One hundred and seven NSW students have shown HSC excellence, some of them topping courses before they even begin Year 12 and tackling university subjects while still at high school.
Andrew Ting Li, 16, from the Hills, northwest Sydney, won the award for agriculture despite being in Year 11.
"It's something that's very strong in our school, we're an agriculture High School," the James Ruse Agricultural High School student told AAP on Tuesday.
Andrew said that as he studied agriculture it "became a part of his life" - "There's a lot of everything in agriculture".
Isolde Daniell, 17, from Lismore won her First in Course award for Italian Extension.
The Trinity Catholic College student said her mum found it hard to keep the secret for four days.
"Mum told the house painter, the postman," she said.
Isolde's father is an opera singer - Rhys Daniell.
"He used to sing in the Opera House," she said, adding that she now uses her Italian to help him translate his music.
Maddy Greer, 18, won her award for Philosophy Distinction, which is almost at university level.
But the teen from Dubbo admitted she wouldn't continue to study it all the time as she would "never make any money or get a job".
She said that she uses the principles of the subject in her everyday life - something which might have been useful when she had to deal with flooding in her town.
"I came back from schoolies and the roads were closed around half the city and it was pretty weird going from somewhere where it had barely rained all year and coming back and half the roads were shut from the flooded river," she said.
"Traffic jams have been crazy for Dubbo. For someone who is used to taking ten minutes to get across town, taking half an hour tests my patience," she added.
Girls outperformed boys in the awards with 70 girls achieving first place in at least one subject, compared to 37 boys.
"You should all take extra pride and enjoyment knowing that out of the record 70,000 plus HSC students this year just 107 will receive a certificate of excellence for obtaining first place and the high standard in an HSC course," NSW Education Minister Verity Firth said at the awards ceremony on Tuesday in Sydney.
Seven students managed to take first place achievements in two courses.
Meanwhile, the rest of the state's HSC students are still waiting nervously for their results, which will be released on Wednesday.
Students will be able to access their results from 6am (AEDT) via internet, telephone and text message.