6 Nov 2022

Students prepare to sit NCEA exams

1:05 pm on 6 November 2022
Students sitting an exam together

NCEA exams begin this week. Photo: 123RF

More than 140,000 high school students will sit exams over the next month, as end-of-year exams get under way on Monday.

The largest NCEA exam will be Level 1 English on 17 November, with more than 45,000 students sitting it.

There are 458 exam centres - mostly schools - including seven in the Cook Islands and one in Niue.

NZQA spokesperson Andrea Gray said schools will be following public health advice, and students will be seated 1.5 metres apart.

Most exams are done on paper, although just under half of all students can sit an exam online in a supervised centre.

Clinical psychologist Dougal Sutherland said planning days and scheduling breaks after exams to recover is key.

"Human performance is best under a moderate amount of pressure, because if you marshal the forces that come with being stressed, you know, the adrenaline can be useful, it can help you concentrate and focus.

"But it's about being able to recover after that as well, giving yourself some down time, which I think is a key message for young people."

Sutherland said that 30-minute bursts of intense study with short frequent breaks can help the brain store information better.

In recognition of the disruption caused by Covid-19, the government was again allowing schools to award extra credits called learning recognition credits.

Students can receive one learning recognition credit for every five credits that they achieve during the year, up to a maximum of eight credits at levels two and three and ten at level one.

It also lowered the threshold for University Entrance (UE). UE usually requires 14 credits in three different approved subjects, but this year students can get it with 14 credits in two subjects and 12 in a third.

The changes follow warnings from principals that many students and teachers are stressed and overworked.

Last year's NCEA exams saw a significant drop in students taking them.

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