MLC School girl Montana Cominos completed her International Baccalaureate (IB) for Year 12 studies in 2021 and attained the perfect results that many students aspire to. How did she do it? We caught up with her to find out whether she has any secrets future students can learn from.
How to survive and thrive in your senior school years- from a student who’s been there
Congratulations on your outstanding Year 12 results! Are you happy to share what they were and which result you are most pleased with?
Thank you so much! Yes of course, I undertook the International Baccalaureate (IB) at MLC School and achieved a perfect score of 45/45, equating to an ATAR of 99.95. This means I achieved a 7/7 in all of my 6 subjects (English Literature, Sports Exercise and Health Science, Maths Analysis and Approaches, Italian ab initio, Dance and Psychology), and an additional combined 3/3 marks for Theory of Knowledge (TOK) and my Extended Essay (EE). I’m over the moon with all of my results, although If I had to pick one which I’m most pleased with, it would be English; I started the course in year 11 at a grade 4/7 yet progressed with great efforts to achieve a 7/7 in the final exams which is awesome as it highlights the working of dedication and persistence!
How do you feel now that you’ve achieved something you worked so hard for?
Honestly, the feeling is indescribable. It’s satisfying to know that the hard work paid off, overwhelming to know that dreams can come true if you remain dedicated to your goals, but also a relief to know that it’s all over! It’s safe to say that the innumerable hours of study over these past 2 years was worth it!
Can you tell us a bit about your study methods and how MLC School prepared you for your assignments and assessments?
One thing that MLC School excels at is tailoring their learning and teaching methods to suit each student. The teachers are open to explaining concepts using a variety of approaches to ensure that every student can comprehend what they are learning in whatever way makes sense to them. Personally, the way I learnt best was by using class time to gather new information and be introduced to new concepts, before then going home to solidify that knowledge through more practice and handwriting my notes. My teachers supported this learning style by always returning my many emails where I would bombard them with questions clarifying what was learnt in class, to the point of even organising a quick 5-10-minute meeting to work through the content I was confused by. So, in summary, I think the reason why I always felt prepared for my assignments and assessments was because MLC School had such a passionate and supportive teaching body who did everything they possibly could to make sure we felt comfortable with the content.
For how many years did you study at the MLC School?
I started at MLC School in year 7, after spending my primary years at Connells Point Public School, and stayed there for all 6 of my high school years.
How do you think MLC School differs to other schools you have been to?
Although I haven’t been to any other high schools, I feel that something special about MLC School is the heavy emphasis that the school places on ensuring a balance between study, exercise and having fun socially! There are multiple mental and physical wellbeing programs offered by the school which makes for an enjoyable and fun high school experience. MLC School forges an environment where each student is encouraged to explore aspects other than academics, including sport, leadership, co-curriculars, programs like Duke of Edinburgh and more, and I think it is this focus on enhancing your skills as an all-rounder that distinguishes MLC School students from the rest. For me, having this balanced lifestyle required me to develop organisational skills, prioritisation and taught me the importance of focus and commitment. This ultimately made me more productive with my studies and proved successful in the end!
I’m told you were the school’s captain of Dance, Drama and Entertainment. What did this involve? As captain, what kind of facilities were at your disposal?
Yes, I sure was! Being the Dance, Drama and Entertainment (DDE) school captain involved organising and running weekly DDE committee meetings with a group of students inclined towards the performing arts, making speeches to publicise key DDE related events at school assemblies such as drama productions and dance showcases, planning and running a talent show, maintaining my public presence as the student figure of DDE, and working as an intermediary between students and staff in the DDE department to offer DDE-related opportunities, such as theatre company workshops and auditions for other school productions!
What role would you describe your teachers as having in your end-of-school success?
I hold the greatest appreciation for and respect towards ALL of my teachers, and not just those who directly taught me in my final two years. All the teachers at MLC School helped me in some way, whether it was brightening up my day with a smile and a “how are you?” in the corridor or helping me conquer a topic I was confused about by answering my endless questions. My teachers were full of character, energy and excitement always, and held the greatest passion and dedication towards their subject. With this, they established a perfect balance between discipline and fun in their teaching approach, allowing us students to learn in an enjoyable environment, which I believe maximised our learning.
What will you remember most about your time at MLC School?
Throughout my time at MLC School, I’ve come to realise how warming the school community is; the support that I received each and every day within those school gates is the aspect of my high school journey that I will remember most. Even though I have now graduated from the school, it’s super comforting to know that the MLC School community will be supporting me with every step I take from now on.
What advice would you give to students approaching their senior years at school?
Be honest with yourself throughout the process. If you are finding yourself struggling with a certain topic or subject, it’s best to first acknowledge that (rather than blame it on external factors) and then proceed to take action by seeking help from your teachers – don’t be embarrassed about asking lots of questions, that’s what your teachers are there for! If you push yourself to be proactive in your learning like this, you will come to feel more in control, organised and prepared, leading to significant improvements in your results. Aside from this academic advice, I’d also encourage students approaching their senior years to maintain their co-curriculars, sports and social lives as much as they can! I found that keeping up with these activities provided a distraction and mental release, allowing me to establish a lifestyle balance, which alleviated some of the stress of these final two years of high school.
What are your plans now that you’ve finished school?
I plan on attending university this year, aiming to later study a medical degree with the current hopes of becoming a neurosurgeon. Beyond university though, I plan to maintain the balanced lifestyle, which MLC School installed within me, ensure that I keep up with my exercise regime and stay connected with my friends!
Thanks for your time Montana.
Montana was just one of 12 girls at MLC School who attained an ATAR of 99.95- the best result awarded to a school in the history of the International Baccalaureate in Australia. While the median ATAR across all students, regardless of whether they studies the IB or HSC, was an impressive 94.30.
If you’d like to help your daughter reach similar heights through her education, you too may like to consider the MLC School.