WACE Requirements

The Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) is awarded to senior secondary school students who satisfy its requirements. It is a senior secondary certificate recognised nationally in the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). Generally, students will complete two years of senior secondary study to achieve the WACE, although the School Curriculum and Standards Authority allows students to meet the WACE requirements over a lifetime.

The WACE is recognised by universities, industry and other training providers.

Achievement of a WACE signifies that a student has successfully met the breadth and depth standard, the achievement standard and the literacy and numeracy standard in their senior secondary schooling.

Year 12 in 2024

These are the minimum requirements for students to receive a Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) in 2024 and beyond.

Breadth and depth requirement

  • Completion of a minimum of 20 units, which may include unit equivalents attained through VET and/or endorsed programs. This requirement must include at least: (Explanatory notes 1, 2 , 3, 4, 5)
    • a minimum of ten Year 12 units, or the equivalent
    • four units from an English learning area course, post-Year 10, including at least one pair of Year 12 units from an English learning area course
    • one pair of Year 12 units from each of List A (arts/languages/social sciences) and List B (mathematics/science/technology).

Achievement standard requirement

  • Achievement of at least 14 C grades or higher (or the equivalent) in Year 11 and 12 units, including at least six C grades (or equivalents) in Year 12 units.
  • Completion of:
    • at least four Year 12 ATAR courses (Explanatory note 5), or
    • at least five Year 12 General courses(Explanatory note 7) (or a combination of General and up to three Year 12 ATAR courses(Explanatory note 5)) or equivalent(Explanatory note 8), or
    • a Certificate II (or higher) VET qualification(Explanatory notes 9 and 10) in combination with ATAR, General or Foundation courses).

Literacy and numeracy standard

  • Demonstration of the minimum standard of literacy and numeracy. (Explanatory notes 11 and 12)

Explanatory notes relating to WACE requirements 2024

  1. The breadth requirement can be met through ATAR, General and Foundation courses. The depth requirement can be met through ATAR, General, VET industry specific and Foundation courses, VET credit transfer and endorsed programs.
  2. Of the 20 units required for a WACE, up to a maximum of four Year 11 units and four Year 12 units may be awarded as unit equivalents by substituting VET qualifications and/or endorsed programs. A student may choose to study VET qualifications and/or endorsed programs and may be awarded unit equivalents by substituting VET qualifications (up to a total of eight units) or using endorsed programs (up to a total of four units) or using a combination of VET and endorsed programs (up to a total of eight units, but with a maximum of four units with endorsed programs – two in Year 11 and two in Year 12).
  3. Students are able to substitute the minimum number of course unit requirement with unit equivalents achieved through the completion of AQF VET qualifications at Certificate I, II, III and higher (see Section 4 of the WACE Manual) and/or endorsed programs (see Section 5 of the WACE Manual).
  4. Students can repeat units. However, those units that have the same unit code, e.g. AEENG, and are repeated, do not contribute to the WACE requirements more than once. Note: students who complete ATAR Units 3 and 4 prior to Year 12 and sit the examination cannot repeat these units until after they leave school at the completion of Year 12.
  5. Students enrolled in a Year 12 ATAR course must sit the external examination in that course. If students do not sit an ATAR course examination and do not have an approved Sickness/Misadventure Application for not sitting the examination in that course, the pair of units completed in that year will not contribute towards any of the WACE requirements. Students who do not sit the ATAR course examination will not have a course mark or grade recorded on their WASSA, nor will they receive an ATAR course report. For ATAR courses with practical components, students must complete both the written and practical examinations.
  6. Both VET qualifications and endorsed programs can indirectly contribute to the WACE standard requirement of a C grade in at least 14 units. A C grade in a maximum of eight units (four in Year 11 and four in Year 12) can be replaced by unit equivalents from VET qualifications and/or endorsed programs. Of these eight unit equivalents, a maximum of four can be from endorsed programs (two in Year 11 and two in Year 12).
  7. Foundation courses do not contribute to meeting the achievement standard with this option.
  8. Up to two units from endorsed programs can be used to meet this requirement.
  9. In the context of VET in the WACE, the term ‘complete’ requires that a student has been deemed competent in all units of competency that make up a full qualification.
  10. The partial completion of a Certificate III or higher VET qualification may meet this requirement according to predetermined criteria (see sub-section 4.5.2).
  11. The literacy and numeracy standard can be met either through the Online Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (OLNA) or by achieving the required level in the associated components of reading, writing or numeracy in the Year 9 NAPLAN tests. Students undertaking the OLNA will be required to satisfy both the reading and writing components in order to demonstrate the minimum WACE literacy standard.
  12. If students do not demonstrate the literacy and numeracy standard by the time they exit secondary school, they can apply to the Authority to re-sit the assessment at any age.

    Note: the WACE requirements may change over time and students studying towards the achievement of the WACE after they leave school will be required to meet the WACE requirements current at the time of the completion of their studies.

See Appendix 1 of the WACE Manual for definitions of key terms.

Students, their parents and teachers, need to be aware of the requirements for achieving a WACE and consider them when planning their program of study. The requirements for 2021 and beyond differ from those in previous years.