Straight-A students are not necessarily nerds or bookworms. One such example is Pauline Yeung who, despite her busy study schedule, has always managed to find time for many extra-curricular activities. Community work and a strong interest in human rights projects featured heavily in Pauline's after-school itinerary. This is on top of a gruelling academic schedule that saw her score 10 distinctions at HKCEE and win a scholarship to study at Princeton University in the US, where she has been for the past year. Out of school, she gained recognition for winning last year's South China Morning Post Student of the Year competition. She was elected best debater twice in inter-school competitions. Current affairs is another of her interests, a keen knowledge of which made a definite impact on those judging the student of the year contestants. 'Time-management is important,' she said. 'I always believe we should make good use of our time and do as much as we can while we're young.' Her schooldays have been busy. A Diocesan Girls' School graduate, she chaired the Hong Kong student delegation to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2001. As one of seven students selected from 2,000 candidates around the world, she travelled to Florida, US, to participate in a panel discussion on how young people can make a difference in society. She also volunteered for Sowers Action and regularly visited homes for the elderly and conducted tutorial classes for disabled and sick children. Natalie Kwan Yuk-kei is another star performer. She scored 10 As in the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) exam last year. Organised by the University of Cambridge, the exam is equivalent to the HKCEE. The 17-year-old scored top marks in geography, English literature and Latin, beating students from around the world. She said she was not a bookworm, preferring to spend her spare time doing sports, such as ju-jitsu (a Japanese martial art) and sailing. 'Paying attention in class really helps. It means you won't need to spend as much time revising after school,' said the French International School student. She thinks extra-curricular activities are important too. 'You can't stick to your books all the time, otherwise you'll lose interest.' Planning is also important. 'Planning ahead means you won't panic before exams.' Not panicking and handling exam pressure is a common key to success for these straight-A students. Queen's College's Derek Ho Kam-fai, who got 10As in last year's HKCEE, said: 'When I felt the pressure, I took a rest, watched television or did some exercise. Things I usually do when I'm not studying.' He said establishing a revision schedule was essential and advised others to plan well ahead. 'Doing past papers definitely helps you familiarise with the questions.' He also suggested revising all subjects every week as the exams get closer. 'This refreshes your memory,' he said. 'Try to relax and try your best. And don't put too much pressure on yourself.'