University Entrance

High School Qualifications

  1. Your child may not need any high school qualifications at all.  - Many polytech courses don't require any school qualifications, and most that do, have a pre-entry course which anybody can go straight into. And school-leaver jobs generally require good attitudes and references, rather than qualifications.
  2. If you do want your child to get high school qualifications, there are (at least) three options:
    1. The New Zealand "NCEA". Until recently, NZ school qualifications were: School Cert in Year 11 (Form 5), 6th Form Certificate in Year 12, & Bursary in Year 13 (Form 7). They have been replaced with: NCEA Level 1 in Year 11, NCEA Level 2 in Year 12, & NCEA Level 3 in Year 13 (plus Level 4 as scholarship exams in Year 13). Theoretically, we can do NCEA by linking in with a school - but the reality is that no school wants the hassle - which leaves us with just the option of the NZ Correspondence School. (Warning: Very expensive unless your child is at least 16 years old.) An important point to remember: it is perfectly OK to do whatever level you like (eg Level 3 English) *without* having done the previous levels. For more info about NCEA see Kings College guide.

      When the exam enrolment forms come (about June/July?), you phone up your local high school & say (something like): "Hi. I'm a student with the NZ Correspondence School. Is it Ok if I sit NCEA Year 13 exams at your school?" They'll probably check that they already have kids sitting those subjects-exams, & if they do, it's no big deal to them to have 23 kids being supervised rather than 22.

      You fill in the school's name on your form, send it back to the NZCS, & the NZCS does the rest. All you'll need to do is turn up at the school on the right day.

      There is a charge. It is paid to NZQA, because NZQA set & mark the exams & also keep the records of the results. There may be a low-income discount which you can apply for.

      NZQA homeschoolers guidelines for 2011

    2. The British "Cambridge University A Levels". IGCSE exams are sat at the end of Year 11, AS exams at the end of Year 12, and A2 at the end of Year 13. (AS + A2 = your "full A Level" results.) These exams can be sat by home educators but be warned, these exams are tough. Over 50 NZ schools now offer Cambridge Univ exams, largely because of concern about the lack of rigour of NCEA. For more info about Cambridge University exams click here.
    3. The American "SAT tests". There are two SAT tests; the SAT I Reasoning Test (general test) and the SAT II (subject tests). The SAT I test is a 3 hour test of Maths & English. The SAT II tests are for one hour each. The tests can be sat in Auckland, Wanganui, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Farlie, and Invercargill. NZ universities may accept SAT scores as supporting evidence for your application for Provisional Entrance. You will probably require a minimum total score of 1100 for the SAT I, with at least 600 for the Maths component if you plan on doing a BSc, & 600 for the verbal skills component to do a BA. For more info about SAT tests:

Getting university entrance:

  1. Provisional Entrance (PE). PE (& Discretionary Entrance, known as DE) is granted by the university if they feel confident that the student has *at least* a good Year 12 education. Once you get PE, you will be "on probation" until you have passed a full year's workload, & you will not be allowed to enroll in any limited entry courses.
  2. Gaining the Common Entrance Standard (CES) with NCEA. It used to be that three C passes in any Bursary subjects got you into university. With NCEA Level 3 (ie Year 13), three bare passes, or two bare passes plus two almost-passes, will get you in - but you also must have fulfilled the new literacy & numeracy requirements. You will need to have passed Maths to at least Year 11 level and to have passed roughly half of Level 2 English. For a more thorough explanation on gaining university entrance with NCEA, please go to: Kings College UE vis NCEA page.

  3. Gaining the Common Entrance Standard (CES) with Cambridge Univ exams. Because Cambridge exams are tougher than NCEA, you need three passes at only AS (ie Year 12) level - and to fulfil the numeracy & literacy requirements. (ie a minimum of IGCSE Maths & AS English.) For a more thorough explanation on gaining university entrance with Cambridge Univ, please go to:Kings College or

University - direct entrance

A minimum of 42 credits at level 3 or higher on the National Qualifications Framework, including a minimum of 14 credits at level 3 or higher in each of two subjects from an approved subject list, with a further 14 credits at level 3 or higher taken from no more than two additional domains on the National Qualifications Framework or approved subjects plus

* A minimum of 14 credits at level 1 or higher in Mathematics or Pangarau on the National Qualifications Framework. plus

* A minimum of 8 credits at level 2 or higher in English or Te Reo Maori; 4 credits must be in Reading and 4 credits must be in Writing. These literacy credits are to be selected from a schedule of approved achievement standards and unit standards.

Translated into plain English .... you will need 3 passes at Form 7 level (or 2 passes plus 2 near-passes). 2 passes need to be in "normal" school subjects (eg English, History, Chemistry .... not Equine Studies or Hospitality). You also need to have minimum Maths & English - which equate to about School Cert level Maths (or above) & 1/2 of Form 6 Maths (or above).

Getting University Entrance via New Zealand Correspondence School

To give you some ideas, here are 3 other possible options of how to do one year with the NZCS & get univ entry:

  1. Year 13 English (for the literacy requirement), Year 13 Statistics (for the numeracy requirement), Year 13 Bio, Year 13 Chem, and Year 13 Calculus.
  2. Year 12 English (for the literacy requirement), Year 12 Maths (for the numeracy requirement), Year 13 Accounting, Year 13 Chemistry and Year 13 Biology.
  3. Year 11 Maths (for the minimum numeracy reqm?t), Year 12 English (for the literacy reqm?t), Year 13 Bio, Year 13 Geog and Year 13 Hist. (3 subjects at Year 13 for univ entry .... but I'd recommend taking 4....)

Adult entry (i.e. 20+ yrs)

The universities typically still want some evidence that you're able to handle university level work or they'll direct you to do a Bridging course first.

Tertiary Foundation Certificate

In some areas of study, and at some universities there may be an option to complete one years study, called a "Foundation Certificate" or "Foundation Course" as a proof of one's ability to continue on in that discipline.  eg a Foundation Certificate in Health Science may be used as a bridging course to a Bachelor of Health Science (Paramedic).

This is the general information from University of Auckland.

Here is a list of all the Foundation Certificates that are available throughout New Zealand and their providers.

Specific University Entrance Requirements

Victoria University

There is now a requirement for a Guaranteed Entry Score which is a higher standard than UE.

If you achieve University Entrance but do not achieve the Guaranteed Entry Score, you will be wait-listed you and offered place in programme if there are sufficient places. Students accepted into a degree programme will be required to consult a course adviser to ensure their programme and workload are appropriate.