We never actually saw NEWT exams occur in the books, but I'm going to do my best in a fic. Can we assume that NEWT exams have the same structure as the OWLs? Do you think there are more Ministry officials involved in testing? Do students get the results over the summer or before they leave? Also, do students generally take fewer classes in their last year?
Edit: Just realized this is one of the examples in the forum description. I hope there hasn't already been a thread about this...
Erm, it's noted that Dumbledore did 'things with a wand that [an examiner] had never seen before' so I think it's clear that N.E.W.T's had a practical exam and were in fact overseen by Ministry officials (the official in question tested Harry in book 5 I do believe. Her name escapes me).
Since the highest level of testing required, usually, an 'E' or higher it'd be safe to assume it's normal for most students to have few courses in their time tables; Hermione and Dumbledore, especially, being anomalies. About results, I couldn't tell you... I would hazard a guess that they would get their N.E.W.T's as soon as possible since they would determine job qualification.
Neville only takes Defence Against the Dark Arts, Herbology, and Charms in his sixth year (that we know about, though Muggle Studies was required for all students in seventh year, not that it could really be called Muggle Studies). So yes - sixth and seventh year classes can only be taken if you are at N.E.W.T. level for them. Likely most students are taking fewer classes than in previous years.
I think Hermione takes seven NEWT subjects, and given that she's the 'brightest witch of her age', it suggests that you cannot take all your OWL subjects to NEWT.
She took, DADA, Herbology, Potions, Charms, Transfiguration for sure, then I think she took Arithmancy and Ancient Runes. (Don't have books with me).
IN UK, A level results (like NEWTs) come out earlier than GCSE, so possibly NEWTs are like that, too. We don't see anyone getting NEWT results in the book but there could well be a comment about Percy's NEWTs in GOF before the term starts.
Thanks everyone! It all makes more sense now. I'm definitely going to look that up in GoF, Carole.