Victoria's year 12 students have been hailed for their "A-plus resilience" after learning their final ranking score following two lockdown-plagued school years.
More than 45,000 year 12s got their Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) on Thursday morning, with 39 achieving the top score of 99.95.
Twenty-eight of those were male students and 11 female, of which three came from Methodist Ladies' College at Kew in Melbourne's east.
In general, girls (70.6) outperformed boys (67.62) on average across the state.
Education Minister James Merlino urged those who were disappointed with their results not to get too down.
"Your study scores, your ATAR, do not define you. There are many, many paths to success," the acting premier told reporters on Thursday.
"But today we should celebrate ... this has been the hardest two years for the profession (and) they've got through it."
No COVID-19 exposure was linked to students sitting VCE exams this year and although there have been hiccups since face-to-face learning resumed, 94 per cent of schools across the state have not closed for a single day.
Mr Merlino is confident Victorian students will spend the entirety of 2022 in classrooms, ensuring the 2021 cohort is the last subjected to extended periods of remote learning.
"I know that's what I'm working towards," he said.
"We're back to face-to-face in term four and that will be the case in 2022."
Albert Park College student Bonnie Sheppard described her high school experience as "unusual".
She found it extremely difficult to rehearse for her music classes, but credited her teachers for going "above and beyond" to organise solutions.
"Fortunately, we were able to run smoothly online ... but it definitely was a drastic difference to previous years," she said.
Olive Cameron, a Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning student at Collingwood College, also said lockdowns made her practical courses harder to complete.
"Our teacher would give us some things to do at home if we could, keep us cooking, keep us learning," she said.
The pair were among 50,723 VCE students and 14,066 VCAL students to graduate.
Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority chief executive Stephen Gniel said the class of 2021 had faced obstacles beyond just the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I'd give them an A-plus for resilience," he said.
"This is a group, some of them in Mallacoota and in the valley, (that) started with the fires in 2020, and they've seen it all the way through the pandemic."
Every student completing one or more VCE or VET Unit 3/4 subject was given special consideration towards their ATAR, given the disruption to the 2021 school year.
Students have until December 20 to finalise their university or TAFE course preferences, with the first round of offers to be released on January 14.
Australian Associated Press
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