Compassionate Late Withdrawal
A student may, under exceptional circumstances, be given approval for Compassionate Late Withdrawal from VCE Units 3 and 4. The principal or principal’s delegate must apply to the Manager, Student Records and Results, on the student’s behalf, for permission to withdraw from one or more VCE Unit 3 and 4 studies. Documentation of the exceptional circumstances must be included. Compassionate Late Withdrawal is not available to students who are simply not coping with the demands of VCE studies. This provision is designed to assist students who have made a genuine attempt to continue with their VCE studies while suffering major adverse circumstances, but find that they cannot complete their studies. If the exceptional circumstances claimed are for medical reasons, evidence from an appropriate health professional, is required as part of the application. No fees apply for Compassionate Late Withdrawal.
Compassionate Late Withdrawal from a VCE Unit 3 and 4 study will not be approved if a student has a final, reported grade for a VCE external assessment or School-based Assessment. If the student has scores for an external assessment or School-based Assessment associated with Unit 3 only, and wishes to continue with that study the following year, the school may apply for Interrupted Studies status on the student’s behalf.
Interrupted Studies status enables students to complete VCE Units 3 and 4 and have a study score calculated over two calendar years. The principal or principal’s delegate, must apply to the Manager, Student Records and Results, on the student’s behalf.
The Interrupted Studies provision is primarily designed as a means to manage a student’s program to ensure access to the full range of assessments. Schools will need to demonstrate a student’s eligibility in the application documentation, the action taken so far in managing the student’s circumstances, and the arrangements being made by the school to ensure that the student can complete their studies when they return to study in the following year.
Eligibility for Interrupted Studies
Students who are enrolled in Units 3 and 4, and undertake a recognised overseas exchange program or experience serious illness or other major adverse personal circumstance during the course of the year, may apply for Interrupted Studies status and withdraw from Unit 4 of a sequence. Students may apply for Interrupted Studies status for their whole program of studies or for only part of their program (for example, interrupting two studies of an enrolment of five studies).
Students who will be unable to satisfactorily complete Unit 3 in a study in the year of departure should consider Compassionate Late Withdrawal from the study, encompassing both Units 3 and 4.
Interrupted Studies status is not granted to students who wish to enrol in an alternative course of study or participate in activities of personal interest. Schools may consider making specific arrangements for a student who chooses to participate in sporting events, either interstate or overseas, and who will be absent from school for a brief period. These arrangements should focus on allowing students to achieve satisfactory completion of outcomes.
Students who take up full employment or a full-time apprenticeship, but maintain their commitment to the VCE by continuing enrolment in at least two sequences of Units 3 and 4, may be considered eligible.
Australian Defence Force personnel may apply for Interrupted Studies status. Schools should contact Student Records and Results for advice.
Interrupted Studies status will not be granted to students who satisfy the outcomes for Unit 4, but were unable to sit VCE external assessments in the October–November assessment period. In these cases the student may be eligible to apply for a
Derived Examination Score (DES).
Exemption from the GAT
It is important for all students with an enrolment in one or more VCE Units 3 and 4 sequences or VCE VET scored Unit 3 and 4 sequences to attempt the GAT. The VCAA will use a student’s GAT scores to:
- contribute to statistical moderation of School-based Assessments
- calculate a DES
- check the accuracy of external assessment marking.
Eligibility for exemption from the GAT
A student may be deemed eligible for an exemption from the GAT if they meet one or more of the following criteria:
- They have a vision or other impairment for which arrangements cannot reasonably be made, given the format of the GAT (Special Examination Arrangements for the GAT can be provided for students with a hearing impairment)
- They are prevented from sitting the GAT by injury, illness, personal trauma or a serious intervening event
- They are employed and cannot be absent from work (evidence from the employer is required).
A personal trauma may include, but is not limited to, the death or serious illness of, or an accident involving, a family member.
A serious intervening event may include, but is not limited to:
- an accident before or on the day of the GAT
- attendance at a funeral of a family member or other person of close relationship
- the required attendance at a legal proceeding.
Applications submitted on the basis of illness, injury, personal trauma or a serious intervening event require independent evidence from an appropriate professional.
Note: An application for an exemption from the GAT cannot be submitted solely on the basis of:
- a student requiring Special Examination Arrangements
- a student not completing any graded assessment
- Interrupted Studies status or Compassionate Late Withdrawal
- a student being interstate or overseas at the time of the GAT.
Special Examination Arrangements
A request for an exemption from the GAT on the grounds of requiring Special Examination Arrangements will be refused unless the necessary arrangements exceed those that would normally be offered for the GAT.
Students who experience the onset of an illness, the exacerbation of an existing condition or the occurrence of an injury or personal trauma in the period before the GAT should discuss, with their VCE coordinator, a school application for Emergency Special Examination Arrangements, which may assist them to sit the GAT.
Students not completing any graded assessments
Students who opt not to complete any graded assessments associated with VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3–4 sequences will not be granted an exemption on those grounds.
Interrupted Studies status and Compassionate Late Withdrawal
It is important for a student who has been granted Interrupted Studies status to attempt the GAT in both years, but particularly in the year they return to complete the study.
If a student has been withdrawn from all VCE or scored VCE VET units at Unit 3–4 level before the GAT, there is no need to apply for an exemption from the GAT. A student who has been withdrawn after the GAT is not eligible to apply for an exemption from the GAT.
Interstate and overseas arrangements
Students may be eligible to sit the GAT interstate or overseas if:
- they are on an exchange program overseas
- they are representing Australia for an official duty (for example a sporting, academic, military or cultural event)
- they or their parent or guardian have been asked to work interstate or overseas.
Events such as family holidays, birthdays and weddings are not considered valid grounds for an application to sit VCE external assessments interstate or overseas.
The Application to sit VCE external assessments interstate or overseas form is available on VASS.
How to apply for exemption from the GAT
If a student’s circumstances are deemed to meet the eligibility requirements for an exemption from the GAT, their school may apply to the VCAA using the Application for Authorised Absence from the General Achievement Test (GAT) form, which is available on VASS.
Special Entry Access Scheme (SEAS)
The Special Entry Access Scheme (SEAS) is the umbrella program run by most institutions to which students will be applying for courses through VTAC. The Special Entry Access Scheme (SEAS) is for tertiary applicants who have experienced educational disadvantage.
For more information about SEAS, visit
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