In Focus Careers

Creating insanely great career education in Western Australia.

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Alternative Pathways to Uni

By now students who didn’t get into their chosen uni courses may feel like they have jumped off a cliff without a parachute.  Losing your school support network, not having something meaningful to do and not getting into the course you want is a recipe for depression.

Pathways to Uni

If you didn’t get your first choice that isn’t unusual. In 2016 Only 26% of uni students went straight from school, and things probably haven’t changed much since then.

Mitchell REport

Alternative Pathways

Most students get into uni via other pathways including entry courses run by the universities:

  • They are generally a semester long
  • You learn about university life without having the pressure of a full degree program
  • You find out about different courses that are available.
  • They are generally free.

Although each course is different there are usually 4 subject like….

  • Academic Writing
  • Communication Skills
  • Essential Maths
  • Research Skills and Information Literacy

Consider this…. 

You must do some study when you leave school. That doesn’t mean uni. Tradespeople earn about the same amount as many university graduates.

Statistics 4

  • If you didn’t like studying at school… that is probably not going to change if you go to university.
  • If you don’t have good English and communication skills you are going to have trouble writing assignments and exams.
  • University courses are expensive and they don’t necessarily lead to better pay and conditions. Check these facts HERE.

There are lots of options available so go to a Jobs and Skills Centre , check out university careers services or email me to explore your options.

University Alternative Entry

Notre Dame

logo-notre-dameThe Tertiary Pathway Program at Notre Dame is for people who did  NOT do ATAR, or who didn’t get the required cut off score.

It is a 13-week program which you apply for directly to Notre Dame.

Applicants need to be able to demonstrate good English language skills to be offered a place.


ECUUniPrep & UniPrep (Education Assistant Program is a 6 month full time course or 12 months part time.

School leavers must be able to demonstrate that they have achieved their WACE and meet ECU’s English Competency Requirements.

School leavers who wait until semester 2 to apply will be classified as Non School Leavers and will need to demonstrate how they meet ECU’s English Competency Requirements.

Edith Cowan College offers courses that can result in entry to second year of ECU’s Bachelor Degree program

Curtin UniversityCurtin1

The Curtin UniReady program is now the most open offering in WA. Year 12s apply through TISC and they don’t need ATAR, or English or WACE to apply.

Curtin has capped numbers so applicants are ranked according to equity conditions that contributed to educational disadvantage. Applicants are then ranked according to when they applied.

You can check out Curtin pathways HERE. 

Enabling Course in Science, Engineering and Health  Completion of this program will meet relatively higher entry requirements and subject prerequisites too.

Curtin College offers courses that can result in entry to second year of Curtin’s Bachelor Degree program.

Portfolio Entry  is not only for the creative courses; it is applicable to courses like Education, Science, Commerce and Health.

Murdoch University


On Track is a 14 week course that prepares students for entry to a course with a minimum ATAR requirement of 70.

On Track Sprint  is a 4 week course run over the Christmas holidays that may prepare you for entry to a course with a minimum ATAR requirement of 70.

TLC10 – prepares students to apply for Murdoch through a 1 day per week course that runs all year in Mandurah and Rockingham.

Portfolio Entry – you can gain entry to courses that rely on creative talent in media, games art and design and creative writing, photography and web communication via a portfolio demonstrating your work + a number of hoops like WACE and English competence. For Portfolio entry try the Domestic Admissions Team on 9360 7458 or send an email by following this link

Email for information.

University of Western Australia


UWAY – This is an alternative entry pathway and comprehensive support program for students completing Year 12 under challenging circumstances.

The program provides academic, financial and personal support, and it is responsive to individual student needs, throughout their final year of secondary school and during their university studies. You can apply for alternative entry to an undergraduate degree course through UWay if your academic achievements have been adversely affected by certain disadvantages.

Thanks Philip Sharpe, Future Students Centre, University of Western Australia

Central Queensland University


STEPS (Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies)

This program is tailored to help you meet entry requirements or boost your confidence.

It usually takes between 1 and 2 terms to complete (4 to 8 months). It can be completed online or on-campus.

Keep up to date with Western Australian career opportunities

The In Focus Careers newsletter brings together information from a network of West Australian career experts. You can tap into this expertise or just check out one issue of the insanely great In Focus Careers newsletter:







Year 10 Subject Selections for Year 11

Parents and students get REALLY STRESSED about subject selections for Year 11.Cat

Time to RELAX.

Help is at hand.

Before you start, know that only one in four university students get a place through the ATAR pathway.

A report from the Mitchell Institute identified that 26% of university students got their place via an ATAR pathway. Mitchell Report


The School Curriculum and Standards Authority (SCASA) is THE mob that makes up the rules about WACE.  The first place to find information about Year 11 and 12 is in the official Year 10 Information Handbook which SCASA puts out.

Handbook 2019

If you can’t find the information you need or if you are unclear on anything contact them at

STEP 2 Hear Your Dream

You need to have some idea about what career direction you would like to take.

Career VoyageMany schools have the Career Voyage program that will help you to nail down a career direction for the near future. If you don’t have access to Career Voyage at school you can do the quiz at a Jobs and Skills Centre.

I have done this Coggle brain storm of a bunch of places you can check out to narrow down what you like.

Coggle - Hear Your Dream

Email me if you would like access to the Coggle map so that you can just click on the links.

STEP 3 Do You Want to do ATAR??Lockers

For years ATAR results were the short cut that universities used to choose their students. Things are changing. Competition between universities has heated up and they are looking at many alternative pathways that:

  • enable more students to go to university
  • ensure students don’t fail when they get there.

Universities are looking for alternative pathways more than schools and parents.


TAFE has always been flexible with its pathways to learning than universities and there is a huge range of possible pathways offered.

Job Prospects for Young Job Seekers

Last year the Career Development Association put on a webinar delivered by Ivan Neville, from the Commonwealth Department of Employment. He said….you really need to get a year 12 qualification, or equivalent, to get a job…..

Statistics 1

But there isn’t much difference in employment outcomes between a degree (3.6%) and a Cert III (4.1%).

The opening of university entry to a wider audience had resulted in a shift towards degrees and away from vocational education since 2008.

Statistics 3

There are now stronger job outcomes for apprentices and trainees than people with degrees.

statistics 2

Statistics 4

Step 4 Check Course PRE-REQUISITES

There are lots of courses that have RECOMMENDED subjects, but not so many have definite PRE-REQUISITES that MUST be done as a WACE subject in order to get into a course. University 2022

There are lots of pathways into further study and your WACE pathway is just one of them.

The most direct pathway is however, to take subjects that the universities are looking for. So, once you have narrowed down a career direction to take, check out the TISC University Admissions Handbook. It identifies what WACE subjects you should take to keep your options open.


The Online Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (OLNA) is the minimum WACE requirement reading, writing and numeracy. It is usually done in 10 but there are more opportunities to sit the Assessment in Year 11 and 12 and even AFTER Year 12.

Prospective TAFE students who do not meet these standards can:

  1. sit a TAFE Admissions literacy and/or numeracy test administered by Training Sector Services;
  2. be referred to a TAFE college for a Learning Area Assessment; or
  3. enrol in a course that does not have literacy or numeracy requirements, including foundation skills, equity courses and Certificate I


Step 5 Contact Your Career Advisor

Tap into the knowledge and experience of your career advisor.

If you don’t have access to a specialist career advisor at your school, go to a TAFE college Jobs and Skills Centre or private careers consultant to be sure your next step is the right one.

For your monthly does of inspiration and insanely great career information subscribe to my newsletter:



I have found your material invaluable.  The information you have put together is thorough – a one-stop-shop in a sea of information that is out there.  I have utilised this information on a regular basis with others throughout the school.

(South Metropolitan Government High School.)

My Commitment to West Australian Careers Education

For In Focus Careers to be the conduit to Insanely Great Careers Information for West Australian students I undertake to:

  • Write 10 insanely great issues of In Focus Careers newsletter each year that focus on the needs of West Australian students and careers teachers.
  • Search for local, national and international information that could impact on the careers of West Australian students.
  • Connect you with insanely great careers teachers across the In Focus Careers network.
  • Listen to and support West Australian careers teachers.








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Your Top Tips for 2018 ATAR Exams

These step by step tips will help Year 12s to give their best possible performance in their ATAR exams.


  • Know what the exam is going to look like.  atar exam geography
  • Read through the SCASA Summary Reports that show how students answered questions in previous exams.
  • Know how many questions or sections you have to answer and what they are worth.
  • Allocate your time according to the marks for each section or question. (A multiple choice section worth 50% shouldn’t take you 50% of your time. You can use any time you save on your long answers.)
  • Know exactly what time you should finish each section and question.


  • Arrive early. Go to the loo. Avoid anxious friends.


  • Take drinking water with you.water-bottle-962934_1920.jpg
  • Get seated early.
  • Breath steadily. Get centred. Sip water.
  • Listen to the supervisor’s instructions.
  • Write your name and student number on the exam paper.


This is really important. Don’t skim through. Read REALLY S-L-O-W-L-Y.

  • Read through all the instructions THEN the questions.
  • If there are choices, decide which questions to answer.
  • Leave the hardest question to last.
  • Know what time you should finish each question/section and stick to that time.


Danger.jpgThe biggest mistake made in exams is NOT DOING WHAT IS ASKED.

  • If it says SELECT ONE only SELECT ONE!!
  • If you need to answer two parts of one question answer TWO PARTS.
  • If you are asked what impact dancing shoes had on the depression, don’t just talk about the depression.


Be calm. You’ve got this.


  • Do multiple choice and short answer questions first.
  • Start your first essay. Plan your answer picking the BEST evidence you can provide that proves you are an expert on the subject.
  • Don’t spend more time than planned on a section or question.
  • Don’t over-answer or waffle on.
  • Add dot points if you are running out of time. You won’t lose points and may gain some.hourglass-620397_1920
  • If you have time, skim read your answer for errors or omissions. This will also give you time to rest your writing hand and stop it cramping.
  • Systematically work through all required answers keeping to your time allocation.
  • Use every minute of exam time. If you have time left, review your answers before handing in the paper.
  • Hand in your rough work too.



You can get more exam tips from LearnMate.


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July ATAR Revision Classes

ATAR revision classes for Year 11 and 12 students start in WA on Monday 4th July and there is another round starting on 11th. There is a range to choose from.








Murdoch and UWA  

TEE Consultants Intensive Programmes

These are held in the first week of the holidays with 10-hour courses (2 hours per day) offered in the major ATAR subjects. Enrolment forms, including fees and payment details, are available via the Enrolment forms page.

Dates: Monday 4 July 2016 – Friday 8 July 2016

Location: Murdoch University, South Street campus

Cost: $175 per subject (2 hours per day for 5 days – total of 10 hours)

8.30am Mathematics Methods OR Mathematics Applications
10.45am English OR English Literature
1.00pm Chemistry OR Geography OR Economics
3.15pm Physics OR Human Biology





 University of Western Australia  



Academic Australia Program
Start: 11th Jul – 15th Jul (5-day courses – 10 hours)

8:30am – 10:30am 10:40am – 12:40pm 1:20pm – 3:20pm 3:30pm – 5:30pm
Economics Yr 12 ATAR English Yr 12 ATAR (2) Chemistry Yr 12 ATAR Chemistry Yr 12 ATAR (2)
English Yr 12 ATAR Maths Methods Yr 12 ATAR Human Biology Yr 12 ATAR Geography Yr 12 ATAR
Maths Applications Yr 12 ATAR Modern History Yr 12 ATAR Literature Yr 12 ATAR Human Biology Yr 12 ATAR (2)
Maths Specialist Yr 12 ATAR Phys Ed Studies Yr 12 ATAR Maths App. Yr 12 ATAR (2) Maths Methods Yr 12 ATAR (2)
Politics and Law Yr 12 ATAR Psychology Yr 12 ATAR Physics Yr 12 ATAR Physics Yr 12 ATAR (2)







Study Less Achieve More Program

Year 11 ATAR English
11-14 July
Cost: $130.00
Year 12 ATAR English
11-14 July
Cost: $130.00
Year 11 ATAR Human Biology
11-14 July
Cost: $130.00
Year 12 ATAR Human Biology
11-14 July
Cost: $130.00
Year 11 Chemistry
11-14 July
Cost: $130.00
Year 11 ATAR Mathematics Methods
11-14 July
Cost: $130.00
Year 12 ATAR Mathematics Methods
11-14 July
Cost: $130.00
Study Skills for Year 11 Students
13-14 July
Cost: $60.00
Study Skills for Year 12 Students
13-14 July
Cost: $60.00
The Write Stuff
11 or 12 July
Cost: $60.00

ECUECU Academic Taskforce Master Classes


14 – 15 July
ATAR Physics Yr 12 9:00am – 10:00am
ATAR Chemistry Yr 12 10:00am – 11:00am
ATAR Physics Yr 11 11:00am – 12:00pm
ATAR Chemistry Yr 11 12:00pm – 1:00pm
ATAR Chemistry Yr 12 1:00pm – 2:00pm
ATAR Physics Yr 12 2:00pm – 3:00pm
ATAR English Yr 12 4:30pm – 5:30pm
ATAR Mathematics Methods Yr 11 4:30pm – 5:30pm
ATAR Maths Applications Yr 12 5:00pm – 6:00pm
ATAR Maths Methods Yr 12 5:00pm – 6:00pm
ATAR English Yr 11 5:30pm – 6:30pm
ATAR Maths Specialist Yr 11 5:30pm – 6:30pm
ATAR Mathematics Methods Yr 12 6:00pm – 7:00pm
ATAR Literature 6:30pm – 7:30pm
ATAR Mathematics Specialist Yr 12 7:00pm – 8:00pm