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EduExperts Alumnus and incoming Cambridge student

For us at EduExperts, there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing students come through our programme and achieving awesome results. Linda Tang is an EduExperts alumnus who achieved some fantastic results in her time at Pinehurst College, and has recently been accepted to study Clinical Medicine at the University of Cambridge.

A few of Linda’s highlights and achievements at school include…

·       Pinehurst College 2020 Deputy Head Girl, Dux & winner of the Foundation Cup for Academic Excellence

·       Top in New Zealand – Cambridge International A Level Physics

·       Top in New Zealand – Cambridge International AS Chemistry

·       Silver Award – New Zealand Biology Olympiad

·       High Distinction – 2019 Australian Mathematics Competition

 

We were lucky enough to get some time with Linda to ask her a few questions about her journey, and share her insights with other students.


EduExperts: Can you tell us a little about your journey to where you are today, and why you chose to pursue medicine?

Linda: I came to New Zealand at 2 years old to spend the early part of my childhood here, then went back to China at age 7 to learn Mandarin. After a few years, I then returned to New Zealand so I could go to high school here. I attended Pinehurst College from Year 9 to Year 13.

I chose medicine as a pathway for a couple of different reasons. In school, I enjoyed most subjects, but I preferred the Science and Maths subjects to the more writing-based subjects like History. As I got to Year 11, I started learning more about different career pathways and the roles they play in society, and this also pushed me towards the medical path, because I saw how important this profession as a whole is.


EduExperts: How did you manage and prioritise your time in high school across your various commitments?

Linda: You need to be pretty disciplined with what you do. One thing I’ve found is that if you’re procrastinating, or wandering around your house just thinking about work, it becomes a much harder task in your mind. Once you sit down and start doing the work, though, you enjoy it a lot more, and you’re motivated to get it done.

Year 13 is usually the busiest year of school. I was going through Year 13 during last year’s COVID-19 lockdowns, though, so everything seemed pretty relaxed for a while. School started at 8:45am, so you could wake up at 8:40 if you wanted – there wasn’t too much pressure, especially before exams started cropping up. However, later in the year, as end-of-year and then external exams got closer, you started to feel the pressure that the year was going really quickly, so you needed to find some of that discipline again.

One thing I don’t like doing is using timetables. This is a personal thing, as I know I’m not very good at following them. If I’ve got it in front of me, and I’m not following it well, I just get annoyed at myself! To avoid this, I always know what I need to do on any given day, and I find the consistent discipline to do it, so tasks don’t keep building up and stressing me out.


EduExperts: What was your approach to preparing for and sitting exams? Did you have any particular methods for learning content quickly?

Linda: One habit I always tried to follow was asking lots of questions. When you’ve got something you don’t understand, ask your teacher in the first instance – this always helps to clarify things, and prevents wasting time trying to teach yourself.

I also got into the habit of going over what I’d learnt at the end of each day during the school year. This saved me from having to do too much extra work at the end of the year, as I could memorise and consolidate knowledge as I went.

Practice questions really help, particularly for CAIE. I always recommend finding your weaker topics in any given subject, and attacking those questions first. You’ll naturally want to practice questions you’re stronger at, because you don’t have to think so much about these questions. But you only get better and start to notice improvements when you practice the questions you’re weak at – even if this takes more mental effort.


EduExperts: What advice would you give to high school students who are beginning to think about their university applications, particularly those wanting to study overseas?

Linda: You should start putting serious thought into your University applications around the Year 11 mark. Before then, I’d recommend taking the time to focus on extracurricular activities, and finding things you enjoy. As you make your way through high school, the pressure increases and you’ll have more to do, so make sure you take some time at the beginning to find low-pressure activities you enjoy.

Once you begin external exams, though it’s important to put the right amount of focus into these. Remember, it’s your Year 12 exams that are the most important when applying to schools, given your year 13 results typically won’t be out when the schools are making admissions decisions. Make sure you’re also on top of any entrance tests you need to do. If you’re wanting to study Medicine in the UK, for example, there’s a pretty rigorous university entrance test, and it’s critical you’re prepared for this.

The university application itself isn’t too complicated, but you do need to gather a lot of information in order to complete it, so make sure you don’t leave it to the last possible minute. If you’re applying to the UK, for example, you’ll need to write a personal statement – I’d recommend drafting this in March, and continuing to edit this throughout the year, so it ends up as the best possible reflection of your personality and abilities.


EduExperts: How can students make the most of their time at high school?

Linda: High school is a great time to take up as much as you can. It’s the kind of place where opportunities come after you, and you can pick and choose between what you want to do. As you get older, you need to seek out these opportunities yourself, so it’s well worth your while making the most of the opportunities you’re given school.

One really important thing is to spend time with family and friends! Don’t overlook this. It’s critical that you stay on top of your mental and physical health, so take the time to exercise, manage your stress, and look after yourself. If you can, change your routine up so you sleep at a reasonable time, because it’s really easy to get into a habit of sleeping after midnight most days.


EduExperts: Can you tell us a little about the EduExperts support you received in your journey to where you are today?

Linda: I began my journey with EduExperts when I came to New Zealand in Year 9 – this was in 2016. I took Maths, Science and English classes with EduExperts, which all helped immensely in terms of pushing me ahead in these subjects at school. With Maths in particular, EduExperts pushed me to learn further knowledge with their accelerated classes, which helped with competitions and other lessons.

However, the support I valued most from EduExperts was their English tuition. When I came here, English was one of my weaker points, so these classes helped to build my confidence. This gave me a boost across all of my subjects – when you’re more confident in speaking English, it’s easier to communicate with your teachers and those around you. This means that you might ask more questions of your teachers in class, rather than staying silent because you’re scared of not saying things correctly.


EduExperts: Thanks Linda – really appreciate your time and insights. Best of luck for your journey as you begin at Cambridge, and beyond!

Linda: Thank you!

 


Want to know more about how EduExperts can help you achieve your educational goals? Get in touch with your local centre today!

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