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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Worry turns to joy as pupils score bumper GCSE results

Sharing study stress with friends proves a winning formula for pupils at Dubai British School 

Shruti Krishnamoorthy, 16, gets a kiss from her grandmother, Vishwanathan, together with father, Krishnamoorthy and mother, Hema at the GEMS Wellington International School in Dubai. Victor Besa/The National
Shruti Krishnamoorthy, 16, gets a kiss from her grandmother, Vishwanathan, together with father, Krishnamoorthy and mother, Hema at the GEMS Wellington International School in Dubai. Victor Besa/The National

After weeks of worry and years of hard work, it took just seconds for thousands of pupils across the UAE to rip open the results of their GCSEs on Thursday morning.

The introduction of a tougher marking system this year left some youngsters fearing the worst, yet many did even better than they expected.

Dubai British School pupil Katrina Anderson, 17, said she was planning a celebration with friends and pizza after scoring top marks in English.

The teenager said she now plans to start her A levels before hopefully heading to St Andrews University in Fife, Scotland, to do a degree in film studies and English.

“It has been challenging and I was nervous about the results,” said Katrina, originally from Aberdeen, Scotland.

“After the exams, some of the teachers were waiting outside to ask how we thought we had done. It was nice to have that support and some of them were there when we picked up our results.”

Another DBS pupil, Canadian Saskia Roth, 16, said sharing revision time with friends had helped her to relieve the stress of the build-up to exams.

Saskia Roth, right, is happy after getting her GCSE results at Dubai British School.
Saskia Roth, right, is happy after getting her GCSE results at Dubai British School.

“There is a lot of anticipation and worry and it all comes down to one test, so it is challenging,” she said. “Talking about the stress with one another was a big help. The teachers helped us through it by saying there were options if we didn’t do as well as we had hoped.”

Keen footballer Lucas Dobbie-­Holman, 16, hit all his goals, including a 7 in maths.

Although he dreams of becoming a professional footballer and is training at a Spanish La Liga academy in the UAE, he studied hard for his exams.

“I was surprised by my English and French,” he said.

“And I got two more As than I was hoping for and no Cs. I’m hoping for a football career, but if that doesn’t work out I’ll do something else in sport.”

Lucas Dobbie Holman, 16, calls his parents after getting great results. Victor Besa/The National
Lucas Dobbie Holman, 16, calls his parents after getting great results. Victor Besa/The National

Indian pupil Shruti Krishnamoorthy, 16, was one of the star performers at Gems Wellington International School in Al Barsha, Dubai. Her parents and grandmother were with her as she learnt she had scored top grades in biology, physics and English language, plus an A* in French and economics.

“I made lots of notes beforehand on the key points for each exam and it worked,” she said.

“The exam period wasn’t easy ... so it’s nice to feel all the hard work was worth it.”

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Read more:

GCSE results: UAE schools celebrate another record year

Tears and joy: GCSE results day in Dubai — in pictures

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With so many subjects to take, some pupils had two exams on the same day.

That intense pressure took its toll, but teachers said most had dealt with the stress well.

A record 2,210 pupils sat exams at the 17 Gems Education schools with 18 per cent scoring a mark of 8 or 9 – previously A*.

More than 200 scored a 9.

Gems Wellington International School principal Maryssa O’Connor said the 2018 GCSE exams had been a true test of ability under pressure.

“The 9-1 grading is more rigorous and increased the pressure on students,” she said.

“Many have had to revise harder for a lineal exam rather than for subjects that may have previously included more coursework.”

“We help the students structure their revision, so it is crucial that teachers know the subject and the exam requirements.

“That helps the children to organise their study time.”

Nadine Guirguis and Jannah Redda celebrate their results.
Nadine Guirguis and Jannah Redda celebrate their results.
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