About NCEA Online

New Zealand schools are increasingly using digitally enabled teaching and learning, and NCEA assessments need to reflect this.

We’ve been giving students a chance to do some of their NCEA exams online since 2015 (through trials, pilots, practice and end of year exams) and thousands have taken part. Students tell us that they prefer it.

In 2020 NZQA offered 58 digital exam sessions across 21 subjects. In 2021 we’ll offer 67 exam sessions across 24 subjects and three levels (unless noted):

Agricultural & Horticultural Science

Art History

Business Studies


Classical Studies

Education for Sustainability (L2 only)






Home Economics


Latin (L1 & 2 only)

Media Studies

Psychology (L3 only)


Social Studies


Te Reo Māori

Te Reo Rangatira

Lea Faka-Togan

Cook Islands Māori


Check out the key findings from the 2020 NCEA Online evaluation.

NZQA will be supporting schools and students to prepare for NCEA Online through:

  • Practice activities - showing students and teachers the features of NCEA Online. 
  • Digital device check - students can check their device and its software are compatible with the NCEA Online software.
  • Digitised exam papers from 2020 - for the subjects available in 2021.  
  • School readiness - working with school leaders to help them assess their readiness to offer their students the option of NCEA Online.
  • Technical readiness - working through Network for Learning to help school leaders and their IT support people to assess their readiness.
  • Training – providing Exam Centre Managers and Supervisors with the knowledge and skills to administer digital exam sessions.  

Schools considering participation in the 2021 digital practice and NCEA exams can check out our website for information about getting ready for digital exams.

NZQA will keep working with schools and students to ensure technology delivers a good user experience for a subject before it is offered as a digital assessment that counts towards NCEA. We are continuing to investigate options where formulas or special characters are required, such as mathematics, science and music. 

The Digital Assessment Vision  provides more information about the direction of NCEA Online. 


Page last updated May 2021

Skip to main page content Accessibility page with list of access keys Home Page Site Map Contact Us newzealand.govt.nz