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NCEA exam papers

15 Nov 2012

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Quick reference

Where can I find old exam papers for NCEA?

External assessments - including exams - are available from the NZQA site.  This is the link for the subject resources page. You will find exam papers (external), exemplars (real answers, with comments about why it was marked like that), and lots of other information.

Remember, websites change all the time - so the links we have now may be different in a couple of months! Just let us know in the comments.

HOT TIP: try your local library, or school library, as they may have some printed out for you. A list of New Zealand public libraries (those with websites) is available at the National Libraries' directory of New Zealand libraries.

We also have tips on finding exam papers for IB.

the website doesnt do the practise exam papers like last year they dont have the questions anymore. where can i find those?

Hi e.r. There are old exam papers at the NZQA site, they're just a bit difficult to find. If you follow the tips in the answer above, you should find them.
There doesn't seem to be practice papers, though.
Annie, AnyQuestions

why are there no exam papers that we can practice for? its very difficult!!
amy, hghs

go to the nzqa site u will find past papers there
jake, westlake

i cannot find the correct ones..i agree its very difficult !

where do you find the answers to past papers?
Hannah, gdc

argghhhh finally!!!!!
go to the NCEA site and go to the search tab. then "Search NCEA Standards" under search results menu. But all the externals arnt there arghhhhh
Jayden, WBHS

try the following
Just a parent

Hi all - we've changed the link to direct to the NCEA subject resources page.
Hope this helps!
Annie, AnyQuestions

where can I find interactive practice questions??? I dont like printing off whole exams I like online questions that get marked as I go...any ideas?
Soph, JHC

Where do you find the answers from past exams on the ncea website?
ANonymous, anonymous

Hi Soph - if you're studying English, maths or the sciences - try the Studyit site -
Hi AANonymous - I don't think they make the answers available online, I'm sorry. What they do have are the exemplars for each grading: excellence, merit and achievement.
Annie, AnyQuestions

Please can you inform how can i download NCEA past papers?
Nimaya, Central Southland Collage

it was difficult but I found how to get the past papers. You go to the NCEA subject resources page, click your subject. Then go down to where it says externally assessed, then click exemplars. Then you dont download the 'achievement standard' file, scroll down to find a file called 'examination paper'. Long...but I hope this helps, it works for me!
Anon, Massey

Thanks for your help Anon!
Yes, it is a long process to get old papers.
Annie, AnyQuestions

This worked for me:
1.From nzqa homepage click ncea, there is a link at the bottom of the page
2.Click subject resources on the blue bar at the left
3.You should reach ,click the subject you want papers for
4.If you are in level 2 or 3 click that level, the link is blue and just under the big subject word (like "Mathematics")
5.Under "Resources for externally assessed standards" click "Examination documents"
6.The papers are in .pdf format, and are called "Examination paper ####"
Ryan, Naenae College

on the back of the ncea time table card it has a web site
its not user friendly but it helps abit
your teachers should have given you this
Richard, HFHS

Thanks for your help Ryan & Richard!
Annie, AnyQuestions

WHY is it so difficult to get past papers.
Is this not an educational resource run by educators?
How come you can't manage this?
Shame on you.
wendy whitfield, tutor


THANK YOU ANON! Dude is a lifesaver

I'm pretty sure there's answers to the Past yr exams on the web.
Even the teachers and other student told me about it.
I just can't find it
help please?
Jason, MRGS

Hi Jason
These are the best results we can find, sorry! You will need to read through the exemplars as your best option.
Good luck all of you!
Thanks for your help in making this entry much more helpful, and letting us know when the website changes.
Annie, AnyQuestions

There are answers on the NZQA website but they are called Assessment Schedules in stead
Zoe, JHC

the answers for all the majority of exam papers:
follow ^ link and type the subject or Achievement standard # and search.
the results will come up and then click 'Assessment schedule 20##'depending on the exam year.
Abhi, MHS

Thanks once again to our commentors!
Good luck with your exams.
Annie, AnyQuestions

Where do i find practice exam papers.

Ok, past exam papers are called schedules....
As an example click on this link
Scroll down until you find ASSESSMENT SCHEDULE
There you have it! Not all past exam paper answers for all subjects are listed.

how can you get old internal papers, not external

Hi Random - for internal papers you will need to contact your teachers.
Annie, AnyQuestions

arvind rana, grd academy

I know how to find the exemplars, but I have no idea how to download only the one i need. I don't want to download all the files under the assesment, I just want one. Help?
Anon, anon

Hi Anon.
I think you have to scroll / read down the list for each subject / level. Then look for the standard you want. You should have exemplars for most standards. These can be downloaded / opened separately.
I tried with Level 1 History - but some of the standards are expired, or expiring - so the exemplars were right down the bottom of the page.
Good luck!
If you have any more problems - use their website enquiry form:
Annie, AnyQuestions

go subject resources, the subject you want, level 1/2/3, then under the external click "view all documents". ♥
ashley, wghs

hai is it possible to find the 2011 externel exams?
jaelee, stp

Hi Jaelee. The most recent exam papers you can get are for 2010. Click on the 'subject resources page' link in the entry above (or paste into your web browser), and then choose your subject. Scroll down till you get to 'Resources for externally assessed students', and then you can choose 'examination documents' by level.
The NCEA website provides sample exam questions for new standards being tested in 2011 for the first time. Under 'Resources for externally assessed students', choose 'Samples for new standards (from 2011)'.
All the best!
Lisa, AnyQuestions

Finding the exam papers provides no problems, however, for Standard 90380 - Read unfamiliar texts and analyse the ideas and language features, the essential images in the resource book for completing the questions are not available "due to copyright" issues. This is very annoying and frustrating. Any alternatives to NZQA?
Annoyed, AGS

That is frustrating! I would suggest contacting NZQA to find out whether the booklet is available in full - you can find contact details under 'about us' on the homepage. Another website that may be useful is Studyit, which has information on unit standards, including study tips (though not the booklet). You can go directly to for unit standard 90380.
Lisa, AnyQuestions

We have used the BBA Practice English external exams for some years-they give good Teacher answers and our kids seem to like them. Use the web to search
Dave ( "Busy teacher"), William Colenso High School

We are having our mock mid year exams, and our Biology teacher said that our exam would be based off the style of old school cert papers from 1980's so I was wondering if there is some site or some way to get copies of of these old exams to practice?
Lilly This site has past papers. I just used them for my son's Maths and Science exams. I found the site very useful. Hope it is of help to uou all.
Kotiro Maori, kaingakura

this site is very useful as i was facing many problems but it has proved as aa boon for my problems.
ashish, dav

its so hard for us to study without any reviewer
eden, nd

Why is it not easy to just find a sample of past examination for a year 11
Crystal taro

Hi Crystal - In general, students work through levels 1 to 3 in years 11 to 13 at school, so you would be looking at NCEA level 1 exam papers for your subject. Use the link to the 'subject resources page' then choose your subject. Then scroll down and choose past exam papers for Level 1. Best of luck!
Lisa, AnyQuestions

Hi Eden - I'm not sure what you mean about a reviewer, but you can log into any time between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday to talk to a librarian - they may be able to help you. There is also the studyit site ( where you can log in and leave questions for teachers.
Lisa, AnyQuestions

Hi guy why it is not easy to find a sample of the of the final exam paper for the year 2011??
Ruthy, Tonga high school

Hi Ruthy, to find 2011 exam papers, use the subject resources page link (above) and then choose your subject (e.g. biology). If you scroll down, you'll find 'resources for externally assessed standards' and then 'past examination papers'. Then you have to choose your level. Each externally assessed unit standard should have its own exam paper for 2011. If you have problems, go to between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday, and one of our librarians can help you online.
Lisa, AnyQuestions

To Much Bro. Churr
Patty Rei, Waicol

On the NZQA website there are exemplar papers for 2010 and 2011 but I have already done these in class. Can I find any older ones or do they go back to the old standards?
Abi, Tauhara College

how to open a expire past exam paper.
arvind rana, papatoetoe high school

Past exam papers are attached to each unit standard. If a unit standard only started in 2010 then the exam papers linked to it will only go back that far.
Once you have picked a subject (e.g. English) from the subject resources page, you scroll further down under "Resources for externally assessed students" you will find "Exam documents for expired standards" (if there are any). Click on a level next to this heading and you will find exam papers for the previous years. You'll have to read through them to see if/how they relate to the unit standard you are doing now.
If you login to between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday, then a librarian can help you to find the papers you need.
Lisa, AnyQuestions

Hi guys, the best resource I found for practicing old exam questions were the study guides put out by 'Really Useful Resources', they are full of "Selected questions and answers from previous NCEA assessments, updated annually". The best thing is that they have the exam questions for you to practice on, and at the back of the book are excellence level answers so you can compare your answers to theirs. Just type in your subject and level in the search field on the library website and see if there is a guide for it, eg(NCEA level one science.NCEA level 1 science revision guide). They do all of the core subjects like maths, science, english etc. Just look for "Christchurch, N.Z. : Really Useful Resources" under publisher info. Then you can request the book.
Kerryn, Lynfield College

hey does anyone know how to get the pictures on past biology papers, its almost impossible to do them without them yet it says they are copyrighted and cannot be printed
john, st johns college

Where can I find the resource booklets for level 1 unfamiliar text??? It says they are all copywrite so they cant put them up. Are there any other online resources for unfamiliar text?
Ester, Orewa

I know we have practice exams for NCEA in exam conditions. I have a timetable for my exams in August 24th to 27th, and I don't know which exams they are? The practice ones? If so, when are the other exams, the real ones?!!
Hayzella, wghs

Morena Hayzella,
Thanks for your question! There is lots of exam information on the NZQA page mentioned in this entry :) You might like to go the main NCEA page of the website ( and select 'Exam timetable' to find out exactly when they are. All the very best for your study!!
Sargia, AnyQuestions

We have used BBA practice exams for our 'benchmark' practice externals over several years and have found their papers high-interest and very detailed in terms of Teacher Answers.
Ian, Lindisfarne College

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