Back to All News

Cambridge champion

Tahlia Pillay was delighted to receive the title of Top in New Zealand for IGCSE English in the 2021 Cambridge Outstanding Learner Awards. The highly motivated teen attributes her success to practice, preparation and good old-fashioned hard work.
ACG Strathallan Year 12 student, Tahlia Pillay

Her passion may lie in the sciences, but ACG Strathallan’s Tahlia Pillay is also a national award winner when it comes to English.

The Year 12 prefect earned a Top in New Zealand award for IGCSE level English in the 2021 Cambridge Outstanding Learner Awards, transforming a challenging year into a high school highlight.

“I was shocked and proud when I found out my results,” says Tahlia. “Last year was a difficult year as I was sick and missed quite a few weeks of school – so that made the award even more meaningful.”

Resilience and determination played a key role in her success.

“There’s not really any special secret to doing well. It’s just about putting in the work, practising, and not becoming discouraged even when things become a little bit of a struggle.

Doing lots of practice past papers is really useful, and that not only means racing through them but also, if you lose marks, making sure you have a thorough understanding of why.

“My favourite aspect of the Cambridge curriculum is also the most challenging. You have to have a deep and thorough understanding of the content in order to apply it to unfamiliar situations.”

Although her English grade was outstanding – and she also loves Spanish - Tahlia admits she has a particular affinity for the sciences. In fact, this year, she is taking AS-Level biology and chemistry, A2-Level maths with statistics and IGCSE level physics.

“I find the sciences quite interesting with all the concepts and more complicated theories that we learn now as we get older. I find the depth that we go into subjects so fascinating, and I’d love to study something in that field when I get to university. At this stage, I’m envisioning a career in law or science/psychology.”

For now, though, the hardworking teen is happy to focus on the year ahead, doing everything in her power to make it the best Year 12 possible.

“I’m looking forward to spending an invigorating academic year in school with my friends, performing to the best of my ability, and honing my skills to be sharper and better. I would like to do the absolute best I can in all my subjects, and this year as a prefect, I would also like to be a productive member of the ACG Strathallan school community.”