01 Dec, 2016
10 : 00
Giselle Lee and Kobe Chen, both currently studying our IB Diploma Programme in Year 12 achieved amazing IGCSE exam results. They were our top scorers for the Class of 2016 passing 11 IGCSEs, all with grade As. What does it take to be a top scorer and what is the IGCSE programme like? Kobe and Giselle kindly shared their IGCSE experience with us.
How did you find the IGCSE curriculum and was it difficult?
GiselleIt wasn’t very difficult for me because even though there was an increasing workload we still had a fair amount of freedom to do what we liked outside of class. There was also an interesting range of subjects to choose from so we get to see what we really like and what we can do in IB, or even at university.
KobeI want to say that it’s actually hard. Basically what happens is that you get rid of those topics that you aren’t that interested in and select those that you are. The hard thing is that for instance, if you are really good at Math but you don’t really like it then in IGCSE you will struggle because most probably you’ll hate doing past papers. It was quite intense.
Was it hard to choose your IGCSE subjects and how did you go about choosing them?
GiselleIt wasn’t very difficult for me to choose because I knew exactly what I wanted to do. So I picked the three sciences as I am interested in medicine. Also I am really interested in history and art so I had no problems at all. I’m passionate about these particular subjects.
KobeIt was actually an interesting process. My parents and I agreed on four subjects. We were fighting over biology or history. For some reason they wanted me to be a lawyer so you have to have some history knowledge. At the time I was just interested in biology, but I told them eventually I would go with history but then I changed my mind. My parents were fine about it in the end.
How did you find studying English and Mandarin? Did these classes help improve your levels of fluency?
GiselleAt first I was quite worried about the Chinese curriculum here. I thought they would teach some very basic Chinese as it’s an international school. My first language is Chinese and I thought it would get worse but then the teachers here are very experienced and they teach a very high level of Chinese. So I was actually really surprised as I learnt a lot more than I thought I would.
KobeMandarin wasn’t a problem as I was learning in Mainland China for five years already. My native tongue was actually English but at the age of about six I went back to Beijing and forgot everything about English. I am totally fluent in both now and I would never have thought I’d be able to read Shakespeare and understand it, had it not been for the great English classes here. So coming to YCIS helped me a lot.
What was your favourite subject?
KobeWhen you look back at it, one subject that was really interesting was World Perspectives. For example I would never have thought about ‘What are the ideals of ISIS?’ but that was my research paper.
What Extra-Curricular Activities and Co-Curricular Activities did you take part in?
GiselleI was part of the Art Scholarship team last year and helped paint some of the murals around the campus. I also enjoyed being part of the TedX team and the orchestra.
KobeI love playing basketball but my favourite CCA in Year 10 was the Chinese Debate team. I wasn’t enjoying it at first but then I became really good at it. At that time there was always a debate on at Open Day and I would be the first person to enter the competition.
What are your tips for students taking the IGCSE Programme?
GiselleLooking back I was so stressed about exams. I should have relaxed more. My tips would be to not procrastinate, get organised and revise on some past papers. Just try to get plenty of sleep and don’t stay up late doing coursework.
KobeMy tips are for exams. Always read the questions first and thoroughly and allow enough time for each one.
What’s your dream job?
GiselleI want to be a surgeon. I am interested in neuro science.
KobeI haven’t decided yet. Let’s see.
What or who motivated you to succeed at your exams?
Giselle I am naturally curious and passionate about the subjects I chose. This kept me motivated all the way through.
Kobe My mum was always there reminding me to revise so I would have to say she was the one who pushed me to do well in my exams.
Read full IGCSE Results for Class of 2016.