Two years’ hard work in the IBDP programme has certainly paid off for top scorer James Chow – as well as many hours of basketball, volleyball and community work.
The 18-year-old, who was born in Canada and raised in Hong Kong, has studied at Canadian International School of Hong Kong (CDNIS) for 14 years. James is one of 38 students in the Hong Kong to score the maximum mark 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 extra three points in both the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge elements.
“It has been a long and difficult journey, but I will never forget the experiences and relationships I have built along the way,” says James. As he celebrates his top score, James talks to WhichSchoolAdvisor about how, with the right balance, studies, sport and community service can be a winning combination.
What advice do you have for the next cohort of students in the IB?
Make sure you continue doing all the extra-curricular activities that you love. Even though the diploma programme can be very difficult at times, these activities are so important for a balanced lifestyle and often make up the best parts of the high school experience.
Always stay balanced. Ahead of academics, striving for balance is the most important aspect in my life. Both service and athletics play a big role in shaping who I am as a person. I’ve really enjoyed playing basketball and volleyball up until my final year at CDNIS, as well as being involved in Habitat for Humanity.
How will you celebrate your top-scoring results?
I will probably have a nice dinner with my close friends and family to celebrate. I am just happy I met my conditions!
What are your plans for next year?
I plan to study medicine at the University of St Andrews (in Scotland) in the fall. I hope to become a practicing doctor in the future, so I can build a career helping others.
And how do you plan to spend your summer before starting university?
I plan to make the most of the rest of my time here in Hong Kong, hanging out and relaxing with my friends before university starts for all of us. Of course, I also plan to spend a lot of time with my family.
How did you stay calm and focused when studying for your final exams?
The final few weeks leading up to exams were stressful so finding a way to relax was very important for my mental state. I made sure that I kept up with my exercise and allocated enough time for myself to sit back and relax every now and then.
How involved do you get in the service element of the IB programme?
I have been on the executive team for the Habitat for Humanity Chapter at our school and have participated in a few local and overseas build trips. I truly believe in their cause and hope to do more with them in the future.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
In my free time, I love playing sports with my friends. I find it a great way to relax and get exercise at the same time. I play basketball and volleyball mainly. I personally really enjoy team sports, because I find that the camaraderie that is developed between teammates is something that cannot be easily found with other activities.