Catholic student tops world in Religious Education exam

Religious Education

Coming first in the world for his religious education examination wasn’t a result Auckland St Peter’s College student Christian Domilies expected.

Domilies’s Cambridge examination results were the highest among the 1.5 million students from 150 countries and over 6000 schools.

He has been given a badge and certificate to commemorate his achievement.

“It feels great actually” Domilies says.

“It wasn’t the subject I was hoping to get top in the world for, or top in New Zealand even.

“I was happy with top in New Zealand, but to get top in the world in a subject – that’s honestly really, really good and I am super proud of myself and everyone who helped me!

“I’m wearing my summer uniform, so I can’t wear the badge on my shirt, because it’ll come off, but I’ll probably wear it on my blazer in winter.”

The St Peter’s College student spoke of feeling nervous when his principal brought him to stand in front of his peers.

Firstly, they announced Domilies had topped New Zealand in the exam.

Then they called him back – after learning he had achieved the best marks in the world.

The winning exam

Domilies said he chose to write about Islam and Christianity in his paper.

“So there were two papers.

“The first paper was two compulsory three-part questions and one of them you had to show your knowledge of a certain topic.”

He says Christian pilgrimages and the Vatican are topic examples.

“And then the second part was to explain and relate it to a certain issue of today, and the third question was answering a scenario, to prove your point.”

For the first paper, he thought he was nailing it but for the second one he felt the pressure of time.

“To be honest, I had to write my final three-part question in under 15 minutes, which isn’t exactly recommended.

“I felt really nervous and I was thinking to myself that this would probably be an exam that I’d get maybe low 90s [points] but I actually got 97 [points] so I was super surprised.”

Domilies says he’s doesn’t know what the three missing marks were for.

The winning study method

Domilies says his study method involved reading all the materials, reviewing content and then answering the questions from previous exam papers.

His method has paid off: he received A* (the top grade) in every subject, except in economics where he got an A.

Domilies says he’s thinking of studying law at university, but is still undecided.

“I’d like to get top [marks] in Classics [this year], because that’s one of my favourite subjects, and probably also History … I’d be fine with any subject” he says.


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