How are the NCEA exams going this year?
Email the Herald Newsdesk

Key Points:

Lisa Blakemore is sure to have enough ink to last her in the Level 1 English exam today - the largest NCEA session, to be sat by 46,755 candidates.

The 15-year-old previously came to an exam equipped with three pens, only to have all three stop working before she was finished.

"They were new pens, so I don't know what happened," said the Year 11 student at Mt Albert Grammar.

"Now I take eight or nine - I don't want to run out."

Also of note in the NCEA timetable today is the inaugural education for sustainability exam, a Level 2 test scheduled for this afternoon.

The subject is new this year.

While Lisa was relatively relaxed ahead of today's major English exam, she expected nerves to creep up as the start time loomed.

"You only have three hours to write three essays," she said. "You don't have a lot of spare time to make mistakes."

Her top tip for her fellow high school students was to have an introduction in mind before going in to the exam to prevent "blanking out".

Lisa has studied poems, books and a movie - the 1998 Jim Carrey title The Truman Show - and used exam questions from previous years to help prepare.

An aspiring physiotherapist or doctor who does surf lifesaving when not at school, Lisa sat biology, the first of her seven NCEA exams, yesterday.

* Today's exams

Morning: Level 1 English, Level 2 economics, Level 3 mathematics with calculus, Scholarship music.

Afternoon: Level 1 economics, Level 2 education for sustainability, Level 3 economics.