4 Nov 2016

Students prepare to knuckle down (or not) for NCEA exams

8:24 am on 4 November 2016

NCEA and Scholarship exams start next week and today secondary schools are releasing their senior students for study leave if they haven't already done so.

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NCEA exams start next Wednesday. Photo: AFP

The Qualifications Authority says about 146,000 young people will sit this year's exams, which start on Wednesday.

The principal of Burnside High School in Christchurch, Phil Holstein, said his senior students would go on study leave today, and he had told them to watch out for distractions.

"The key message is they're by themselves a lot and it's so easy, I suppose, to be distracted and most of us find that easy to do because it's preferable to do other things rather than sit down and do that final bit of study that they've got to do to finish well."

Mr Holstein said there was always time to prepare for exams.

"It's never too late, but you've got to use that time wisely, smartly, with a plan and a strategy and once you've got some clear goals, then you've got to prioritise your time accordingly."

Newlands College in Wellington released its students earlier this week.

Its principal, Grant Jones, said parents could help their children prepare for exams by asking what their plan was.

"What they should be doing is just talking with their sons and daughters about how their day was going, what they have organised for the day, what progress have they made, did they encounter any obstacles, those sort of things, how can they support their student through this time."

Wellington teenagers spoken to by RNZ said they were feeling reasonably confident about their exams, but they would have to fight a range of distractions.

Khrystyna, a year 11 student, said she tended to play videogames or watch TV, "just watch whatever is on, even if it's just Ellen or something like that."

Elena, a year 12 student, said there were plenty of distractions while studying.

"I'll just want to prioritise literally anything else except studying, so I'll want to do chores and stuff, so just everything is a distraction."

But Jack, another year 12 student, had a tip for those wanting to stay focused:

"Going to a library, somewhere you don't usually reside is a good place to study because there's less distractions."

The first exam this year is Scholarship Drama on Wednesday, with NCEA exams starting on Thursday, and the final exams held on 2 December.