Stratford High School's 2012 proxime accessit, Cameron Johnson, says being a well-rounded student is one of the reasons for his academic achievement.
"I find students that do not participate in extra activities do not do well. It is also important to have fun."
Apart from placing second academically in Year 13, he was also head boy, named the school's most stable basketball player, played soccer for the winning Eltham men's soccer team and the Eltham under 19s and was involved with activities such as the Shakespeare Festival, Stage Challenge, Relay for Life, the school ball and co-hosting the school's variety concert.
High marks, he adds, also demands putting in the time behind a desk, studying.
He says he is confident that he is well prepared for the exam. When asked to give a study tip he advises to have a go at past exam papers.
"It is also helpful to have a study plan."
He has his eyes set on a career in corporate accounting, having enrolled to study for a Bachelor of Commerce at Victoria University in Wellington next year.
He received the award for the best Year 13 student in accounting and English and placed second in chemistry, statistics and modelling.
He says he will be the first accountant in his family, his parents being farmers.
"I just understand it [accounting]," he says, attributing this to his "very good teacher" Raewyn Lightoller.