Preparing for NCEA examinations 

Parents and whānau

Talking to their children about study and preparation in the lead up to NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship examinations is one of the ways parents can assist their child to do well.

Parents and whānau want to help, but sometimes worry they don’t know enough about particular school subjects or that they’ve been out of the classroom too long to give valuable advice. You don’t need to be an expert in NCEA or the subjects your child is taking to be able to support them to achieve.

Ways parents and whānau can support students who are sitting exams

Consult the experts: teachers understand how NCEA works and know how your child is progressing. Many schools also have useful information on their website or parent portal.

Provide a suitable study environment: students need a quiet, organised and well-lit space to study for NCEA examinations.

Balance study with free time: it’s important that students remain in a positive frame of mind and stay relaxed. In addition to studying, encourage your child to get enough sleep, take regular breaks, eat well, get fresh air, and stay in touch with their peers.

Prepare, prepare, prepare: make sure you and your child know how they are going to get to their examinations, what the examination room rules are, and what they need to take with them (as well as what they can’t). Remind them to carry their admission slips. Ensure they allow plenty of time to get to their examinations early and plan for what they might do if something unforeseen happens – for example, alternative transport plans in case of bus or train delays.

Know the examination timetable: NCEA examinations are national examinations so students do the same examination at the same time no matter where they live. Make sure you know what examinations your child is sitting, and when, so that you can support them beforehand and talk to them afterwards about how it went.

Know where to go for information: If an event such as an earthquake occurs during the examination period, you’ll need to know whether or not your child’s school or examination centre is open. Visit the school’s website, or keep an eye out for text messages from your school. You can also check the NZQA website or the official NZQA pages on Facebook and Twitter for information about examinations.

NZQA’s free NCEA Guide App for parents and whānau provides quick and easy access to key information about NCEA, including an online timetable of all examinations.

NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship examinations run from Thursday 9 November through to Friday 1 December.

 Top study tips for students

Have a place to study: You need a quiet, organised and well-lit space to study for your examinations. Set regular routines and study goals. Talk to your family or whānau if you need more quiet time, or a different place to prepare.

 Revision: You need to know what is required to achieve each standard. Make sure you have up-to-date notes from classes. Do some practice – there are resource pages for all subjects on the NZQA website that include previous years’ examination papers and past examples of student work.

Be prepared: Make sure you know where your examinations are, and when. You can view the examination timetable on your mobile phone or get it from the NZQA website at You should try to get to examinations at least 20 minutes before they begin so you can relax and make last minute preparations.

 Balance study with free time: It is important that you stay positive and relaxed. While study is important, you should take regular breaks, eat well, get fresh air, stay in touch with friends and study groups, and get plenty of sleep – especially the night before an examination.

The NZQA website at has more information and resources, including tips for students and rules for what students can and can’t take into their examinations.