NCEA Overview

NCEA Level 1-3

Your teachers will gather evidence that shows you have gained Achievement or Unit Standards. Evidence about your achievement may be collected in a variety of ways, for example, seminars, group tasks, tests, projects, examinations. Some standards may be assessed during the year (internally assessed) and others through examinations held at the end of the year (externally assessed) or by submissions of portfolios in some subjects (Arts and Technology subjects for example). For each standard attempted, you will be given a final grade or outcome.

Achievement Standard Outcomes:                          Unit Standard Outcomes:

Achieved with Excellence (E)                                       Achieved (A)

Achieved with Merit (M)

Achieved (A)

Not Achieved (NA)

There are three levels of NCEA, depending on the difficulty of the standards achieved. At each level, you must achieve a certain number of credits, gained by completing standards, to receive an NCEA certificate. Credits can be gained over more than one year.

Level 1

NCEA Level 1 is issued once you have gained:

  • 80 credits at Level 1 or higher
  • 10 Literacy credits at Level 1 or higher
  • 10 Numeracy credits at Level 1 or higher

Level 2

NCEA Level 2 is issued once you have gained:

  • 60 credits at Level 2 or higher plus 20 credits at any level
  • The Level 1 Literacy and Numeracy requirements must also be met

Level 3

NCEA Level 3 is issued once you have gained:

  • 60 credits at Level 3 or higher plus 20 credits at Level 2
  • The Level 1 Literacy and Numeracy requirements must also be met

NCEA Certificate Endorsement

You require 50 credits at Excellence to gain NCEA endorsed with Excellence or 50 credits at Merit or above to gain NCEA endorsed with Merit.

Credits counting towards endorsement may be gained over more than one year and at more than one level.

NCEA Course Endorsement

You will gain an endorsement for a subject if you gain 14 or more credits at Merit or Excellence.  At least 3 of these credits must be from externally assessed standards.  A course endorsement can only be awarded in one calendar year.

University Entrance (UE)

University Entrance (UE) is the minimum requirement for you to qualify for entrance to a university in New Zealand. 

To qualify you need:

  • NCEA Level 3
  • 14 credits at Level 3 in each of 3 subjects from the list of approved subjects


  • 10 Numeracy credits at Level 1 or higher
  • 10 Literacy credits (5 credits in reading and 5 credits in writing) at Level 2 and above from specific achievement standards


It is also important that you check the entry criteria for the tertiary institution or course you want to study as some universities have their own specific entry requirements in addition to those above.


Scholarship is a monetary award to recognise top students.  It does not attract credits or contribute towards a qualification but the fact that a student has gained a Scholarship appears on their Record of Achievement.

The Scholarship examinations enable students to be assessed against challenging standards at Level 4 in each subject. Scholarship students are expected to demonstrate high-level critical thinking, abstraction and generalization, and to integrate, synthesise and apply knowledge, skills, understanding and ideas to complex situations.

Ms Kemble, Deputy Headmaster – Curriculum, coordinates Scholarship entries while each Head of Department is responsible for the Scholarship programme.

National Student Identification Number (NSN)

All students have an NSN number. This is used as a personal identification number when you complete NCEA internal and external assessments. When you log in for the first time you will be asked to generate a password. Keep your password in a safe place.

Once you have your NSN number and registered on the NZQA website you will be able to view your results, look at your Record of Achievement (ROA) and also make a request for an official Record of Achievement (ROA). You may have one of these per year free of charge.​​​​​​​