Logically, one would be inclined to think end of year exams is the most important time for high school students across the country. However, from my personal experience of the last four years at high school, it’s actually the first weeks back that become the most important.

The first major reason is NCEA – a program that will take over most of your life once you hit Year 11. Gone away will be the laid-back days of Year 10 where nothing matters, and in come the days of intense and painstaking internals. And in my two years doing NCEA, I’ve fallen short of the ultimate achievement: an Excellence endorsement. To achieve this, you must pass the year with a total of 50 excellence credits; I had 31 at Level 1 and 39 at Level 2 – falling just short each year.

But, it wasn’t because I didn’t work hard at the end of the year; it was because I didn’t understand the importance of gaining these credits at the start. Doing my first internal, I didn’t target excellence and probably didn’t work as hard as I could have. In the end, it was these credits that would have proven invaluable to my cause.

Plus, let’s not forget it’s important to earn as many credits as you can before the external exams because your exams will be far harder than your internals. Far, far harder.

But, the first weeks are not just important for NCEA – they’re actually important for your whole education. You should use the start of the year to build up various good habits and they’ll stick with you for the rest of the year. Things like, always doing homework, being prompt to class, and even keeping a planner. I for one, have started using a planner this year to make sure I know where I need to be at every point of the day. Now, carrying a big planner to each class can be a little inconvenient, it has taken me just the first week of school to get the habit.

In essence, we, as students, come back school expecting to slowly be brought up to speed with everything. However, the attitude we should be taking is one of ‘hitting the ground running.’ If we set the good standards now, they will stick with us for the rest of the year. And, hopefully it’ll help you earn you those precious credits early on in the year so you won’t have to majorly stress when it comes to the end of year exams.

All in all, this week and the next few are not for stuffing round. Even though it may not seem as important at the moment, that first internal could be the difference between a merit and excellence endorsement come December.



Steven Walton PhotoAuthor: Steven Walton

Steven Walton is a 16 year old student currently attending St Andrews College in Christchurch, New Zealand. He was brought up with two older brothers and his big passions are sports (especially motorsport), people and writing. He runs his own motorsport blog, Green Flag F1 (www.greenflagf1.com) and is aspiring to be a journalist when he is older.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here