Cambridge exam results: If A*s were gold medals, Karachi’s students swept the CIE Olympics

Published: August 13, 2012
Dozens of schools delight in exceptionally high grades this year. PHOTO: FILE

Dozens of schools delight in exceptionally high grades this year. PHOTO: FILE

From Happy Home to Habib Public, Monday was a day of celebration۔ DESIGN: ESSA MALIK
Dozens of schools delight in exceptionally high grades this year. PHOTO: FILE

Who would have thought that watching the Spice Girls and Take That perform at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympics in London would delay the O’ and A’ Level results from reaching Karachi on Monday. Well, it did.

Farah Imam, the principal of Happy Home School, and a science teacher at The Lyceum School both claimed that this was the first time the results had been delayed. “We usually get the result very early in the morning,” said the Lyceum teacher. “Today, we didn’t get anything till 5am GMT and then we had to sort through the data so that took much longer. But the results this year were brilliant so I guess it was worth the wait.”

Brilliant is perhaps an understatement as Karachi’s main schools all reported exceptional results. The number of students emerging with the coveted A* appeared to be much higher. An A* is gener ally considered scoring between 90 and 100 marks.

The Habib Public School appeared to be bent on supplying the bulk of future mathematicians for Pakistan, as a majority of its O’ Levels students went home with A* and A grades in Math. Ali Zaigham Jafrani (10A*, As) said that he was hoped he would get into Karachi Grammar School.

At the AES School for Girls, Aji Syed, emerged with the best result of 9A*s and one A.

Avicenna school was over the moon with the O’ Level results. With over 320 students sitting the exam, according to Ghulam at the administration desk around 50 students received A*s, and a 100 others received As.

A Lyceum biology teacher said that the results exceeded expectations. “More than 90% of the science students got As and A*s,” she said. “I heard that we only had one B in mathematics.” One the best results at The Lyceum was Alisha Sethi’s 4A*s 1A.

A hyperventilating Myra Merchant at The Lyceum scored 4As, including one in Art. Batool Abid, a prefect who was ushering students in and out of the library for their results, said it was so good that one of the worst things she saw was people crying over Bs. “No one fainted, vomited or threw things around,” she said. “People usually get upset when they didn’t get the grades they wanted.”

Nixor College Dean Nadeem Ghani said that this year’s result was even better. Naseema Kapadia, the headmistress of St Joseph’s Convent School’s Cambridge section, said that their students stood out in World History. “If you compare our result with others, it may not sound like we have a lot of A*s or As,” she said. “We only have 37 students and our school is known for consistently performing well.”

St Patrick’s High School’s A’ Level Dean Dolan Rodriques said that the result was exceptionally good, especially in Maths, Physics and Biology.

The teachers kept handing out the results till 1:30pm to 450 students because of the CIE delay.

Shrieks of excitement echoed down the halls of Foundation Public School’s DHA campus as principal Yasmeen Minhas announced the result. Out of the 168 O’ Level students, 98 scored more than 5As, four students from the North campus got 9As. Around 50 students got A*s and 58 got As in English, Economics, Islamiyat, Biology and English Literature.

At the Happy Home School, principal Imam was ecstatic with Anas Masood’s 7A*s. “Around 68 of our students sat for their O’ Levels and did amazingly well,” she said. “The worst grade we got this year was an E.” Most of her students were planning to go to Nixor College or Beacon House School System for A’ Levels. “Of course, two or three of our students are also planning to apply to Karachi Grammar School but you know they are very strict.

“They only want the crème de la crème. The students who want to pursue social sciences will be applying to The Lyceum School.”

Samreen Mahmood, the O’ Level coordinator at L’ecole, said that the students at the school had performed very well in Sociology, Business Studies and Economics. “The class strength for each of these subjects was 12 students on average. All of them scored As, except for maybe one or two,” she said. “The results at L’ecole have been getting better each year and I think that the student-teacher ratio, which is around 15 children to two teachers, is helping us secure better results.”
Other worries

Habib Public School star student, Anas Miftah, scored 10 A*s.

Danish Gagai, an A’ Level student at Southshore School, claimed that most students at the school were unhappy with their results. “Last year was a disappointment too – it’s more of the same actually,” he said. “Quite a few students had to sit for the same AS level papers this year after a dissatisfying crop of results back in 2011.”

Already off to university

At The Lyceum School (TLS), Sahrish Jaleel (4As) was glad she had met the requirement for Lahore University of Management Science. “I was so nervous in the morning that I puked my guts out before coming to school,” she said.

Fahad Moten (A*, 2As) will be studying Civil Engineering at University College London from September. “Last night, I stopped caring about the result,” he said. “I knew I did well in the exams.”

Samiur Rahman will be attending the University of Maryland. He said that all the university wanted were his SAT scores.

“Almost everyone I know was thrilled to meet their conditional university offers,” said Muhammad Abdullah Qureshi (3As, B). “Now I can finally get some peace.”

British Council can text your result 

The students who sat the exams as private candidates received their results via text message from the British Council on Monday.

The students texted the word ‘result’ to a British Council number using the mobile phone number they listed on the registration forms. This system has the added advantage of making traffic to the website more manageable. This smart method works well for students too.

with reporting by Tooba Masood, Samia Saleem, Usman Liaquat, Ali mehdi and Fahd Siddiqui

Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (19)

  • Ali Tabraiz
    Aug 13, 2012 - 8:45PM

    This news item does not have any information about the Beaconhouse Schools, Bay View and many more mainstream A Level schools in Karachi that have an A Level programme larger than all these schools out together.Recommend

  • zK
    Aug 13, 2012 - 8:52PM

    What is the school management so jubilant about when majority of these students must have been going for tuitions and coaching centres, which unfortunately has become the norm these days.


  • Aug 14, 2012 - 1:31AM

    Great results. Just a correction: an A is for scores above the 90th percentile, not for marks in the 90-100 range. Very few people would get A’s that way.


  • Student
    Aug 14, 2012 - 2:01AM

    This is great news but let me point out one thing. Karachi students and Pakistani students in general get the amazing grades EACH year. Cambridge introduced this A* system to find the cream of the crop and to reduce the number of A grades but guess what, an A* is now all so common. What will they do next? A* or A**? Plus, KGS is overrated.

    To a lot of students: even if you have 10A*’s+ or a distinction, old G’s in KGS with far far worse grades will take precedence over your “amazing” result. Just a warning :)


  • Anonymous
    Aug 14, 2012 - 2:02AM

    LOL at Southshore. Pathetic excuse for an A level school!


  • SN1
    Aug 14, 2012 - 3:54AM

    Too many A*s and A’s being given out these days. Just too many.


  • Danial
    Aug 14, 2012 - 5:31AM

    I studied at Beaconhouse…Got 10 As back in 2008 when A* wasnt introduced..No one cared about such results back then :(


  • I2S
    Aug 14, 2012 - 6:19AM

    It should be noted though that the scores are neither representative of the marks achieved nor the percentile secured. They are actually scaled scores, scaled as considered fit by the examiners; hence the case of converting scores to local school system’s marks stands invalid. An ‘A’ grade generally corresponds to somewhere between the 75th-85th percentile and above. Though this varies all too frequently depending on difficulty level of each examination and candidate population.


  • Shoaib
    Aug 14, 2012 - 9:44PM

    Probably because Express Tribune/Dawn weren’t as prominent back then, and focused on other stories.


  • abdul
    Aug 15, 2012 - 11:27AM

    unfortunately your analysis is incorrect. There was never a “scaled” score like the GRE has. There was a relative or percentile score before when there was no A. Now its an absolute score and the conversion holds. An A is 90 and an A is 80. Completely absolute score.


  • Ryyan Shahid
    Aug 15, 2012 - 11:59AM

    I found the article very disturbing when the name of Beaconhouse School System didn’t appear up. The school has a great reputation and having the honour of largest privately owned education system in the world, it demanded some respect. The results like always, have been exceptional this year and students have gone up to achieve 12 As. I myself got 10 As in O’levels and request the inclusion of the school’s recognized name.


  • Lyceum
    Aug 16, 2012 - 5:02AM

    @Ali Tabrez:- All mainstream schools have been mentioned here. Unfortunately Beaconhouse and Bayview aren’t dominant enough.


  • Faiz
    Aug 16, 2012 - 12:34PM

    At the end of the day these grades may matter much for students who want to head out of Pakistan for their higher education. Inside Pakistan 4 years down the lane when these students graduate they might find these grades to be pretty much worthless when they sit for their first job interview. 4 years after that even their university GPA won’t mean for much and at that point their experience will matter. These grades become trophies to inspire your children, their shelf life is worth at most up to the first job you score after graduation, I have never been asked for my A-level grades. Some people might be asked about them but that is it, all the ‘additional’ hard work to be perfect may only be worth it if you intend to go study out of Pakistan.


  • B
    Aug 17, 2012 - 12:10AM

    I agree with the people talking about Beaconhouse not being mentioned. I actually did my O levels from Defence Campus and let me tell you, the results keep on becoming better and better each year.

    This year, there were 80% A‘s in physics from this branch alone and the subject with the most A‘s was English Language. Thanks to some brilliant teachers, who may not be “well known” as some KGS teachers but who are undoubtedly more passionate and hardworking, students have found amazing success and stunning top colleges.

    Beaconhouse wasn’t mentioned in the article, but it’s ok. A school doesn’t need to be mentioned in an article to gain popularity and i’m proud of my branch and Beaconhouse School System in general. These graduating students will help others notice how brilliant a school Beaconhouse is :)


  • grammarian 2012
    Aug 21, 2012 - 6:03AM

    I think the article is biased with regards to the names of the schools quoted. The author did not bother quoting the results at Karachi Grammar School. Its a known fact that KGS has the highest number of As and A*s. Likewise, students from Beacon house get excellent results too.


  • Yo
    Aug 21, 2012 - 3:09PM

    @grammarian2012, read what “student” said. Your school sucks, everyone knows that. Now go to your little alcohol driven beach parties :)


  • Informant
    Sep 2, 2012 - 1:52AM

    Note that St. Michael’s Convent School this year has results as high as 14 A*s, and an A this year. It is dismaying to see how uninformed and under-researched this article is. Clearly, Tribune should be surveying schools more actively rather than mentioning students they find randomly in various schools.


  • ayesha
    Sep 12, 2012 - 8:42AM

    i really appriciate your post


  • ayesha
    Sep 12, 2012 - 8:46AM

    i too did my olevels from beacon house
    and really appriciate yaur [email protected]:


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