"Though one can understandably be disheartened by a number on the front of their test paper, given the unhealthy obsession that has and continues to define academic culture, that we are purely numbers, my teaching ethos disobediently stands (quite proudly) against this. Instead, I challenge students to contemplate their value as being based on what they have learnt, what they truly understand." - Melvern Kurniawan (6th in NSW for English Advanced HSC)


  • ATAR: 99.40

  • State ranks: 6th in NSW English Advanced and 9th in NSW Business Studies Accelerated)

  • School: Castle Hill High School (Senior prefect)

  • Studies Bachelor of Psychology (Major in Neuroscience) with Honours at USYD

  • English Advanced HSC Mark: 98/100 (6th in NSW and 1st internally)

  • English Extension 1 HSC Mark: 48/50 (external mark of 49/50)

  • English Extension 2 internal mark: 50/50

  • Business Studies Accelerated HSC Mark: 98/100 (9th in NSW and 1st internally)

  • Legal Studies HSC Mark: 95/100

  • Mathematics Advanced HSC Mark: 95/100

  • Other accolades, awards and scholarships:

    • Admitted into the prestigious  Dalyell Scholars program at the University of Sydney 2020 

    • Admitted into the Advanced Program for: Brain and Behavioural Psychology, Functional Neuroanatomy and Learning and Behaviour at the University of Sydney

    • Won the Katherine Georgouras Science Award 2017

    • Won the University of Sydney Academic Excellence Award 2017

    • Won the Macquarie University Business School Excellence Award

    • Academic Director of Concept English Solutions 

    • Authored numerous academic resources (500+ pages), for both English and Psychology. 

    • His most recent student attained 13th in NSW for English Advanced under his teaching and mentorship. 


After being awarded DUX of Year 10 in 2017, Melvern was told that he may find fulfilment in teaching younger kids Maths and English. Little did he know, he would embark on a reasonably long journey that would eventually take him to his current position as Co-owner (with Chloe Zhu) and Academic Director of Concept English, the most prestigious and well-respected English tutoring centres in Sydney. Melvern has taught over 150 students, presented at seminars and lectures in both private and group contexts, and authored over 500+ pages worth of academic material that is still being used in today's classrooms.


Melvern's experience is truly impressive, and his unique teaching approach and pedagogical philosophy is testified by the consistently remarkable results he delivers for students at the closure of every academic year. In 2021, one of his students, Ofelia Zhao, was able to attain a state rank of 13th in NSW for HSC English Advanced under his guidance and teaching, an achievement which he is immensely proud of, and something he regards as being a "wonderful highlight of his teaching journey...a hopeful reminder that signals why I do what I do". Melvern has also taught students attending the top schools in the state such as James Ruse, students who received above 95 in HSC English Advanced, and above 99+ ATARS. In fact, two of his students have also achieved the DUX title under his mentorship and another astoundingly received a Co-op scholarship at UNSW with his help. Melvern measures his success as a teacher through his students and focuses on building their confidence and expertise by empowering them to think critically about all aspects of English, and by extension, the world. 


Melvern is an honest and passionate teacher who prioritises his student's grasp on textual theory. This is to ensure that they can eventually translate their knowledge onto paper during exams and assessment tasks. Through his nuanced approach to English, he synthesises a dynamic teaching philosophy that punctures through the student's weaknesses and strengths, ultimately allowing him to fluidly adapt with their specific needs. Whilst Melvern begins by making clear the general principles integral to success in English, he follows this with a highly tailored teaching strategy that places precedence on his student. After he diagnoses specific areas where student's are in need of improvement, he continually refines his lessons to facilitate personalised growth that is  responsive to the whatever it may be that his students bring forward, their goals and queries. He understands that every students is different and does not minimise who they are, but rather searches for ways to maximise their growth. 


When explaining themes, dissecting the linguistic elements of a literary text or probing his student's essays and responses, Melvern is typified by his extremely detail-orientated approach and critical eye. He is able to scrutinise arguments and bring to the student's awareness, their own inconsistencies or fallacies to enlighten them on how to iterate and thus enhance the rigour of their own reasoning and critical thinking skills. Additionally, Melvern emphasises the importance of speaking with a unique voice and encourages his students to communicate with flair, a distinct style that distinguishes oneself above the rest. This is all done with the aim to elevate both the intellectual and creative vibrancy of their work. 


In essence, his approach aligns with the philosophy at the heart of his teaching, as he attests the great value of being able to judge and evaluate one's opinions, iterate and refine it - and ultimately express it - with such power, precision and sophistication so as to successfully construct a work that one can be genuinely proud of.