NCEA questions are designed to test your knowledge, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. So how can you show all of these skills in one question? Does it vary from subject to subject? While getting into detail about what the questions exactly look like in te reo Māori is complicated, as the topics within the standards change, this guide can give you an overview of what to expect and how to tackle them.
This guide will break down the skills required for questions you would generally find within the Kōrero, Tuhituhi, and Whakarongo internal assessment sections at English-medium schools. For more information on external assessments have a read of our guide on past exam papers. Back to question one, when approaching questions within NCEA for a majority of subjects there is usually a staircase of questions.
The first level of questions is geared around memory recall or finding information within a specified document. These are usually achieved questions. They tend to be considered as closed questions, which means there is a specific response that you need to give or a certain layout or way of presenting information you need to follow.
It is merit and excellence questions that really allow you to flex your te reo muscles and demonstrate your skills. This is because these questions tend to be open questions. Open questions require you to explain, justify, develop, add in your own opinions, use evidence, etc. There isn’t one way to answer these types of questions, however, your answers must be related to the topic and well supported with evidence.
These types of questions do vary from subject to subject. Within the written subjects there is a similarity as they require evidence to be integrated into your writing rather than copied and pasted. This means using your own words to demonstrate you understand what the question is asking you to do. The part of justifying your response is across all subjects as it demonstrates your higher thinking skills.
As you make your way through the year you may do unit standards assessments. If you are unfamiliar with them, they are assessments that you can pass or fail. They are always done internally and fall into the domains of Kōrero, Tuhituhi, Whakarongo, and Pānui.
What do the NCEA level 3 questions look like for the Kōrero section?
In the Kōrero section, you will be tested on your coherency, vocabulary, and your ability to adapt to your audience. In this section, it is more likely you will be given a scenario rather than a set of questions. You are usually given time to prepare but remember you are learning a language, the focus is to be able to communicate with others in all forms including conversations!
Depending on how chatty you are as a person, starting a conversation can be difficult no matter what language you speak. Nothing like those awkward silences to pass the time. Being able to initiate and continue a conversation in te reo Māori will be something you are assessed on. No need to fret! Conversations are about listening to other people and avoiding too many closed questions. It is very hard to maintain a conversation if the person can respond with āe or kāore. Being able to carry a conversation is in itself a skill we have to practise and practise.
The scenarios or questions you will be given will state what type of audience you will be presenting to. This will determine the formality of your te reo. Speaking to a friend about an event and reporting live about it for Māori Television are two different things, the same event but not the same audience. When it comes to preparing your kōrero, remember to reflect on who you are talking to and to ask yourself if you are using the right vocabulary for them.
Don’t forget to add your creativity to the mix. Creativity works hand in hand with structure, especially if you are trying to use persuasion. It is important when you read the questions or scenarios by scanning for keywords. Keywords explain what you have to do and how it needs to be presented. Trying to persuade or inform people doesn’t mean you cannot be funny. It is about thinking about how to best get your message across to the audience you have (the type of audience can be given to you in the assessment or it can be a live audience).
What do the NCEA level 3 questions look like for the Tuhituhi section?
The tuhituhi section in NCEA can have assessments for externals and internals. That’s right, it is the writing section. Usually, the internals allows for more creativity than the externals, but take that information with a grain of salt. It is a generalisation and not a hard fact so make sure you read the requirements carefully before you start writing.
No matter if it is an internal or an external standard, you need to plan your response. The topics for this section are wide and the type of text you may be asked to write can differ between standards. Like the kōrereo section, it is about understanding the intent of your writing and who it is for. This is the chance to show off your diverse vocabulary so make the most of it.
Having a plan helps you to create coherence in your writing. It allows you to write in a way that is easy for the reader to follow as it shows progression. For example, you wouldn’t start writing about possible solutions before you have even explained what the problem is.
The scenarios or questions will give you a set of criteria by which you have to create a written text. For those looking beyond achieved, you also have to put your own spin on it. This can be done through the evaluation or judgement section by adding in your opinions or relevant personal experience and using expressions that correlate to the main ideas of the assessment.
Spelling and grammar are important in this section. Make sure you have structured your work correctly and have used the correct form of words in relation to your sentence. This is a tricky section as you know what you want to say, so your brain can gloss over the mistakes when you spellcheck. A good way to get around this problem is to read your work out loud and slowly.
Often we can hear our mistakes before we can see them. It also helps to identify sentences that are too long or too complex. If you get stuck trying to read your sentence aloud, you most likely have overloaded your sentence. Try to separate the ideas in your sentence into two more simple ones. This will improve clarity and fluency in your writing.
What do the NCEA level 3 questions look like for the Whakarongo section?
The whakarongo section is testing your vocabulary knowledge. Often, students find it easier to understand than speak. This is because they are two entirely different skills and our fantastic brains can make sense of the context of the sentence even if we don’t know all the words being used. This lovely skill can also be a trap.
As learners of another language, we can become fixated on a word and misunderstand the context of what is being said. It all comes down to your vocabulary knowledge, you need to have enough knowledge that you can understand the majority of what other speakers say. If you don’t know a word or two, usually you can figure it out, if you don’t understand the majority of what is being said then it becomes a problem.
It becomes a problem as a) you don’t really understand what is being said and b) you will be unable to tell the difference between hypotheses, facts, and opinions with ease. When you have set questions to respond to, especially in the achieved section, it requires you to be able to recite information. If you struggle to tell the difference between facts and opinions you may struggle to answer with the correct response.
Some tips and tricks to see you through NCEA Level 3 Te Reo Māori
Practising is the best way to set yourself up for success but it doesn’t mean it has to be boring. One thing students misunderstand is that while re-reading your notes and going over your coursework is important, it is not the only way to practise. Listening to various media such as songs, tv programmes, the news, etc is a great way to build up your knowledge of te reo and keep things interesting for you. Our guide on NCEA Level 3 te reo Māori syllabus gives you a more in-depth breakdown of the curriculum.
Joining groups outside of class such as kapa haka, waka ama, conversation groups and Māori art classes will increase your vocabulary and help immerse you into Māoridom. Other great resources available to you are tutors. They help improve your writing, pronunciation, vocabulary, and speaking and listening skills. Superprof has a wide range of tutors available for all levels and can help you take the next step with your language learning adventure.
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