Kingaroy State High School Students Nathan Lonsdale and Zayne Jensen achieved near perfect ATAR scores.
Kingaroy State High School Students Nathan Lonsdale and Zayne Jensen achieved near perfect ATAR scores.

Kingaroy’s 99+ ATAR students share their secrets to success

As part of the first group of year 12 students to take on the newly introduced ATAR system, Nathan Lonsdale and Zayne Jenson didn’t know what to expect.

Facing an uphill battle against COVID and an unfamiliar scoring system, both boys were shocked at just how far their hard work and dedication had taken them - incredibly receiving near perfect scores.

“Nobody had any idea what scores we were going to get, with so many unknown variables, such as it being a new system and COVID, so I’m very happy with the score I got,” Kingaroy State High School student Nathan Lonsdale said.

Nathan topped the year with an impressive 99.4 and unsurprising receiving the school Dux at this year’s award ceremony.

Taking on a science heavy schedule, including physics, chemistry, maths, biology and English, Nathan has his sights set on a Bachelor of Biomedical Science at the University of Queensland.

Nathan’s study technique was meticulous, but clearly effective.

Kingaroy State High School Student Nathan Lonsdale.
Kingaroy State High School Student Nathan Lonsdale.

“Paying attention in class is really important for a start, but I typed up my written notes a couple of days after and refreshed it in my mind,” he said.

“Then when I start my exam revision I have something to print out and highlight, and summarise those notes further into smaller and more refined notes.”

To the new school leaders gearing up to take on their final year, he said “it’s not going to be easy. It’s a lot of work but it’s only a year or so of your life.”

Nathan mother Ruth Lonsdale said she and her husband Barry are incredibly proud of their son.

“He is very particular with his study. He just made sure he did everything he needed to do and we are incredibly proud of him.”

Ruth said in addition to the incredible work of the teachers at Kingaroy State High School, healthy competition among the students helped ensure Nathan and his classmates were motivated to be their best each day at school.

Year 12 student Zayne Jensen also ended the year in the exclusive 99 plus club, crediting his teachers for their incredible efforts throughout the year.

Also opting for some of the most difficult subjects on offer, Zayne studied straight maths and science, including chemistry, physics, biology, math method and specialist math, as well as English.

Unsurprisingly, he has his sights set on Advanced Science majoring in Physics at the University of Queensland.

“It takes a lot of hard work. It’s important to take the time to revise all topics and notes and really take advantage of tutoring with your teachers,” Zayne said.

“At least once a fortnight I’d catch up with my teachers and they’d help me understand the content I didn’t understand in class.”

Kingaroy State High School Student Zayne Jensen.
Kingaroy State High School Student Zayne Jensen.

Zayne said the unfamiliarity of the system was difficult for the students and teachers alike, but through hard work and resilience Kingaroy students excelled regardless.

“It was difficult for us as grade 12 students, because we didn’t know what was happening, but our teachers were also in the dark,” he said.

“They were going through training at the time of assessing us to be able to teach us, so they’ve all put in massive effort.”

“Clearly we’ve all taken to the teaching well, but it difficult sometimes not getting the answers to certain things as soon as we wanted them.”

To the nervous new years 12’s, Zayne said “take it all one step at a time, but don’t procrastinate either.”

“Find a good balance of both your study, school, exercise and work - that’s how you’re going to get through.”

Kingaroy State High School principal Ashley Roediger said this years results were outstanding, with 20 per cent of year 12 students receiving an ATAR of 93 or higher. Some of the highest included:

Lachlan Hansen Crawford: 98.7

Zeke Johnson: 97.8

Nick Underwood: 96.5

Olivia Almond: 96

Tia Harm: 95.8

How the ATAR is calculated

The ATAR replaces Queensland’s old Overall Position (OP) rank, which was a 25-point score plotted along a bell curve.

Students would complete at least five ‘authority subjects’ and their marks would be ranked against other students.

Those rankings, alongside the school’s overall Queensland Core Skills test (QCS) result, would be weighted against other students in the state.

But the new ATAR system is very different, bringing Queensland in line with every other state and territory.

The QCS test has been replaced by external exams for each subject, and the final rank is plotted on a 2000-point scale.

Vocational and ‘applied’ (roughly the ‘non-OP subjects’) can also count towards a student’s ATAR rank.

Each subject has three internal assessment pieces and one external assessment that are eventually used to rank each ATAR-eligible student into a percentile.

For example, an ATAR 74.55 student has achieved higher than 74.55 per cent of Queensland students.

More information on ATAR calculations can be found here.