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What is the General Achievement Test?

The General Achievement Test is a test of general knowledge and skills in:

  • written communication
  • mathematics, science and technology
  • humanities, the arts and social sciences.

These areas are very broad.

Each represents a body of general knowledge and skills that students are likely to have built up through their school years.

Because it is a general test, no special study is required for the GAT. Students will already have done preparation for the GAT in past study of subjects like English, Mathematics, Science and History, where they have built up general knowledge and skills in writing, numeracy and reasoning. These are the knowledge and skills that will be tested.

Students can get a good idea of the questions by looking at previous GAT papers. Students are encouraged to familiarise themselves with these questions and note that all the information needed to work out the right answer is provided.

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Why do students have to do the GAT?

The GAT is an essential part of the VCE assessment procedures.

All students enrolled in one or more VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3 and 4 sequences must sit the GAT.

Although GAT results do not count directly towards a student’s VCE results, they play an important role in checking that school-based and external assessments have been accurately assessed, and in calculating Derived Examination Scores.

The GAT is used in these ways because achievement on the GAT is a good predictor of achievement on other assessments. If students have done well on the GAT, then their achievements are likely to be high on their school-based and external assessments.

Clearly, some GAT questions relate more closely to achievement in particular studies. The VCAA takes this into account when it calculates students’ expected achievements in each study for each school. For example, GAT results in mathematics, science and technology play only a minor part in calculating students’ expected achievements in humanities studies.

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How is the GAT used?

The VCAA will use students’ GAT scores as a basis for:

  • contributing to statistical moderation of school-based assessment results
  • checking the accuracy of external assessment marking
  • calculating the Derived Examination Scores.