Studying in NZ


Studying at NorthTec

Learning at tertiary level in New Zealand could be quite different from what is expected in your home country so you will probably need to learn how to learn in different new ways.


Students in New Zealand are expected to take full responsibility for their own learning:

  • Attendance – classes build on each other so if you miss classes, you are likely to miss important information required for assessment and project work

  • Keeping up with studies, required reading materials and completing assignments and assessments

  • Participation in group or pair work and discussions as directed

  • Asking questions in class so that your tutor can clarify an idea or suggest further reading on a topic.

  • Express opinion in class – it’s an opportunity to share ideas with the class so often there is no right or wrong answer.


Tutors are just one of the many sources of information available for you to learn from.

You are also expected to research widely and synthesize ideas from a variety of sources, such as course reading materials, your wider reading, internet research, class discussion and project work.

Tutors are there to guide you through your studies, but they will not always tell you how to complete a project or assignment. Instead, they often want you to work out solutions to problems yourself and to apply what you are learning to real life situations and case studies.

Some tutors may be happy to read a draft of an assignment before you submit it, but others may not — ask your tutor how to best receive feedback on your ideas, and make sure you do this well before the assignment due date!


Tertiary-level study in New Zealand usually requires a range of different forms of assessment, not just tests.

At the beginning of each semester you will be given a schedule of assignments you are expected to complete, such as oral presentations, group projects, reports, literature reviews and final examinations. If you are unsure about the requirements of a particular assessment task, get this clarified by your tutor – the earlier the better!

Examinations or ‘exams’ towards the end of your study programme are intended to test understanding of concepts and ideas presented during your study, not just facts and figures you have learnt. An examination question might require you to apply a rule or principle you have learnt during your study in a practical way to solve a problem.


Plagiarism is defined as: Using and passing off another’s ideas or writings as one’s own.

Plagiarism is cheating and a form of intellectual theft. The aim of any written work submitted for assessment is to present one’s own arguments in one’s own words.

To avoid plagiarism:

  • Do not just copy sentences and paragraphs from books or paste from the Internet.

  • Try to paraphrase ideas you are incorporating into your own work.

  • Acknowledge the source of ideas and/or opinions of others from texts, articles, other students or the lecturers by referencing the source.

  • Use the exact words of another in quotation marks or indentation to indicate that the words are quoted.

The International Team can help you work with your tutor or Student Success staff if you need any help with referencing.