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YCIS Shanghai achieves IB excellence

INTERNATIONAL Baccalaureate (IB) results were released in the heat of the summer, much to the anticipation of 111,500 students who sat the IB Diploma Program examinations earlier in May.

Once again, the graduates of Yew Chung International School of Shanghai (YCIS Shanghai) demonstrated a true grasp of the material with their examination results. The class of 2011 attained an average score of 35 points, well above the 2010 worldwide average of 29.5 stated in the IB Organization's (IBO) statistics report. One student also attained the maximum score of 45 points.

What is not readily apparent is how tough the IB Diploma examination is and the personalities behind these numbers.

Graduate Emma Littler is usually known on YCIS Shanghai's Gubei campus for her down-to-earth attitude and passion for music, but that impression belies her academic prowess. When IB results were released in July, Littler suddenly became known as joining the top 5 percent of IB candidates who received a total of 40 points and above in the examinations.

The same IBO statistics report further states only three candidates out of 1,051 worldwide received the maximum grade of seven in Higher Level Music during the May 2010 exams, or a miniscule 0.002 percent of the candidate pool. This compares to 0.001 percent in Higher Level Economics, and a microscopic 0.00005 percent in Higher Level English A1.

Littler's score of seven in Higher Level Music and Standard Level Biology automatically earns her the unofficial status of being among the IB elite. But since Littler is joined by 13 percent of her YCIS Shanghai classmates in achieving a total score of 40 points and above, she is considered a typical star student, to be applauded for her efforts at reaching the first step of the academic Mount Everest. In reality, Littler is standing on the proverbial peak.

Despite the result, Littler treats her achievements evenly. "Spending two years studying so many different styles of music with only a select few coming up on the exam is quite tough, so getting a seven feels amazing," says Littler, who had studied at YCIS Shanghai since she was five. "I'm also very pleased because a big part of the grade comes from a solo performance and three original compositions, both of which are quite personal, so it is nice to know that the examiners appreciated this."

On how she managed to attain these scores, Littler is very low key: "Looking back at the very first IB report card, I don't think I ever expected to get 40 in the final exams. But throughout the whole IB program, the teachers have really been able to help me make the most of my ability. So a big thank you to all of them!"

With an eye toward university, Littler is intent on following her passion. "Music will definitely be a huge part of my future. I am going to be studying musical theater next year in the UK under the London College of Music, so I am looking forward to being able to apply all of what I have learnt from IB music to my future studies." Littler plans to spend time with family and friends before flying off to start the next chapter of her life.


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