Missed NCEA credits? What to do now

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Steps you can take if you didn't get the NCEA results you need.

Not getting the results you wanted in NCEA can be disappointing, but it doesn’t have to stop you achieving your goals. Here’s what you can do now.

Check your results

First check your results and see if you can apply for a review or reconsideration.

Check your results for internally assessed standards and portfolios against your marks. Talk to your school if you have concerns.

When you get your answer booklets back, check that:

  • they’re marked completely
  • those marks match your results.

How to apply for a review or reconsideration

If you find a marking mistake, you can ask the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) for:

  • a review – where your results are checked against your answer booklet
  • a reconsideration – where your answer booklet is re-marked.

Returning to school without NCEA credits you need

Talk to a teacher or student adviser about your options. For example, you may be able to:

  • earn missing credits while studying at a higher level. For example, if you missed out on some Level 1 maths credits, you may be able to re-take these again while working towards Level 2
  • change some subjects. Keep up maths, science and English if possible, as these are useful for many career and training options.

Consider doing tertiary or workplace learning while at school

You may be able to start tertiary study while working towards NCEA and getting work experience: 

  • at school through Gateway or STAR
  • at a trades or services academy.

Your school may have a subject confirmation day where you can change subjects.

Not enough NCEA credits for your chosen course?

If you’ve missed credits you need for a tertiary course, you can try these options.

See what help the tertiary education provider offers 

Contact a student adviser at the education provider you want to attend (polytechnic, university or wānanga). They may suggest:

  • a foundation or bridging course
  • that you do a related course first and then reapply for the course you want. For example, if you want to become a nurse you could complete a Certificate in Health Studies to earn enough credits to apply for a nursing degree.

You may be eligible for special entry, where you can enrol for a tertiary course without the usual NCEA credits.

Do credits before your course starts

You may be able to make up missing credits before your course starts:

  • at school early in Term 1
  • through Te Kura (Correspondence School)’s summer school.

Find out more


  • NZQA website, accessed January 2020, (www.nzqa.govt.nz).

Related article

Supporting your young person when they've missed NCEA credits

A teenage girl and a middle-aged woman sit on a couch. The teenage girl has her head on her chin while the woman looks at her in a way that suggests she is frustrated.

How to help if your young person didn't get the NCEA results they wanted.

Updated 11 Mar 2020