How does sac and exams work in VCE? (Which one matters more?)

VCE is famous for its challenging sacs and even more challenging exams. Well you’re not alone (I’ve been there too, 3 hours of English Exam is not as fun as expected). For VCE students, navigating through SACs and exams can be both daunting and crucial for academic success. After all, they do “quote on quote” determine your immediate future after VCE.

School-assessed Coursework (SACs)

SACs are assessments conducted throughout the semester by your school. These assessments cover specific topics based on your ongoing units (E.g: unit 3) and overall skills relevant to your VCE subjects (E.g: utilising scientific frameworks when investigating issues). SACs can take the form of essays, presentations, practical tasks, or examinations held within the school environment. They are designed to evaluate your understanding, application, and mastery of the specific subject matter taught in class. Much less broad in comparison to what’s assessed on the Exams.

The frequency of SACs varies depending on the subjects you choose, but typically you can expect to have multiple SACs per subject throughout the year. Your performance in SACs contributes to your overall study score for each subject (its contribution may vary from 40% to 50% of your total study scores). Additionally, they serve as a benchmark of where students rank within the classes. (This will would be compared to the actual exams which will standardize the ranking and to determine whether the teacher’s marking was too harsh or bias) Hence, excelling in SACs is actually pivotal for achieving a high study score and ultimately a commendable ATAR!

The way most students prepare for sacs is generally through unit based practise exams provided by companies such as NEAP or Kilbaha (the deadliest of them all in regards to Methods practise questions). The difference between exam practise tests and unit specific tests is the specificity of each question, unit specific tests tends to dwell deeper into more specific concepts much more than what the exam usually provides. (Although this isn’t always the case, exams can also do the same in regards to focusing heavily on a specific topic.


VCE exams are standardized tests administered by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) at the end of each academic year. These exams assess your knowledge, comprehension, and analytical abilities across all the 34 units of a particular subject. Unlike SACs, VCE exams are conducted under stricter examination conditions and are held statewide on predetermined dates at the same time and date.

VCE exams are weighted heavily in the calculation of your study score and ATAR. Typically, your exam performance contributes to about 50%-60% of your study score, making it imperative to prepare diligently and perform well in these assessments.

They are by far the most important component as they are held usually within a dedicated timeslot, missing out usually means you have to apply for derived score (a combination of your GAT and overall sac marks to determine your overall study score). Derived score can be more bias in comparison as GATs aren’t something you can fully prepare for, making it more difficult to fully gauge the effectiveness of your results from sacs too. So strive to complete the exams always!

Preparing for the VCE exams is slightly different when comparing to sacs, the exam is a collective of all the total content learnt from Unit 3 and 4. So knowing what you need to know in the first place is pivotal to your success, unless your exam dictates you can bring in a summary book/sheet… plus prepared to be able to answer any questions necessary. Afterwards, it’s recommend to 1. take on company based practise exams with no time limit to get yourself comfortable to the examination style questions 3. setting yourself a time limit for each exams done and strive to create consistent timing each time (and actually utilising your reading time effectively) 4. Doing the actual VCAA exam in timed condition, these are the most formal and most relevant exams to take as they are often the most representative of the exams you’re likely to take. 5. Taking your results to your teachers and marking it after your self marking, teachers usually have a stronger idea of the examination style VCAA usually goes for and can better position you to better achieve results you desire.

What Matters More?

The debate over whether SACs or exams carry more weight in VCE is a common one among students. While both SACs and exams contribute to your overall study score and ATAR, exams tend to hold more significance due to their standardized nature and the larger proportion they occupy in the final assessment. (Sacs are marked by different teachers from different school, this would therefore induce a lot of inconsistent marking styles E.g: some may mark harsher whilst some others may not) A board of selected examiners has a duty to mark all the exams to against a rubric to ensure as much consistency, a much smaller sample of selected people to ensure there’s not too much mix between each other.

However, this doesn’t diminish the importance of SACs. Excelling in SACs can provide you with a solid foundation of marks, which can buffer any fluctuations in your exam performance aka rankings. Moreover, consistent high performance in SACs demonstrates your sustained effort and understanding of the subject matter to your teachers, potentially influencing their predicted study score/ranking for you. Your ranks can change based on how well you do on your exams so do ensure that you do maintain this entirety of the standard throughout (VCAA may see that you may have intentionally did poorly in sacs despite many others performing relatively better, and when the exam does come in which you do excel in, your ranking may scale up a bit but not as much as you may desire because the expectation is that you do well in both exams and sacs to justify you are not simply chancing your results but the result of consistent efforts.


In essence, both SACs and exams play integral roles in your VCE journey, with exams carrying slightly more weight in the final assessment. However, a balanced approach that emphasizes consistent effort and preparation for both SACs and exams is key to achieving academic success in VCE.

#VCE tutoring #VCESACs #VCE exams #VCE subjects #Study score #ATAR #Victorian #Curriculum and Assessment Authority #VCAA #Academic success in VCE



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