NCEA Students Not Properly Prepared
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 17 January 2016
A Wellington-based education expert says students need to be better equipped to excel in exams to help avoid
disappointment as results are released today.
“Schools are doing a good job of teaching the curriculum, but there’s more to succeeding in exams than just knowing the
subject,” says William Guzzo, General Manager of high school tutoring company Inspiration Education
“Preparing for exams should be like preparing for a rugby match; you need to have a good strategy to come out on top.
“Time and time again, we get new students coming to us for help, in tears about their exam results. They’ve all been let
down not by a lack of subject knowledge, but by a lack of exam strategy.”
Guzzo says the best advice is to keep things in perspective as NCEA results are released to around 200,000 students
His advice is especially important this year given complaints of exams being too hard
“To the students logging online to see their results today; remember to keep the big picture in mind. Celebrate the
successes and reward yourself for those, but don’t beat yourself up for the disappointing results because research shows
that doesn’t help anyone.”
Instead, Guzzo recommends taking an analytical approach.
“The easy thing to do is react to disappointing results with negativity and feel as though it is a failure of ability
because you've worked so hard. However, often it's not a lack of ability or a lack of effort, but a lack of strategy.”
That lack of strategy, he says, is due to schools not having the time and resources to teach students good exam
Guzzo knows first hand what difference a good game-plan can make.
“I had a terrible experience in NCEA Level One. It was, quite frankly, disastrous and my grades were terrible. I was
really down and felt like giving up on school, but instead I chose to reflect on what had gone wrong and created
strategies to turn it around,” he says.
Two years later, Guzzo was awarded Dux at Rongotai College. It’s that turnaround which made him passionate about
education and led him to help others succeed at high school.
“I wasn't the most intelligent student at school, but having simple strategies and seeing failures as an opportunity to
improve resulted in long-term success.”
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.
Guzzo says most New Zealand students are like a deer in a headlight when the sit down for exams because they haven’t
been taught to ask themselves the questions above.
has more than 100 tutors who’ve helped hundreds of high school students throughout New Zealand understand course
content and prepare for exams.