Using NCEA after leaving school

NCEA and other national certificates are recognised by employers and are used as the benchmark for selection by universities and polytechnics. NCEA level 2 provides the foundation skills required for employment.

Independent research has shown that performance in NCEA is a good indicator of success at first-year university.

Entrance to a New Zealand university

There are some basic requirements for entrance to a New Zealand university, including a minimum number of literacy (English or te reo Maori) and numeracy credits. For more information, see University Entrance requirements.

NCEA results overseas

The NCEAs are New Zealand's national school-leaver qualifications. Overseas universities usually require international students applying for admission to have achieved the university entrance standard set by the country in which they studied. The same principle generally applies to other tertiary providers overseas. 

New Zealand qualifications are generally accepted in the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom (UK).

NCEA level 3 is broadly equivalent to:

  • the UK General Certificate of Education (GCE) A-level
  • the relevant state or territory Senior Secondary Certificate of Education in Australia.

NCEA level 3 results are used in the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank for entrance to all Australian universities. On receipt of an application, Australian Tertiary Admission Centres contact NZQA directly for results from early in January.

Further information is available for students applying to tertiary institutions overseas about:

Using NCEA results to apply for employment

When applying for employment, prospective employees can create a summary of their results from their Record of Achievement (ROA) and paste it into a curriculum vitae (CV) or job application. To do this:

  1. Log in to view the ROA using your National Student Number (NSN).
  2. Choose to view a selection of items.
  3. Copy and paste the information into the CV document or application.

Further information

For more information on finding out what options are available, the following websites may be useful for future planning:

Careers in New Zealand

Where to next

School leavers' toolkit


The Where to from school (PDF, 4.8MB) brochure can help you understand your options beyond school.

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