Dubai: Hundreds of anxious UAE students on Thursday received their A-Level results, described as record-breaking by several schools.
The exams were held in May-June and the results, announced this year on August 18 for students globally, carry considerable weight in university admission prospects.
Dubai-based Egyptian student Daniel Nashed, 19, said he “wasn’t expecting” to score four A*s (A-stars), which is the highest rank in the exams, above A. Nashed, a grade 13 student of GEMS Jumeirah College in Dubai, earned A*s in Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Further Mathematics.
“The exams were really hard, so I wasn’t expecting A*s. I was expecting As. I’m going to study civil engineering at UCLA [University of California, Los Angeles],” he said.
Nashed was the topper in his school, joining eight other students with four A*s in GEMS schools.
Thursday’s results also included results for AS-Levels, which precede A-Levels. In GEMS schools, 405 students took A-Level exams while 693 sat for AS-Level tests.
The total number of UAE students who took the tests, administered through different governing bodies, was not immediately available.
Indian student Devika Dahiya, also from Jumeirah College, earned three As (in Biology, Chemistry and Physics), and a B in Maths. She described the wait for the results as an anxious time, saying she was relieved to finally learn how she fared.
“Devika has done us mighty proud,” her father Deepak Dahiya said.
British student Karishma Sunil, who received a B in Arts and Business, and a C in ICT, is going to attend the University of Creative Arts in the UK. “I was stressed out before the exams, but the exams weren’t that bad. I’m so glad the results are out now,” said Karishma, who took the A-Levels in grade 13 at Jumeirah College.
Simon O’Connor, the school’s principal and CEO, said the results were the school’s best since its opening in 1999. He added that the results were more impressive given that the exams were getting “more difficult” every year.
“We’re bucking the trend. We have a three-way relationship between students, teachers and parents, whom we involve and work with closely,” O’Connor said.
Across the GEMS schools offering the National Curriculum for England, 39 per cent of students achieved A* to A, and 65 per cent achieved A* to B, which is higher than the UK national averages on both counts.
In Abu Dhabi, Al Yasmina Academy said 74 per cent of its 31 students finishing the final year of A-Levels achieved one or more A* to B grades, a 10 per cent increase on 2015.
Meanwhile, 35 per cent of pupils earned all A* or A grades, a rise of 30 per cent from last year. The Abu Dhabi-based educator is also celebrating a 100 per cent pass rate overall.
The school is run by Aldar Academies, which operates seven schools in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, teaching over 5,000 students.
“We are absolutely delighted to celebrate this year’s best-ever post-16-year-olds’ examination results,” said Dr Tim Hughes, Al Yasmina Academy’s principal.
The school’s top three students included Emirati Mohammad Al Hashmi (one A* and three As); Iraqi Suma Al Baytee (one A* and two As); and Lebanese Fawzi Hreiki (two A*s and one B).
Mohammad has already earned himself a scholarship from the Abu Dhabi Education Council and plans to study mechanical engineering at the University of Bath, England.
“Eventually, I’d like to be involved with the UAE space programme or with [Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy organisation] Masdar,” he said.
Suma meanwhile plans to go to New Zealand to study dentistry at the University of Otago.
What is A-Level and AS-Level?
A-Level (Advanced Level) is a qualification under the UK’s General Certificate of Education. It is a school-leaving qualification offered by UK educational bodies to students completing secondary or pre-university education.
A-Levels, in general, are composed of two parts — the first one being the Advanced Subsidiary (AS) Level and the second part is known as the A2 Level.
The AS-Level, which is qualification in itself, combined with the A2 Level forms the complete A-Level.
AS-Level is usually undertaken in grade 12 while A-Level is typically taught in grade 13.
There are some variations in A-Levels, depending on the educational body offering them as well as the country it is being offered in.
A-Levels are preceded by O (Ordinary) Levels, whose exams are usually taken in grade 10 or 11 in British-curriculum schools.Schools in UAE report impressive performance by students this year