Students get their annual result at the GEMS Wellington International School in Dubai. Image Credit: A.K Kallouche/Gulf News

Dubai: More than 9,000 students across the UAE, who appeared for the Cambridge International Examinations’s (CIE’s) International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) examination for 2016-2017, celebrated one of the most spectacular performances by far with a large section achieving A* and A grades.

A senior spokesperson for CIE told Gulf News: “This year we saw a fantastic performance by students across the UAE and are delighted with the results.”

For the Gems Education which had more than 1,750 students appearing in the examination this year, nearly 40 per cent received A* or A equivalent grades. If this were to be translated into the new number system, nearly 48 students throughout UAE from Gems schools received either one grade nine and two grade 8s. The new top grade 9 is designed to recognise the very highest performing students. A further 86 per cent of students achieved A* to C or equivalent in English and maths compared to 59 per cent for the UK (2016).

Gems Wellington, Shaikh Zayed Road, which has the largest group of 149 students appearing for the examination had more than 50 per cent achieving A* and A.

Ruth Barke, Principal and CEO of the school told Gulf News: “I am thrilled with the spectacular results and all credit goes to the students who worked incredibly hard to achieve these results. But one cannot but appreciate the dedication of the staff and teachers who went above and beyond the call of duty in putting in 100 per cent effort and harnessing the energy of the parents and ensuring that all stakeholders were on the same page as far as our goal was concerned.”

At another Gems school — Jumeirah College — 62 per cent of students got grades A* to A, or the equivalent grades 9 to 7.

At Dubai British School (DBS) run by Taleem, 10 students got A* and A grades. Of those 10, two students got 11 A* and four got 8 A*.

Brendon Fulton, Principal of Dubai British School, told Gulf News: “This has been another excellent year for our GCSE students at DBS. Although many were feeling quite anxious about the new subject specification and assessment criteria, their results show that they have made outstanding progress, with over 80 per cent of all grades representing a ‘better than expected’ outcome.”

Seven schools belonging to the Al Dar Academies group had overall 228 students appearing for the examination. One of their schools Al Yasmina Academy, Abu Dhabi, saw its 106 IGCSE students surpass the school’s previous record results, as 87 per cent achieved 5 or more A* to C grades while 53 per cent of them getting 5 or more A* to A grades. The school also celebrated a 100 per cent overall pass rate.

Dr Tim Hughes, principal of Al Yasminia Academy, said: “Our Year 11 students have surpassed all previous achievements of our academy and we are rightly extremely proud of each and every one of them. Their results demonstrate that effort, determination, personal ambition and perseverance, together with incredible support from teachers, staff and parents.”

One of the most surprising performance was that of Sunmarke School from Fortes Group, Dubai. The school which opened in 2016, had 60 students appearing in the IGCSE examination this year and nearly 40 per cent of them A* and A grades.

Aldar Academies, an Abu Dhabi Government owned education provider with seven private schools, announced that more than half of the 106 students who attended the O’level exams this year earned at least five A* to A grades. The schools also reported a 100 per cent pass rate.

Jordanian student, Mera Al Fawares, and Lebanese pupil Jad Nasser, were the top scorers with eight A*s and 3 As each at Aldar Academies’ Al Yasmina Academy, while Agnes Widensky from Austria achieved the best result at Al Bateen Academy with nine A*s. At Al Ain Academy, Indian student Karthy Satish achieved nine A*s and 1 A.

“I’m absolutely thrilled after so much hard work and lots of study. If I have any advice for next year’s IGCSE students, it would be to never give up. Before the exams I was heading for a C in one subject, but after studying hard I’ve come away with all A* and A, which feels fantastic,” Satish said.

Over at Brighton college, 10 pupils earned at least nine A*s each. The school also saw the new 1 to 9 numerical grading system implemented for GCSE Math and English, and 15 pupils achieved the highest grade of 9.

No substitute for hard work

Akshit Goel, the overall topper of the 2017 IGCSE examinations from the UAE with 10 A* and one A grades, said the important thing for him was to pay complete attention to lessons in class. “I have since last year achieved 13 A* as I was giving additional examinations too,” said the 15-year-old who plans to eventually study medicine in UK or US. His secret mantra to success was being regular with homework, focus in classroom and prioritising studies over everything. Goel’s mother Barkha told Gulf News: “I was very impressed by how self driven my son was towards the last two months before the examination. He had everything under control and was going ahead with a plan for himself.”

Anuja Venkataramani

Anuja Sakthi Venkatramani, another topper from the school who had 10 A* grades, got full marks in history. Venkatramani who plans to do her International Baccalaureate Diploma later, wants to graduate in Law. “I think consistency is the key to doing well. My focus has been to maintain a certain level of performance throughout.”

For a steady performance, Venkatramani made it a point to study everyday. “Even if it was an hour, I always set aside time for self study. I watched videos especially on history on GCSEPod and found the MyGCSE website very useful.”

Overall Gems students have recorded exceptional results in 2017. The most remarkable student performances across the Gems schools included the following:

  1. School Name Grades
  2. GEMS Wellington International School Akshit Goel 10A* 9(2) 1 A
  3. Jumeirah College Ebani Dhawan 10A* 9(2)
  4. GEMS Wellington International School Anuja Sakthi Venkatramani 10A* 9(2)
  5. Cambridge International School — Dubai Emile Timothy Anand 11A* 2A
  6. The Winchester School — Jebel Ali Alijaeh Joshua Apit Go 11A* 1A
  7. Jumeirah College Kazal Oshodi 9A* 9(2) 1A
  8. Jumeirah College Arsh Bhasin 10A* 9(1) 7(1)
  9. Jumeirah College Sita Williams 9A* 8(2) A

With inputs by Samihah Zaman, Staff Reporter