Aarohi Pillai who topped the International Benchmark Test for Excellence in English in the Middle East. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: A 14-year-old Dubai student has beaten all her peers in the region and topped the International Benchmark Test (IBT) for Excellence in English in the Middle East.

Aarohi Pillai, a grade nine student of Dubai Scholars Private School, scored 100 on 100 for her exemplary achievement in the IBT English language exam.

More than 125 private schools and over 50,000 students from the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Jordan have been participating in the IBT every year, according to the Australian Council for Educational Research (Acer), one of the world’s leading research and assessment services organisations, that regularly conducts the exam in the region.

The IBT allows schools to compare student progress with local, national and international benchmarks. The international programme assesses student performance in three subjects: Mathematics, Science and English.

Dubai schools participate in the exams in pursuit of assessment standards set by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority.

Speaking to Gulf News, Aarohi shared her happiness over her rare achievement of scoring full marks in English.

“I have been getting high distinctions in my previous IBT exams. But this is the first time I got 100 on 100,” the jubilant girl said.

“When I went to attend the exam, I sat down with the hopes to get a high distinction. There were a few questions which were out of syllabus and answering them was a challenge. Getting full in English is not something that you hear very often. So, this is a very proud achievement for me, my school and the UAE.”

An avid reader, Aarohi said she reads 10 to 12 books a month, apart from her academic books. Does that mean English is her favourite subject? Not exactly! “I wouldn’t say I have a favourite subject. I love English and prefer reading fiction. I enjoy history books as well. But in future, I want to do something in science. I am not sure now … probably I will opt for engineering because I really like physics.”

The girl, who won a plaque from Acer and a certificate of honour from her school, said the secret of her academic achievements is her “love for studies and constant support from parents and teachers”.

“I enjoy studying … I do studying for quite a bit of time. But I also take breaks to keep myself productive. Hockey is my favourite sport. I really enjoy playing it.”

Aarohi is the only daughter of Vikas Pillai, an advertising professional, and Kamalini Pillai, a homemaker.