“I don’t know. I’m not quite sure. So I don’t know,” answered Janke van Dyk, laughing when asked how she did it.

Van Dyk is the overall best performing National Senior Certificate student in 2017, emerging as number one from over 600 000 candidates who wrote the NSC Exams in 2017.

The Belleville High School student, in Western Cape, thinks about it and admits that it did not just happen. Van Dyk  admits that she worked hard from the very beginning. This is what she advises others to do.

“Work hard from start to finish. Go through old matric papers. Ask questions if you don’t understand something. Your teachers are there to help you master the work. Make sure you fully understand every aspect of the work,” Van Dyk advised.

She says the exam’s time-table was the most challenging part of the year for her.

“It didn’t always allow enough time for us to prepare for every subject the way I wanted,” says van Dyk.

Another student who performed exceptionally well is Joshua Chetty from New Hope School in Pretoria. Chetty took the first price for learners with special education needs. He says he decided he was not going to let anything stand in his way.

“I never focused on what I could not do because it brought me down. I focused on what I could control and what I was good at,” says Chetty.

Although he was at a school for special education needs pupils, Chetty he decided to take the same NSC exams as able bodied students. Chetty says those who don’t work hard are only kicking themselves in the foot.

“Try your hardest. If you really want something, there is a way to get it,” says Chetty.

The 2017 Matric pass rate has gone up to 75.1-percent. This is a 2.6 percent increase from the 72.5 percent achieved by the 2016 class. Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced the increase in the overall Matric pass rate in Auckland Park on Thursday in Johannesburg.