From being a bundle of nerves to totally caught by surprise - Rotorua students rushed to their computers to check their NCEA exam results yesterday.
Results were released early on Thursday for more than 9000 Bay of Plenty students who sat NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship exams last year.
Rotorua Girls' High School Year 13 student Hope Waaka-Smith was nervous as she rushed to log on to see how she had done in her most "challenging" year of school yet, she told the Rotorua Daily Post.
The 17-year-old said she was "so proud" of herself for her results and was "surprised" to see how good they were after the hard year she had.
"I thought the Covid-19 lockdown would make a bad difference to my results."
Learning from home had been "so hard" and she said she lost all motivation in lockdown and the weeks after.
"It was too easy to watch TV instead of learn when you're locked at home with no teachers around."
However, after a slow start back at school, Waaka-Smith said she "hit the ground running" and "tried so hard" to get her credits and endorsement for another year.
Another Rotorua Girls' High School student, Nadea Yee, had not realised that NCEA results were coming out until a friend posted something about them on Instagram.
"My heart started pounding, I was so caught by surprise."
It was the 16-year-old's first year of exams and she said she thought that results would come out in the school year.
After putting it off in the morning, Yee finally checked her results to find that her "hard work had paid off".
She was particularly happy as she had found lockdown a tricky time to learn and preferred being in the classroom where she could talk to her teachers or bounce ideas off her peers.
"It forced me to be a lot more aware of where I am at with my learning and not rely on my teachers so much."
Results for more than 165,000 students in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) were posted on the NZ Qualifications Authority exam hub yesterday morning.
Rotorua Girls' High School principal Sarah Davis was "trawling through results" when the Rotorua Daily Post called and said although it was "early days" - things were looking good.
She said the level 2 numbers had been particularly good and she put their success down to the "huge number" of booster programmes the school ran post-Covid to get students up to speed.
"We tracked students to the nth degree to ensure they would do the best they could given the circumstances."
Some students who did not get the results the school had hoped would receive extra attention this year to "make up the gap" and she said it was crucial "to understand the outside circumstances" for many students and their families.
The school was not seeing "any major effect" at this stage from lockdown but this was likely due to NZQA changes to compensate for lockdown.
In a normal year, students need 80 credits to get NCEA level 1, 60 credits at level 2 or above plus 20 at any level to get NCEA level 2, and 60 credits at level 3 plus 20 from level 2 or above to get NCEA level 3.
However, to compensate for lockdown, students would get one bonus credit for every five they achieve, up to maximums of 10 bonus credits at level 1 and eight at levels 2 and 3.
University Entrance (UE) requirements had been reduced from 14 to 12 credits in three approved UE subjects and universities had said that they would be "open to considering a recommendation" from schools to admit students who still missed out on UE because of Covid disruptions.
John Paul College principal Patrick Walsh was delighted with the preliminary results and said his students had done "exceptionally well".
With pass rates for each level in the high 90 percentile, Walsh said the school overall had done even better than 2019, a surprise given the high stress and anxiety amongst students and staff throughout Covid-19.
Huge student support and a well-prepared distance learning programme were a big part of the achievement, he said.
NZQA's deputy chief executive assessment Kristine Kilkelly said 9108 students in Bay of Plenty entered to sit NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship exams.
She said the ministry was unable to provide specifics for each city or attainment information until results were finalised in April.
Summer school achievement and reconsiderations could be submitted until mid-March and due to Covid-19 it was "more important than ever that these results are processed and factored in before we can provide a complete and accurate view on attainment", she said.
NZQA returns marked papers to students from late January, after which students can apply for a review or reconsideration.