Royce Leung Man-hin had not imagined he would be on the path to becoming a doctor, but getting a perfect score in this year’s International Baccalaureate exams has put him a step closer to fulfilling his childhood dream.
The 17-year-old English Schools Foundation (ESF) student, who has had a moderate hearing impairment since he was six, said the perfect score of 45 points was “surprising” as his previous internal predicted grade was 39 and he had not been confident enough to apply to read medicine at local universities.
He is among 46 perfect IB scorers across the seven secondary schools of the ESF – which has set a record high number for the city’s biggest international school groups – with 12 saying they aspire to become doctors and seven expected to major in law or politics related subjects.
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A total of 130 pupils from Hong Kong obtained a perfect score this year despite the written tests going ahead amid the Covid-19 pandemic, more than double last year’s 55, and accounting for around 11 per cent of the 1,155 top scorers worldwide.
“During my treatment in primary school, I told my doctor I had low self-esteem and didn’t want to wear hearing aids,” Leung said during a press conference on Wednesday. “But my doctor helped and taught me how to accept myself … I started to admire doctors and [have] wanted to become one ever since.”
The Sha Tin College student, who was aiming to become an orthopaedist to help tackle the concerns of an ageing society, added: “Studying medicine seemed to me a very far-fetched dream. Even for students taking the local university entrance exams, only those who are [the] crème de la crème can get admitted. The requirements are simply so high.”
Leung said after receiving his results both the University of Hong Kong (HKU) and Chinese University had reached out to him.
The IB diploma offers students an internationally accredited qualification. While 24 of the ESF’s 46 perfect scorers are expected to further their studies at top universities overseas, 14 others including Leung plan to remain in Hong Kong. The rest are undecided.
Among the group’s 913 students awarded the IB diploma, the average score was about 38.7, while Hong Kong’s average score was 38.97. Last year, the ESF taught 23 out of 55 pupils who earned perfect IB scores.
Emma Chow Siu-heen, from the ESF’s King George V School, said she planned to read law at HKU because she felt “a sense of duty towards Hong Kong society”.
“I am choosing law because I want to serve the more vulnerable people in society, such as children,” the 18-year-old said. “Recently in the news, there are many counts of domestic abuse towards children, and I feel I have to protect them when I am able to.”
Another top scorer, Maria Ho Pui-yan from the ESF’s Island School, chose to study politics, psychology, law and economics at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
“Even in Hong Kong, the city I grew up in, there were so many alleged human rights issues surrounding [us] … I really want to be able to understand what’s going on, how laws play into it, how politics plays into it, how economics plays into it,” the 17-year-old said.
ESF chief executive Belinda Greer said the record-breaking results were “absolutely unbelievable”.
“The last two years have been really difficult. It really has been tough. But [our students have] shown what can happen in times of adversity … through determination and hard work,” she said.
At the German Swiss International School, six students achieved a perfect score this year. Top scorer Sebastian Ching said he hoped to study philosophy, logic and scientific method at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
“My interest in philosophy stemmed from a desire to learn how fundamental concepts such as identity and perception can be thought about, interpreted, and analysed,” he said. “I also chose to pursue philosophy because the analytical skills and problems you examine serve as an important foundation for a diverse number of fields, especially law.”
This article ESF sees record number of perfect scorers in IB exams, including student one step closer to doctor dream first appeared on South China Morning Post