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7 facts you need to know about NCEA Level 2

Most teens and parents focus on NCEA Level 3 as the most important year of study when, in fact, NCEA Level 2 needs just as much attention. Here are 7 facts you need to know to ensure your teen gets the most out of their Level 2 certificate.

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  1. University selectors have their eyes on Level 2 results

    Contrary to what many parents and teens believe, Level 2 is actually one of the most important years of a student's secondary school qualification. If your teen would like to apply for a university scholarship then they need to focus on achieving Merit and Excellence credits during Level 2. Both are well received by universities looking for talent. Universities rely heavily on a student's Level 2 results because scholarship offers are usually made before Level 3 is complete.

  2. 80 Excellence credits equals big money

    This is an unwritten rule, but if your teen wants one of the 'big scholarships' ($20,000 plus) then they should aim for a minimum of 80 Excellence credits during Level 2.

  3. Extracurricular will set them apart

    As we have already mentioned, this is the year to impress universities and while academic excellence is important so is a well-rounded CV. Employers and universities look favourably on students who show experience in leadership, service and extracurricular activities like sport and/or culture. If two bright students apply for the same job or tertiary scholarship, the student with a more rounded portfolio will usually win the race.

  4. 60 (or 80) credits are required

    A student who has completed Level 1 will only be required to acquire 60 credits from Level 2 or higher. This is because 20 credits from their Level 1 certificate will be 'rolled over', bringing their total to 80. A student who hasn't completed Level 1 must achieve a minimum of 80 credits - 60 at Level 2 and above and 20 additional at any three levels. Students must also have met the Level 1 literacy and numeracy requirements.

  5. Endorsements should be encouraged

    There is a way for top students to distinguish themselves while studying NCEA, this is through course endorsements and certificate endorsements earned through achievement standard courses. For more about course and certificate endorsements and how students can achieve this download this FREE eBook.

  6. Benchmark exams could be their saving grace

    Students are usually required to sit benchmark (practice) exams towards the end of Term 3. Some students don't bother studying for these exams because they believe they're not the 'real deal.' This is the wrong approach to take. Your teen should study just as hard for their benchmark exams as they will for their end-of-year exams. When a crisis occurs preventing a student from completing their end-of-year exams then their benchmark grades will be used as their final result. This recently happened with the 7.5 magnitude earthquake that prevented Canterbury and Wellington students from sitting their exams.

  7. You can track their progress online

    You can monitor your teen's progress online through their school's parent portal or through the NZQA website. Online tools are great to see if your teen is on their way to passing or if they need some extra help to get across the line. You can log in at any time throughout the year to check on their progress.


What to find out more about NCEA? Download this free eBook - Getting to grips with NCEA.

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