ACT Scaling Test (AST)


ACT Scaling Test (AST) 2021 Update

Year 12 students will return to on campus learning from the start of term four, Tuesday 5 October.

The AST is scheduled for Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 October 2021.

All plans and arrangements for the AST will be subject to public health directions and advice. These will be published on the BSSS website and provided to schools for distribution to students, parents, and carers.

The Board acknowledges that this can be a stressful time for students and families.

The Board, working closely with the Chief Health Officer and major stakeholders, is committed to the health and well-being of students, and to maintaining the integrity of their academic results.

Roberta McRae
Board Chair
ACT Board of Senior Secondary Studies

The ACT Scaling Test (AST) is a test designed by the Australian Council for Education Research (ACER) to facilitate the comparison of T and H Course scores both within and across colleges. The test measures skills necessary for success at university.

A Student Information Bulletin is available to students through their college in Semester 1 of Year 12. This provides information about administration of the test, including rules and requirements.

When is the AST held?

The AST is held in week 7 or 8 of Term 3 each year.

Who sits the AST?

All students who are enrolled in Year 12 and who wish to gain an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank must complete all parts of the AST.

Any student enrolled in a T package in Year 12 who is unsure of what they will do after Year 12 should also sit the AST.

What makes up the AST?

The AST comprises of three papers:

The Short Response Test (2 hours)

There will be 19 - 25 questions testing thinking and reasoning. Students will be asked for interpretations, explanations and justification of responses or points of view.

The Multiple Choice Test (2 hours and fifteen minutes)

There will be 80 questions grouped into units, each based on a piece of stimulus material. The material is drawn from the humanities, social sciences, sciences and mathematics areas and is accessible to all senior secondary students.

The Writing Task (2 hours and 30 minutes)

Students will be given stimulus material on a particular topic and are then expected to write a clear argumentative response of 600 words.

Students approved to have LD (Linguistically Diverse) Status are allowed extra time to complete each of the AST Sub-Tests.

An AST result will be awarded only if you make a serious attempt at all three components of the test.

How are the results of the AST used?

How are the results of the AST used?

The AST scores of those students who complete a T package provide the basis for scaling course scores for students at the colleges they attend. A student's scaled course scores are used in the calculation of that student's ATAR. More details of this process can be found in Scaling and the ATAR.

How can I find out my AST result?

The ACT Board of Senior Secondary Studies does not publish your AST score on any of the certificates it produces. At the end of Year 12, however, your college will provide you with your scores on the various components of the AST.

Preparation for the AST

Each college runs at least one trial AST with students receiving the appropriate feedback. The trial(s) introduce students to both the procedures for the conduct of the test as well as the nature of the test itself.  Students can also assist in their own preparation by practising the skills required where possible and by being aware of current events and issues, through the print and other media in order to form opinions on these issues.