30 Nov 2018

Wait begins: NCEA stress over for 140,000 students

10:29 am on 30 November 2018

NCEA and Scholarship exams finish today, ending three-and-a-half weeks of study and stress for 140,000 teenagers.

Liv Hartley-House, Eva Mackle, Miro MacDonald, Josie Greenwood and Phoebe  Lederman at Wellington Library.

Liv Hartley-House, Eva Mackle, Miro MacDonald, Josie Greenwood and Phoebe Lederman at Wellington Library. Photo: RNZ / John Gerritsen

Today's exams are level 1 Te Reo Māori, Art History and Classical Studies, level 2 Chinese and Level 3 French and Economics.

Students who still had exams to sit this week told RNZ it was hard to stay motivated.

"It's pretty hard because everyone's finished and everyone's celebrating that they're done and going on holiday, and we're just stuck in the library," Year 13 student Clement Kong said.

He said his biggest challenges included staying off his phone and coping with a lot of exams close together.

"There's a lot of distractions, especially when I'm by myself with my phone and the internet."

At Porirua's Pataka Library, Year 12 student Jessica Reiher, admitted she was finding it hard to maintain momentum in the final week of the exam period.

"You use up all your motivation in the first few exams and then it gets really hard to just keep going at the end," she said.

"It's definitely hard when your friends are having fun and you're still grinding away at the library."

Year 12 student Yanni Doucas said having one of the last exams was "a bit annoying", but it also gave him more time to prepare.

"Some of my friends have already finished their exams and it gets a little bit hard," Year 12 student Liv Hartley-House said.

"It's a bit draining, it's just so much more fun not studying."

"We've had some really nice days, like last week, and it's really hard to study," Phoebe Lederman said.

There were problems with some of this year's exams. A server fault stopped an online exam for ten minutes, resource books were missing from a geography paper in some Hawke's Bay schools, and some students were stumped by the word trivial in the Year 13 History exam.

NZQA deputy chief executive of assessment Kristine Kilkelly said some students were also unable to get to their exams because of bad weather significant in Otago and Southland and in the Wellington area. However, no exam centres were forced to close.

She said marking was well under way.

"Marking gets under way usually within the first week of examinations," she said.

"What we try to do in the early part of the cycle is to have the very large examinations where we might have, for example 46,000 students sitting level 1 English, so we try to get those ones under way quite quickly because that gives us plenty of time to complete the scale of that marking."

Ms Kilkelly said marking would be completed before Christmas.

Exam results would be available in January.