Kirsty Johnston is an investigative reporter at the New Zealand Herald.

The nervous wait for NCEA exam results is over

Benjamin Cullen is one of the thousands of students around the country who will get their NCEA results tomorrow. Photo / Michael Craig
Benjamin Cullen is one of the thousands of students around the country who will get their NCEA results tomorrow. Photo / Michael Craig

For anxious students around the country the wait is over: NCEA exam results are now available online.

Results became available on the NZQA website shortly after 7am.

In previous years the NZQA website has crashed as thousands logged on at once to check their results.


Ben Cullen is a picture of anticipation as he awaits his exam results.

The student at Mount Albert Grammar in Auckland is one of 145,000 teenagers across the country who was waiting for their NCEA marks. The results went online this morning, bringing to an end the nervous wait.

For Ben, it is his first taste of school exams - he sat NCEA Level 1 last year in six subjects including his favourite, Drama, and the one he worries most about, Business Studies.

"The business studies exam was quite hard and it was the first time I'd done that subject so I'm not sure how it will go," he said.

"The other exams were good. I felt confidence and there weren't any surprises."

Ben, who hopes to study performing arts after school, says he's hoping to get his Level 1 certificate endorsed with Excellence. He needs just four credits - or one paper - at Excellence level to make the grade.

"I did have a really good year this year, I had amazing teachers so I'm quite confident. And a little bit nervous, but what's done is done, you can't change it."

NCEA results will be online sometime this morning. The New Zealand Qualifications Authority won't say exactly when, but has advised students that if they have any trouble accessing results, there will be call centre staff on hand to help.

Careers New Zealand will also have staff available to answer questions.

Principal adviser Pat Cody said getting results back could be an emotional and confronting time for teens.

"Results can be a mixed bag," Mr Cody said. "For many students, results will confirm study or career pathways, but some will receive results that may be disappointing or unexpected."

"Exams can be a difficult time so when students do badly, it can frighten them from trying again next time. That's when they need the support of parents and caregivers to help them make the right decisions about their career and future."

Mr Cody said it was important for parents to challenge their child and ask questions about their performance. A good technique was going through the exam paper together - as it not only provided the chance to improve, it also allowed them to see where they went wrong and learn from their mistakes.

He said it was also helpful to talk to school leavers about a Plan B and Plan C and to remember there was more than one way to get a desired career.

There were 119 NCEA exams sat over four weeks at the end of last year, with papers marked by panels around the country before Christmas.

From Thursday 14 January, students who have paid their fees and completed NCEA or University Entrance will be able to order their certificates online. Answer booklets will be returned from late January.

New Zealand Scholarship results are due out Tuesday, February 9, 2016.

Students across the country will be able to access their NCEA exam results tomorrow. Photo / Greg Bowker
Students across the country will be able to access their NCEA exam results tomorrow. Photo / Greg Bowker

What it all means

• NCEA certificates are built up out of courses, which contain standards, that each have a number of credits.

• Students must achieve a certain number of credits to gain an NCEA certificate.

• There are three levels of NCEA certificate, depending on the difficulty of the standards achieved. In general, students work through levels 1 to 3 in years 11 to 13 at school.

• Students are recognised for high achievement at each level by gaining NCEA with Merit or NCEA with Excellence.

• Both courses (or subjects) can have endorsement, or a student's entire certificate can be endorsed.

• Students will gain an endorsement for a course if, in a single school year, they achieve 14 or more credits at Merit or Excellence. At least three credits must be assessed during the year, and three during exams.

• A certificate will be endorsed when 50 credits are gained at either Merit level, for a Merit endorsement, or Excellence level, for an Excellence endorsement.

• New Zealand Scholarship are an extra set of exams that provide recognition and monetary reward to top students in their last year of schooling. They are released at a later date.

-Source: NZQA

What if you don't get the results you're after?

• Exam results time can be full of emotions for young people (and parents) - ranging from euphoria, surprise, envy, nonchalance or worst, being deeply disappointed. Parents need to think how they will consider their and their child's emotions if they are going to have a meaningful conversation about the future.

• NCEA is a good opportunity to talk about career aspirations, starting a conversation or thinking about a Plan B. Research confirms parents' influence on young people - therefore parents can play a key role in extending young people's career horizons, validating their effort and sense of options.

• If things don't go as planned, NCEA results can be reviewed, or there may be opportunities to achieve missed credits - talk to your school or NZQA. Tertiary providers may also have bridging courses or staircasing for those at the end of their schooling.

• Parents may need more information on what results actually mean for their young person - either Careers NZ or the NZQA website are invaluable resources.

- Source: Careers NZ

- NZ Herald

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