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Top IBDP student is ready to take on the world

For recent graduate Prerna Kanji, being awarded the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) Dux trophy was the perfect conclusion to her time at ACG Parnell College.

After moving to New Zealand in 2018, Prerna joined the school’s Year 12 cohort to begin her two-year IBDP studies. Consistently ranked among ACG’s top scholars, and the recipient of several academic awards, Prerna was delighted to be recognised as the 2020 IBDP Dux.

“It was a proud moment for me. Of course, it was exciting to hear my name called, but it also reinforced all the hard work I had put in for the past two years.”

The globally acclaimed IBDP curriculum was the perfect choice for the international jet setter who has been living abroad since she was six weeks old. And while Prerna’s love of learning ensured a genuine interest and enjoyment in all her classes, the dedicated teen and talented linguist does admit to preferring some subjects over others.

“History, chemistry and Spanish were my favourite classes. I have been studying Spanish for 10 years now and have always loved the language. However, I discovered my true passion for history and chemistry through the IBDP, and it has been extremely rewarding to have these realisations prior to university.”

The IBDP workload promotes organisation and self-discipline, and Prerna soon discovered the importance of prioritising her time and looking at the bigger picture.

“For me personally, the most challenging aspect was trying not to get caught up in perfecting every aspect of every assignment. You may not necessarily meet all of your expectations for everything you do, but that’s okay.”

Nevertheless, the high standards of the self-confessed perfectionist led to outstanding 2020 academic success. Accordingly, her efforts culminated in the IBDP Dux award with a phenomenal 43-point result (from a maximum possible score of 45).

Earning perfect marks for her core course elements (including Theory of Knowledge (ToK), a Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) project and an extended essay), Prerna is a strong proponent of starting these endeavours as soon as possible.

“The biggest thing that helped me was completing the ‘heavy lifting’ of research and writing my extended essay and ToK essay in year one. This allows you time to edit or re-write sections of your essays if necessary – a fact which I credit for my A grade!”

And her focus hasn’t solely been on academics. A keen member of the school’s social badminton club and extracurricular Korean classes, Prerna has also involved herself in the wider ACG community. A driving force behind the Primary School Cultural Club, she has relished the chance to plan activities and interact with the younger students each week.

Having thoroughly enjoyed her time at ACG Parnell, the new undergrad is confident that the strong academic foundation and study skills she gained at the school, combined with the IB programme itself, have been “excellent preparation” for tertiary study.

Poised to begin a conjoint Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Law degree at the University of Auckland, Prerna is eagerly looking toward the future and the experiences (and opportunities) it will bring.

“While I enjoyed the fact that, oftentimes, ACG Parnell Senior Campus felt like a step towards university, giving the students more independence and freedom, I am excited to truly be an adult attending university.

“I plan on completing this conjoint degree and going into commercial and corporate law. As I spent most of my childhood in Singapore, eventually I would love to be able to move back there or be able to work in different parts of the world.”

And what suggestions does this bona fide expert have for Year 12 students about to begin the IBDP?

“While being organised, focused and good at managing your time are assets, my strongest advice would be to stay positive. The IBDP can sometimes feel a little bit overwhelming, but I am completely convinced that it is manageable with a good attitude.”