American students in

year 12 may be interested in how other countries rank students and determine their eligibility for future studies. Here is an

Australian system:

The Universities Admission Index (UAI) is the percentile rank used for Australian Capital Territory(ACT) and New South Wales(NSW) students in Australia to determine what University courses they are eligible to enter.

Usually only year 12 students, who are predominately eighteen years of age, receive UAIs.

In NSW, students undertake a series of exams in various subjects to earn a Higher School Certificate. The exam is colloquially and affectionately called the HSC. The exams are held in quick succession and go for up to four hours each. The HSC usually has close to a one hundred percent baring on the student's result in that subject. (Although this system is thankfully changing in the near future).

The student must 'count' a minimum number of these results and this provides them with a total score. This score is then ranked against that of students across the rest of the state. All students who would have completed year 12 in that year are ranked based on their results (if any). This gives each student a percentile rank that places them somewhere in the Australian population (not just somewhere in the group of finished year 12 students).

The ACT has a very different system to that of NSW. In The ACT, students are evaluated over four semesters or two years of study. Throughout these two years they complete units by doing assignments, essays, seminars and exams. Each semester, for each subject, they receive a unit score. At the end of the two years, the various colleges (yr 11 and 12), sit an exam called The Australian Scaling Test(AST). This test measures the general (not individual) competencies of students at the various colleges.

The best eighty percent of a students unit scores are then taken and a course score is calculated for each subject. Using the results from the AST, the course scores are scaled to show how students performed and with what strength opposition. A student then 'counts' the best 3.6 of these course scores to give an aggregate score usually between 400 and 800.

The students who would have completed year twelve are then added into the rankings to give each student a population ranking. This is the UAI and it is completely comparable to the NSW UAI.

The Universities then set the UAI requirements for each of their courses. For example, medicine at The University of New South Wales (UNSW) requires 99.70. That means a student must be in the top 0.3% of the population to be eligible. Other universities' UAI requirements can be as low as 50. But most are over 70.