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A N.E.W.T. Potions class, only twelve students were able to advance

Terry Boot: "You can do a Protean Charm?"
Hermione Granger: "Yes."
Terry Boot: "But that's... that's N.E.W.T. standard, that is."
— Hermione's ability to perform N.E.W.T.-level magic[src]

A Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Test (often abbreviated N.E.W.T.) is a subject-specific exam that seventh year witches and wizards at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry take to help them pursue certain careers after their graduation, so passing these exams is critical. For instance the Ministry of Magic only accepts Auror applicants with at least five N.E.W.T.s with top grades of either 'Outstanding' or 'Exceeds Expectations'.[1]

Overview

At Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, pupils have to complete the Ordinary Wizarding Level exams before selecting the subjects they want to continue for N.E.W.T. level, which is the highest merit that they can achieve. They pick the subjects at the start of their sixth year, providing they achieved the O.W.L. grades that the teachers want them to have, and providing there is sufficient demand in the case of specialised subjects (such as Alchemy).

They study for their N.E.W.T.s in the sixth and seventh year, before sitting an exam for each subject at the end of the seventh and final year. The exams themselves are incredibly difficult as stated in the name "nastily exhausting". It can be assumed that the studying involved in this exam is just as vigorous or even more so then the O.W.L. exams.

It is vital they achieve a high grade, as many professions will require them. Pupils do not have to sit their N.E.W.T.s if they don't want to, as not all careers in the wizarding world requires N.E.W.T.s.

Advancement

"I do not accept students into N.E.W.T. classes unless they have achieved 'Exceeds Expectations' or higher at Ordinary Wizarding Level."
—Professor McGonagall on the increased difficulty in N.E.W.T.[src]

A student must have previously achieved an O.W.L. in the subject in order to move on to N.E.W.T.-level classes. More specialised subjects (such as Alchemy) are available with sufficient demand. Most Hogwarts Professors will accept an 'Exceeds Expectations' on the student's O.W.L.s for those classes in order to allow them to advance to N.E.W.T.-level. However, some professors like Severus Snape, would only let students with an 'Outstanding' in their O.W.L. pass through to his Potions N.E.W.T. class, although he did accept students with 'Exceeds Expectations' into his N.E.W.T.-level DADA class during the 1996–1997 school year.[2]

It is unknown what the limit is for how many subjects the pupil may sit at N.E.W.T. level. Hermione Granger was granted seven, while Harry Potter and Ronald Weasley picked five.[3]

Difficulty of magic

Stag Patronus

Harry Potter's stag Patronus fends off hundreds of Dementors, extremely advanced magic

In 1993 and 1994, the difficulty of N.E.W.T.-level magic is mentioned by both Remus Lupin and Hermione Granger. Harry Potter’s ability to conjure a corporeal Patronus (something that is beyond N.E.W.T.-level) in his third year and Hermione's ability to perform the Protean Charm in her fifth, is magic that is complicated enough that the average wizard is not expected to have to perform it until their N.E.W.T exams.

This makes Harry's ability to produce a Patronus at the age of thirteen and Hermione's ability to cast the Protean Charm at the age of sixteen (and brew the Polyjuice Potion in her second year) exceptional, because they were able to perform magic that is not generally tested until the end of seventh year at Hogwarts.

N.E.W.T. scores

"They ask for a minimum of five N.E.W.T.s, and nothing under 'Exceeds Expectations' grade, I see."
—Grading for N.E.W.T.s is the same for O.W.L.s[src]

If a student fails a N.E.W.T. it is unknown if the student is allowed to retake it, if they wish to. If retaking it is an option, they are either presumably held back in the subject that they failed or just given a second chance at the exam itself. The grading system for N.E.W.T.s is the same for O.W.L.s.

Passing Grades

Fail Grades

N.E.W.T. students

Achievers of N.E.W.T.s

Subject Known Students Who Achieved N.E.W.T Notes
Healers Dilys Derwent, Lancelot, Augustus Pye, Hippocrates Smethwyck, Helbert Spleen, Miriam Strout, Hannah Abbott Requirements to become a Healer include N.E.W.T.s of at least grade E in the subjects of Transfiguration, Potions, Charms, Herbology, and Defence Against the Dark Arts. Making it likely the Healers to the left achieved the grades needed.
Aurors Alastor Moody, Frank Longbottom, Alice Longbottom, John Dawlish (earned top grade), Kingsley Shacklebolt, Nymphadora Tonks, Rufus Scrimgeour, Gawain Robards, Proudfoot, Savage, Williamson To be an Auror, applicants needed at least five high level N.E.W.T grades, though an exception was made for at least Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Neville Longbottom

Others

Wizard(s) Notes
Albus Dumbledore Were said to have earned top grades, likely in at least Transfiguration, since they both taught the subject
Minerva McGonagall
Severus Snape Likely achieved a high grade in Potions, since he later taught the subject
Barty Crouch Jr Achieved twelve O.W.L.s and likely achieved N.E.W.T.s too
Percy Weasley Graduated with perfect N.E.W.T grades
Tom Riddle Was said to have achieved an 'Outstanding' in every exam that he took
Hermione Granger Returned to take her N.E.W.T.s, despite not attending her seventh year at Hogwarts at the time she should have. She probably continued with the subjects she picked at the start of her sixth year; Charms, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Herbology, Transfiguration, Arithmancy, Ancient Runes and Potions[3]
Bill Weasley Likely achieved high N.E.W.T. grades, probably in at least Charms and Care of Magical Creatures given their careers
Charlie Weasley
Lily Potter Likely achieved high grades, given that they were good students
James Potter
Remus Lupin
Arthur Weasley In at least Muggle Studies
Dolores Umbridge The majority of jobs at the Ministry will want N.E.W.T. grades
Ministry of Magic
Hogwarts professors Have likely achieved N.E.W.T.s in at least in their own subject. An exception may be Neville Longbottom, who left Hogwarts to be an Auror and later became Herbology professor

Known leavers

It's the choice of every student whether they want to take their N.E.W.T.s or not, and not everyone will pass. There are many jobs who will accept applicants who only have O.W.L. grades, but it helps to have N.E.W.T.s. and many high profile jobs will prefer them. Every student tries to return for the final two years.

However, Fred and George Weasley, for example, did not bother taking the N.E.W.T.s and left Hogwarts to set up a joke shop. However, it should be noted that the immediate cause of their departure was to mainly to evade the much-despised Professor Umbridge, and not because they simply decided not to achieve them.

Wizard(s) Notes
Harry Potter Was qualified to take: Care of Magical Creatures, Charms, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Herbology, Potions, and Transfiguration at N.E.W.T.-level.[3] He decided not to return to school for the seventh year and went to work for the Ministry as an Auror. He became the Head of the Auror Office in 2007. In 2019 was promoted to Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
Ron Weasley Picked the same subjects as Harry[3], but decided not return to school for seventh year too. He went to work at the Ministry as an Auror and later went to work at the joke shop with his brother George.
Neville Longbottom Picked at least three subjects; Charms, Herbology, and Defence Against the Dark Arts[3], but he left before the end of his seventh year. He went to work for the Ministry as an Auror, then returned to Hogwarts as a professor of Herbology.
Fred WeasleyMentioned above, left during the rule of Dolores Umbridge, before exams and started their own joke shop.
George Weasley
Zygmunt Budge Left at the age of fourteen to pursue private studies in potion-making.
Cedric DiggoryMurdered by Peter Pettigrew on Lord Voldemort's orders in his sixth year before he had a chance to take N.E.W.T.s at the end his seventh year.
Rubeus Hagrid Expelled from Hogwarts in his third year, wrongly accused of opening the Chamber of Secrets that resulted in the death of a girl.

Behind the scenes

See also

Appearances

Notes and references

  1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  2. Ron is still in Snape's class with Harry, even though it's noted earlier in the book that he did not get any "Outstanding" O.W.L.s.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 9 (The Half-Blood Prince)
  4. PotterCast Interviews J.K. Rowling, part one


Wizarding Education
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