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Bad NCEA grades? Don’t panic, says NZ education expert

There will be joy, there will be surprise and there will be stress when NCEA exam results are released today - but one education expert says grades are becoming less important for Kiwi students’ post-high school success.

Around 200,000 students will be able to view their 2017 NCEA results online today via the secure Learner Login section of the NZQA website.

But Wellington-based education expert William Guzzo, general manager of high school academic coaching company Inspiration Education, says the grades hold less importance for today’s students.

“Exams are high pressure scenarios, and like all high pressure scenarios throughout life - they won’t always go well.

“The message for students and parents is, if your exam didn’t go as planned - it’s not as bigger deal as you might think.

“Students shouldn’t define their opportunities by their exam grades, there are many other factors which are equally - or more - important and which are also measures of your intelligence or eligibility for a future course or career path.”

Guzzo says students and parents faced disappointing exam grades can do a number of things to turn that around for this - and future - school years.

“There is no point focussing on the things you can’t control, so tell students and their parents to focus on the things they can control - like learning how exams work, looking at past exams and using efficient study methods.”

His post-exam tips to turn disappointing results into excellent grades next year include asking yourself the following:

• What went wrong with my answers?
o Did I write the answers in the way that the examiners wanted?
o Did I understand the concepts in enough depth?
o Did I manage my time well on the day?

• What went wrong with my exam preparation?
o Did I do enough past exams?
o Did I have a plan of how to study?
o Did I study in the most effective way?
o Did I continuously self-assess my own knowledge as I was studying?

• Where was I successful and why?
o Even in the midst of the most terrible exam results, there will be some success. That success is a sign of potential or progress and needs to be reflected on so it can be replicated.

Mastering the methods above, working with teachers and tutors throughout the school year and also focussing on extracurricular activities and building character also help increase students’ post-high school opportunities, he says.

Inspiration Education has more than 100 academic coaches who’ve helped hundreds of high school students throughout New Zealand understand course content and prepare for exams.

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