New Zealand Scholarship


New Zealand Scholarship provides recognition and monetary reward to top students in their last year of schooling. New Zealand Scholarship examinations enable candidates to be assessed against challenging standards, and are demanding for the most able candidates in each subject.

Scholarship candidates are expected to demonstrate high-level critical thinking, abstraction and generalisation, and to integrate, synthesise and apply knowledge, skills, understanding and ideas to complex situations.

Entry to New Zealand Scholarship

Students can enter for New Zealand Scholarship through an accredited New Zealand secondary school. For full details of the entry requirements, see NCEA Rules and Procedures - Secondary Schools.

There are separate fee structures for domestic students and international students, see fees for NCEA.

Eligibility to receive a monetary award

To be eligible to receive a scholarship award, the student must be enrolled in tertiary study in New Zealand for the years in which they receive monetary awards.For awards with second or subsequent year payments recipients must maintain a 'B' grade average each year of their tertiary study in New Zealand. For further information see Monetary Awards.

For full details of the eligibility requirements, see Assessment (including Examination) Rules for Schools.

How many candidates are awarded New Zealand Scholarship?

Approximately 3 per cent of Year 13 students studying each subject at Level 3 are awarded Scholarship, if they reach the standard that has been set. There is some tolerance around the 3 per cent, mainly for those subjects with few candidates. See Scholarship subjects for a list of this year's scholarship subjects.

How is New Zealand Scholarship marked?

Markers allocate a score of 0-8 for each component in the New Zealand Scholarship assessment using subject specific schedules. These are based on a Generic Marking Guide, as follows:

  • An answer given a score of 8 is an Outstanding answer in all respects. Strong evidence of integration and synthesis. As good as could be expected under examination conditions. Accurate, comprehensive, coherent, lucid, perceptive.
  • A score of 1 shows Meagre understanding relevant to the question.
  • A score of 0 is awarded for answers that are blank or irrelevant.

The work of the highest scoring candidates is reviewed by marking panels, to identify the top candidates in each subject. Exam booklets for candidates whose scores are close to either the Scholarship or Outstanding cut-offs are also re-marked, to ensure their results are correct.

New Zealand Scholarship assessments have between 3 and 5 components, and the scores for each component are totaled to give the final result. For further information see Scholarship Mark Ranges.

Student exemplars

A selection of examination papers have been reproduced with permission from previous Top Scholars. To view these examination papers, go to the New Zealand Scholarship subjects page and click on the 'assessment specification and resources' link for each subject. The Top Scholar examination booklet is at the bottom of the page under the [subject] resources heading.

New Zealand Scholarship results

New Zealand Scholarship results are released about mid February each year. If you want to know more about;

  • accessing your results,
  • how you will receive your booklets,
  • what options are open to you after you get your booklets (such as applying for a Reconsideration or Review),

See New Zealand Scholarship results publication for more details.

Further information

If you are a student or parent, your school should be able to answer your specific questions.

If you are unable to find what you require here, please contact the NZQA Call Centre.

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