BIS Hanoi students achieve the world's highest mark in Cambridge examination

January 18, 2019 | 08:00
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Cambridge Assessment International Education recently awarded three students from the BIS Hanoi (British International School Hanoi) for achieving the highest mark in the world for their IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) Mathematics papers.
bis hanoi students achieve the worlds highest mark in cambridge examination

Photo (from left to right): Kerry Fernandes, head of BIS Hanoi's Mathematics, Hai Ha, Hang Giang, Sang Yun and Tim Webb, head of secondary

In December 2018, Cambridge Assessment International Education announced the Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards in Vietnam for the June 2018 examination series, the list of awards included Top in Vietnam of all subjects, Best across IGCSEs, AS levels and A Levels, High Achievement, and the most remarkable is “Top in the World”.

Out of five students who were awarded the Cambridge “Top in the World”, three students from BIS Hanoi, Sang Yun (Year 12), Hai Ha (Year 11) and Hang Giang (Year 11), were awarded for achieving the Highest Mark in the world for their IGCSE Mathematics papers with an amazing achievement of scoring 100 per cent.

“Their hard work, dedication, perseverance and self-motivation throughout the school year really did pay off and our Maths Department are extremely proud of them,” said Kerry Fernandes, head of Mathematics.

“At BIS Hanoi, we want every one of our students to achieve to their full potential, we want to see them challenge themselves and have the drive to be the best they can possibly be,” she added.

After only one year of studying, Hai Ha and Hang Giang entered the IGCSE exam which normally takes two years

The IGCSE is known as the world’s most popular international curriculum for students aged from 14 to 16 (Year 10 and Year 11), developed by the University of Cambridge. Subject matter for the examinations is taught over a two-year period. The qualifications are widely accepted and recognised by higher education institutions and employers across the globe.

Two of the students, Hai Ha and Hang Giang, presented for IGCSE Mathematics after just one year of study and achieved the highest mark in the world, despite global competition from other students entering these internationally recognised Mathematics papers.

For Hang Giang, this achievement is evidence of her hard work and the support she received from her teacher, Mrs Fernandes in particular. “Her advice was practical and the amount of mental support we got from her really helped me overcome my exam stress,” said Giang.

“The biggest part of why I could achieve 100 per cent was definitely my teacher, Mrs Fernandes, because she was the one that guided us through the course despite the time constraints, as she was still able to teach us everything needed while giving us time to practice and revise. Her support was the reason why our class did so well,” said Hai Ha.

bis hanoi students achieve the worlds highest mark in cambridge examination
Hai Ha (middle) doing experiment with her classmates in the Science class

Joining BIS Hanoi in 2017, Sang Yun opted to take eight IGCSEs in a single year

Relocating from Korea without any experience of the international curriculum, Sang Yun, joined BIS Hanoi in the academic year of 2017 – 2018 when he was in Year 11. Normally IGCSEs are studied over two years (Year 10 and Year 11). His ambition drove him to take eight IGCSEs in a single year and achieved seven A* grades and one A, including the highest mark in the world in Mathematics.

“When I was offered to take the IGCSE course at BIS Hanoi, I was a bit worried because I had only one year to complete the course. However, with the encouragement and support of the teachers, I was determined to push myself further to see what I was actually capable of,” said Sang Yun.

This achievement was very meaningful to him as he had no experience with the international curriculum before joining BIS Hanoi, not to mention pursuing IGCSEs in a shorter period.

“Achieving the highest mark is one thing, but the fact that the subject was Mathematics really meant a lot to me because Mathematics had never been one of my strong subjects back in Korea,” he added, “the constant support from the teachers to help me catch up is one of the main reasons for my results, so a big thank you to our teachers here at BIS Hanoi!”

IGCSE tips from the “Top in the World” students

IGCSE is a balanced curriculum and a flexible course of study. There are five subject groups in IGCSE with several subjects to choose from, in each group included:

  • Group 1: Languages (First Language, Second Language, Foreign Language)
  • Group 2: Humanities and Social Sciences (Geography, English Literature, History)
  • Group 3: Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics)
  • Group 4: Mathematics (Mathematics, Additional Mathematics)
  • Group 5: Creative, Technical and Vocational (Accounting, Business Studies, Computer Studies, Music)

Most subjects offer a choice between standard curriculum and extended curriculum. This gives students of all ability levels the freedom to choose subjects that are right for them and to get good grades. Students receive grades for each subject ranging from A* to G, with A* being the highest.

When it comes to selecting the subjects for IGCSE and revision for the IGCSE papers, the three “Top in the World” students shared three tips below:

  1. Choose the subject you enjoy the most: Make sure that the subject you choose is what you enjoy learning and not something your parents want you to do, or because of peer or social pressure.
  2. Read the textbook at least three times thoroughly before you take your exams. Repeated reading will help you familiarise with the content faster.
  3. Doing past papers under the timed condition and mark them yourself is recommended as it allows you to have an idea of how the real exam is like, how to answer the exam questions and also to learn from the mistakes you have made.

By Ngan Ha

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