NATHAN Smith will leave the Higher School Certificate not only with an internationally recognised accreditation, but a one-person canoe.
The All Saints' College St Mary's Campus student, 19, spent about 300 hours building the canoe from Western Red Cedar for his Design and Technology major design project.
"I wanted a challenge and pulled the idea out of thin air," he said.
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"I worked on it mostly at home and then brought it to school on top of the car. I've tested it at Maitland pool - I had to rent a lane.
"I'll put it in my shed and then figure [it's next life] out from there."
Design and Technology students submitted their major works in August, but had to wait until the last afternoon of the four week HSC written exam period to sit the 90 minute paper.
"I felt pretty positive about it," Nathan said.
"I had about a whole week off just to study for this and was able to maintain the motivation."
His classmates Riley Hungerford, 18, and Braedyn Deamer, 17, agreed.
Watch Riley's hydro electric turbine system for a drainpipe below.
"When I first got the timetable there was some frustration but now I definitely see it as a positive," said Braedyn, whose previous exam was November 1.
"Plus when you're studying time goes really quick," Riley said.
They said their teacher Mr Koen had helped them prepare well for the exam, which they described as "straight forward".
"It was good," Braedyn said.
"We managed to learn everything, retain that information and study by using a lot of past papers.
"This exam was much easier than in previous years."
Nathan said there were "no surprises", while Riley said it was akin to "regurgitating the syllabus dot points".
Nathan and Riley said they had correctly predicted the 15 mark extended response question, which Nathan said was a "confidence booster", but Riley said should have been included in the short answer section.
It asked them to analyse the factors affecting the success or failure of an innovative design.
The trio wrote about the iPhone camera and biotechnology of fruit stem cell research.
Braedyn said the breadth of the question made it easy to answer.
Riley said he was "over the moon" to have the exams "done and dusted" and was planning to go to the beach, while Nathan and Braedyn were heading home to relax.
They will attend their school formal on Saturday and then wait for the release of their results and Australian Tertiary Admission Rank on December 17.
"I just want the results straight away, it's going to be hard to wait a month," Riley said.
"I'm going to try not think about it," Nathan said.
"I probably won't think about it, but when the date gets closer it will start to feel daunting," Braedyn said.
Riley wants to study city planning, Nathan is considering urban planning or architecture and Braedyn is looking to construction management.