23 O level A’s: My success story

Published: February 9, 2011
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Ibrahim Shahid (M) with friends at his school in Islamabad

I am not a genius as many may believe; I do not have god gifted intelligence. But I do have vast knowledge. And more than anything else, I am hard working.

I was never really considered a bookworm in school, because I engaged in activities that are part of student life. I play the guitar, and have won trophies for football. I was an active debater and secured six “best delegate” awards at the Model United Nations and also won trophies in parliamentary style debating. It was quite difficult to balance my social life with my studies and extracurricular activities, but with a planned approach anything is possible.

Among the various problems that I faced while trying to set the record for the highest number of Cambridge ‘O’ Level A’s, one of the first was the problem of under confidence.

While attempting to break the world record, there were many occasions where I was nervous and quite unsure about whether or not I would accomplish this feat.

With persistent encouragement from my friends, my confidence was given the boost that it needed and I was able to score 23 A’s.

Another hurdle was finance; the books I needed were incredibly expensive and difficult to find. The fee of both my school and the Cambridge exams was steep, but the school graciously gave me a 100 per cent fee concession which helped my family’s financial situation.

I would like to acknowledge the support of my teacher Mohammad Afrasiab for helping me find good tutors, and for his help when I was studying Mathematics. There were a number of occasions when I questioned myself and felt frustrated, but the emotional support of my parents and friends always gave me the boost I needed to be back on track.

My school teachers sacrificed their Saturdays and Sundays and even took extra classes to help me succeed. They deserve the same appreciation as I have received by the grace of God.

When I was in class four, my teacher in Australia told my parents that I was “an average student who could never excel.” This gave direction to my mother who later quit her job to give more time to me and my siblings. I can never repay her effort and the struggle she made in polishing my skills. The long waits outside my teacher’s houses while I was studying, the emotional support when I got disheartened along with her devotedness to making me a better human being is the reason why I reap the rewards of my success today.

Ibrahim Shahid

Ibrahim Shahid

A Beacon House School student who set the world record by achieving 23 A's in the Cambridge O Level exam.

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