Rotorua's senior students may be knee-deep in past exam papers at the moment, but at least two are determined to keep their pre-exam stress to a minimum.

Rotorua Lakes High School Year 13 students Sasha Cox, 17, and Maya Cuff, 17, are facing their last year of NCEA exams.

Tensions are high but both say it is important to keep stress levels low in order to get the most out of their study.

"Everyone's a bit worried but a lot of that is just people being tired because it's the end of the year," Sasha said.

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"When it comes to study, the old papers are my go-to because you get a good feel for the layout of the exam and what to expect."

Sasha said he already had an Excellence endorsement for the year so that reduced the pressure.

"It's scary to think these are our last exams because everything will be different next year. But the good thing is I know what to expect going into the exams so there are not going to be any surprises."


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Pressure rises as exams creep closer

Maya said it was easy to fall into the trap of putting too much pressure on yourself.

"I know I need to get good marks but I also need to set realistic goals. It's quite stressful being the last exams but my teachers and parents help ease that pressure and I just set daily tasks to tick off.

"My advice to other students is to keep a clear mind and avoid worrying because when you do you're less likely to want to study. It's only a short amount of time so just put your head down then you can look forward to a nice, long break."

Western Heights High School Year 11 students Kiani Walker, 16, and Sean Kim, 16, are in a completely different boat, walking into their NCEA exams for the first time.

Both are taking maths, English, physical education, accounting, science and Spanish.

"I have an older sister who told me all about NCEA. She told me I didn't have to stress too much about my first exams but I'm still a little stressed," Sean said.

"I took one NCEA paper last year so I have some idea of what to expect," said Kiani. "It actually wasn't as hard as I thought it would be."

The pair said they were taking their exams year by year.

"There's no point worrying about Year 12 and 13 just yet," said Kiani. "I'm going to focus on this year's exams and then tackle the others when they come up."