The raw scores in each study are ‘scaled’ to ensure a fair result taking into account the relative strength of the cohort across the state.

Students completing the IB Diploma are also given a ranking, which can be converted to an ATAR for tertiary admission purposes.

Entry Into Units 3 and 4

In some subjects, students must have completed Units 1 and 2, and in other subjects it is possible to complete Units 3 and 4 without Units 1 and 2 although extensive pre-reading may be required.

Students who have not completed Unit 1 and Unit 2 in a subject and who wish to select a Unit 3 and 4 subject for the following year will need to seek permission from the relevant Head of Department. The student’s academic record and work ethic will be considered before permission is granted. 

Units 3 and 4 at Year 11
Some students may be interested in the possibility of taking one Unit 3 and 4 sequence during Year 11. While it is accepted that this possibility is appropriate in some circumstances it may be a disadvantage in others.

Units 3 and 4 work is based on the development of skills, knowledge and intellectual maturity that Units 1 and 2 studied at Year 11 encourage. While it is no doubt possible to undertake some Units 3 and 4 without this preparation, and to do so with success, the overall picture must be kept in mind before any decision is made. For some Year 11 students, the commitment necessary to succeed at one sequence of Unit 3 and 4 could undermine the proper foundation for Year 12 in other subjects. Moreover, it could mean that participation in the wider life of the School may be hampered. As a result the seeming advantage of an extra final year subject and the bonus points that might be involved is overshadowed by the eventual loss of more points across an entire academic programme and limitation of the wider education of the student. Consequently, some students do not take a Year 12 subject during Year 11.

Year 11 students wishing to select a Unit 3 and 4 sequence need to be achieving an overall B average in Year 10 and a B+ in the required prerequisite subject. Students would also need to gain a recommendation from their subject teacher and the relevant Head of Department which would largely be based on the student’s Attitude and Effort grades from Year 10.

Entry to a Unit 3 and 4 sequence at Year 11 will only be possible if it can be arranged within the timetable.

Subject selection decisions should be discussed with the parents, Mentor, the Head of House, the Head of Careers and the VCE Coordinator.

Please note: a maximum of one Unit 3/4 sequence can be completed in Year 11, and this does not have any effect on the requirement to complete five Unit 3/4 sequences in Year 12

Availability of subjects

At the completion of the subject selection process a subject may not proceed if there is an insufficient number of students choosing that subject. The students involved would be informed of the changes as soon as possible.

Special Provision

Students with a significant learning difficulty may be eligible for Special Provision. Advice can be sought from the Director of Inclusive Learning or VCE Coordinator early in Year 11 so that appropriate testing and documentation can be put into place, although the final decision rests with VCAA.

Academic Support

VCE students with identified learning need such as Specific Learning Disorder – Reading and Writing (Dyslexia) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) successfully complete the VCE. They do so with the support of their subject teachers, house team, assessment accommodations and support staff when required.

Support is provided to VCE students in four ways:

  1. Classroom Supports such as assistive technologies and quality differentiated teaching practice
  2. Wrap Around Supports such as small group tutorials, study skills or executive functioning coaching.
  3. Assessment Supports such as extra time, rest breaks, assistive technology or separate assessment spaces.
  4. Academic Support Program which is an intensive level of support for students whose difficulties significantly impact
    their learning despite other supports being in place.