Back to School: How these A Level achievers coped with a year like no other
Courtesy: Images By Tang Ming Tung | DigitalVision via Getty Images

Back to School: How these A Level achievers coped with a year like no other

Many British Indian students have achieved outstanding A level results this year, securing a place at their first-choice university. In a year like no other, when looking forward only meant uncertainty, these students have shown extreme resilience and have, in fact, shone a ray of optimism in the darkest of hours.

Just as schools begin to reopen for a new term, iGlobal catches up with two such bright young achievers, who are keen to make a mark as the gen-next diaspora in the UK. It is interesting to note, how music has played an active role in both these students’ life in keeping their morale up and perhaps bringing the best out of them in academics as well.

Here, they share their journey and also some top tips that could help other young students approaching their A Levels.

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Oxford bound

For Oishee Ghosh (18), it is a dream come true to have received 4 A*s (Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Maths), thereby securing her place in Medicine at the University of Oxford.

Born in India, Oishee had moved to the UK with her parents at the age of six. Coping with the changing circumstances early in the primary years wasn’t easy for little Oishee. Today, looking back, she says, it is all because of how her parents have guided her all through her academic career so far, and also because of the close bonding that she shares with them, which has enabled her to reach where she is today.

Oishee’s father is a GP who, she says, has helped her a lot during her application process. Her mother, also a doctor, is a consultant gynaecologist and a PLAB medical entrance test examiner.

“Applying to University and preparing for Medicine is a very stressful process as is, and on top of that, not attending regular school for 4 A levels or seeing teachers regularly makes it a whole lot tougher. During the pandemic, however, many free resources were made available online to help with admission tests and widening participation in Medicine. I would highly recommend any prospective applicants today to seek such resources.

I was able to complete hospital and GP work experience from the safety of my home and attain a myriad of exciting conferences and lectures by top speakers and researchers. This not only helped with my application and maintaining my focus, but also inspired and affirmed my desire to pursue such a fulfilling and satisfying career”, she said.

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Her A level result has made her parents extremely happy, and the “relatives back in India have become emotional” at Oishee’s academic success.

In her own words, “My grandparents back in India can’t even believe it. Being born in Calcutta and then coming here, till the University of Oxford is fascinating for them. I have all their blessings. Let’s hope everything goes to plan now.”

A passionate singer, Oishee turned to her hobbies to help her relax in between stressful exam preparations.

“By continuing to pursue my hobby, it meant that once the lockdown eased, and we got back to normalcy, I was able to complete my Grade 8 singing exam under ABRSM (Associated Board of Royal School of Music) and Grade 8 acting solo under LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art), before my University begins.”

To unwind, she has also often drawn and created hand-made cards for her neighbours, thereby boosting their morals as well in the process.

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Cambridge bound

Dipyaman Banerjee (18) decided to join Cambridge University after scoring four straight A*s (Maths, Biology, Chemistry and Music) in his A level exam.

He explains that he and his friends broke off before the Christmas Vacation, knowing there will be mock tests when the school reopens in January. But the school never did reopen, nor did any other school in the UK for that matter. “We didn’t know what was happening until April. But we just assumed that the exams were going ahead and kept preparing anyway.”

He’s going to study natural science at Cambridge University.

The budding musician has completed Grade 8 in Oboe with distinction and also holding a diploma with merit from ARSM. He has got a Grade 8 in Piano and Trumpet as well, and also plays cricket and hockey both in school and in clubs outside of school.

He said that keeping himself busy with a packed schedule of various extracurricular ranging from music to sports has helped this bright youngster revive and refocus during the stressful exam preparation time.

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