Studying for exams was not a hardship for Whangārei student Laetitia Hamlet - in fact, she quite enjoyed it.

That positive attitude, hard work and passion paid off for the 18-year-old - she has achieved top in New Zealand at A Level classical studies in the Cambridge International Exams - that means she achieved the top grades in the entire country.

"I was really pleased. My mum actually taught me classics. It was her and I studying classics at school so it was really nice for her as well because it showed the hard work we put in together had paid off."

Cambridge International examinations were taken by about 10,000 students in New Zealand and just under one million globally in 2018.


Hamlet was honoured at the 2019 Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards held at Eden Park last month.

Laetitia Hamlet speaking at the 2019 Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards. Photo/Supplied
Laetitia Hamlet speaking at the 2019 Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards. Photo/Supplied

In November last year the now ex-Huanui College student sat A level exams in business studies, history, English literature and classical studies - she received an A grade for all of them except classics in which she achieved an A*.

She also received a highly commended in AS level business, which she sat in June last year.

Hamlet said to prepare for exams she would go through past exam papers, have discussions with her mum - who has a degree in classics - and her dad - who she spoke to about business and history.

For English she made use of York Note - English literature study guides. She also made sure she changed the way she studied and took breaks.

She said she enjoyed studying.

"Sometimes I would have to stop myself from doing too many things that were outside the syllabus because you just get so interested and you watch one documentary on the Holocaust in Germany and six videos later you're watching something about the Middle East.

"It's definitely a passion of mine. When you're choosing subjects you like, it's not a hardship."


Hamlet said this year she is going to study history at a university in England - she hasn't decided which one yet, but is looking at University College London.

"A lot of people ask me why I love history. It's because it's about people and I think learning about the past is so important when moving forward in to the world."

Hamlet leaves the country in June but will travel around Europe until September. She is excited to see all the places she's read about.

"It makes travelling so much more valuable when you have an understanding of what it is your seeing."