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What is the SACE?

The South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) is a qualification that demonstrates you have acquired a certain level of knowledge and skills important to your job, study and training goals.

You’ll be awarded the SACE if you successfully complete requirements that include a range of skills and subjects you may study at school or may have acquired through other education, training or experience.

Knowledge and skills for life

The SACE offers subjects and courses at two levels, Stage 1 and Stage 2

Most SACE students are at school and complete the majority of their Stage 1 and Stage 2 requirements in Year 11 and Year 12, but many adults and international students earn their SACE in other ways.

As you study the SACE, you’ll gain valuable literacy, numeracy, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, while gaining knowledge about the specific subjects you choose.

The SACE also helps you learn how to work with and alongside others, and to understand how your decisions can affect people, situations and the world.

These capabilities are essential to your future education, training and careers, and your role as an active and informed citizen.

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How does it work?

The SACE is a two-stage certificate. 

Most people study Stage 1 in Year 11 and Stage 2 in Year 12.

There are also other ways to complete the SACE, such as:

  • by earning credits for individual or community activities such as volunteering
  • as an adult learner
  • through recognition for other study achievements such as vocational education and training (VET) courses or international education.

If you are studying the SACE at school, your teachers and careers counsellors can help you choose the subjects to suit the study, training, career or other activities you want to take part in when you leave school.

Each subject is worth a maximum number of credits – either 10 or 20 credits, depending on the subject. Most subjects are worth 10 credits for one semester and 20 credits for a full year. 

You’ll need 200 credits to complete your SACE. Some of the credits will come from compulsory subjects, but most will come from the subjects you choose to suit your interests and future goals, or recognition for knowledge and skills you’ve gained in your life outside school.

There are more than 60 SACE subjects in nine areas of learning, as well as 11 modified subjects that allow students with identified intellectual disabilities to demonstrate learning through a range of experiences.

You can also add to your SACE by showing how your education, training and experiences outside school provide you with valuable knowledge and skills.

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Meeting the requirements

To complete your SACE, you’ll have to achieve 200 credits in the two stages.

Some of the credits come from compulsory subjects, and the rest are in the subjects you’ll choose to suit your interests and career goals.

The compulsory subjects are together worth 50 credits, which means you’ll have to choose other subjects or courses that are worth at least 150 credits as you study for your SACE.

Most students who undertake the SACE at secondary school complete their Stage 1 credits in Year 11, and their Stage 2 credits in Year 12. But there is a lot of flexibility, which will help you choose the subjects you want in a schedule that suits your study patterns. 

Among the non-compulsory subjects, most are worth 10 credits in each semester. For example, if you study Stage 1 Geography for two semesters in Year 11, you’ll have 20 credits.

There is no one way to complete the requirements. But at many South Australian schools, the majority of students undertake the equivalent of five or six full year Stage 1 subjects in Year 11, and four or five Stage 2 subjects plus their Research Project in Year 12.

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Compulsory subjects

The SACE includes compulsory subjects to help you gain the literacy, numeracy, problem-solving and learning skills you will find essential when you go on to further study or training, find jobs and succeed in the workplace.

The compulsory SACE subjects are:

  • The Stage 1 Personal Learning Plan – usually completed in Year 10 (10 credits)
  • A Numeracy subject in Stage 1 or Stage 2 (10 credits)
  • A Literacy subject or subjects in Stage 1 or Stage 2 (20 credits)
  • The Stage 2 Research Project – usually completed in Year 12 (10 credits).

You’ll have to earn a grade of C or better in the Stage 1 compulsory subjects, and a C- or better in the Stage 2 subjects.

Of the remaining 150 credits you’ll need to make up your 200 credits, at least 60 must be from year 12 subjects.

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Non-compulsory subjects

The SACE has more than 100 subjects to suit your interests and your study, training and career goals.

Your study plans must include enough Stage 1 and Stage 2 subjects to earn you the credits that, when combined with the compulsory subjects, will earn you the credits you need.

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