More than 40 New Zealand Scholarships have been awarded to high school students across Rotorua and Whakatāne.

One student, Ishan Nath from John Paul College received an Outstanding Scholarship in Calculus while still in Year 11.

Traditionally students in their last year sit the scholarship exams which are labelled as the pinnacle of academic achievement.

But Ishan said it wasn't hard to juggle the scholarship paper on top of the other subjects he was taking because he believed maths came naturally to him.

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"In my experience when I did the scholarship I did not have any lessons because I was not enrolled in calculus at the time.

"Basically I was given a book and told to read it and then went and sat the exam."

He hopes to sit the scholarship exams again this year in physics, digital technologies and calculus in pursuit of studying mathematics or physics at either Auckland or Otago universities.

Year 13 student Hannah McLean achieved a scholarship in English as a Year 12 student.

Since last year she has planned to pursue tertiary study in Auckland and hopes to study biomedical science.

"To get to medicine I have to take English, biology, chemistry at least and maths and physics are recommended but you don't have to take them, but I take them anyway."

Hannah said although she did not expect to get the scholarship she was happy and planned to put the money towards her university books.

"I thought I was all right at English, but I didn't think I was going to get it. I thought I would just give it a go."

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This year Hannah hopes to get the trifecta of scholarships with statistics, biology and chemistry, which award more money.

John Paul College principal Patrick Walsh. Photo / Ben Fraser
John Paul College principal Patrick Walsh. Photo / Ben Fraser

Monetary awards are available to scholarship recipients who meet certain criteria. The awards range from $500 to $10,000 depending on the standard achieved.

John Paul College Principal Patrick Walsh said he was delighted that the hard work of the students and teachers had paid off.

"It is very difficult to get a scholarship, you have to be in the top 3 per cent nationally to sit that exam and in the top 1 per cent to be in the outstanding scholarship."

He acknowledged it was a rare feat for both Nath and McLean.

Walsh said many of the teachers provided tutorials before, during and after school to encourage students which, he believed, made a difference.

"The key to it is having a passionate teacher.

"We discovered that passion for the subject becomes infectious with the kids and they begin to love the subject as well and will go the extra mile."