Hours of extra study have paid off for Phoenix students Bethany Somers and Abi Merry who beat some of the brightest young minds from across the globe in the World Scholars Cup Tournament of Champions.
The year 10 students, and a third member of their team who joined them from New Zealand, placed ninth overall from about 600 teams at the six-day event at Yale University in the US.
Abi and Bethany spent a day in New York after flying in to the US, Abi then travelled up to the university in Connecticut where they met their team mate for the first time face-to-face.
For the past few months the trio have been holding Skype study sessions to consolidate their knowledge in the key areas they would compete in.
Teams took part in collaborative writing, debating, the Scholar's Bowl quiz and Scholar's Challenge exam with a focus on the 2019 theme A World on the Margins.
Unsolved mysteries, neglected history, enabling technologies, literary voices from the margins, art and music that is louder than words and social studies on the edge of society are just some of the topics they put in hours of research to learn more about.
The team came ninth overall, bringing home three trophies and 21 medals. They came 15th in the Scholar's Bowl, a quiz that gets harder with each question that is played simultaneously against every team, and the Scholar's Challenge - a multiple choice test where multiple choices can be made but scores drop with each additional answer selected.
"We put in lots of hours and had a lot of calls with our team mate, but so many people we knew had done really well in their rounds and there were a lot of top scholars - it was terrifying and we were not expecting to do as well as we did," Bethany said.
"Everything we could get a team medal for we got one, and a whole bunch of individual medals too."
To get to the Tournament of Champions at Yale, the girls did well in the first round in Melbourne and competed at the global round against 2000 other competitors from the Asia Pacific in Sydney in August, coming in the 36th. The Tournament of Champions featured the top 100 teams from each global qualifier and additional qualifiers.
Abi said it was an amazing experience to compete against teams from so many different countries.
"It was an amazing atmosphere ... and we made so many friends while we were over there," she said.
"We were competing against each other but everyone was so supportive and happy."
In addition to the academic competitions, there were community events and opportunities for teams to get to know each other and explore different cultures.
For both Bethany and Abi their overseas experience has cemented their future goals around travel, exploring different cultures and international relations.
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