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Year 12 survival tips: Learn the uni lingo

This article appears in: High school to uni, Pathways to Uni, Starting your studies
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Heading to university is a big change from high school. It comes with independence, different learning and teaching styles, and the flexibility to learn what and how you like. Uni also comes with a lot of lingo you won't really hear anywhere else. 

We’re here to explain some of the most important terms so you're in the know, from A(TAR) to Z.


You'll already know this one if you are currently in Year 12, but it's an important one!

Also known as the Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank, think of your ATAR as a ranking rather than a score. The Tertiary Admissions Centre calculates your ATAR, based on your overall academic achievement during Year 12. Your ATAR doesn’t have a time limit, so you can still use it even if you decide to study in a couple of years.

What happens if you don't get the ATAR you want? At CDU, you can complete a Pathway Program online or on campus to meet the requirements to apply for entry to most of our undergraduate degrees

Deferred entry

To defer entry simply means to delay it.

For most undergraduate courses at CDU, you can defer your offer for up to 12 months. At the end of your deferment period, you’ll get emailed the info on how to enrol. From here you have the flexibility to choose how you study, whether it's online or on campus, full-time or part-time. 


This is CDU’s online learning platform, where you’ll find everything related to your studies. Think learning materials, lecture recordings, assignment submission points and online tests, group work and communications tools for engaging with your lecturer and peers, and more.  

The best part about Learnline is that you can access it anywhere, any time, for total flexibility. 

Lectures and tutorials

Lectures are a crucial part of university learning where the lecturer presents the course information to all the students in the course. You'll listen and take notes. 

Tutorials, often referred to as ‘tutes’, are smaller groups of students led by a tutor. This is where you’ll talk about the course subject matter in a more informal way. Your tutor will likely encourage interactive discussion and deeper exploration of the course content. Remember to come prepared and do your required readings, because participation in tutes is important!


Otherwise known as Orientation Week, O-Week is designed to introduce new students to university life. You’ll find information sessions, friend-making and networking events, tours, student clubs and more. Attending O-Week is a great way to start your study experience at CDU. 

CDU also offers a Virtual Orientation for our many online students.

Pre-requisites and assumed knowledge

You might see that some degrees have pre-requisites or assumed knowledge.

A pre-requisite is a subject you need to have successfully completed in Year 12 in order to be eligible for admission to a course at CDU.

Assumed knowledge is an expectation that you’ve studied a relevant high school subject before starting a course at CDU. Your application won’t be affected if you haven’t completed the subject, but it’s highly recommended in order to set yourself up for success.


Scholarships are open to those who have applied for a place at CDU and students currently enrolled at CDU.

Scholarship applications are a bit like applying for a job and if your application includes a work placement you might even be required to attend an interview.

CDU offers all kinds of scholarships, not just academic, so we encourage you to check them out and apply!

Undergraduate and postgraduate

Undergraduate refers to bachelor’s degrees and some diplomas. These are usually the first type of study completed at university.

Once you’ve completed an undergraduate course, you can then apply for a postgraduate course. These include graduate certificates, diplomas, master’s degrees and PhDs.

Ready to dive into university? At CDU, you can choose from more than 300 certificates, diplomas and degrees, as well as a free Tertiary Enabling Program.

Explore 300+ courses

Certificates, diplomas and degrees

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