Feb 16, 2009

Rootsian set A-Level Guinness Book record

Rootsian Ali Moeen Nawazish only student in the world who appeared in 23 A-Level subjects and secured A grades in 21 of them
Ali Moeen Nawazish of Rawalpindi has brought worldwide recognition to Pakistan by blazing his way into the Guinness Book of World Records, clearing 23 A-Level subjects and securing A Grade in 21 of them.
A student of Roots School System, it was Ali's "thirst for knowledge" that made him the only student in the world to appear in 23 subjects. He sat in all examinations within 12 months.
Rarely has a Pakistani student taken up subjects that Ali opted for, like Tourism and Marine Sciences. He is also the first student in the world to have secured 21 A Grades, the previous record being 13.
No wonder his remarkable success drew the attention of major international newspapers with CNN and BBC also airing his interviews. Unfortunately the authorities in Pakistan were unmoved.
When Ali sat down to fill up his university application forms at home, there was barely enough space to list all his qualifications.
With his talent spilling over, it was no surprise that he also achieved a top score in the US admissions test and was accepted by most Ivy League institutions, including Harvard and Yale.
Apart from core science subjects, Ali is almost entirely self-taught and his extraordinary memory and amazing analytical powers greatly helped him through with flying colours.
"I had no set study plans and at one point I found myself studying one subject for five minutes before switching to the other and then the next and so on," Ali said on telephone from England.
Now studying Computer Sciences at Cambridge his parents were worried when he first decided to appear in 23 papers. "They thought it would affect my performance in the main subjects that I eventually wanted to pursue."
Ali had not expected he would get distinction in almost all subjects. "I first realised my potential when I got the result in my hand," said the boy modestly.
His success, he pointed out, became possible through a combination of hard work, planning and luck. "While appearing in some papers I used to be the only student in the examination hall."
In the days since his result was declared, all major dailies and news channels in the UK interviewed Ali. Now he is a celebrity on the campus. "I have also been invited in numerous talk shows but my parents suggest that I focus more on my studies."
In the run-up to his examinations, the boy studied for up to 12 hours a day and used energy drinks to help him concentrate. "There's no big trick for my success, it was just that I tried to balance things out as much as I could."
That balance was provided by his skills as a guitarist and pianist as he spent time playing them between his studies. "I never forced him to study, or to do this or that," said his father Zakaullah Warraich, a pediatrician by profession.
Warraich credits the schoolteachers for his son's tremendous achievement and points out that Ali was well travelled, something that had helped him broaden his vision. "I used to take him along wherever I went."
Ali's mother, Nisar Malik, a gynaecologist, says that it was all because of Allah's blessings and the boy's hard work. "In the beginning, I advised him not to go for so many subjects but it was his decision."
His teachers said that even Cambridge authorities first refused to accept his request of sitting in 23 examinations. "It took a lot of effort to convince them that he had the potential of succeeding in all papers and that the timetable be made accordingly to avoid any clash of papers," recalls Khadija Omair, director and student counselor at the Roots School System.
One of their staff members was especially deputed to guide Ali on the timetable during the examination. "The Cambridge Examination System had to hire a hotel room for the invigilator as the schedule for his examinations was odd." At times Ali had to appear in four papers in one day starting from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
"We had to even hire teachers for some subjects exclusively for him and brought relevant books from abroad that were not available in Pakistan," Khadija said.
She thought that Pakistani students had all the potential to bring honours to the country but the only thing needed was good schools and a bit of guidance and encouragement. "We are providing similar help to one of our students who intends to appear in 23 O Level papers - this would again be a world record."

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