The New Zealand Qualification Authority (NZQA) started to introduce a new qualification; the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) in 2002. NCEA level 3 replaced the University Bursary Examinations in 2004. The main purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between the number and quality of credits gained at NCEA level 3 by students and their academic performance in a first year economics course - Business Economics and the New Zealand Economy at Waikato University. Other factors that could affect student performance are also investigated. Our analysis suggests that several factors can have an impact on student's performance in ECON100. These factors include nationality, semester, total number of NCEA level 3 credits and the quality of credits at level 3 in NCEA economics and mathematics.