The Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) Exam

Understanding the QCE

The Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) is the certificate awarded to students completing their secondary schooling in Queensland. The QCE was introduced in 2008, to replace the Senior Certificate. It is currently issued by the Queensland Studies Authority (QSA).


The Queensland Certificate of Education is generally awarded to students completing Year 12, though alternative avenues of study are available.

All Queensland courses of study are awarded credits, which can contribute towards a QCE. These courses are divided into:

  • Core courses
  • Preparatory courses
  • Enrichment courses
  • Advanced courses

Core courses are the most common form of education undertaken in Years 11 and 12 and include both Authority and Authority-registered subjects. Authority subjects are those whose syllabuses are maintained by the QSA and whose results contribute to a student's Overall Position, which is the ranking used for entrance to tertiary education institutions, whereas Authority-registered subjects are developed from a Study Area Specification. Authority-registered subjects do not contribute to the Overall Position of a student.Preparatory and Enrichment courses are commonly Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualifications, which often result in basic Certificate qualifications. Advanced courses are often university subjects completed alongside a student's regular secondary schooling.


Students are assessed based upon the subjects which they undertake. A student's final grade is given as a Level of Achievement, of which there are five:

  • Very High Achievement (VHA), roughly equivalent to an "A"
  • High Achievement (HA), roughly equivalent to an "B"
  • Sound Achievement (SA), roughly equivalent to an "C"
  • Limited Achievement (LA), roughly equivalent to an "D"
  • Very Limited Achievement (VLA), roughly equivalent to an "E"

Each of these achievement levels are split into 10 rungs, to further differentiate the achievement of individual students. A VHA10 is the highest mark a student can achieve for a subject and a VLA1 is the lowest.These marks, along with the weighting of subjects (determined by students' academic performance in the Queensland Core Skills Test) is responsible in determining a students Overall Position.


QCE Practice Tests

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