Support a young person who missed NCEA credits

In a lounge at home a teenager looks at a laptop screen while a woman sitting beside him looks on

How to help if someone doesn't get the NCEA results they want.

Missing out on NCEA credits can be disappointing, but it needn't stop a young person achieving their goals.

If you know someone who has missed credits they needed, first reassure them. Let them know they have options to get where they want, and that you're there to help.

When they're ready to talk – here are some next steps to think about. 

Returning to school without NCEA credits they need

If your young person is going back to school without all the NCEA credits they need, here are things you can both do.

Check internal results 

Check their results against marks for internally assessed standards and art portfolios.

Contact the school if anything doesn’t match up.

Check answer booklets

When answer booklets arrive, check that:

  • they're marked fully
  • the marks match their results.

Reviews and reconsiderations

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

  • a review – results are checked against answer booklets
  • a reconsideration – answer booklets are re-marked.

There's usually a fee for reconsiderations but you can ask for a waiver (exemption) in some cases.

Talk to the school

Suggest your young person talks to their teacher or student adviser about their options and goals. For example, can they:

  • earn missing credits while they study at a higher NCEA level
  • change some subjects and still achieve their goals.

Not enough NCEA credits for a tertiary course

Your young person may be able to enter the tertiary course they want without all the right credits.

Contact the education provider 

Contact the student advisers at the education provider to see if your young person is eligible for special entry without the usual NCEA credits.

Find out if they can:

  • start with a foundation or bridging course
  • do a useful related course and then reapply for the course they want. For example, if they want to become a nurse they could complete a Certificate in Health Studies, which would earn them enough credits for a nursing degree course.

How to get more credits

It may be possible to make up missing credits before a tertiary course starts, either at school early in Term 1 or through Te Kura Summer School (online).

Te Kura Summer School runs from 19 December 2023 to 9 February 2024.

Start tertiary or workplace learning while at school

Young people can also start tertiary study and get workplace learning alongside NCEA.

Programmes may be:

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

Find out more


  • NZQA website, accessed November 2023, (
  • Te Kura website, accessed November 2023, (

Updated 20 Nov 2023