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Overall Positions and the Queesnland Core Skills Test


Tertiary Pathway

Students undertaking a Tertiary pathway choose from a range of Authority subjects (minimum of 5). Results from these subjects contribute to the calculation of an Overall Position (OP) which is used by universities to gain a place in a tertiary course. Students choosing to be OP-eligible are also required to sit the Queensland Core Skills (QCS) Test, which is undertaken in Term 3 of Year 12 each year.


Overall Position

Overall Position (OP)

A student’s OP is used for tertiary entrance purposes only and is determined by students’ overall achievement in Authority subjects. It indicates how well a student has achieved in comparison to all other OP-eligible students in Queensland. OPs range from 1 (highest) to 25 (lowest).

Field Positions (FP)

FPs are additional rank orders that supplement an OP. FPs are only used by tertiary institutions to help differentiate between students with the same OP, for example when the number of eligible applicants exceeds the number of places for a course. A student may receive up to five FPs, depending on their subject choices. For more information about FPs, please visit the QSA website or contact the HOD Senior Schooling.

Selection Rank

A rank, like an OP, is a measure used for entry to tertiary courses. Students who are OP-ineligible may gain entry into a university course using this rank. Ranks are based on a scale from 99 (highest) to 1 (lowest) and are calculated from specially formulated tables, known as schedules, which were developed by the QSA and Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC) in consultation with tertiary institutions. The schedules take into account student results reported on the Senior Statement and QCS Test, if sat. For further information, please visit the QTAC website, or see the HOD Senior Schooling or Guidance Officer.


Fast facts about OPs:


Myths about OPs:

OP Myths.pdfOP Myths.pdf

Information on the basic principles of calculating OPs:



The Queensland Core Skills Test

Queensland Core Skills (QCS) TEST

The QCS Test consists of 4 papers — a Writing Task, a Short Response paper and two Multiple Choice papers. It is conducted over 2 days annually in Term 3 of Year 12.  The QCS Test does not test particular knowledge of specific Year 12 subjects. It tests the Common Curriculum Elements (CCEs), a set of generic skills identified in the Queensland senior curriculum. The results achieved for each of the 4 test papers are combined into one grade, ranging from A (the highest grade) to E (the lowest).
The QCS Test contributes information for the calculation of Overall Positions (OPs) and Field Positions (FPs). Those sitting the test are asked to respond to a variety of stimulus materials, such as prose passages, poetry, graphs, tables, maps, mathematical and scientific data, cartoons and artistic works. To maximise outcomes, students take part in a comprehensive QCS Test preparation program at school throughout Year 12.
Year 12 students who are eligible for an OP must sit the QCS Test. OP-ineligible students may choose to do the QCS Test in an attempt to improve their selection rank for tertiary entrance.


For general information about the QCS test, view the following document:


Information about Common Curriculum Elements: