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Haya Hamwi (right) Aleena Khan and Manvi Gupta, students of Kings School Al Barsha, celebrate their results. Image Credit:

Dubai: After much hard work and months of anticipation, Grade 11 students across the country finally received their long-awaited IGCSE/GCSE results on Thursday.

Students and their parents visited their schools to receive the results, with many impatiently ripping open their envelopes hoping their hard work has paid off.

A number students sat in examinations in several schools under the new 9-1 grading structure, which has been implemented to reflect a move towards more challenging IGCSE examinations.

A* to A grades are equivalent to grades 9 to 7 in the new structure, with grades 9 to 4 equivalent to A* to C.

“13 A*s”

Students from 17 GEMS Education schools have recorded another successful year of GCSE results, with Mahmoud Khalid Salah, an Egyptian expatriate student from GEMS Our Own English High School in Al Ain getting 13 A*.

This year, GEMS schools hosted a record of 2,210 students who sat their IGSCE/GCSE examinations. Of all grades achieved across the GEMS schools, 18 per cent were A* or 9-8, 39 per cent A*/A or 9-7 and 64 per cent A*-B or 9-5.

Across the GEMS network, 208 students achieved the highest ‘9’ grade with more than 500 awarded across all schools, 892 got an A* or 9-8 grade and 1,440 (65 per cent) of students achieved an A*/A or 9-7 grade.

Nadiah Zamri Nadiah of GEMS Wellington Academy, Al Khail who got 8 A* and 2As said she was speechless after getting her results. “I was not sure how to react, but I cannot be more happier, proud and satisfied. I am grateful to God for the results as they reflect the hard work I’ve done throughout the academic years with the great support from my parents and teachers,” said Nadiah.

Among the GEMS schools, Jumeirah College achieved an extraordinary 202 A* (9) grades with 80 per cent of students gaining 9-8 grades.

“I couldn’t be more delighted. There is always an element of unknown with so many new specifications being taken this year. But these results confirm the outstanding quality of education and support which students receive here. To achieve 43 per cent 9/8 grades in the new specifications is stunning,” said Simon O’Connor, Principal of Jumeirah College.

Aldar Academies

Aldar Academies, recorded exceptional IGCSE results as99% of the organisation’s 194 IGCSE students achieved A* to C grades or equivalent.

Al Yasmina Academy of Al Dar Academies recorded 92 per cent A*, A grades by its 79 IGCSE students.

Its highest scoring student was Hana Ephremidze, form Georgia with 10A*, followed by Omar Mutaz Ahmad Zeidan from Jordan with 9A* and 2As.

The academy’s highest scoring Emirati student was Ahmad Abdullah Matouq Abdullah Al Hosani with 6A*, 4A and 1B.

“I was really nervous opening the envelope but it was a relief when I finally did,” said Al Hosani, who intends to study economics and politics at the London School of Economics.

“I am so proud of myself because I studied hard and put in extra hours of work at home and at school. We have great community of teachers at Al Yasmina Academy, who encouraged me from the beginning to help me succeed,” he added.

Among 90 students of Al Bateen Academy of Al Dar Academies, 90 per cent got grades A* and A

The academy reported a 100 per cent pass rate overall, with the highest achiever being Farah Abo Asali form Syria with 10A* and 1A.

Dubai College

Students of Dubai College achieved the highest results recorded at the school in the last five years.

This year, 88 per cent of students got A* — A and 66 per cent an A*.

“To achieve these results in the face of so much uncertainty with the tougher new courses and a new grading system must be a very reassuring endorsement of the College for our parents,” said Michael Lambert, Headmaster of Dubai College.

“Significant improvement”

Students at Kings School Al Barsha, where GCSE examinations have taken place for the second year, achieved a 62 per cent of A*-A grades.

This is an increase of 10 per cent in the school’s A*-A figures in 2017.

78 per cent of the students at the school got A*-B which was also a significant increase from the previous year.

Haya Hamwi of the Kings School got A* and A grades in all her subjects. “I worked really hard in the run-up to the exams and solved as many past papers as I could do with support from my teachers. I’m extremely thrilled with my results,” said Hamwi.

She aims to take subjects of Drama, English, Economics and French at A-levels next year, with the aim of keeping her option for a future career “wide open.”

The students of Dubai British School (DBS) recorded the school’s best results, which are significantly above UK National Averages across all subjects.

At the DBS 47 per cent of students got A*-A grades, which is a seven per cent increase from last year, while 84 per cent of students achieved A* to B grades, showing a 15 per cent increase from 2017.

“In a year of significant reform to the GCSE qualifications, to not only sustain, but improve on previous year’s outstanding results is an achievement indeed and testament to the hard work and dedication of our excellent staff,” said Brendon Fulton, Principal of DBS.

94 per cent students of Repton School Dubai, who sat in the IGCSE exams, got five or more A* to C grades. More than 29 per cent of the students got A* in all their subjects, the highest total so far in the school’s short history.

Timothy Hollis, Head of Senior School at Repton Dubai pointed out the school’s IGCSE results compare favourably with the best schools in the UK, highlighting that in Biology, Chemistry and Physics 80 per cent of students got A*-A.

“Following record-breaking results last year, this year’s results are outstanding yet again, with the benchmark set by KHDA (over 75% A*-B results). These results are testament to the pupils’ efforts, hard work and resilience to attain this level of success,” he said.

Toppers reveal secret of success

Mahmoud Khalid Salah (Egyptian), 13A* and 1A — GEMS Our Own English High School, Al Ain

“I was very happy when I got my results, because I felt all my hard work had paid off. I got A* in Additional Mathematics, Cambridge International Mathematics, all three science subjects and Information and communication technology. I studied throughout the year by making a time table for myself. I dedicated enough time for each subject, and prepared my own notes so I could concentrate on my studies without having to focus on the text books. I celebrated this occasion with my parents who held a small party for me and gave me some gifts. They are very proud and happy that my wish came true. My next step is to finish my AS and A-levels and then go to university to study medicine.”

Farah Abo Asali (Syrian) 10A* 1A (Syrian) — Al Bateen Academy of Al Dar Academies

“I’m speechless. It’s been a long year of hard work. I worked hard to get the results I wanted, and my teachers supported us as much as they can to get these results. I plan to study Biochemistry or Genetic Engineering at the University of Toronto.”

Esha Sharma (Indian) 11A* and 2A — GEMS Winchester School, Dubai

“I was very happy to receive my results, it was nice to see that all that studying paid off. My studying strategy was to focus each chapter thoroughly before moving on to the next. The most important thing I did was to stay consistent in my efforts and not leave things for the last minute. I couldn’t really determine or guess what grades I would be getting but I was just satisfied with the fact that I gave my 100 per cent and that I couldn’t have possibly done anything more. To celebrate my grades, my family and I went out for dinner. The next step for me is to focus on putting full efforts to study for my AS examination.”

New grading

Pioneering students across the UAE received their first IGCSE results in English and Mathematics with the new 9-1 grading scale adopted by Pearson Edexcel. The 9-1 grading scale replaces the A*-G grading system for IGCSE marking, with 9 being the highest grade, and 1 being the lowest. The 9-1 grading methodology is widely known and recognised as the new standard for GCSE in the UK and is accepted by universities globally for student admission.

“We are particularly excited to see the first cohort of IGCSE learners take home the highest grade on the 9-1 grading scale, introduced after extensive consultation with school leaders and teachers,” said Kathryn Booth, Head of Academic Qualifications for Pearson Middle East. This year’s International GCSE results are the first to include 9-1 grades which will be rolled out to all other International GCSEs by June 2019. With nine levels of performance rather than eight, the numerical grading scale provides greater differentiation of the highest performers at the top end, rewarding student achievements, and helping them make decisions about their A-levels and university choices.

Moving to Abu Dhabi, Brighton College Abu Dhabi pupils achieved an impressive 47 per cent Grade 9-8 (A*), 71 per cent Grade 9-7 (A*-A), 90 per cent Grade 9-5 (A* - B).

Emma Parsons, head of Years 9 – 11 at the school, also commented on the changes made in GCSE examinations in the last couple of years.

“In light of the significant changes… to have raised our results once again is really remarkable, especially as we have achieved a 7 per cent increase in A* (9-8) Grade at the College. We have seen first-hand how hard all the pupils have worked to achieve these incredible results and the commitment and dedication of our teaching staff is outstanding,” she said.