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Year 13 NCEA – FAQs

NCEA Tau 13 - Pātai Takirite

For students entering Year 13 – NCEA Level 3 

2025 Option Selections – Key information for parents and students

Online subject selections must be made by 5.00pm on Wednesday 21 August to avoid a delay in the processing of students' selections. It is very possible that selections made after the deadline will result in some students not being able to do some of the subjects that they have chosen and back-up subjects being selected instead.

Note: In Term 4 each year, the College emails all parents/caregivers with their child's confirmed course of study for the following year.

How many subjects do most students have to select?

  • all students take five subjects (it is very unusual to take six subjects and this must be checked with the Dean, Head of Senior College and Head of Teaching and Learning, Mr David Bevin);
  • there are no compulsory NCEA subjects;
  • students select five subjects;
  • if a student is considering taking Scholarship-level subjects, those subjects are not selected separately. Students should indicate their interest in taking up to six Scholarship subjects;
  • students should also carefully select two back-up subjects – these will be used to replace a selected subject if entry into a subject is not approved or if there is an unavoidable timetable clash;
  • in late Term 3/early Term 4, Heads of Department check each student’s course eligibility and advise them and the Dean about application declines. Back-up subject(s) are chosen by the timetabler;
  • the Dean and Head of Senior College checks each student’s option selections and advise about recommended changes accordingly.

What are the compulsory subjects?

Compulsory subjects are not for NCEA.

  • Physical Education and Health (core*) – one lesson per week;
  • Religious Education (core*) – one lesson per week;
  • Extra Study (core*) – one lesson per week;
  • Senior College Electives Programme (core*) – one lesson per week;
  • Focus Period (core*) – one lesson per week.

    *students are automatically put into core subjects - you do not select this subject.

Can a student study three Commerce subjects in the one year (Economics, Accounting and Business Management)?

  • only with the permission of Head of Teaching and Learning Mr David Bevin, the Head of Department and the Dean.

Can a student take three Sciences in the one year (Biology, Physics, Chemistry or Science)?

  • yes, students may study up to three Sciences.

Can a student take two Technology subjects?

  • yes, but this must be discussed with the Head of Technology and Head of Teaching and Learning, Mr David Bevin.

Are Scholarship subject(s) studied in Year 13?

  • yes, timetabled classes will be organised for subjects with ‘larger’ student entries each year (lessons spread through the timetable week likely to be only one lesson per week).


  • students may study both Mathematics with Calculus and Mathematics General;
  • students are invited into Mathematics with Calculus Extension (students are notified).


  • English is optional in Year 13 and students may select to study it;
  • students are invited into English Extension (students are notified).

What do students need to gain Level 3 NCEA?

  • students need to gain (total up) at least 60 credits from all of their courses. No particular type of grade nor Standard required;
  • any Level 3 credits gained in Year 12 are included in the student's overall Level 3 total and can also count for the Level 2 total.

University Entrance

The below is required for University Entrance:

  • Level 3 NCEA;
  • at least 10 numeracy credits from any NCEA level (if a student gained Level 1 they have met this requirement);
  • Level 2 (at least) 5 Reading and 5 Writing credits. Most of these credits are gained in English standards but there are other subjects that provide this, refer to the Head of Department for more information;
  • the 3 Circles – at least 14 credits in each of three subjects from internals and/or externals, no specific grade required (Travel and Tourism is the only subject that doesn’t count for a ‘Circle’).

How important are Prelim Exam results in Year 12?

  • Prelim Exam results provide an important checkpoint for each student’s selections and acceptance into a particular course for Year 13. 
  • Prelim Exam results also provide results information that is essential for a possible derived grade application for end of year NCEA externals.

How important are the Subject Entry Requirements?

  • subject Entry Requirements are closely followed by the Dean and Heads of Department for each student’s acceptance into a course.

When can a student make their online selection?

  • Option selections will be completed online;
  • the online form will become available during the afternoon on Tuesday 13 August. No paper form is available.

When does the online selection process close?

  • online selections close at 5.00pm on Wednesday 21 August. It is not possible to make a selection after this deadline. 

What happens if the deadline is missed?

  • if it looks likely that the selection deadline will be missed for a valid reason, contact Mr Bevin on;
  • late subject selections will be processed after all other selections are considered and processed. Students in this situation may therefore not get all of their subject selections.

Am I able to change my original Options selection?

  • you are able to change your original online options selection provided you do so by the 5.00pm deadline on Wednesday 21 August;
  • students may re-enter their choices as many times as they wish, online, as only the final submission will be taken after the deadline has passed. Students must choose carefully as it is not possible to amend subject choices after the final submission date.