HARD WORK: Tom Malcolm (centre) was awarded Dux of Ipswich Grammar School and achieved an OP 1.
HARD WORK: Tom Malcolm (centre) was awarded Dux of Ipswich Grammar School and achieved an OP 1.

OP 1 achiever reveals secret to gaining top mark

"Try not to take it too seriously."

That's easy enough to say for a young man who achieved an OP 1 ranking and was named as the Dux of his school but that's the advice from Tom Malcolm to the current cohort of Year 12s.

The Ipswich Grammar School graduate is excited to start the next stage of his academic life by studying a dual degree in science and computer science at the University of Queensland this year.

Throughout his senior year, he placed a particular focus on the areas where he was struggling most, but he said hard work was the most important thing.

"I didn't really stick to a rigid schedule," Tom said.

"In term three, we had a massive chemistry exam so I focused a lot during that term on chemistry compared to my other subjects.

"When I was struggling with maths or physics a bit, I'd put more focus on those. Depending on whatever needed the most attention at the time is where I put my effort into.

"I set my mind on what I'd like to achieve by that end of term in each of the individual assessments and just worked towards them.

"It's mostly hard work that gets you to that level."

Just like any other pupil in their final year of school, there came times when it all felt too much and there were more than a few sleepless nights.

He undertook a gruelling selection of subjects including maths B, maths C, physics, chemistry, Japanese and English.

"Work is important but if you overdo it it's not going to be beneficial in the long term," he said.

"I wish I hadn't focused so much on that and branched out a bit more and enjoyed myself.

"The best parts of Year 12 are the times you spend with friends."