NCEA disadvantages


So NCEA is seen as less rigorous than CIE/IB etc… is this more of a bad thing? or more of a good thing? Since maybe an IB student is seen to be stronger, but it’s probably easier to attain E endorsed with NCEA, ie the top award.

Also, some schools across NZ, allows students to skip years, ie a year 10 student might sit some L1 NCEA papers, and so in turn they will sit L3 papers in year 12. Furthermore some schools (that let students skip) have special “scholarship classes” that are a whole subject line, mainly for year 13 students who have taken L2 the year before to focus purely on scholarship. However, some schools don’t offer this, like they limit you to take scholarships only in subjects you took L3, and only let you take 5 x L3 subjects, don’t allow you to skips years etc. This is an obvious disadvantage but how can one go about this?

Maybe doing APs? Young Scholars? doing well in SAT subjects?
But will universities, especially usa/aus ones who aren’t too familiar with the NCEA system keep this in mind?


Hi there! Thanks for your question.

Firstly, check out my answer about NCEA - this covers a lot of what you’re talking about:

I’ll add a couple of points:

  • Speak to your schools administrators. You might find (I hope) that they’re happy to let you take an accelerated pathway. If you have a track record of good results and discuss your ambition to push yourself, I would hope they’re receptive to your and will do everything in their power to support your learning.
  • If that’s not possible, then yes, supplement your learning with a range of academic and non-academic extracurriculars. You don’t necessarily need NCEA scholarships to gain entry into top schools if you display your intelligence and passion in other ways.
  • There’s a space on your application that you can discuss circumstances that hindered your learning (personal/family issues, etc.). This is an opportunity to explain your situation too.

Email if you want to speak about a personalized plan for you. You guys will be able to discuss the best extracurriculars for you given where you live, what school you attend, your interests and goals. You can also talk about the support you’ll be able to receive from Crimson, but first and foremost you can just talk about your situation and get some personalized guidance.

Cheers for the question!

Thank you for the answer! Very insightful :slight_smile: