Eight of the 10,000 New Zealand students who sat exams in the internationally recognised Cambridge Examinations are celebrating a rare feat - receiving 100 per cent in a subject.

So the fact that four of them came from ACG Strathallan College in Karaka has left principal Robin Kirkham feeling incredibly thrilled.

"These are the results principals dream of," he said.

"I couldn't quite believe it when I was first told."

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Mr Kirkham said the four scholars also picked up awards for topping their subjects - both in the world and in New Zealand.

"Pride in Achievement is the ACG Strathallan motto and I could not be more proud of these students who have achieved the very best they could."

The school is one of around 50 which offer Cambridge Examinations, an alternative to our NCEA.

The exams were introduced to New Zealand by Auckland Grammar in 2001 with 60 schools offering the system this year.

Of the 10,000 students who sat the exams last year, 95 received awards for exceptional performance, including 28 who achieved the highest marks in the world, 44 who gained the highest marks in New Zealand in a single subject, and the eight who received a perfect result in a single subject.

Auckland Grammar headmaster John Morris said he was proud of his students' achievement.

"We had our best A Level results ever which we were delighted with and we got more awards in the Cambridge award evening than we have before and more than any other school in the country ... it was a great year for us."

Grammar students who stood out included Nick Orr, who topped the world in AS economics, topped New Zealand in A Level history and French, and Byung Cheol Cho, who topped the world in IGCSE chemistry and physics, topped New Zealand in AS maths - a year ahead of his level - and was best in New Zealand across five IGCSE subjects.

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The top Cambridge prize has gone to ACG Senior College student Catherine Hsiao-Wei Hsu, who was first in New Zealand for the best result across four Cambridge International A Levels.

Senior College principal Kathy Parker said Catherine was a "genuine all rounder" who was "incredibly humble about her achievement".

The teenager is due to start studying medicine at Cambridge this year.

TOP ACHIEVERS
2011 Cambridge
Examination Awards:

* Best Across Five Cambridge IGCSEs:

Byung Cheol Cho, Auckland Grammar School - First place in NZ
Yishen Zhou, Westlake Boys' High School - Second place in NZ
Samir Walsh, Westlake Boys' High School - Third place in NZ

* Best Across Five Cambridge International AS Levels:

Feng Zhou, Macleans College - First place in NZ
Jamie John Beaton, King's College - Second place in NZ
Yo-Der Song, Macleans College - Joint third place in NZ
Richard Minh Caughey Ngo, King's College - Joint third place in NZ
Jefferson Ko, King's College - Joint third place in NZ

* Best Across Four Cambridge International A Levels:

Catherine Hsiao-Wei Hsu, ACG Senior College - First place in NZ
Oliver Simon Brown, ACG Parnell College - Second place in NZ
Shan Jun, King's College - Third place in NZ.