Digital Trials & Pilots 2018 Factsheet for Students

NZQA is aware that you are living and learning in a world where technology is always at your fingertips and it makes sense that you should be assessed using technology you are familiar with.

We’re responding by offering Digital Trial and Pilot exams to schools and students for a selection of Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 NCEA subjects.

A Trial is a practice exam that doesn’t count towards NCEA, but may provide evidence towards a derived grade. A Pilot is a digital exam that you sit instead of the NCEA paper examination (with the printed exam paper available if required). These exams are optional and below is a snapshot of what you can expect in 2018 if your school is participating.

Mid-year Level 1 Science Trial

NZQA is offering a Level 1 Digital Science Trial in late Term 2. This Trial will contain features and tools unique to a digital exam and will also explore how exams might be offered at different times of the year and closer to the time of learning.

End of year Digital Trials

In September/October this year we will be offering ten Digital Trial examinations in the following subjects:

Level 1

  • Classical Studies
  • English
  • Media Studies
  • Science

Level 2

  • Classical Studies
  • English
  • Media Studies

Level 3

  • Classical Studies
  • English
  • Media Studies

The 2018 Digital Trials are available during a five-week period, split across two windows. The first window will open between 10 – 28 September and after the school holidays the second window will open between 15 – 26 October. Your school and teachers will decide when is the best time for you to complete a Digital Trial.

2018 Digital Pilots

These will run at the same time as the equivalent NCEA paper examinations and are available in the following subjects:

Level 1 Pilots: Classical Studies, English, Media Studies.

Level 2 Pilots: Classical Studies, English, Media Studies.

Level 3 Pilots: Classical Studies, English, Media Studies.

Participation in Level 2 and Level 3 Pilots will depend on your school’s previous involvement in Digital Trials and Pilots.

Getting prepared to sit a Digital Trial or Pilot

Familiarisation Activity Tool
NZQA has created a Familiarisation Activity Tool which gives you a hands-on introduction to digital exams. This is a great opportunity for you to experience the software being used for the Trials. You will receive a personalised login by your teacher to access this tutorial.

Previous years’ Digital Exams
NZQA has made previous years’ Digital exams available on our website. Your teacher will be able to provide the passwords for these and you can access the previous Digital exams at school or at home.


You can complete Digital Trials and Pilots on either school devices or your own device.  Your school will work with you to ensure your device is compatible with the digital exams.

IMPORTANT: iPads and touch screen portable devices do not meet the security requirements of a digital examination and cannot to be used.

Your device will need to have a minimum screen resolution of 800 x 600 and you need to use one of the following browsers to access the digital examinations:

  • Chrome (54 or higher)
  • Safari (10 or higher)
  • Firefox (49 or higher).

Make sure you have automatic updates, screensavers and notifications disabled before you sit a Digital exam.

Further information

To keep up to date with the 2018 Trials and Pilots you can head to our website, which will be regularly updated throughout the year.


Page last updated 5 June 2018

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