Maverick Citizen

CLASS OF 2023

‘Over the moon’ — SA’s top matriculant reveals keys to success, and some power tips for the class of 2024

‘Over the moon’ — SA’s top matriculant reveals keys to success, and some power tips for the class of 2024
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga (left) with top achiever Melissa Müller and Deputy Minister Dr Reginah Mhaule at the announcement of the 2023 matric exam results in Fairland, Johannesburg, on 18 January 2024. (Photo: Gallo Images / Luba Lesolle)

Melissa Müller, the top matriculant in the country, talks about how setting clear goals – and some downtime – played a part in her achievement.

Setting clear goals – including being invited to the top matric achievers event – was one of the weapons in Melissa Müller’s arsenal that propelled her to the top of South Africa’s matric class of 2023.

The 18-year-old, who matriculated from Rhenish Girls High in Stellenbosch, told Daily Maverick that this helps her to “power through times” when motivation is lacking.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced Müller as the top achiever at the matric results event in Fairland, Johannesburg, on 18 January 2023.

Müller – who is also the top achiever in the Western Cape – was among more than 600,000 matriculants who wrote their exams in 2023, and who achieved a 82.9% pass rate compared with 80.1% in 2022.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Matric class of 2023 beats the odds with record 82.9% pass rate — Angie Motshekga

She scored 93% for English home language, 95% for Afrikaans first additional language, 100% for mathematics, 97% for life orientation, 100% for accounting, 99% for life sciences and 99% for physical sciences.

With seven distinctions, this means she obtained an outstanding achievement in all subjects.

top matriculant

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga with top achiever Melissa Müller at the release of the 2023 matric exam results in Fairland, Johannesburg, on 18 January 2024. (Photo: Gallo Images / Luba Lesolle)

top matriculant

Melissa Müller. (Photo: Supplied)

‘Focused’

Müller said she learnt a lot about herself – what worked and did not work for her – while preparing for the exams.

“I discovered that I was most productive early in the morning, and this is when [the] majority of my studying took place,” she said.

She thinks there is a lot of pressure during finals, especially due to the emphasis placed on these exams throughout the matric year.“I tried to ease some pressure off my finals by studying extremely hard for my prelim exams so that I knew exactly which concepts I had to focus on in my preparation for finals.”

Knowing when you have to buckle down and study, and when to take a break, is an invaluable skill.

Müller said she has always been extremely self-driven, which is the biggest source of her motivation. “I set clear goals for myself (being invited to the top achiever event was one of them), and this helps me to power through times where my motivation may be lacking.”

Melissa Müller said she has always been extremely self-driven, which is the biggest source of her motivation. (Photo: Gallo Images / Luba Lesolle)

Coping mechanism

In her free time Müller played hockey and water polo, and loved to read.

“I also have a passion for community service. In Grade 10 I taught myself how to crochet and made nearly 30 beanies which I donated to a crèche in Kayamandi,” she said.

She said her father Andre and mother Lucille have played a vital part in her life.

“Without their love and support I never would have achieved all of these great things. Their positive reassurances, especially on the morning of an exam, have helped to set me at ease during the stressful exam period.”

Advice for others

Müller said it is crucial to enjoy the matric year.“Knowing when you have to buckle down and study, and when to take a break, is an invaluable skill. Spend time with your family and friends, and do the things you love, because it makes it so much easier to study when you have to without feeling burnt out. Also, ask for help.”

She advised this year’s matrics to stay up to date with their schoolwork because this can help them to identify concepts that they are struggling with early so they can ask teachers and peers for help. “This helps to prevent the stress of cram-studying the night before the exam.”

Where to now?

Müller will be studying mechatronic engineering at Stellenbosch University this year. I’m completely over the moon that all my hard work over the past few years has paid off. The recognition that I have received has been so overwhelmingly positive, and I am just so excited to see what doors this opens for my future endeavours,” she said.

Gauteng education MEC Matome Chiloane with the province’s top matriculant for 2023, Hoërskool Menlo Park head girl Sheliza de Wet, at the matric results announcement in Johannesburg on 19 January 2024.
(Photo: Gauteng Education Department)

Top achievers in other provinces

  • Gauteng: Sheliza de Wet from Hoёrskool Menlo Park in Pretoria;
  • Mpumalanga: Niandi Coetzee from Hoёrskool Nelspruit in Mbombela;
  • Free State: Kamohelo Mosikili from Selelekela Secondary School in Qwaqwa (no-fee school);
  • Eastern Cape: Kian Oosthuizen from Hoёrskool Framesby in Gqeberha;
  • Limpopo: Lefophana Nthabiseng from Bokamoso Secondary School (no-fee school);
  • Northern Cape: Joan Blumenthal from Hoёrskool Hopetown;
  • North West: Wian Landman from Potchefstroom Gimnasium; and
  • KwaZulu-Natal: Olwethu Khumalo from the Mandla Mthethwa School of Excellence.
Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    Incredibly well done to you! And to all the children and young adults of our wonderful country who have matriculated this year

    You are our future light and will be the ones to lead our country to better things, giving all our people a better life, rather than just the distant hope of one.

  • Roger Sheppard says:

    This is undoubtedly a superb achievement by Melissa Muller – well done. She must surely shiver when she studies this piccie, to both left and right, however! Sho!

  • Winston Bigsby says:

    And the Edyoucasheen Meeenester Angi Motshocking couldn’t read the numbers!
    And the Comrades’ legacy to Edyoucasheen will be the replacement of students, pupils and teachers with Lehnaahs and Edyoucatahs!
    Well done to Melissa and the achievers against the odds! Note the fat-cats beaming (like Ramasofa with the Boks), like it was their achievement?

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

X

This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.


Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Daily Maverick Elections Toolbox

Download the Daily Maverick Elections Toolbox.

+ Your election day questions answered
+ What's different this election
+ Test yourself! Take the quiz