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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.) was a subject-specific exam that seventh-year witches and wizards at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry took to help them pursue certain careers after their graduation, so passing these exams was critical.

For instance, the Ministry of Magic only accepted Auror applicants with at least five N.E.W.T.s with top grades of either 'Outstanding' or 'Exceeds Expectations'.[1]


"As Hermione had predicted, the sixth-years' free periods were not the hours of blissful relaxation Ron had anticipated, but times in which to attempt to keep up with the vast amount of homework they were being set. Not only were they studying as though they had exams every day, but the lessons themselves had become more demanding then ever before."
Harry Potter regarding the increased difficulty of the sixth year[src]

A N.E.W.T. Potions class in 1996, where only twelve students were able to advance from the previous year

At Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, pupils had to complete the Ordinary Wizarding Level exams before selecting the subjects they wanted to continue for N.E.W.T. level, which was the highest merit that they could achieve.

Students picked the subjects at the start of their sixth year, provided they achieved the O.W.L. grades that the teachers wanted them to have, and provided there was sufficient demand in the case of specialised subjects (such as Alchemy).

Students studied 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 were incredibly difficult, as stated in the name "nastily exhausting". It can be assumed that the studying involved in this exam was just as vigorous or even more so than the O.W.L. exams.

It was vital they achieved a high grade, as many professions would require them. However, pupils did not have to sit their N.E.W.T.s if they did not want to, as not all careers in the wizarding world required N.E.W.T.s.


"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.-level magic[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) were available with sufficient demand. Most Hogwarts Professors would 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, Severus Snape would only let students with an 'Outstanding' in their O.W.L. pass through to his Potions N.E.W.T. class,[1] 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 was for how many subjects the pupil could take at N.E.W.T. level. Hermione Granger was granted seven, while Harry Potter and Ronald Weasley picked five.[2]

Difficulty of magic

"The spell I am going to try and teach you is highly advanced magic, Harry — well beyond Ordinary Wizarding Level. It is called the Patronus Charm."
— Remus Lupin regarding the difficulty of some types of magic[src]

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 was 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,[3] and Hermione's ability to perform the Protean Charm in her fifth,[4] was magic complicated enough that the average wizard was not expected to have to perform it until their N.E.W.T exams.

This made Harry's ability to produce a Patronus Charm 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 was not generally tested until the end of seventh year at Hogwarts.

Nonverbal spells, which were introduced in the sixth year, were expected to be used by the students for the rest of their classes from thereon. Due to the strong willpower required to perform such a feat, many students seemed to struggle with this portion (at least initially).[2]

Some examples of N.E.W.T.-level magic included: Water-Making Spell,[5] turning vinegar to wine,[6] Human Transfiguration,[7] and Shield Charms.[2] Potions that were considered N.E.W.T.-level were: Amortentia,[2] Felix Felicis,[2] Polyjuice Potion,[2] Veritaserum,[2] Draught of Living Death,[2] Everlasting Elixirs,[7] and poison antidotes.[8]

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 failed a N.E.W.T. it is unknown if the student was allowed to retake it, if they wished to. If retaking it was an option, they were 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 was the same for O.W.L.s.

Passing grades

Fail grades

N.E.W.T. students

Achievers of N.E.W.T.s

Job Recipients Notes


Dilys Derwent Requirements to become a Healer included 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.[1]
Augustus Pye
Hippocrates Smethwyck
Helbert Spleen
Miriam Strout
Hannah Abbott


Alastor Moody To be an Auror, applicants needed at least five high-level N.E.W.T grades,[1] though an exception was made for at least Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Neville Longbottom.
Frank Longbottom
Alice Longbottom
John Dawlish
Kingsley Shacklebolt
Nymphadora Tonks
Rufus Scrimgeour
Gawain Robards


Albus Dumbledore Were said to have earned top grades, likely in at least Transfiguration,[9] since they both taught the subject.
Minerva McGonagall
Severus Snape Likely achieved a high grade in Potions and Defence Against the Dark Arts, since he later taught the subjects.
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.[10]


Barty Crouch Jnr Achieved twelve O.W.L.s and likely achieved N.E.W.T.s too.[11]
Percy Weasley Graduated with perfect N.E.W.T grades.[12]
Tom Riddle Was said to have achieved top grades in every exam that he took.[13]
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.[2]
Bill Weasley Likely achieved high N.E.W.T. grades, probably in at least Charms and Care of Magical Creatures given their careers. In Bill's case: Defence Against the Dark Arts, Potions and Transfiguration as well.
Charlie Weasley
Lily Potter Likely achieved high grades, given that they were good students.
James Potter
Remus Lupin
Arthur Weasley Probably in at least Muggle Studies.
Dolores Umbridge The majority of jobs at the Ministry will want N.E.W.T. grades.[1]
Ministry of Magic

Known leavers

It was the choice of every student whether they wanted to take their N.E.W.T.s or not, and not everyone would pass. There were many jobs who accepted applicants who only had O.W.L. grades, but it helped to have N.E.W.T.s. and many high profile jobs would prefer them.[1] Every student tried 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 instead left Hogwarts to set up a joke shop. Nonetheless, it should be noted that the immediate cause of their departure was mainly to evade the much-despised Professor Umbridge, and not because they simply decided not to achieve them.[1]

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.[2] 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,[2] 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,[2] 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 Weasley Mentioned 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.[14]
Cedric Diggory Murdered 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.[15]

Behind the scenes

See also


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 29 (Careers Advice)
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 9 (The Half-Blood Prince)
  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 12 (The Patronus)
  4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 19 (The Lion and the Serpent)
  5. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 17 (A Sluggish Memory)
  6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 24 (Sectumsempra)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 15 (The Unbreakable Vow)
  8. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 18 (Birthday Surprises)
  9. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 31 (O.W.L.s)
  10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Epilogue (Nineteen Years Later)
  11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 28 (The Madness of Mr Crouch)
  12. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 22 (Owl Post Again)
  13. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 13 (The Secret Riddle)
  14. Wonderbook: Book of Potions
  15. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 13 (The Very Secret Diary)
  16. PotterCast Interviews J.K. Rowling, part one
Hogwarts subjects
Core classes Astronomy · Charms · Defence Against the Dark Arts · Herbology · History of Magic · Potions · Transfiguration
Elective classes Alchemy · Arithmancy · Care of Magical Creatures · Divination · Muggle Studies · Study of Ancient Runes
Extracurricular classes Apparition · Advanced Arithmancy Studies · Ancient Studies · Art · Flying · Ghoul Studies · Magical Theory · Muggle Art · Muggle Music · Music · Xylomancy
First year exams · Second year exams · Third year exams · Fourth year exams ·
Ordinary Wizarding Level · Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Test