Overview & Policies
Firstly, welcome to the VCE! This Student Portal aims to help you understand the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) as it is taught at Mac.Rob – that is, the course that you will follow in Years 11 and 12. It will guide you in choosing a program that will prepare you for employment, or for further education and training at university or TAFE. This portal really exists to show you which subjects we offer here at Mac.Rob. In addition to this portal, you will receive information from the Careers Co-ordinators, Ms Serpless and Ms Puszka and also the Middle and Senior Schools. Please feel free to ask the Careers Counsellors, Senior School and of course subject teachers for advice about the VCE. Good luck choosing your subjects and we wish you the very best with your VCE.
The VCE Program at Mac.Rob
The VCE is mostly studied over two years, however there are a number of opportunities to study VCE units in Year 10. Year 10 students may have studied one or more of the following:
- A community Language externally in Year 9 and/or Year 10
- A Year 10 VCE Elective unit
- Music Performance (two units)
- Mathematical Methods (two units) within the Accelerated Mathematics program
- A VET course at Units 1/2 level
There are also a number of VCE electives offered to Year 10 students through the Year 10 program, including: Psychology, Biology, Physics, Economics, Geography.
How do you submit your course, and when?
Students will submit their course selection for 2020 online, by Friday August 16
What if you change your mind?
You can request limited changes for your Year 11 course at these times:
1. Before the VCE Orientation Program
2. At the end of the VCE Orientation Program
3. Day 1 of Term 1, 2019
4. In late May 2019, for Semester 2
In each case, there will be limitations caused by timetable, staffing and availability of space in classes. It may be that requested changes are not possible and so the course you select in August may be the one you have to study. It is therefore very important that you consider your course very carefully before submitting your subject selections this year.
How is the VCE organised?
A VCE study is made up of units, each unit lasting one semester. Most studies offer four units, but you don’t have to take all four units.
There are two levels of units within the VCE:
- Units 1 and 2, which are usually taken in the first year of VCE. Most students take both units in a study, but it is possible in Year 11 (if the timetable allows) to take only one unit of a particular study. All units which are part of the Mac.Rob Year 10 course are either Units 1 or 2 level.
- Units 3 and 4, which are more advanced, are mostly taken in the final year of VCE. Units 3 and 4 must be studied as a sequence - that is, if you take Unit 3 of any study, you must also take Unit 4.
Students at Mac.Rob will normally be expected to take 20 or 22 units in their Year 11 and 12 program at this campus. This is in addition to any units studied while in Year 10. This means:
- 12 units (normally, 6 subjects) at this campus while in Year 11, and
- Either 8 or 10 units (either 4, or 5, subjects) at this campus while in Year 12
Special requirements for VCE at Mac.Rob
- Generally, all students will include one Unit 3/4 in their Year 11 course, but some students will be invited to study a second unit 3/4 study. If they wish and if it allows the requirements of the course to be included (for example; Units 1/2 English, 1/2 Maths Methods, 1/2 Chemistry, 1/2 Physics, 1/2 Japanese) they would have the possibility to include a Unit 3/4 study because all of the subjects above must have the 1, 2, 3, 4 sequence.
- Students who are invited by the school to include two Unit 3/4 studies in Year 11, are expected to choose only four Unit 3/4 studies in Year 12, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
- Students are expected to choose a maximum of 5 Unit 3/4 studies in Year 12. The minimum Year 12 Mac.Rob course is 4 subjects, studied at the school, including any VET study. Students should not take 6 Unit 3/4 studies in Year 12.
- Since our students are high-achieving it is expected that students will select subjects commensurate with their skills and hence students are not permitted to repeat VCE subjects. If a subject was previously completed at a different school or education provider (such as the VSL or a Saturday Language school), then Mac.Rob considers this subject to have been completed and, as the ‘home school’, will not endorse the application for re-enrolment in the same subject the following year.
What must you do to graduate with your VCE?
VET stands for Vocational Education and Training. In addition to the VCE studies explained in this portal, a range of vocational studies have also been offered within the school’s regional cluster. A number of Year 10 students are already enrolled in VET courses - these students may move on to Units 3 & 4 in 2019 if they wish. Students beginning a VET program in Year 11 must enrol in Units 1 & 2. A VET subject counts as one of your school-based subjects, even though you may study it off-campus.
What should you consider in choosing your 2020-2021 course?
The range of studies offered at Mac.Rob is very wide and while we hope that there will be at least one class in each of these subjects in 2019-2020, if insufficient numbers of students elect to study a particular subject, then the subject will not run. If this occurs, the student will be allocated the next available subject from their back up studies (2 are identified and you submit those when submitting your course online), so carefully plan your back-up studies and their order.
Mac.Rob, the VCAA and VTAC are unanimous in advising you to choose subjects that:
• you enjoy and interest you;
• you are good at;
• reflect what you are interested in studying at tertiary level, and will develop the skills that will help you in those studies;
• help provide you with more career options if you are undecided.
It is not advisable at this stage to say: “I know what subjects I’m doing next year”. Instead, think of:
- A broad course. The flexibility of the VCE encourages all students to take a variety of studies, while providing them with the ability to specialise in a particular area. You may decide to specialise in Music studies, Language studies or Science studies, but it is very important that you are also be able to prepare for a wide variety of career options. Don't choose subjects that may limit or narrow your choices. For instance, planning on just one or two possible careers is not recommended. Remember that most subjects develop skills rather than simply a body of knowledge. These skills help you to develop qualities which are important in higher level study - and for this reason, it’s important that you consider many subject options. The school actively discourages students from selecting 3 English Unit 3/4 studies or 3 Maths Unit 3/4 studies. Apart from limiting breadth of options, you need to be aware that, at most, only two such studies will be included in your "top 4" subjects.
- Interest. Choose studies that you will enjoy. Most students perform better in these subjects. Beware of choosing subjects because you have heard about the impact of scaling in calculating the ATAR, and NEVER choose subjects simply because they are ‘scaled up’, or because well-meaning people advise you to do so. VTAC’s Choice! https://www.vtac.edu.au/pdf/publications/choice.pdf makes it very clear that such a practice is unwise and may actually disadvantage you when you choose studies in which you are not strong.
- Be realistic. If you find certain subjects difficult and have trouble grasping and understanding topics in Year 10, remember that the subject will become more complex at Units 1 & 2 level, and even more so at Units 3 & 4 level, not less so! Hard work alone cannot guarantee success in each area. You need to take your abilities into account. Semester 1 reports will provide good information for you, as will semester reports from Year 9. Also focus on grades related to work you have achieved on your own, not on group tasks where a high mark may reflect the work of the group rather than your individual effort.
- Research. Find out about all the various studies - read all of the unit descriptions, and talk to teachers about them. Try also to talk to current VCE students. Make use of course counsellors and Year Level Co-ordinators. Be prepared to ask questions at the VCE Subject Expo.
- Do you need Units 1/2 as background studies for Units 3/4? It is possible to enter most VCE studies at Unit 3/4 level without having previously studied Units 1 or 2. Some subjects in our curriculum do not have a Unit 1/2 equivalent. In some cases, however, preparatory units are recommended if you are planning to take the Units 3 & 4 that follow. Also, in some, background definitely IS required (e.g. Maths, Languages, Chemistry, Physics). In some subjects, such as Literature, an extra year of maturity obtained by studying the subject in Year 12 rather than Year 11 may lead to a better outcome. Discuss this with the course counsellors or subject teachers if it affects your choice or if you are unsure.
- Consider your time management skills. Think carefully before choosing more than two subjects in the Arts category within your course (e.g. Drama, Music Performance, Art/Studio Arts, Visual Communication and Design, Media) – these all have intense periods of work/preparation for assessment. This can similarly be said for the 3 Sciences with practical components - Chemistry, Physics and Biology (studied in the one year). You will be fine if you are well organised and can plan things ahead.
- This is your choice. The choice of subjects you make may ultimately determine your career, and how you will spend a large proportion of your life. Make sure you are aiming for a future that will satisfy you, rather than friends or family, however well-meaning they may be.
- Tertiary Prerequisites. Be aware of VCE prerequisites for tertiary courses, listed in Tertiary Entry 2020. These prerequisites will apply to tertiary and TAFE courses in 2020 (http://www.vtac.edu.au/files/pdf/publications/prerequisites-2020.pdf). Do not rely on other years’ prerequisites (e.g. for 2015, 2016 or 2017) – these are not ‘your year’! Also, be wary of advice about prerequisites from past students or friends and relatives – things may have changed! Check your 2020 information carefully, and ask Ms Hedley or Ms Meehan-Mautone if in doubt. You are strongly advised to attend the Open Days at the various Universities (July - August) when you are in Year 10, 11 and 12. You should explore a variety of courses and related careers, keeping in mind that new courses are introduced every year. You may find courses you have not considered but which you can explore before the end of Year 12, and which may become your future career path.
- Thinking of studying in the USA? While the VCE is recognised as a secondary qualification for entry to American colleges, you will need to make sure you study the following subjects: English, Maths, Natural / Physical Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics), Social Sciences (History, Geography, Economics, Psychology), Foreign Language, Non-doctrinal religion and Philosophy. Please feel free to contact Ms Hedley (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Ms Meehan-Mautone (email@example.com) for more information about Universities in the USA.
Should I include Unit 3/4 studies in my 2018 Year 11 course?
It has become very common for Year 11 students to consider including either one or two Unit 3/4 studies in their Year 11 course, along with four or five Unit 1/2 studies at school (as relevant). Students who study a second Unit 3/4 study in Year 11, do so at the invitation of the school. Decisions to allow a student to include the study of a second Unit 3/4 subject are based on the student's performance across Year 10. A student should not receive an 'NS' in any assessment. Class teachers will also be asked to provide information about a student and whether they have displayed a consistent and effective approach to her work.
Some important things to consider:
- It is expected that all Mac.Rob students will study six VCE Unit 3/4 studies across their two years of VCE.
- Unit 3/4 studies significantly increase your workload, so you should think very carefully before including multiple subjects of this level of study in your Year 11 course.
- Remember that only six Unit 3/4 studies can contribute to the student’s ATAR at the end of Year 12.
Sometimes, students and parents think it would be a good idea to do more than six studies in order to maximise the ATAR. With the exception of some students who may in Year 12 include a University Enhancement Study, it is the school's practice that no student studies more than 6 Unit 3/4 studies. Our experience at Mac.Rob is that there is no statistical benefit, and that by taking on a huge workload, some students actually disadvantage themselves.
If you wish to study an external LOTE at Unit 3/4 level, or to take another 3/4 study which is not offered at Mac.Rob, this study will count as ONE of the MAXIMUM OF TWO Unit 3/4 studies in your Year 11 course, and you will be expected to have a full course of SIX studies at this school. All students must take the normal minimum program of 6 studies at Mac.Rob in Year 11 (or VET plus 5 studies). Remember also that taking two Unit 3/4 studies in Year 11 means that in Year 12 you would take FOUR subjects, all of which would be at Mac.Rob.
Can I take a study at Units 3/4 level without having studied Units 1/2?
You might consider this when selecting subjects for 2019, and again when selecting your course for Year 12. In most studies, the answer is yes.
- The majority of VCE Unit 3/4 studies have no recommended preparation – so often you do not need to take a study at Unit 1/2 level first.
It’s also a requirement that in order to take Specialist Maths 3/4, you must have either already studied Maths Methods 3/4, or be taking it at the same time.
- In order to be able to do Units 3/4 Chemistry, it is a requirement to complete Units 1 and 2 in Year 11.
- In order to be able to do Units 3/4 Physics, it is a requirement to complete at least Unit 2 Physics in either Year 10 or 11.
- Language studies require the sequence of Units 1, 2, 3 and 4 unless the student has native level proficiency. The Language teacher should be approached for further advice on this matter.
However, despite the VCAA’s recommended preparation, you should remember that many students at Mac.Rob have taken Units 3 & 4 in most studies (including some which do have a recommended preparation) with no previous Units 1 or 2 study in either Years 10 or 11. In some studies, it is important to have strong skills already established before you attempt a Unit 3/4 level. You should discuss this with teachers of those subjects.
Will you be disadvantaged by not studying the relevant VCE subject as an elective in Year 10?
No. Other students chose such subjects on the basis of interest only.
What if you have studied Mathematical Methods Units 1 & 2 in Year 10?
(This study is offered to Year 10 students as part of the school’s Accelerated Mathematics program). Two principles are relevant in considering Mathematical Methods Units 3 & 4 in Year 11, 2018:
• The criteria which apply to any student considering a Unit 3/4 study apply here also.
• Mac.Rob’s Maths Faculty will supplement this by giving Accelerated Maths students specific guidelines on the appropriateness of considering whether to continue their studies to Maths Methods Units 3 and 4 in the their Year 11 year, or whether they select a different Unit 1/2 Maths study in Year 11 and pick up Maths Methods in Year 12.
Can I study external VCE units?
Yes! Provided that the subject is NOT offered at Mac.Rob. Please keep in mind that if a subject is offered at Mac.Rob, you are expected to take that subject here at school. Students gain credit for any VCE studies that are satisfactorily completed at an approved VCE Provider. Many of our students have already undertaken the study of a VCE Language Other Than English at weekend schools, and many will continue with that study next year. A small number of students have taken other VCE Units that are not offered at this school (for example: Dance). Students who choose to include their external study within their program must study at an approved VCE provider. Such studies are undertaken in addition to the minimum number of studies at Mac.Rob (six in Year 11 and four in Year 12). Include the details of this subject during the Mac.Rob subject selection period online. You will also need to obtain a copy of the Assessing School Enrolment Notification’ form from your external study provider. This form must be brought to the VCE Co-ordinator at the start of the school year in order for enrolment to be confirmed. These providers may be Victorian School of Languages (VSL) schools, independent LOTE schools or TAFE providers. If you think this may apply to you, please see the VASS Co-ordinator, Ms Compton, who co-ordinates external enrolments.
Studies at university level while in Year 12
These subjects are called University Extension or Enhancement subjects. They enable students to add a first year university subject to their normal VCE (Year 12 only) course, and are available to exceptional students on the Principal’s recommendation. They contribute to the ATAR as an increment and depend on the level of success in the University study as to the extent they contribute.
You will be required to take four Unit 3/4 studies at Mac.Rob during Year 12, so a university study will be additional to that minimum course. More information will be given to eligible students at the end of Year 11 (2018). Students planning to include a University Enhancement subject must be endorsed by the school. Students may express interest, but the school's decision will be based on:
- High levels of achievement in all studies in Year 11, not just the one subject related to the University Enhancement Study
- Exemplary attendance record
- No 'NS' or 'N' should be obtained in any unit of Year 11
- All teachers of the student will be approached for their assessment as to the advisability of the course, the ability of the student, application to study, ability to work both independently and in a team, among other aspects
At this stage you should not necessarily plan on taking a University study in 2019 or 2020, even if you are very interested in the idea. University studies are not available for students while in Year 11.here
The successful completion of a full year of the Extension Program can be used as a fifth or sixth study in the calculation of your ATAR. Depending on the mark you achieve, between three and five points will be added to your ATAR aggregate (the score that is used to calculate your final ATAR). The table below outlines the points you will receive, and the equivalent VCE study score value.
Extension Program subjects you take Extension Program ATAR aggregate contribution Equivalent VCE study score
90 or more 5.0 points 50
80 - 89 4.5 points 45
70 - 79 4.0 points 40
60 - 69 3.5 points 35
50 - 59 3.0 points 30
Please note that you must also have satisfactorily completed at least four VCE Units 3 and 4 subjects for which study scores have been calculated (including at least one English subject). Any prerequisite Units 3 and 4 subjects that are being completed concurrently with your Extension Program enrolment must also be completed satisfactorily for you to be eligible for the ATAR contribution.
You can find more detailed information about how the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) calculates the ATAR contribution here on their website and information on the Melbourne University Enhancement Program here: https://futurestudents.unimelb.edu.au/info/school-students/extension-program
Other sources of information on courses
The Careers Room in K201 is open each day, including lunchtime and recess. Drop in if you have any questions or would like to use the many resources available.
• You may also want to make an appointment to see Ms Hedley or Ms Meehan-Mautone for an individual consultation during class time.
• The Careers Newsletter that you are emailed each week contains information on activities both at school, such as lunchtime guest speakers or careers related excursions, as well as outside school, such as university information sessions and open days.
• Ms Puszka is available to assist you in organizing a Work Experience placement during term holiday periods or in the designated week in December. Make sure you utilise this opportunity to investigate a career of your choosing.
• Use the online exploration section of your Morrisby Report to further investigate suggested and associated careers.
• Go to https://www.macrobcareers.com/ site which will provide you with many quick links to further information.