Phenomenal A-Level Cambridge results have ensured a flying start for ACG Parnell College alumnus Charlie Matthews as he enters his first year of study at the University of Auckland.
The high-achieving 18-year-old enjoyed a remarkable final year at ACG. Not only did he receive Top in New Zealand honours in the Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards for both A-Level English and Spanish, but he achieved three A* grades (90% and above) in A-Level subjects and was named ACG Parnell College 2020 Proxime Accessit (runner up to Cambridge Dux).
Furthermore, he earned a number of scholarship offers, including NZQA scholarships in English, economics and history, and the Auckland University Law Faculty Entry Level Scholarship. Plus, he was accepted into the University’s Arts Scholars programme.
“I was very surprised to do this well, especially during such a challenging time with lockdowns and exam uncertainty,” says Charlie. “But in the end my teachers were so good at adapting to the circumstances and I could fall back on the study techniques that I developed during my time at ACG to keep working away at what I needed to.”
These exemplary study techniques will ensure Charlie is ideally placed to manage the intense workload he has taken on at university this year.
“I kicked off my tertiary studies taking Stats 108 [a statistics course] as part of Auckland University’s Summer Start programme.”
He topped the course and has now launched into a conjoint degree in law and arts majoring in economics and politics.
“I’m hoping to also complete a diploma in languages in Chinese and another language – potentially Te Reo – at the same time, but that depends a lot on how degree timing and everything is going.”
He’ll undoubtedly have a serious course-load to juggle, but the grounding Charlie gained at ACG Parnell College has given him the confidence to take on the world.
“ACG taught me the importance of organisation and routine. The need to organise myself and my study from an early point really helped me figure out what works and what doesn’t. I keep getting told by students at university how much more prepared you are for tertiary success if you’ve done Cambridge. Our essay writing, study skills, and content are such a good preparation. I’ve already noticed this first-hand in Stats 108, as quite a bit of it overlaps with content from AS-Level and A-Level maths.
“The only issue is that coming from Cambridge some students aren’t used to the more constant assessment style of university – but ACG is so good at testing regularly that even the quicker summer school pace doesn’t feel alien to me.”
The success Charlie achieved at ACG Parnell College has been a huge highlight of his college years, but he believes he is taking away far more than just academic prowess.
“Some of the best times I had at school were the class interactions with my peers and teachers. And even though a lot of the typical Year 13 highlights weren’t possible last year, we still managed to make the most of all the events we did manage to squeeze in, including the all-important quiz night.
“But more than anything else, I think the most important thing I’ll take away from my five years at ACG Parnell are all the connections I made. Not just with my friends (most of whom are joining me at the University of Auckland), but also teachers that I hope to keep in touch with.”
These teachers will be watching eagerly to see what great things Charlie achieves in his future.
“I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do yet, but I’d love to work on something with an international or political focus. I’d also love to keep studying, and programmes such as Harvard’s Masters in Law and Public Policy really catch my attention. For now, though, I’m just going to try and follow the degree paths that interest me and embrace whatever opportunities come my way.”