An Ngoc Thien Le was a student at BVIS HCMC and graduated in the Class of 2018 at BVIS. With hard work and guidance of our experienced teachers, Thien An achieved an exceptional score of 4 A* for all of her 4 subjects, boosting her academic profile and achieving a well-deserved scholarship from the University of Notre Dame (ranked 18th US National Universities). Now studying Chemical Engineering, Ngoc Thien is delighted to share some of her reflections about her BVIS’s journey including some helpful tips to gain the best possible A Level results.
1. Could you share with us some of your experiences of living and studying abroad?
I have just finished one-eighth of my college years at Notre Dame, and I could not wish it to be any better. I’ve met many amazing friends from a variety of different backgrounds and I have found that they are all talented in different ways. I have also experienced many “firsts” this semester. I had my first ‘s’mores’ went to my first football match, carved my first pumpkin, experienced the first Thanksgiving, etc. My classes are challenging however with help from my years at BVIS, I was able to finish them well and I have now made my decision on my major. Studying at Notre Dame was great so far.
If I need to choose what has been the most challenging, I must say that it was living far away from my family. It was kind of sad when I waved goodbye to some of my friends when they were leaving the campus after mid-terms to go back home for Fall Break or Thanksgiving. Fortunately, some of my friends who were also staying, always came up with something fun for all of us to do to stop me from feeling lonely.
2. You achieved some excellent results in your A-Level examinations. Can you provide details on which A Level subjects you took and some useful tips to other BVIS students who will be taking their examinations in the future? Can you share some thoughts about the A Level’s programme at BVIS too?
I took Chemistry, Physics, Maths, and Further Maths for A-Level. Taking A-Level, indeed, helped me a lot in college because some of the lectures were the same as the ones in A-Level. Of course, my university lectures are at a higher level to those in school, however, my A-Level mind maps did help when it came to refresh my memory of certain topic areas.
Talking about tips, doing as many past papers as possible does help. Practicing helped me feel much more comfortable when I came into the real exams. I was really sad that in college we don’t have so many free practice exams online as we do in A-Level, so I now end up doing practice questions in the book instead. Also, at BVIS, I learned that mind maps are extremely useful when it comes to revision. I am still keeping this habit in college and draw mind maps for every single topic for each class.
3. We are proud that you’ve gained access to your dream destination in a high-raking university. Can you share with us some tips during your university application process?
- Start early
- Write down every significant date that you need to remember
These two points are my first and best advice. I was a little late applying compared to all of my peers regarding college preparation. However, I received this advice from a senior friend, Ivy, saying: “It is only nine months until your college application is over. You will feel so much better when you are done! Work hard now, and you will have your break sooner than you think you will.” I followed this advice and I was really happy in March when I received my acceptance letters.
Of course, working hard does not mean that I could not have any fun and enough rest. I would strongly recommend enjoying the last season of whatever BVIS squad you are in, including basketball, football, and volleyball, and getting enough sleep. These are to make sure that you are maintaining a healthy body with positive spirits.