Last-minute cram as 143,000 prepare for exams

JODY O'CALLAGHAN
Last updated 05:00 09/11/2012
Aileen Ochola
ROSS GIBLIN/Fairfax NZ

HEADS DOWN: Wellington Girls’ College students Aileen Ochola, left, and Phiry Sem, both 15, in the Wellington Central Library, where they are studying, free from distractions, for NCEA exams.

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About 143,000 Kiwi kids have their heads down studying in libraries and living rooms across the country as end-of-year exams begin today.

Scholarship drama kicked off the exam timetable this morning, with the first major exam being NCEA level 1 English, which 46,000 pupils will sit on Monday morning.

Wellington Girls' College pupils Phiry Sem, 15, Aileen Ochola, 15, and Kaitlin Ruane, 16, are among the hundreds flocking to revise in the quiet of Wellington Central Library.

They are sitting NCEA level 1 exams, starting with English on Monday morning.

Aileen was nervous about failing, especially since she had not begun studying until Monday. She was going through old material and doing her best to improve her writing style.

"I just go through all the essays I have done and just try to make them better."

Phiry chose to buy a revision book so she could check the answers to exemplar exams. But she wished she had started studying earlier so she could take a break immediately before exams.

Kaitlin said it was all about using exemplar exams, since they gave the closest idea of what to expect.

The girls chose to study at the library where there were few distractions, like social media sites. One of their friends had even de-activated their Facebook account until the end of exams.

"We've just been making sure we avoid it," Kaitlin said.

Wellington City Libraries acting manager John Stears said it was the busiest time of the year for libraries, with hundreds of pupils filling just the central library each day. "If you go look out on the floor, it looks like summer camp. There are students everywhere."

NZQA deputy chief executive Richard Thornton said there were more than 1.4 million examination entries.

There were 63,956 level 1 pupils, 56,011 level 2 pupils, 39,618 completing level 3 and 10,335 sitting scholarship exams.

"While level 1 English is the year's largest examination session, the smallest is scholarship Latin, with 19 candidates on Tuesday, November 20."

About 1850 staff were tasked with marking the papers, expected to be published online from mid-January.

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- The Dominion Post

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