IT WAS a collective sigh of relief for Kartik Kunasegaran, Ha Nguyen and Haoxiang Fei when they opened their emails on Monday.
The three former year 12 students of Launceston Church Grammar, Newstead College and Launceston Christian School respectively, have ranked in the top five for the North of Tasmania in the Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank.
Launceston Church Grammar's Nina Barnett and Launceston College's Brodie Nankervis made up the Northern top five.
The top three students in the state with an equal score of 99.95 were Caitlin Davie and Mehr Gupta, of The Friends School, and Nikita Dub, of Hobart College.
Mr Kunasegaran, 18, of Newnham, achieved a score of 99.65 and said he was glad it was all over.
"I was getting mostly straight As and I did subjects I really loved so it was easier I think," he said.
The accomplished pianist will return to Singapore on Sunday to undertake two years of compulsory military service and if he gets accepted into the course of his choice - the Sydney Conservatory of Music's bachelor of music performance - he will defer it until he returns.
Ha Nguyen, 17, of Newstead, got 99.70 and said she was happy with how she went through the year, but wished she had done better in the undergraduate medicine and health sciences admission test in July.
With plans to be a surgeon, Ha said her ATAR and UMAT scores will count towards entrance to her preferred university, Monash, and hopes she's does well enough to be accepted.
Haoxiang Fei, 18, of West Launceston, attained a score of 99.85 and said it had been a busy year.
Juggling school and a subject through the University of Tasmania high achievers' program, he said it added to his workload and he had to forgo a social life until the holidays came around.
Mr Fei said he hoped to be accepted into engineering at the University of New South Wales, but expects to be up against some tough competition.
Education Minister Nick McKim said yesterday there had been an increase in the number of students attaining the Tasmanian Certificate of Education and ATAR on 2011, and congratulated them all for their hard work and that of their teachers.
He said those attaining an ATAR of 98.45 and above were in the top 1.5 per cent of students for their age group in Australia.
Visit The Examiner website for Tasmania's top 100 students.