2023 年 08 月 09 日
11 : 34
The ‘Cambridge Outstanding Learner Award’ is a series of awards selected by the Cambridge University International Examinations Department to encourage and recognise students worldwide who have achieved outstanding results in Cambridge examinations. These awards are widely recognised and highly acclaimed in the education industry and help students gain access to top universities.
Furthermore, we are proud that 95% of YCIS Beijing students received the Cambridge International Certificate of Education (ICE) with excellent or good grades. More than three-quarters of the 2022 IGCSE cohort received A- and A*s.
Achieving such outstanding results despite the challenges of online classes and examination policy adjustments is evidence of our academic excellence.
Andrew Zhou, the winner of ‘Top in Country’ in International Mathematics, attributes the overall success to the fact that ‘in a rigorous but pleasant academic atmosphere, the small class size allows teachers to deeply connect with each student. It allows for heightened professional guidance and academic improvement, provides students with necessary life skills, and broadens their horizons, gaining a wider perspective within a group of like-minded peers that encourage each other and grow together.”
An Academic Journey
‘My name is Andrew, my Chinese name is Zhou Yuan, and I am from Hong Kong. In third grade, I transferred from a bilingual school in Beijing to YCIS due to the distance to the school. My former school followed more of a public-school approach in terms of subject learning, so when I first came to YCIS, I felt that my knowledge in mathematics would align well,’ Andrew explains.
Having experienced different school styles, Andrew realised that in addition to our excellent mathematics programme, YCIS Beijing also puts a strong focus on English and Literature, which he refers to as the start of his ‘next-level’ academic journey.
‘I often chat with peers in other international schools to discuss what we learn as well as any challenges we might face, and I came to the conclusion that the level and difficulty of teaching mathematics at YCIS Beijing is at a very high standard across Beijing,’ he states. Andrew shares that he also achieved high scores in Physics thanks to our school's excellent science team and state of the art labs.
Andrew, who still has many friends attending public schools in Beijing, discovered, ‘The content of YCIS Beijing is much more extensive, and I can expand my knowledge in many different aspects, such as in advanced mathematics, which I am currently studying. I am very grateful to the school for providing me with the opportunity to follow the international mathematics course, allowing me to explore different branches of mathematics.’
From just being ‘good at science‘ to achieving ‘Top in Country’ in International Mathematics in the IGCSE exams was not an overnight achievement for Andrew, and it all started with one single mathematics class.
‘My teacher's words made me realise my possibilities.’
‘I have been interested in mathematics since I was a child. I like the logic of mathematics, and I like the sense of achievement brought by completing a problem, and I always knew that when I am grown up, whether it is my future major in college or my future employment, it will be related to mathematics like engineering, economics, finance, etc.’
Interest-driven learning is both fun and highly effective, so Andrew consistently achieved outstanding maths scores and test results which he felt deservedly pleased with. During a mathematics lesson one day, Andrew was checking on some content of other subjects, which his mathematics teacher, Ms Icy Xue, picked up on.
After class, Ms Xue approached him and said to him quite directly, ’Andrew, although your A+ is already a perfect grade, I think you can do better; you haven’t yet reached your full potential.’
Andrew reflects on that moment, ‘My initial response was, ‘But why would I need to get better?’ Ms Xue suggested that I could strive for higher awards in the realm of mathematics, becoming the first in the country or even first in the world. Regarding mathematics competitions, I have participated in competitions such as AMC and UKMT, but the IGCSE exam awards I didn’t know about.’
This conversation with his teacher had a profound impact on Andrew. ‘In the following classes, I became more attentive. After completing a 45-minute test paper assigned by the teacher, I would take the initiative to ask the teacher for more test papers, I ended up finishing three sets of test papers in 45 minutes, sometimes I even had time left to double-check and reflect upon my answers,’ Andrew states while acknowledging that he is very grateful for his teacher's timely call.
He adds, ‘Our mathematics teacher is very patient, knows everyone in our class very well, and teaches according to each student’s aptitude. Ms Xue always offers me direction when I am lost with a mathematics problem, and I have witnessed many students make significant progress under her guidance. Even though it becomes increasingly challenging academically speaking, Ms Xue still surprises us with exciting activities, and elicits answers to some thought-provoking questions, taking our understanding to a deeper level. By consistently providing us with new, exciting and challenging content, she ensures that we stay curious about mathematics and keep motivated to learn more.’
At YCIS Beijing, we have many teachers just like Ms Icy Xue.
Learning is Dependable
Andrews's experience is that academics are dependable and easy-to-follow by ‘discovering that the underlying logic of the knowledge level is much more important than memorising formulas, and when you understand the origin of the principle thoroughly, it is usually very effective to do some targeted exercises to strengthen your understanding and apply the knowledge.’
In many exchanges with the teacher, he also found a more efficient way, ‘When you don't understand a principle or a topic, try to find out the point that you don't understand, try to solve the problem before approaching the teacher, list your reasoning step by step, so that the teacher can support you in uncovering your logical errors more simply and clearly.’
In every class at YCIS Beijing, each student receives tailored guidance depending on their own learning progress. ‘The teacher notices which aspect we need help with and will provide us with further practice in this area. For students who have mastered a task well, the teacher will extract further questions to help us consolidate our knowledge,’ Andrew elaborates.
Our school sets continual challenges for all students regardless of their level, there is never a ceiling placed upon them. We encourage them to go from strength to strength by providing them with the platform to do so. Our school supports students to always be curious, to apply their knowledge in real-life settings and to become lifelong learners.
Consequently, Andrew has developed into an avid reader and become a self-driven learner over the years.
Over the years at YCIS, Andrew has grown from a ‘seeded player‘ who loves mathematics and enjoys science into a top Cambridge Award for Excellence Award winner, achieving ‘Top in Country‘. This achievement serves as a testimony to his academic skills and dedication to achieving his best. It also allows Andrew to make more developments in his field of passion.
Bilingualism: Door Opener to the World
Another reason why YCIS Beijing is a favourite choice among parents for their children is our unique bilingual education model, which Andrew also experiences.
‘Since my mother is from Hong Kong, we mainly speak Cantonese at home, so English is not my mother tongue. When I first arrived at YCIS Beijing, my English level was only below average,’ he explained. The language barrier is a hurdle many students new to international schools will face.
‘I met two exceptionally good teachers, Ms Gillian Wong and Mr Daniel Abitbol. Mr Abitbol succeeded in making me grow fond of the English language. He taught us plenty of knowledge in English and encouraged us to read many interesting books, which increased my vocabulary and improved my ability to express myself in English. I have made great progress,’ Andrew explains with gratitude towards his teachers.
Andrew shares that YCIS Beijing‘s English teachers taught him ‘how to analyse a text and, after developing an understanding, gain an exploratory feel about the text.’ Books and plays that were difficult initially have become enjoyable in the classroom.
Recently, Andrew has prepared a large number of English essays for his IGCSE portfolio, ‘It holds my own poetry collection, I have completed a novel, and the following will be a thesis to write up.’
Another byproduct of bilingual development is the overall improvement in academic performance in general.
Andrew shares that he wasn’t as good at mathematics in fifth and sixth grade, ‘If you need help understanding the meaning of the mathematics questions in English, you may encounter difficulties when solving it, and you may find yourself relying on translation. As my English got better and better, my understanding of the topics became more thorough, and my mathematics scores subsequently improved by leaps and bounds.’
Beyond its excellence in academics, YCIS Beijing's campus life is full of opportunities for our students to develop holistically while also being a place where students can truly enjoy learning together. Andrew explains, ‘The atmosphere in our class is amazing. We talk and laugh, and when it is time to be serious, we are serious, but all within a happy atmosphere.’
Andrew's words paint a picture of school life at YCIS Beijing that is both meaningful and truly enjoyable.
At YCIS Beijing, we provide our students with a solid academic foundation alongside excellent bilingual abilitieswhilst continuously enhancing students’ academic research and problem-solving skills. While becoming independent learners, our students are caring members of our community, growing as perceptive, mindful students through holistic education. And isn’t this the essence of a future global citizen?