Get your school ready for digital exams

This page provides the support and information for schools, Principal’s Nominees, teachers and technical support people to get ready for digital exams. 

Information for students can be found here

teacher helping student with computer

What's new

Updates or additional information may become available during the year, so check here to see what's new. 



  We've prepared a self-guided tutorial for new schools to prepare for digital exams. For schools scaling up their digital exams we've also prepared this information.


  Read our updated 'What's New' (PDF, 129KB) for August 2020, including information on Q&A sessions for schools doing digital exams. 


  Find digital language exam information for schools and students here. (PDF, 62KB) 

Find information for...

Click on your role below to find resources to help you prepare for digital exams. 

Principal's Nominees

Getting ready for digital exams

General information on the steps you'll need to take to prepare for digital exams

Downloadable resources


Links to other information to help with preparing for digital exams

Getting ready for digital exams: A self-guided tutorial 

Whether you're new to digital exams or want a refresher, this self-guided tutorial will run you through what you need to need to know.

Comprising 10 short videos covering everything rom infrastructure and room preparation to increasing confidence in your school community.

It should take no more than 45 minutes to complete. 

Access the self-guided tutorial here.

Scaling up digital exams

We've prepared some information to help you as you scale up digital exams. 

This includes thinking about how to scale up sustainably as well as the different logistical challenges of scaling up digital exams and how you might want to approach these. 

Find more information on scaling up here.



Getting ready for digital exams

General information on the steps you'll need to take to prepare for digital exams

Downloadable resources


Links to other information to help with preparing for digital exams

Technical Support

Getting ready for digital exams

General information on the steps you'll need to take to prepare for digital exams

Downloadable resources


Links to other information to help with preparing for digital exams

Common questions

Can schools access the same software you use – for example to use for practice exams?

Schools and students can use NZQA’s digital exam platform for their practice external assessment in English, Agricultural and Horticultural Science, Classical Studies and the reading standard for Te Reo Māori at all NCEA levels. This is being offered on an opt-in basis for schools. More information can be found here.

Which exams are being offered digitally in 2020?

In 2020 we’ll offer 58 exam sessions across 21 subjects and three levels. A full list of subjects being offered can be found here.

Do schools need to supply digital exam supervisors with a device?

Yes, schools will need to provide a device for digital exam supervisors so they can access the supervisor dashboard to monitor students’ digital exam activity.

A Chromebook is fine for a smaller exam session of fewer than 20 students.  For larger cohorts, a larger screen is recommended so the supervisors can more easily view and monitor a larger number of students.

Do students have to set up language keyboards for Te Reo Māori, Te Reo Rangatira and foreign languages?

Students will be able to use a different language, as appropriate for the subject, by switching the language keyboards.
The language keyboards software packs must be downloaded and fully enabled prior to entering the exam.
We recommend students become familiar with language keyboards throughout the year, ideally using the same device they will use in the exam.

Can students with a Special Assessment Condition do a digital exam?

Yes, students with a SAC entitlement can sit a digital exam. As a school, you should consider the resources you will need to plan for to allow SAC students to sit a digital exam, such as space, supervisors and exam assistants. You can find more information on providing Special Assessment Conditions for digital exams here.

Can VPN, LanSchool software or “incognito” browsers affect the authenticity software in a digital exam?

We have not identified any VPNs or incognito browsers that would circumvent the technical, human and process controls we have in place.
We recommend disabling all background software to ensure it does not interfere with the exam invigilation software.

How can students find their digital exam answers from last year?

NZQA keeps digital exam responses for students until 30 June of the year following the exam. These can be accessed by students through the digital exam platform. More information can be found here.

Can students copy and paste within the browser to move paragraphs around etc.?

Yes, students can copy and paste within the exam browser but not from outside the exam browser.
You can see how this works by using the practice activities under Have a Play.
We recommend students use full screen mode so they do not accidentally move outside the browser window while navigating the exam.

What happens if there is a widespread loss of connection during a digital exam?

In the event the issue is not resolved within a short period of time, exam supervisors may choose to revert to paper exams.
Students will not need to repeat the work they’ve already completed in the digital exam.
Extra time will be given to make up for time lost due to the loss of connection.

What can cause a widespread loss of connection?

There are a range of reasons that can cause a loss of connection during a digital exam.
NZQA, N4L and the exam software provider will be monitoring connectivity through all exams.
If an issue is identified, they will contact your ECM to inform them and work to resolve the issue.

School experiences with digital exams

We spoke with Principal's Nominees at schools who did one or more digital exam in 2019 to find out more about their experiences with digital exams. Below are some highlights from those discussions.

Alan Robertson, Burnside High School

Dionne Thomas, Karamu High School

David Lowe, Taipa Area School

Where to get support

NZQA is here to support your school provide digital exams to students. If you have questions about digital exams, get in touch. 

• Contact your school relationship manager by phone or email.

• Email us at


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