Lee Tuan Cheong spent most of the year training for the International Physics Olympiad in South Korea.
"I’d train for two weeks and be in school for two weeks," said Lee.
So scoring five straight As for his Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia examinations was not unexpected, said the 20-year-old, who took Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and General Studies.
"My teachers were extremely helpful and they guided me through." said Lee, who also represented the country in the Asean Physics Olympiad.
Lee was among nine students who received Best Student awards for their performance in the STPM today. He received RM1,000, a certificate of appreciation and a plaque from Malaysian Examinations Council chairman Prof Tan Sri Abu Hassan Othman.
Another top scorer, Nur Ashikin Abdul Rahim, had feared the fever she contracted during the exam would spoil her chances of a perfect score.
"I had a fever during the Arabic examination, and I thought I wouldn’t score.
"During the exam I was seated near the window, and I was sneezing the whole time," she said.
Nur Ashikin, who studied at Kolej Islam Sultan Alam Shah in Klang, plans to further her studies in law.
For Tee Teng Teng, effective time-management was the key to success in the STPM. The 20-year-old made a timetable to divide her time between school and revisions.
"To succeed, one must combine hard work, a strong will and discipline," she said.
Tee, a science student from SMK Seri Keledang in Menglembu, Perak, scored 5As and wants to become a doctor.
Teh Gim Aik, who arrived in Kuala Lumpur from Penang at 5.30am today, said he was shocked by his results.
"I expected only three As," said the SMJK Chung Ling student.
His mother, Leong Boon Hong, was happy to see her son succeed in the STPM.