Digital exam preparation for students

To make sure you’re ready to sit a digital exam you need to:

  • Get familiar with the digital exam platform

  • Practice using the device you’ll use for your digital exam

  • Set up NZQA student login and remember your login details – you’ll use these to access the digital exam platform.

Watch the video below to get an overview of what the digital exam platform looks like. 

Have a play

Digital exam run through

Computer digital exams page

This practice activity is a hands-on introduction to help you become familiar with the digital exam platform. It takes you through the structure of a digital exam and includes help on how to use the features found in digital exams.

This activity does not include assessment material and student responses will not be saved.

Digital Exam Practice

Check out what your exams will look like by using a past digital exam. You can access exams in two ways:

  • Use your student login under ‘Find past digital exams’. This removes the need for additional login details such as an NSN and verification code.
  • Use the Find past digital exams tool on our website. You’ll need to ask your teacher for login details to access these. Teachers can find these login details in the Provider login for schools, under "Access copyright past exam content and past digital exams".

Individual activities highlighting specific features can also be found below.

prepare and navigate Exam features new Alerts new translated exams
 Navigate
and prepare
Exam
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 Alerts you
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Language keyboard new  Headphones    
 Language
keyboard check
 Language
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Digital exams student checklist

You can get prepared by using our student checklists for:

Common questions

Before exams

Where can I find my login details for a digital exam?

You'll use your NZQA student login details to access your digital exam. As part of preparing for digital exams you should either:

  • create an account at www.nzqa.govt.nz/login/ if you don’t have one already
  • check your username and password.

What to expect on exam day

You need to know what to expect on the day of a digital exam - check out the following common questions and answers.

What if I can't log in?

Let your exam supervisor know if you can't log in. They will help you and contact technical support, if required. 

You can log into your exam up to 30 minutes before the exam start time. If you try to access your exam prior to this, you will receive an error message. Your exam supervisor will give you an access code to enter at the beginning of the exam.

How do I check if my device is digital exam ready?

Take a look at our Digital exams device check information.

What if I decide not to do the exam online on the day?

You can choose to move to paper at any time before or during the exam.

If you’ve started a digital standard, we encourage you to complete the standard digitally before moving to the next standard on paper. If you choose to switch to paper, the rest of the exam must be completed on paper. You can’t switch back to the digital exam.

If I’m entered in a digital exam do I have to do my exam digitally?

If you’re entered in a digital exam you can move to paper at any point before or during the exam.

It’s your choice. However, once you’ve moved to paper, you can’t go back to digital. If you want to do some standards on paper and others digitally, make sure you do the digital standards first.

Can I do a standard digitally that I'm not entered for?

Yes, you can add an additional standard that you are not entered for. Raise your hand and let your supervisor know - they will add the standard to the digital exam platform. 

If the standard has a resource booklet, the supervisor will give this to you. 

Can I take notes on paper?

Yes, you can ask your supervisor for paper to take notes during your exam. You can also take notes in the digital exam platform.

The supervisor will collect your note paper at the end of the exam. You should bring a black or blue pen to your exam, for note taking and in case you need to switch to a paper version of your exam.

What happens if something goes wrong with the technology in my digital exam?

If there’s an issue with technology, for example if your device freezes, runs out of battery or loses connection to the WiFi, you won’t be disadvantaged.

If you’re having an issue raise your hand and the supervisor will come and help you.

If the issue can be resolved easily, you’ll be given extra time at the end of the exam to make up for the time lost.

If it can’t be resolved easily, you might need to move to a paper version of the exam. The exam platform saves your work every 30 seconds and the supervisor can show you the work that’s been saved.

You won’t need to repeat what you’ve already done on your device.

If something significantly affects you during the exam, you can talk with your Principal’s Nominee about applying for a derived or unexpected event grade.

What happens if I move away from the exam window?

If you try to move away from the exam browser or to access other areas of your device, you’ll get a warning message. If you don’t return to the exam immediately, you’ll be locked out of the exam.

To make sure you’re not locked out by mistake, check you’ve disabled your screensaver, notifications, automatic updates and any browser extensions on your device.

The supervisor can unlock the exam for you but may need to report this as a possible breach to NZQA.

Can I copy and paste text in the exam?

You can copy and paste from within the digital exam software. For example, copy and pasting the resources or moving your work into different text boxes.

You can see how this works by using the practice activities under Have a play.

However, you can’t copy and paste from outside sources like word documents or other browsers.

How often is my work saved?

Your work is saved every 30 seconds and when moving between standards. It’s stored in the cloud service of the exam software provider.

Can I change the font sizes of my response, for example if I have trouble reading text on screen?

You can use the zoom in/out keyboard function to increase the size of the digital exam content and easily read your responses. You can’t change the font size of your response.

Do I have to set up language keyboards for Te Reo Māori, Te Reo Rangatira and foreign languages?

You can use a different language, as appropriate for the subject, by switching the language keyboards.

Download the language keyboard software pack and check it’s fully enabled before entering the exam.

We recommend you become familiar with language keyboards throughout the year, ideally on the same device you will use in the exam.

Will I need headphones in my exam?

All L1-3 digital language exams and the Te Reo Rangatira L2 (standard 91777) exam require headphones, as the listening part of these exams uses an audio file.

For L1-3 Te Reo Rangatira a voiceover option will also be available so that you can listen to as well as read the exam instructions, questions and resources.

You’ll need headphones with good sound quality that are connected to your device before the exam starts.

You can get familiar with the audio function for the listening part in all digital language exams by looking at 2020 L1 past exams.

Will using spellcheck affect my grade?

The spellcheck function is an option available to you. Spelling is not marked in exams, so deciding to use it, or not use it, will not affect your grade.

Will I still get a resource booklet?

If your exam includes a separate printed booklet of resource material, your exam supervisor will give this to you.

What data will NZQA collect during a digital exam?

By sitting a digital assessment, you are agreeing that NZQA may collect and keep digital data about your assessment activity. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • your mouse movements and clicks
  • any screen information
  • any times you are locked out
  • all saved versions of your answers.

NZQA will keep this data safe and will not share it in any way that could identify you. NZQA may use it to identify possible breaches of the rules or improve future assessment design.

Using the contact form on the NZQA website you may request a copy of your screen information, the times you were locked out, and your end state answers. For security reasons relating to identifying breaches and unlawful activity, NZQA does not provide copies of your mouse movements and clicks, or progressively saved versions of your answers prior to the end state answer.

If you do not agree to NZQA collecting and keeping this data you need to tell your Principal's Nominee. You should not sit an exam digitally.

After exams

When can I view my digital exam scripts?

Use your NZQA student login to view your digital exam scripts when your results become available. You’ll also be able to see scanned copies of your paper responses.

You can find more information on our website: Digital Examinations – Information for Candidates

Getting schools ready for digital exams

Check out information for PNs, teachers and technical staff about getting schools ready for digital exams.

The digital exam experience

We visited Paraparaumu College and Rongotai College in October 2018 to speak to students and staff about their experience with digital exams. Below are some video highlights from these discussions.

What students liked

 
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