NCEA: National Certificate of Educational Achievements

The NCEA stands for National Certificate of Educational Achievements. In New Zealand schools sent internal assessment of students to New Zealand Qualification Authority (NZQA); each student assigned a National Students Number (NSN). A student can use this number to find what information NZQA holds about him / her including general information, results and record of achievement. In New Zealand every student becomes a candidate for NCEA when schools first send information to NZQA.

NCEA Examinations

The NCEA Examinations are administered in November / December. The time duration is 3 hours. Students are assessed against up to three external achievement standards.


The amount of credits necessary to pass each NCEA level is given below. Remember credits can be reclaimed for multiple licences:
  1. NCEA Level One – At least 80 credits at level one, where 10 need to be in literacy and 10 must be in numeracy.
  2. NCEA Level Two – At least 60 credits at level two and 20 credits at level one. Since 2013, reading ability of level one and numeracy necessities must also be gained.
  3. NCEA Level Three – At least 60 credits at level three and 20 credits at level two. 

NCEA Grades

The each question asked in NCEA examination is awarded a single N, A, M, or E grade
(N) Not Achieved
  • N0
  • N1
  • N2
  • A3
  • A4
(M) Merit
  • M5
  • M6
(E) Excellence
  • E7
  • E8
According to NCEA Official Website, "The judgement about overall performance against the standard is made by aggregating the scores from the questions. For example, in an examination paper with three questions, a candidate may score M5 for Question One, A3 for Question Two, and M6 for Question Three. For the whole paper, the candidate’s score is M5 A3 M6 = 14. This score will be written in the “total” box on the front cover of the candidate’s answer booklet."

NCEA Subjects

  • Accounting
  • Adult Education
  • Agricultural and Horticultural Science
  • Agribusiness (Business Studies)
  • Art History
  • Biology
  • Business & Management
  • Business Studies
  • Chemistry
  • Chinese
  • Classical Studies
  • Cook Islands Māori
  • Computing
  • Core Skills
  • Dance
  • Design & Visual Communication
  • Digital Technologies
  • Drama
  • Driver Licence (Class 1)
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Earth and Space Science
  • Economics
  • Education for Sustainability
  • English
  • English for Academic Purposes
  • English Language (EL)
  • Field Māori
  • French
  • Geography
  • German
  • Hangarau
  • Hauora
  • Health
  • History
  • Home Economics
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Latin
  • Legal Studies
  • Lea Faka-Tonga
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Media Studies
  • Māori Performing Arts
  • Music
  • New Zealand Sign Language
  • Ngā Toi
  • Numeracy
  • Pacific Studies
  • Pāngarau
  • Physical Education
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Pūtaiao
  • Religious Studies
  • Samoan
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Sociology
  • Spanish
  • Supported Learning
  • Te Reo Māori
  • Te Reo Rangatira
  • Technology
  • Tikanga-ā-Iwi
  • Visual Arts
For more information go to NCEA Student Hub
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