HE survived the challenge of tricky words such as steppe, liniment, neuralgia and quokka in the Premier's Spelling Bee.
Now Keiran Pirabhahar, nine, of Carlingford will go head to head with other top spellers across NSW in the state final.
He joins Kevin Jiang from Matthew Pearce Public School and Aneel Blassey from Cherrybrook Public School. Aneel will compete in the senior category (years 5 and 6).
Keiran said he was excited."Debtor was the hardest word I had to spell — it had the silent 'b' and the 'or'.
"I spelt it 'detter'. The other person got their word wrong as well."
The Murray Farm Public School pupil took part in a two-week series of regional finals to secure his spot in the 2012 state final — the biggest so far, with 84 pupils taking part.
"I was crossing my fingers and I was all shaking in the finals," Kieran said.
He qualified for the state final to be held at the ABC Centre, Ultimo, on Wednesday, November 7.
There Keiran will compete from 9.30am to 12.10pm in the junior final against other years 3 and 4 pupils.
"I think I've always been a good speller," he said.
Keiran's deputy principal Sharon Williams agreed: "He's a very bright young man."
She said the secret to his success was "good preparation".
Added Kieran: "We study every day with spelling words in class."
Launched in 2004, the Spelling Bee is part of the state government's strategy to improve literacy results. A record 123,306 students from across NSW participated in this year's competition.