NCEA exams and portfolios

A number of standards are assessed externally, i.e. not by a school's teachers. These standards are either assessed by external exams or the submission of portfolios.

External examinations

In most subjects, students sit an exam at the end of the school year which covers the externally assessed standards. Exams are written and marked by teachers contracted to NZQA for that purpose. All candidates for a subject sit the exam at the same time, wherever they are. All their answers are marked to the same standard. Unless specifically excluded by the assessment specifications, candidates can present their answers in te reo Māori. In most subjects, candidates can request the exam booklet in te reo Māori. For more information, see External examinations.

Submission of portfolios

Some Technology, Visual Arts, Design and Visual Communication (DVC) and Education for Sustainability standards require you to submit a portfolio or collection of work. For more information, see NCEA Subject Resources. Unless specifically excluded by the assessment specifications, candidates can present their portfolio in te reo Māori. To find out, see Te Reo Māori Translation Subjects.

Return of examination answer booklets or Level 3 and Scholarship Visual Arts portfolios to overseas addresses

Students who live overseas may have their examination answer booklets and/or Level 3 and Scholarship Visual Arts portfolios returned to an address outside New Zealand. This process only applies to candidates who have an overseas address recorded on the NZQA database.

There is a fee for this service.

Students must apply in writing to the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) on a copy of the form, available as a Word document (DOC, 403KB) or pdf (PDF, 173KB), and pay the appropriate fee by 1 March of the year following the exams.

  • Answer booklets will be dispatched from February of the year following the exams.
  • Portfolios will be dispatched progressively from January of the year following the exams, as marking is completed.

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