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Achieving 9A*s in IGCSE, Valeria Aims for a Top UK University

The Cambridge International Examination Board(CIE) announced their IGCSE results recently. Valeria L. of Dulwich International High School Suzhou achieved nine A* s (English, Chinese, Chemistry, Physics, Biology,Geography, Economics, Mathematics, Additional Mathematics) and we are very proud of her.

IGCSE is the International General Certificate of Secondary Education. It is the most widely used examination system in the world for 14 to 16 years old and is part of the CIE (Cambridge International examination) suite of global tests. Respected and recognized in most English speaking countries (due to the reputation of Cambridge), tens of millions of students around the world sit IGCSE exams annually. It is not easy to stand out from such a massive crowd and gain nine A* results!

An unexpected harvest

Both quiet and self-effacing, Valeria was surprised by her astonishing IGCSE success. She even suspected that the results were wrong! When asked about lessons she advised that her favorites are Biology and Chemistry because of her fascination with the structure of the human body. One of her favorite teachers is Mr. Lam who uses games and play in his biology lessons to help students learn. Chemistry, a relatively new subject for Valeria, provides a fresh challenge and she one day hopes to combine her passion for both subjects by studying Biochemistry and Neuroscience at the University College of London, her dream school.

Founded in 1826 and located in London, England, University College London (UCL) is one of the world's top public comprehensive research universities. It ranks among the top ten in the world and is a veteran British university with a reputation to match. The school features the world's leading Gatsby Center for Computational Neuroscience (GCNU), and Valeria is determined to study the school's cognitive neuroscience major.

In addition to interest, self-discipline is also important

Valeria is a four-year student who has entered the two-year A-Level course after two years studying for IGCSE. The two-year IGCSE program gives students the opportunity to choose a wider range of subjects and to enrich their learning experience and facilitate future university applications. In the 11th grade, students only need to choose two sciences to study, and Valeria is one of the few students who have chosen three sciences. Although she was initially worried about her ability, she decided to challenge herself. Valeria's study in other disciplines has never been relaxed. In addition to her active participation in the classroom, she also makes full use of free time to plan and study in various subjects. Economics is not a subject that she is very interested in, but she will spend enough time to memorize the knowledge of economics because of her innate self-discipline.

What surprised her the most was the A* score she achieved in English (equivalent to 7 points or more for IELTS). In 2018, only19% of the candidates in the world received A grades and above. The oral exam was a challenge for her. She did not think she would do so well and achieve such high results. However, the proportion of foreign teachers in Dulwich is as high as 90% this year. Whether in the school or the boarding house, English is spoken everywhere, so that students can truly immerse themselves in the language and continuously improve their linguistic abilities. As a result, she was able to achieve stunning not only in the science subjects she loves, but also in the subjects that are not of such great interest to her.

Follow your Dreams at Dulwich

Valeria feels that biggest difference between Dulwich International High School and her old school (Yixing Experimental High School) is the relationship between students and teachers. In the public school teachers were more like military squad leaders. In Dulwich, she feels that the relationship she has with teachers is far friendlier. She is able to communicate with teachers on a one on one basis, talk about her life and is willing to ask for help when she encounters any difficulties in life or studies.

Beyond her academic studies, Valeria is a team player. She is the marketing advocate at the Model United Nations and is responsible for promoting the activities of the Model Alliance and controlling the related budget. In the summer of the 10th grade, she went to Guizhou to teach as part of a Charity project. At the end of the 11th grade, she joined the student union to develop her leadership skills.

As part of the Dulwich philosophy, we require students to participate in a large number of Co-curricular activities andsocial service projects, which help students prepare for university life.Through a variety of student clubs, on-campus gatherings, and Co-curricular activities, our students gain access to skills outside of the classroom and foster a sense of responsibility. They also learn to cooperate and develop friendships in these activities. The “Dulwich Ideas” shape and nurture students so that they can benefit more from future foreign universities.

We once again congratulate Valeria on her impressive achievements in the IGCSE Nine A*s and encourage her to follow her dreams to be admitted to University College London!