"My secret was not to overwork myself," said Jonathan Du Rand - Trinityhouse Randpark Ridge's top IEB matriculant for 2017.
Du Rand, 18, achieved eight distinctions and had an 88.75% aggregate.
Speaking to News24 while on holiday with his father, Eddie, in Bahrain, Du Rand said he saw how friends struggled with the pressure they put themselves under and he decided to take things easy instead.
"I knew I had to work hard, but I also knew my limits and I tried not to push them too far," Du Rand explained.
The teen said his dream was to study medicine at a university in the United States and this motivated him to succeed.
"Think of your long-term goal: your career, home and family. Think of where you want to end up and then work backwards," he said.
"It's easier to work hard when you know where you're heading."
Du Rand said he hasn't made a final decision on a university in the US yet, but said his plan was to specialise in neuroscience.
"I've always been fascinated with the human body and how things work - even on a molecular level. It was always interesting to me, so it never really felt like work."
"The nervous system is the mastermind behind everything and I'm intrigued to learn about how it all works."
And his role models?
Du Rand said he has always looked up to his brother Shaun who, despite difficulty, managed to succeed.
"Life doesn't always work out the way we want it to and sometimes the ride can be bumpy," Du Rand explained. My brother showed me that, no matter how tough it gets, you are always strong enough to persevere."