Don't put so much pressure on yourselves, your results don't define how far you will go in life.
That's the simple message ex-NCEA students had for the 4000 Northland students who will next week find out how well they did in their exams.
Results will be released on Thursday next week, and while some students will be jumping for joy - others may be disappointed.
But Northlanders who did not pass NCEA level 3 when they were at school, want young people to know there's a future beyond NCEA.
Wellington nurse Phoenix Ahomiro was one credit short of gaining NCEA level 3 when she was at Whangārei Girls' High School.
Now she is completing her Master of Professional Practice with leadership endorsement, and is writing a 30,000-word thesis on Māori workforce development.
Ahomiro said she did well in NCEA level 1 and 2, and although she missed out on level 3, she wasn't worried.
"I knew you could do nursing with a foundation paper having only done level 1. I opted to do it because it had a level five human bio paper in it, which is the paper I wanted to do at school."
Ahomiro went on to study a Bachelor of Nursing, graduating in 2014 and going straight into a nursing job at Capital and Coast District Health Board.
She said NCEA students finding out their results shouldn't put so much pressure on themselves.
"Honestly that pressure isn't worth it. You stress about things in high school that aren't actually relevant once you're an adult, which you don't see until you're an adult."
Lisa Welham, also an ex-Whangārei Girls' student, missed level 3 by six credits.
She said she was told about the importance of passing NCEA and choosing papers wisely.
"There was pressure to perform and do well, which I found stressful as a 14/15-year-old, and the pressure mounted as the levels progressed," she said.
The 27-year-old said she was always nervous going into a test or mock exam, and final exams were worse.
When she found out she hadn't gained enough credits to achieve NCEA level 3, she was upset.
"I completed Year 13 but missed level 3 qualification by six credits. I was so upset about it. However, it has never been a hindrance to personal growth or other tertiary or employment opportunities," she said.
Welham worked after leaving high school, completed level 3 and 4 communications papers at NorthTec, and in 2019 started studying a Bachelor of Business, majoring in accountancy, which she expects to complete next year.
She wanted NCEA students today to know if they gave it their best shot and worked hard, that's all they could ask of themselves.
"Your results don't define your strengths and weaknesses or how far you will go in life," she said.
"Opportunities will still be available for you despite not having the marks you were expecting or wanting. Success comes in many shapes and forms, you will be great no matter what, so long as you try."