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General Achievement Test

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The General Achievement Test (GAT) is a test of general knowledge and skills in written communication, mathematics, science and technology, humanities, the arts and social sciences taken by all Victorian students prior to completing their VCE.[1]

It consists of two writing tests and 70 multiple choice questions on science, technology, mathematics and humanities. The first writing test is usually an informative piece based on information given, while the second is an opinionative to be based on statements provided.[2] At the end of the year the student will receive a statement of marks showing their numerical score for each section as well as a standardised study score out of 50 for each section.[2]

Although the GAT is not a part of the graduation requirements and does not count towards a student's final VCE results or ATAR, the GAT plays an important role in checking that a school's assessments and examinations have been accurately assessed.[1][2] Therefore, if a student is enrolled in Units 3 and 4 of any VCE study (whether in Year 11 or Year 12), they must sit the GAT unless exempted by the VCAA.[2]

Year 12 Western Australian students sat the GAT for a short period.[3] This test was introduced into Western Australia as a trial to provide schools with feedback on the standard of assessment used for the new WACE courses. The GAT in Western Australia was however abandoned after the trial period and is no longer used.[citation needed]

The GAT in Victoria, as of 2008, has been taken into consideration for the middle band for courses by Monash University if a student misses out on the course because their ATAR score is just below the cut-off score.[4]


Year GATchphrase
2009 George Clooney[5][6]
2010 Bear Grylls
2011 Rebecca Black
2012 Joseph Kony
2013 Nic Naitanui[7]
2014 Schapelle Corby
2015 The Cat in the Hat in the GAT
2016 Shannon Noll being robbed of the 2003 Australian Idol title[8]
2017 The Death of Club Penguin
2018 If the teacher doesn't arrive within 15 minutes we are legally allowed to leave
2019 I Got the Horses in the GAT

In 2009, a student-organised movement headed by Andrew Onorato and Lucas Shipsides and fuelled by Facebook brought the GAT to the attention of the national press, by suggesting that students make as many references to actor George Clooney as possible in their answers. This became known as 'Project Clooney '09'. Over 8,000 students are believed to have participated in the statewide prank/meme.[5][6]

After this level of participation was observed, it became customary, as a form of parody/protest, to incorporate GAT catch phrases, or GATchphrases in the test in following years. Each year, an event is started on Facebook that gains popularity and is promoted to be used by students state-wide. Recent years have included Nic Nat in the GAT (2013)[7], Schapelle Corby (2014) and The Cat in the Hat in the GAT (2015). In late April 2016 a poll was held on the VCE Discussion Space Facebook group to choose the "Gatchphrase" for that year. Over 1,500 votes were cast, with the theme of Shannon Noll was robbed of the 2003 Australian Idol title winning with over 1,000 votes.[8] A public Facebook event page was created for the theme, and by the date of the GAT it had an attendance of over 3,600 students.[9]


  1. ^ a b "What is the General Achievement Test?". VCAA. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d Rowley, Glenn (9 May 2005). "You've GAT nothing to lose". The Age. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  3. ^ "Parliamentary Questions". Parliament of Western Australia. 11 April 2006. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  4. ^ "Monash trials use of GAT for middle band selection". Monash University. 23 April 2007. Archived from the original on 5 October 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  5. ^ a b Cooper, Mex (11 June 2009). "George Clooney the answer for VCE pranksters". The Age. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  6. ^ a b "Students launch George Clooney Facebook exam campaign". Illawarra Mercury. 11 June 2009. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Nic Nat in the GAT". Facebook. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  8. ^ a b Devereux, Thomas (2016). "Okay guys lets work out a GAT theme". VCE DiscussionSpace. Facebook. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  9. ^ "2016 GAT THEME Shannon Noll was robbed of winning Australian Idol 2003". Facebook. 2016. Retrieved 7 June 2016.

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