Do I need to sit NZ scholarship exams to get into Oxbridge or any other UK universities?


I am currently studying NCEA level 3 in NZ and expected to get good grades.

I am considering whether or not I should take a few scholarship exams to improve my application to some UK universities, especially Oxbridge. However, the NCEA scholarship results are usually released in February while UK universities typically make their decisions in January; and I was told by my school that predicted results are not usually made for scholarship exams.

I am also considering CIE exams; even though I have emailed some UK universities including Oxford and was told that NCEA is well recognised and I do not need to do any extra exams to make a competitive application.

Should I still do one of them (Scholarships and CIE) or both?


Hey W.Liang,

Unfortunately, NCEA definitely carries far less weight than CIE or IB. We see this consistently in our data on application success. At Crimson, we typically advise our NCEA students aspiring to Oxford to self-study CIE subjects or NZQA scholarship submitting predicted grades and do some relevant research projects with Professors or Graduate Students in our network alongside completion of our pre-Oxbridge reading lists for the various subjects. It is very dangerous generally to apply with only NCEA Level 3 given the competition in the country for Oxford. We encourage our students and work with their counsellors to submit predicted grades for their NZQA Scholarship exams. One of our students Soumil Singh, for example, self-studied 8+ CIE exams with us scoring 2 Top In Worlds at his NCEA school to help address the NCEA challenge ( I personally did both NZQA scholarship and CIE, for example, when I applied and got into Cambridge for Economics.

Fire me an email with your full NCEA transcript so far and CV and I’ll see what would make sense given your current subject mix and scores. Precision is important so you focus on the right activity.