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Is it correct to say:

I came in first in my last year ... (etc)

And what is the difference between "I came in first" and "I came first..."?

  • To come in first is usually reserved for races; come first has a far wider idiomatic distribution. I'd choose it here. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 18 '17 at 10:45
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Perhaps something like

I was number one in my class

or

I was the top (or top-ranked/highest ranked) student

or

I was the head of my graduating class

Not sure what you mean by the difference between it and I came first...

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    I proposed an edit to clarify. I think "it" refers to "I came in first"--that is, OP wanted to know the difference between "I came first" and "I came IN first" – AleksandrH Feb 18 '17 at 15:33
  • Yup, @AleksandrH, that must be it. – freeling10 Feb 18 '17 at 15:39
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    thank you so much for your clarifications guys . you've been very helpful. – israa wael Feb 18 '17 at 20:27
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The standard way to say this would be as follows, even though @freeling10 has pointed out some alternatives that also work:

I graduated at the top of my class

As Edwin noted in the comments, "came first" and "finished first" are usually used in the context of races and competitions. And while school is definitely competitive, the phrases are not commonly used in that context.

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