What factors is it based on? How can i make myself more competitive for selection?
I was dux of Rangi in 2016 and - despite that - I was never completely sure about exactly how it is calculated. However, placings in subjects is most probably the deciding factor. I think that every year, dux has been the girl with the most firsts in subjects. Again, I was never told that it was the rule but I think it makes sense.
To the best of my knowledge, firsts in subjects are done by grades. At Rangi, this usually means getting 100% excellence credits in a subject. In subjects where more than one girl achieve this, the quality of those excellences will be taken into account (ie. an E21 is lower than E23), especially for Maths and Science.
For subjects with smaller margins like English or Art, the teacher take a holistic view on your work. This is when it’s more difficult to tell.
As Rangi girls probably know, the school likes to keep it a surprise. This way, students are encouraged to not be too nit-picky with every grade and focus more generally on being an excellent student instead of just an ‘excellence’ student.
That said, there is definitely a lot of talented girls coming up through the years so if you are striving for dux, there are definitely ways to improve your chances. Here are some of the things that worked for me:
Going for beyond excellence. The grade scale doesn’t necessarily stop at E8. If you are passionate about a project or essay, go for E9 and show that you really know your stuff. Chances are, it will be helpful with scholarships or inform something else you do in the future. That being said, it is also important to not go 500% on that 3 credit internal or go 120% on everything, especially if it’s not your forte. You have limited time and remember that you can write yourself out of an excellence too. I have been guilty of this once or twice.
Have a can-do attitude. One danger of aiming for dux is that it’s easy to get too precious with your time or the workload you think will be manageable provided that you get ‘perfect grades’. At least for me, this is not true. I’ve found that doing more actually makes me manage my time better and produces the best results. For example, this year, I took 8 scholarship exams during November on top of Level 3 and did better in my Level 3 externals than any other year. Ultimately, it’s about making the most of your potential. It may sound stressful but I’ve found that my stress has been more a matter of mentality than actual workload. If you do find that you are doing too much, at least you now have a better idea about where your passions lie and how to prioritise.
Keep on top of stress, sleep and schedule. Treating your brain and future self well is a huge part of achieving any goal. Determination is good but don’t talk yourself into thinking that if you’re not on a highway to dux, you’re failing. If you are aiming for dux, chances are, you’re doing very well already. Unnecessary stress and negative self talk won’t help. Instead, stay organised and make sure that the process of getting dux is something you enjoy doing, not just the award itself.
I hope that this helped!