Prepare students

If your students are sitting a digital exam, it’s good practice for students to become familiar with the exam software, as well as being confident using a device.

Students should complete practice activities on the device they will be using in a digital exam, to ensure they are prepared.

We also recommend teachers become familiar with the practice activities, so they can support the preparation of their students.

Your school should plan class time to run through the generic and subject based practice activities with students.

Practice activities

You can find practice activities for students to familiarise themselves with the digital exam platform here

These show students how to use the digital exam platform. Resources also prepare them for what to expect before, during and after a digital exam.

Activities and resources include: 

  • Activities to become familiar with the exam and messages they may receive during an exam.
  • digital exam papers for subjects from 2019 being offered online in 2020. The responses are not saved, these activities let them experience the look and feel of online exams.
  • Information on preparing devices for an exam.
  • How students log in, what they need to bring and what happens if something goes wrong during a digital exam.

Student login for exams

Students will use the same login details to access their digital exam as they use to access their results.

Before starting digital exams, make sure students new to NCEA go to to create their account and returning students memorise their user name and password to use when accessing their digital exam.

Students can find this information on their NSN cards and NSN information sheets. 

You could also add this information to your parent portal so they can remind students to create/update their account as required.

You can check if or how recently students with a digital entry have logged into their account using the learners with a digital entry report accessed from your NZQA provider login. 

Online learning skills

As a result of COVID-19, many of your students are likely already familiar with using a device for learning. 

Students sitting digital exams should be confident using a device. Skills your students will need include:

  • Reading and navigating web pages
  • Typing an answer
  • Using word processing
  • Tapping/moving a cursor to locate and select information on a page.

Consider whether you need to include student activities to increase confidence in these skills alongside the practice activities for the digital exam platform. 

TKI provides teaching resources for digital learning you can refer to, to assist with planning and teaching students online learning skills.

Accessing copyrighted digital past exam papers

Past exams that include copyright material require a login for access.

The Principal's Nominee can get you login information via the school’s NZQA provider login. 

All students should use this login. They will have to agree to the copyright terms and conditions prior to accessing the past exam. 

Using keyboard shortcuts in a digital exam

The digital exam platform allows for some keyboard shortcuts to be used. As part of your preparation with students, you should help them become familiar with which shortcut keys they can use.

Other shortcuts will be disabled, to reduce the likelihood of students losing work or accidentally navigating away from the exam browser.

Available shortcut keys:

Shortcut Keys

What it does


Select everything on a page.






Copy selected text


Paste selected text


Cut selected text


Return to default page magnification setting (100%)


Mark as Bold


Mark as Italics



Ctrl/Cmd+(- or +)

Zoom in or out of a page, "-" will zoom out and "+" will zoom in on the page.


Toggle between adding text and overwriting text 



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