QTAC Information Sheet
Personal Competencies Assessment (PCA)
What is PCA?
Institutions recognise that many aspects of a person's life experience may result in the development of skills, abilities and knowledge that relate directly to successful tertiary study. The Personal Competencies Assessment (PCA) allows you to demonstrate your capacity to successfully complete tertiary study by submitting a written statement.
PCA is not recommended as a means of entry for current internal Year 12 students.
How do I apply for PCA?
To apply to have your personal competencies assessed, indicate 'YES' to the question relating to 'Personal Competencies' in your application. Please note there is a non-refundable fee to submit a PCA.
The statement should be approximately five typed pages. Statements more than 20% longer or shorter may be penalised. The statement should also be accompanied by supporting documents and referee reports. You should attempt to address all the PCA competencies and indicators listed in the Personal Competencies Assessment (PCA) Schedule below using examples from your life. Institutions have rules about how each competency is weighted in determining the overall PCA rank, but QTAC recommends that you address all competencies and indicators to the best of your ability.
Your statement should address the following categories:
- Tertiary Preparation
- Tertiary Maturity
- Independent learning Strategies
- Interpersonal and Communication Skills
- Achievement and Experience
- Skills and Knowledge
Please note that supporting documents can only be submitted in printed form. Please do not submit CDs, DVDs etc.
Referees' written reports are used to support your claims. You should supply two referees' reports with your written statement. Often employers or co-workers can provide referee reports that comment usefully on your maturity, time management and communication skills. Do not include the contact details of referees in place of written referees' reports.
Referees' reports should include:
- the basis on which the reference is provided (how you are known to the referee)
- examples of your ability to manage time effectively; collect, analyse, organise and use information; and carry a project through to completion
- examples of your ability to communicate and work with others
- examples of your achievements, experiences, and competencies that demonstrate your capacity to successfully undertake tertiary study
How will my PCA be assessed?
In order to allocate a QTAC Selection Rank, your PCA will be assessed according to how well your written statement demonstrates your likelihood of successful tertiary study. This assessment will be based on how successfully your statement addresses all six categories and their associated indicators as listed in the PCA Schedule.
QTAC strongly recommends that you demonstrate as many of the indicators as possible in your statement. You may also include additional indicators not in the PCA Schedule. It is important that you demonstrate each indicator that you include in your statement - you can do this by providing examples to back up your claims.
Please note that it is not sufficient to simply describe an indicator. The key difference between a description and a demonstration is that a demonstration contains proof or evidence of your claims. A simple example addressing the indicator 'Evidence of steps taken to overcome a knowledge or skills deficit' is presented below to help illustrate the difference:
“As I have not studied in 20 years my study skills were quite rusty. I have worked on improving my study skills to ensure that I can cope with the work at university.”
“As I have not studied in 20 years my study skills were quite rusty so I have completed a six week study skills program offered through Brisbane University (statement of attainment attached). This course concentrated on the use of libraries, database searches and online research. My instructor for this course has provided a referee’s report indicating that I was competent in these skills by the conclusion of the course. After completing this course I feel more confident in approaching tertiary study.”
Applicants are assigned a rating in each category according to the level of tertiary capability demonstrated with respect to the category. A six point rating scale is used with zero being the lowest and five the highest.
Each category is given a weighting. Whilst most institutions use QTAC's standard weightings, some institutions have variations and some institutions may place a limit on the selection ranks that may be allocated on the basis of PCA.
How will institutions use my PCA?
Like any other QTAC Selection Rank, your PCA rank will form part of your overall application. Institution admission policies will determine the order in which these ranks are considered.
If you are under 21, age restrictions may apply. To obtain further information regarding age restrictions for PCA and additional institution-specific policies that may apply refer to Alternative Entry for more information or contact QTAC Information Services. You should also contact the admissions office of the institution you wish to apply to.
PCA Preparation Workshops
QTAC has a workshop to assist with writing your PCA statement. It will help you to understand the personal competency categories, identify your own examples relevant to the categories and understand how to present your statement. Contact us on (07) 3858 1298 to register or see Workshops for more information.
Should I sit the Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT)?
If you are relying on Alternative Entry you would usually be advised to sit for the STAT. The tertiary selection rank gained from your STAT score together with your PCA rank may result in a higher rank than that obtained from either PCA or STAT individually.
If you are under 21, age restrictions may apply. To obtain further information regarding age restrictions for STAT and additional institution-specific policies that may apply refer to STAT or contact QTAC Information Services. You should also contact the admissions office of the institution you wish to apply to.
Relates to what an applicant has done to ascertain he or she is ready for tertiary study. Components of tertiary preparation include tertiary awareness, tertiary planning, and the degree to which the applicant's case is well thought out in terms of personal circumstances. Tertiary preparation is linked to tertiary maturity.
|Evidence of knowledge of the course
Evidence of knowledge of course outcomes
Evidence of awareness of the workload inherent in tertiary study and the time required for tertiary study
Demonstrated knowledge of competencies required to function successfully in the tertiary environment
Evidence of steps taken to overcome knowledge or skills deficits
Level of consideration given to the impact of tertiary study on lifestyle
Level of consideration given to resources required to complete the course
Completion of a tertiary preparation program
Relates to awareness of the relationship between tertiary study and personal goals, awareness of the relationship between personal interests and abilities and the course, motivation towards the nominated course or tertiary study in general and capacity to cope with the transition to tertiary study.
|Evidence that the course is a chosen goal that the
applicant has prepared for
Evidence of commitment to the goal of tertiary study
Evidence of self evaluation and assessment
Level of consideration given to the link between personal interests and abilities and the course
Demonstrated ability to cope with performance demands
Demonstrated ability to adjust or adapt to new situations/environments/demands
Good quality references or other supporting documentation
INDEPENDENT LEARNING STRATEGIES
Relates to the capacity for self-directed study.
Demonstrated ability to prioritise tasks
INTERPERSONAL AND COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Relates to the ability to communicate clearly with others via written, spoken, and/or visual and non-verbal means. The ability to interact with others and work in teams.
Demonstrated ability to write clearly and correctly
Evidence of capacity to reason and express thoughts logically
Evidence of oral communication skills
Evidence of ability to interact effectively with others
Evidence of ability to work effectively in a team
ACHIEVEMENT AND EXPERIENCE
Relates to the degree to which previous achievements and experiences are indicative of likely tertiary success.
|Level of attainment in previous formal and non-formal
Degree of expertise or achievement demonstrated in technology, trades, crafts, arts, business, management, or administration
Evidence of outstanding achievement in a particular field or endeavour
Evidence of specialist knowledge developed through experience
Nature and extent of experience in a particular field or endeavour
SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE
Relates to knowledge, skills, abilities and aptitudes relevant to tertiary study and/or specifically relevant to the nominated course(s).
|Demonstrated ability to collect, analyse, and organise
Demonstrated ability to evaluate and interpret data, values, and issues
Evidence of computer literacy
Demonstrated problem solving skills
Evidence of skills relevant to the nominated course or field
Evidence of knowledge relevant to the nominated course or field
Evidence of completion of an accredited study skills course
Evidence of academic ability
(QTAC Standard weightings are used unless specified otherwise as below.)
Independent Learning Strategies
Interpersonal & Communication Skills
Achievement & Experience
Skills & Knowledge
QTAC standard weightings
Queensland University of Technology