Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE)

Year 12 students are eligible to receive the Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE). All students will also receive the Western Australian Statement of Student Achievement (WASSA).

WACE Courses are either ATAR or General.

Students may take a mix of ATAR and General courses.

Year 11 courses comprise units 1 & 2. These may be taken as separate units.

Year 12 courses comprise units 3 & 4 and must be taken as pairs.

Only ATAR courses count towards a student’s ATAR for university entrance.

To obtain WACE students must:

  • Complete a minimum of 20 course units or the equivalent over Years 11 and 12.
  • Complete a minimum of 10 Year 12 units or equivalent.
  • Achieve a minimum of 14 C grades or higher in Year 11 and 12 units with a minimum of six C grades in Year 12 units.
  • Complete two Year 11 English units and one pair of Year 12 English units.
  • Complete one pair of Year 12 units from each of List A (Arts/Languages/Social Sciences) and List B (Mathematics/Science/Technology)
  • Achieve Band 8 in Year 9 NAPLAN. Students who are not pre-qualified will take the On-line Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (OLNA) in first semester of Year 10. If the standard is not reached there will be up to five more opportunities to demonstrate reaching them.

Note: Vocational Education and Training (VET) Certificate courses may also be used for credit transfer for WACE Units, thus reducing the total number of units required.

WACE ATAR pathway

Year 11: 12 WACE course units (six subjects). A minimum of eight WACE ATAR course units (four subjects)

Year 12: 10 or 12 WACE course units (five or six subjects). A minimum of eight WACE ATAR course units (four subjects)

WACE General pathway

WACE pathway with less than four ATAR subjects

Year 11: 12 WACE course units with less than eight WACE ATAR course units (less than four ATAR subjects)

Year 12: 10 or 12 WACE course units with less than eight WACE ATAR course units (less than four ATAR subjects)

Students taking a VET certificate course may reduce to four or even three WACE subjects,  depending on the level of the certificate.

WACE Five or Six Subjects in Year 12

Assuming that students have been successful in Year 11, they will be in a position to decide whether to take five or six subjects in Year 12. The decision should take into account the following points:

  • requirements for the WA Certificate of Education
  • requirements for university or TAFE entrance
  • eligibility for School Curriculum and Standards Authority (SCSA) awards.

For some university courses specific subjects are deemed to be prerequisite subjects. To satisfy the university that a prerequisite standard has been achieved, students have to score 50 or more in the required subject.

While a score of say, 51 may just pass the prerequisite hurdle it is unlikely to be a score a student will want to build into her overall score. Some students may, therefore, want to take some subjects for prerequisite purposes and other subjects for scoring purposes. However, in practice, if a subject is a useful course requirement and likely to lead to a score in the low 50s, then it may not be wise to plan to study this subject at tertiary level.

TAFE entry (to courses where there is competition for places) is determined by a points system based on factors including grades obtained in Year 12 subjects and successful completion of designated preferred subjects. Details of these preferred subjects can be found in the TAFE Course Handbook.

Taking five subjects rather than six reduces the workload and can be an advantage if the time gained is used constructively.

WACE Subject Selection Considerations

There are a number of points you should consider when choosing subjects:

  • Consider your subjects in both Years 11 and 12 as part of a two-year process to achieve your aims when you leave school. While it is possible to change subjects for Year 12, it is much better to go into your final year with the background provided by Year 11.
  • Past success is an important factor to consider (ie. choose what you have been good at in the past and avoid areas that you have found too difficult).
  • You may already have in mind a career and/or a university or TAFE course, which dictates some of the choice of Year 11 and 12 subjects. If this is the case you must check the career or university/TAFE prerequisites carefully.
  • Interest in subjects is very important. You will find increasingly that work in the Senior School requires that you study more on your own than in previous years. Interest is clearly a good motivator for this work.
  • You should decide whether or not you want your subjects to overlap and complement each other. For some students their choice might reflect an aim to acquire as broad a range of skills and knowledge as possible to keep options open for the future. Other students will want to use the skills and knowledge from one area to back up another.
  • Only one subject from certain pairs of subjects can be used in the calculation of the Tertiary Entrance Rank. Full details are included in University Admission Requirements for School Leavers. These are available from TISC.
  • It is unwise to base your decision on factors such as the choice of friends or particular teachers you would like to have teaching you. Your friends’ interests, aptitudes and abilities may not be the same and the School cannot guarantee that you will be placed in a class set taught by a particular member of staff.

WACE Assessment Policy

PLC has a policy for the assessment of Senior School tests, examinations and assignments. The policy is in line with the expectations of the SCSA, and is printed in full in the Community Handbook.

Missed Assessments Due to a Course Change

Students changing subjects will not be penalised but should note the following points:

  • Students entering a subject within one cycle of an assessment task will not be expected to complete that task (for assessment purposes).
  • Students will be expected to complete an assessment task which provides the student with the opportunity to demonstrate achievement of the subject objectives. This should be completed by a date set by the class teacher or appropriate Head of Department, within two cycles of transfer to the subject.
  • All students changing subjects will sit the examinations in that subject. This may include questions on all subject objectives completed from the start of the school year.


Exhibitions and awards are granted by the SCSA each year. Both general educational excellence and course specific excellence are recognised. The general excellence awards are based on the results obtained from five courses studied in the last year of secondary schooling, and including two from each of Lists A and B.

Full details of the awards please visit SCSA website: