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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

UAE pupils look to the future as A-Level exam results are released

Pupils rejoiced after finding their months of hard work paid off

Tears of joy were shed at Jumeirah College on Thursday as soon-to-be university students received their A-Level results and found out the outcome of their future education.

“I was so happy when I read my results,” said Lebanese pupil Mario Aoun, who earned an A* in both mathematics and business and an A in physics.

“I didn’t expect to get these results but I ended up getting them and I didn’t sleep last night but it was definitely worth it.”

He plans on studying mechanical engineering and business finance at the University College London (UCL). “I will be able to celebrate now. It was difficult and it was very hard but if you work hard, it just pays off, that’s the way it is,” the 18-year-old said.

Top A-level results have risen for the first time in the past six years in the UK, Wales and Northern Ireland with A* and A grades making up 26.3 per cent of entries.

Last year, the UK national average was 8 per cent A*, 25.8 per cent A* and A and 52.9 per cent A* to B, 77.6 per cent A* to C and 98 per cent A* to E.

This year pupils in Dubai received their results at the same time as Malala Yousafzai, the 20-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner, who was accepted into Oxford University to study philosophy, politics and economics.

Malala Yousefzai is congratulated after collecting her 'A-Level exam results at Edgbaston High School for Girls in Birmingham. Darren Staples / Reuters
Malala Yousefzai is congratulated after collecting her 'A-Level exam results at Edgbaston High School for Girls in Birmingham. Darren Staples / Reuters

Back in Dubai, Briton Samantha Edensor hugged her mother in excitement when she saw her three A* in biology, chemistry and mathematics. “I was predicted two A* but I didn’t know I was going to get them so I’m a bit surprised,” she said. “I was so ill during the exams and I had glandular fever so I had doctors come in with an IV straight to my biology exam.”

She plans on studying medicine at Brighton and Sussex Medical School. “I’m incredibly proud and quite awestruck really,” her mother Louise said.

“She’s worked so hard and she really deserves it. She really liked Brighton because it’s a very small medical school and they only take about 125 students a year. It’s really tiny so it was perfect and it was her top choice so I’m so glad she got in.”

Devika Dehiya, from India, got an A* in biology, two As in chemistry and physics and a B in mathematics. “I’m not sure about the maths because that’s supposed to be one of my strongest but I think it maybe got side-lined because of my other subjects,” she said.

“I had no idea what to expect because this is the new A-Level, which means I had no idea what the boundaries would be like. I feel they were a lot harder, I didn’t walk out feeling confident because they were new but I’m thrilled I got my requirement.”

The 18-year-old needed two As and a B to get accepted to study medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. “She’s had a fantastic home-run, she’s secured a seat and she’s completely thrilled,” said her emotional father, Deepak.

“We’re super proud. She’s absolutely pulled out all the stops in the past year and the amount of efforts she put in was incredible. My words to her this morning were that irrespective of what you get, the effort you put in is worth celebrating.”

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The school has outdone itself this year with an increase in A* results from 7.8 per cent in 2015 to 18.2 per cent.

“I’m pleased that 52 per cent of all grades were A or A* up from 30 per cent two years ago,” said Simon O’Connor, principal of Jumeirah College.

“I am thrilled that seven students got straight A* and 39 straight A* and A. The impact of that means they can go on to universities around the world – we’ve got students going to top Ivy League universities, including Oxford and Cambridge and that’s a real mark of this because it’s the qualifications they can take into the world and demonstrate how clever and able they are and hopefully, continue their lives to be successful as well.”

This year also marks the school’s largest cohort of students at 138 compared to 110 a few years ago.

“There was a certain nervousness going into today,” he said. “There are also new specifications this year. Last year, students would have done their A levels in two chunks whereas now, a lot of the subjects they have to do it all in one, which is more difficult on them. Having to do two exams at the end of two years as opposed to twice after the end of one year meant there was a bit of uncertainty but what we’re absolutely thrilled with is the fact that our results have gone up yet again, and quite significantly.”