This month we celebrate the success of our highest achieving IGCSE student, Jessica Feng. Although we are proud of all of our student accomplishments, Jessica’s 1 A**, 8 A* and 1 A gave her the highest average grade of last year’s Year 11 group.
Jessica has been at BSB for nearly four years, joining from a local Chinese school here in Beijing. She is continuing her studies in Year 12 having enrolled in our International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma programme, working towards a dual language diploma including English and Chinese Language & Literature, Mathematics, Chemistry, History and Economics. She hopes to continue her studies at the National University of Singapore where she may follow a course in Economics and Business or pursue her deep interest of History.
To compliment her academics, this year Jessica will take a seat on the Executive Committee of BSB’s third annual British Model United Nations (BRITMUN) Conference. She is also involved with the set design for the Secondary production of ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’.
What was it like to get such amazing results?
I was overwhelmed by the amazing sense of achievement, especially when I knew how much hard work I had put into it. Suddenly I felt that all my efforts had paid off and all the hard work was worthwhile!
I did expect my grades to be pretty good because they’ve been quite steady in my two years of IGCSE, so the results were kind of predictable. However, I was surprised by my English First Language result, but in a good way. It was the only exam that I felt disappointed after I wrote it so I was expecting a B to prepare my mind-set for the worst scenario. I believed it was my coursework that saved me, and I’m quite satisfied and happy about that.
What is your favourite subject and why?
My favourite subject is History. I started to be really interested in History when I was in primary school. I always liked the subject. In the two years of the IGCSE course, I got to learn about it in a more systematic way. As I get to learn more and deepen my understanding of History, I find myself more intrigued by this subject.
Are there any stand-out teachers who have helped you along the way?
All of my teachers have been wonderful and they have definitely helped me a lot; without their dedication I wouldn’t have achieved such amazing results. There are two teachers that I want to mention in particular, not only did they help me in class but they also kindly offered me a lot of additional support after lessons and school.
English used to be my weakest subject and I started off getting Cs and Bs at the beginning of IGCSE. Over the two years, Ms Mandy’s amazing teaching has helped me improve so much that I managed to get A*s and As eventually. When I was working on my coursework, I handed her numerous drafts and every time she filled my essay with comments and feedback to help me improve.
History was one of my most challenging subjects but Mr Bourne managed it so well with his plans and schedules to keep us on track. Apart from the informative and enjoyable lessons that he taught us, he also gave me lots of additional help at lunch and even after school.
Do you have any advice for our current Year 11 exam students?
The first thing that I want to mention is don’t procrastinate. Try to meet all the deadlines to disperse the pressure. Otherwise when the exams come, the stress can be quite unbearable.
Coursework (English, Art, DT…) makes up a significant amount of the final mark and it is what we have control of. Work on mending it as early as possible and get it out of the way before all the revision comes in.
Don’t be limited to notes and textbooks. There are many extra resources that we can get access to, such as znotes, youtube videos, past papers and etc.
Make notes or flash cards to combine the selected important sections from the above resources. Make them as concise as possible.
How did you prepare for your exams?
I had been revising since the Christmas holiday preparing for my mocks and, although I kept revising, when it’s exam time, I still struggled because there were so many subjects to review , and this is why I genuinely suggest that we shouldn’t procrastinate and really make proper revision notes for every subject for easy reference.
For Mathematics and Science, besides revising for the theory, I practiced a lot of past papers to get used to the style of questions and to find out where my weak points were and what mistakes I tend to make.
For subjects like English and History, I read through the novels that we studied and the textbooks many times and I made notes as I went. I also looked at past essay questions and I wrote brief plans or annotation for them so I would get used to structuring the essays.
If you could pick a single, memorable experience of your time at BSB, what would it be and why?
I would say it’s the International Award (IA) hike that I went on in Year 10. Personally, I am not an outdoor person and I was not good at hiking at all. However, I did actually enjoy our hiking at the Great Wall, although at the time it was clearly painful and extremely tiring. I like how our IA trip developed our communication and teamwork, and the fact that we could spend a few days closely with our dearest friends, sharing the suffering and the happiness. IA pushed me out of my comfort zone, and quite surprisingly I did find this experience enjoyable. Now when I look back at it, all the pain has become a beautiful memory that can be kept for life.