Double reward for top student
Macleans College student Ben (Yibin) Zhang is a model student when it comes to acing exams.
The 17-year-old was not only a top 10 scholarship student in the country for NZQA, but also best in New Zealand for his Cambridge International Examinations.
Last year, as a Year 12 student, Zhang completed more than 20 examinations, including nine NZQA scholarship exams.
A recent Eastern Courier article detailed Zhang’s successes in NZQA, but on top of those outstanding achievements he was also awarded three Cambridge Learner Awards.
He was top in New Zealand for his chemistry and English literature Cambridge International A Levels, and received the Best Across Three Cambridge International A Levels award.
Zhang says he’s shocked at his success.
‘‘I did put in quite a bit of hard study, but when everything was coming together at the end I didn’t know whether I was going to get the results that I worked really hard to try and get.’’
He put in six hours a day of study during the exams period.
‘‘The most effective way of studying is to put down the phone and open the book,’’ he says.
‘‘It’s about separating work and play. That is what I find most effective.’’
Aside from studies, Zhang is deputy-head prefect, plays three different sports, is in the Macleans College senior concert band, coaches junior students for Mathex, and volunteers at Kidsline doing phone counselling.
‘‘People have asked me why I don’t just go to university this year, but it’s really about staying in my last year of school and enjoying it,’’ he says.
‘‘I feel it was good to get my A Levels out of the way, so this year I have a lot of time to do other things like leadership and volunteering.’’
Beyond college, Zhang hopes to get into an Ivy League university in the United States.
‘‘I want to go into something along the lines of biology or bio- chemistry. That would mean either medicine or medical research,’’ he says.
Macleans College also had 13 other students gain Top in New Zealand subject awards and five students gained Top in the World subject prizes in the Cambridge International Examinations: Jackie Liu, Sai Harshitha Penneru, Zi Lin Wang, Sachit Rahil John, and Yu-Jen Shen.
Macleans College principal Byron Bentley and award-winning student Ben Zhang.