NCEA Online: What's New in 2020

20 Aug 2020

Information about our updated service for School Principals, Principal’s Nominees, Teachers and Students.


Seven more subjects

We’re offering 21 subjects online this year include expanding Te Reo Māori and Te Reo Rangatira to three levels, and adding Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Samoan, Spanish and Psychology - 58 exam sessions in total at levels 1, 2 and 3.


 100 schools

More than 100 schools are interested in offering digital practice exams on the NZQA digital exam platform for four weeks from 31 August. Subject association exams for all levels of English, Agricultural and Horticultural Science and Classical Studies will be available on the NCEA Online platform as well as the Te Reo Māori reading standard. Guidance to help administer, supervise and mark practice exams can be found here. Schools are being updated with regular communications in the lead up to the start of exams.


For students

Students doing practice or end of year exams can do practice activities and see the exam layout here. Digitised 2019 language exams are on the Student Exam Hub or subject page.

For Principal’s
Nominees, IT staff
& Teachers

NZQA has developed self-guided tutorials  to help Principal’s Nominees, teachers and IT support get their school started in digital exams. Schools can also register for a Q&A session to ask further questions after they have completed the tutorials. Please note that these sessions are not part of the support package for digital practice exams on the NZQA exam platform.


Student login

During exam periods, students will access digital practice exams starting 31 August and digital external exams in November-December from a banner on the NZQA website home page. When preparing for digital exams they should go to to create a new account if they don’t have one or login to check their user-name and password.


Network assurance checks

To ensure infrastructure can support digital practice and NCEA Online exams, Network for Learning (N4L) will work with school IT support on Network Assurance Checks and technical support again this year.   N4L sent an ‘opt in’ email to Principal’s Nominees (from email address on 28 July.   If you have not already opted in for a Network Assurance Check please do so ASAP (via the email/form) to ensure a place.  Network Assurance Checks will be completed throughout August.

Whitelisting and VLANS

Schools offering digital language exams will need to “whitelist” to restrict internet access to the exam platform and NZQA website.  For details check with This is best done in combination with a VLAN (virtual local area network), or equivalent, to segregate exam traffic from other internet use. We are trialling this with language exams this year, before requiring it for all online exams in 2021.VLAN information will be collected by N4L during the Network Assurance Checks detailed above during August.  Once the checks are completed N4L will be in touch with schools interested in setting up a dedicated VLAN for exams, to provide guidance and technical support.


Going Digital

This remains a choice for schools. Students can switch to paper on the day.

Browsers, devices, shortcut keys & functionality

Exams will be accessed using laptops, desktops, notebooks and Chromebooks. Touch screen devices without an attached keyboard and mobile phones can’t be used. Students should access exams using either Google Chrome V74+ or Safari V11+ and can use these short cut keys on the platform. Functionality includes English spell-check; planning box; copy, paste and drag text; blank screen; regular auto-save.


Te Reo translations will be available on request.

Coming up

25 August

Final guidance update for practice exams

25, 26, 27 August 

Q&A sessions for schools new to digital exams

31 August

Four weeks of practice exams start

By 9 September

Schools to confirm digital entries

15, 17 September

Q&A webinars for schools scaling up involvement

16 November

2020 NCEA exams begin



Call or email your School Relationship Manager including for how schools can access Network for Learning support.


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