IB Results 2020: Meet Hong Kong’s Top Achievers

Students from ESF's Sha Tin College, King George V School, Discovery College and Island School are among Hong Kong’s top scorers in the 2020 IBDP exams.
IB Results 2020: Meet Hong Kong’s Top Achievers
By Carli Allan
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Two years’ hard work has certainly paid off for 23 students at Hong Kong’s local and international schools, who scored the maximum mark of 45 in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP). It is an exceptional achievement that requires students to score seven in all six major subjects in the IBDP, and an extra three points in both the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge elements.

More than half of the 23 top scorers in Hong Kong studied at an English Schools Foundation school, the largest international schools’ group in the country. A total of 12 top scoring students came from ESF’s Sha Tin College, King George V School, Renaissance College, Discovery College and South Island School; other top scorers studied at Diocesan Boys’ School and St Paul’s Co-educational College.

The figure was down from last year’s total of 34 top scorers; however, Hong Kong’s average score of 36.31 this year remained well above the global average of 29.90.

Read more: Round-up of Hong Kong's IB Results 2020

Find out what these top-scoring students had to say about their experience of taking the IB – and what they plan to do next.

Lauren Tarrent from Discovery College will be studying medicine at Exeter University, UK. She said: “I was very scared in the run up to results day but once I opened them I felt a huge sense of relief, and I was very proud. I chose medicine because I like the idea of combining my interest in the sciences with my desire to help people.”

Anya Saunders from Island College, who has accepted an offer to study chemistry at the University of Edinburgh, recalled the moment she received her perfect score.

“When I opened my results and saw it was 45 I started hysterically laughing, it was really amazing news! I love the chemistry programme at Edinburgh and it has enough flexibility for me to explore other subjects.”

Jun Yeji Lim from King George V School is studying medicine at the University of Hong Kong describes getting her results. “My university called me 10 minutes before I got the news, so I knew what I was going into, but I was still surprised as I honestly didn’t expect to get the 45. I was really happy, it was amazing.

I’ve always been interested in biology and helping people out. I figured that medicine combines science and service, both of which I really like.”

Jason Ma from King George V School, and who has studied at an ESF school since Year 1, has accepted an offer at Cambridge University to study law.

He said: “I received some word from my university two hours before I got the results, so I was a lot less worried than I was expecting. But nevertheless when the moment, I think my parents were screaming louder than me! It was very rewarding to know that two years of hard work had paid off.

“From a young age, I’ve enjoyed debating issues, so it was a logical progression to do law. It’s something that is practical, and I’m interested in. There’s been so much going on for the past few months, so now I’m looking forward to some time spent doing nothing!”

Eugene Lau from Sha Tin College will be studying computer science at the University of California San Diego. He described the challenges of the past few months.

“At STC we completed most of our coursework by the time the quarantine kicked in, and then we were really anxious about the exams that never were, but it worked out fine. Now, for the summer, I will go back to playing chess and a bit of piano as well.”

Maggie So Mei Ke from Sha Tin College, who has accepted an offer to study chemistry at UCL in the UK, said: “I like the programme at UCL as they give us a lot of freedom in choosing our option modules. It’s just in a great location, in a vibrant city.

“The year was not as stressful or disruptive as I thought it’d be. At STC, we do all our coursework quite early. So, when the lockdown came, we just had to focus on learning the rest of the syllabus and prepare for the exams that didn’t happen.”

George Su from Sha Tin College will study theoretical physics at Imperial College London. Explaining why he chose this degree, George said:

“I’ve always wanted to study theoretical physics; it feels as if we wander around the world blind as our perceptions of the world are only a reflection of our senses. To explore the world as it really is, brings true meaning to the lives of humanity.

“When my results came, I was really nervous as I had to meet my offer, which was quite high. When I got the results, it was excitement and relief for me and my family.”

Athena Tsang from Sha Tin College has accepted an offer from UCL to study a Bachelor of Arts and Science. She said:

“I knew that I had passed the diploma and got a safe score, but I didn’t expect to get a 45 and I was repeatedly checking that it was actually me!

I chose this course because it gives me a more inter-disciplinary approach to learning and focuses more on real life skills; it gives you more perspective on how different subjects and different areas of knowledge interconnect with each other. I think it’s really important in the real world and once you start working.”

Gavin Yeung from Sha Tin College will major in mathematics at University of Southern California. He said that while the beginning of the year was stressful working on our Extended Essay and Internal Assessments, "overall it was okay".

“I’m not sure what I want to be in the future, and I think that studying mathematics can really help to open some different areas of work.”

Charmaine Yuen from Sha Tin College, who has accepted an offer to study law at Oxford University, looks back at the past few months.

“At STC, we did finish our Extended Essay, Internal Assessments and Theory of Knowledge pretty early on, so all we had to was finish the syllabus and focus on past papers – and then the exams got cancelled!

Vereta Gour from South Island School will study a Bachelor of Science and Economics at the University of Pennsylvania.

“The night before the results came, I was trying to convince myself that it didn’t matter what I got as long as I passed; but then five minutes before, every minute felt like a year. When I opened the results, I was ecstatic, and it was such a shock; I was genuinely happy and so relived," said Vereta.

“I wanted to study economics to identify patterns in real life and use that to help people’s lives. The university gives me such scope to study other topics and potentially do a dual degree, it was the perfect place for me.”

Jasmine Lee from Renaissance College also scored 45, but was unavailable for comment.

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