Students best in the world

BY REBECCA HARPER
Last updated 12:45 12/02/2009
IAIN MCGREGOR/Waikato Times
TOP SCORERS: Hillcrest High's Shiang Ye, left, and Hamilton Boys High's Zhan Ye Chen are ecstatic over their recent Cambridge exam results.

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Two Hamilton students are on top of the world. Hillcrest High School's and Hamilton Boys' High School's Zhan Ye Chen found out this week they were the top students in the world for a single Cambridge exam subject.

Shiang was top in AS Level Literature in English, while Zhan was top in IGCSE Level Economics.

University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) are becoming a popular alternative to NCEA. Six thousand schools in 150 countries around the world offer CIE.

Thirty-seven students in New Zealand over three exam levels scored top in the world.

Zhan, 16, said he was told about the award in class on Monday and was "totally blown away" by it. "It came out of nowhere, I was so surprised."

Now in Year 12, he plans to possibly go into commercial science, like pharmaceuticals, where could combine economics and science.

"I see more of a future in it (CIE), you are competing with all these people around the world. It's a great feeling to get such a high mark. With NCEA you never know if you are top in New Zealand.

"I guess there is more of a challenge. The exams are harder and the course is more sophisticated. I'm so glad the school offers it."

Shiang, 17, was happy when she found out in late January she had scored 99 per cent in her exam. Monday's news she was top of the world was still sinking in.

"I know it's pretty big, but I think I'm just happy I did the best I could possibly do and this is just an added bonus. It's a little bit unreal at the moment."

English was one of her favourite subjects, but she was tossing up between science and law for her future. "I really enjoy english, so hopefully I can factor that in."

Shiang chose to do CIE because she thought it would be a good extension. "In Cambridge they try to reward you for everything you put into it...we had about 30 poems to learn and analyse in class, it was good because it sharpened my skills for NCEA as well."

CIE regional manager for New Zealand, Australia and Pacific Islands, Simon Higgins, said while 37 students receiving top of the world awards might sound like a lot, it was not, given the wide range of subjects and the fact CIE were not scaled.

"The students get the marks they deserve. If they score 100 per cent we give them 100 per cent, we don't have any bell curve."

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Hamilton Boy's Year 13 student, Siva Manoharan, was top in New Zealand in AS Level Accounting. For Siva this was the second year in a row he had won a first in New Zealand award through the Cambridge qualifications. Last year he gained the highest result in Information Technology at IGCSE Level.

The students will be recognised by CIE at the seventh Brilliance in New Zealand award ceremony in Auckland on February 19.

- Waikato Times

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