School and education history in Victoria

Research Victoria's primary and secondary schools, text books and readers, past exams and results, curricula

Past examination papers

We hold printed historic examination papers published initially by the Melbourne University (as the entity overseeing the development and assessment of school exam papers). These reports can be requested from onsite storage.

You can also try searching the online catalogue with terms such as  - examination papers Victoria, matriculation papers Victoria.

Commonwealth Secondary Scholarship Examinations

The Menzies Government established the Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme starting in January 1951. Scholarships were awarded on the basis of academic merit and paid the fees of all recipients without a means test. The report Student Income Support: A Chronology provides more information about this scheme. 

The Library holds a number of items relating to the scheme - search our catalogue for Commonwealth Secondary Scholarship. We do not hold any examination papers. Public Records Office Victoria (PROV) holds some examination papers for these scholarships - see Commonwealth Scholarship Examination Papers Junior Scholarship Awards

Examination papers - 2000 onwards

Previous exam papers from circa-2000 onwards, including answer booklets, can be found on the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority website. There are also comprehensive exam reports for each VCE subject available during these approximate years. These reports comprise general comments on student achievement and average scores for each examination question. 

Examiner reports

We also hold reports of examiners. The reports contain reflections on the general content and quality of responses to individual questions on examinations from all subject areas.

Past exam results

Historical results

Examination results are traditionally published in The Age in the latter half of December, or the first half of January - sometimes as a separate lift out. The Age is available to access on microfilm in the Newspaper and Family History Reading Rooms. 

Replacement results and certificates

Victorian students who wish to obtain replacement certificates or academic statements can apply for these via the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA).

The following table shows records and qualifications available from the VCAA:

Results and certificates Years
Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) Years 11 and 12 1991 - present
Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) Years 11 and 12 2002 - present
Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) Year 12 only 1987 - 1990 
School Tertiary Certificate (STC) and Technical Year 12 (T12) 1984 - 1990
Tertiary Orientation Program (TOP) 1975 - 1986
Higher School Certificate (HSC) (Year 12) 1970 - 1986 
Leaving (Year 11) 1931 - 1972
Matriculation (Year 12) 1934 - 1969
Intermediate (Year 10) 1931 - 1967

If your school is still open, contact them directly to obtain results and reports, as per instruction of the Education Department (see section on public access to school records).

Current VCE exam results

The VCAA (Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority) and VTAC (Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre) offer three options for current students accessing VCE results and the ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank): internet, mail, and app - more information here.

Sketches at the recent matriculation examinations, two boys at their desks looking over their exam papers with confusion and worry.

Detail from Sketches at the recent matriculation examinations, A/S16/01/84/4

University entrance exams

The Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) was formed in 1967 by the three then existing Victorian universities as the Victorian Universities Admissions Committee (VUAC) The name change occurred in 1986. 

Prior to the formation of VUAC the universities, in particular University of Melbourne as it had a longer history as the singular Victorian university, handled their own admissions based on entrance examinations or public matriculation examinations.

Further reading:

From humanity to utility: Melbourne University and public examinations, 1856-1964 by P W Musgrave (1992).