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Students put to the test as exams begin

Monday 12 Nov 2012 4:51 p.m.

By Annabelle Tukia

NCEA exams have begun in earnest with nearly 50,000 pupils sitting down this morning to level one English, and there was a sense of nervous anticipation at Rongotai College as students filed in to sit their first exam.

The three-hour long English exam was sat by 46,000 year-11 students, who had to write two essays and answer questions on three unfamiliar texts.

Students at Burnside High School left feeling optimistic about their chances of a good result.

“I'm hoping for three excellences,” says student William Churstain. “I'll be happy with whatever I get as long as I can stand beside it, and I guess that actually is three excellences.”

“It went quite long and it was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be, but I think it went alright,” says Saskia Wahll.

In total 146,000 students will sit 170 different exams over the next three weeks - and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) employs 2,000 people to mark them all.

“We can get students from university helping us as well, obviously when you get to the scholarship papers and level three you've got school teachers as well as university and extra personnel - it’s all hands to the pump to cover that sort of marking load at this time of year,” says NZQA deputy chief executive Richard Thornton.

Marking the exams will be completed by the end of December and students can expect to have their results back by mid-January.

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