OWIS offers academic scholarships every year to deserving students to recognise and reward them for their academic efforts and results. Two of our scholars, Jiou-An Ho and Sarah Pegg, have maintained their excellent academic track-record and have done exceedingly well in the recent IGCSE (International General Certification of Secondary Education) exams, with both of them receiving 9 A*s each.
We spoke to Jiou-An and Sarah to get their views on the 2 year IGCSE course at OWIS, the factors that have contributed to their success and how they overcame challenges that they faced. Read on to understand their unique perspectives.
Jiou-An (Joanne) is originally from Taiwan and has been a student at OWIS for the last two years.
On her experience of undertaking the 2 year IGCSE course, Joanne says, “My biggest learning has been that you should always give your best. Since the IGCSE exams were cancelled this year due to Covid-19, the work that we had done over the last two years became really important. This shows that we should put in our efforts from the beginning, and make every lesson and assignment count.”
Joanne’s approach to learning has been to thoroughly understand concepts by asking questions and clarifying doubts as soon as possible. She believes that she has mastered a concept only when she is able to teach someone else the same concept comfortably.
The most impressive part about Joanne’s performance is that when she first joined the IGCSE programme at OWIS in 2018, it was her first time in an English-language education system. She initially had trouble understanding the teachers and it took her a couple of months to get familiar with some of the terms used in class. Joanne spent time researching the phrases and words that she didn’t understand and within this time, she was able to recognise and fluently use words that were unfamiliar to her in the beginning.
Joanne shares this about her teachers at OWIS, “They had different approaches: some were excellent in explaining concepts, some teachers gave us amazing tools to help us with our revision and all of them were really patient in answering my questions and clarifying my doubts.”
She has many memorable experiences of her last 2 years at OWIS. As a sports lover, she remembers coming to school early and staying back after school to practise team sports and improve her performance in athletics for her IGCSE Physical Education course.
Joanne also fondly remembers a Saturday when her entire history class came in to spend the whole day on their coursework. She recounts that it was a great experience to work with the entire class and exclaims, “Who knew being in school on a Saturday would be so much fun?!”
To the current IGCSE batch of students, she has this to say: “Don’t forget to have fun while learning! IGCSE can be challenging but that’s what makes it fun. Find a way of learning that you enjoy.”
Sarah Pegg is of British-Singaporean origin and is a recipient of an academic scholarship from OWIS from Grade 9 when she joined the school. Sarah is a diligent student and a stickler for a daily study routine; she willingly puts aside her social life in favour of her IGCSE coursework and believes that it’s very much worth the effort!
About the rigorous nature of the IGCSE, Sarah says, “It may feel challenging at first but regular study time, revision and practice of previous years’ papers makes the whole process less stressful. Although I’ve gotten through the exams very successfully, I feel it’s important for me to stay humble and continue to work hard. After all, life doesn’t stop after the IGCSEs - there is so much more to study and do to get to university and begin my career!”
Sarah believes that procrastination from her end and an increased workload during the IGCSE course were two hurdles that she had to get past. With the support system of her parents, teachers and friends, she was motivated to work consistently to move past these obstacles.
Sarah highlights the fact that although she worked hard throughout the 2 year course, she allowed herself regular breaks during the week and weekend to relax and de-stress. She also mentions that the teachers at OWIS ensured that the entire cohort was not constantly overworked. Sarah adds, “My teachers at OWIS contributed a lot to my success. Throughout the 2 years, they always motivated every student to do their best and to never give up. They ensured we were well-prepared by giving us additional resources and study material.”
Sarah’s best memories of the last two years include her entire cohort. She recalls that they became like a big family who worked together on their IGCSE journey. Sarah says, “Joining OWIS has had a very positive impact on my life as I have made several friendships here that I know will last for the rest of my life. I have gained a lot of confidence in myself because of the OWIS environment.”
Joanne and Sarah are currently Grade 11 students at OWIS, having just begun their IB Diploma Programme. They are both looking forward to enjoying the challenges and opportunities of their IBDP journey.
While Joanne hasn’t yet decided on a career path, she finds the medical field very intriguing. Sarah, meanwhile, has her eyes firmly set on a business role after university. She looks up to Michelle Obama and Malala Yousafzai as role models for their tenacity and never-say-die attitude.
We wish Joanne and Sarah the very best for their future!