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Dubai-based student tops Middle East in English test

Khaleej Times logo Khaleej Times 2 days ago Saman Haziq
Dubai-based student tops Middle East in English test © Provided by Khaleej Times Dubai-based student tops Middle East in English test

Being number one at school is cool; being a ranker in the country is even better but being the highest achiever in the Middle East is probably every student's dream. And Grade 7 student of Al Mizhar American Academy Dubai, Zoya Mir, recently achieved this milestone in her academic life.

The Pakistani-American girl is one among thousands who earned the prestigious International Benchmark Tests Award for Excellence along with a cash prize of Dh500.

"My parents almost cried in disbelief and so did I as we really didn't expect it.

Giving credit to her family, Zoya told Khaleej Times: "My parents are my real heroes. They always motivated me and got me extra workbooks to keep me engaged and interested. They are the ones who encourage me and inspire me to learn more and be curious. They know I get distracted so they give me things to be excited for."

Commending on the teaching methods at school, she said: "I feel that it is also the way I am taught at school that did the trick. They make learning fun at school and that's something that helps keep my concentration. Grammar is important, scoring but can be tough, however, my teachers at school made it fun as they taught grammar in the form of games. That helped me grasp them better."

 The test helps us know what level we are on in the topics we do. It was a one-hour exam that had different topics such as grammar, reading comprehension but I did it like a game."

She also credited her achievement to her grandmother's love and support: "She is just there all the time to love and support me. She just loves whatever I do and is always there to guide me."

The International Benchmark Tests (IBT) is administered in the Middle East - United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. More than 125 private schools and over 50,000 students in these countries have been participating in the IBT every year. "Even though there was no particular syllabus that we study, I think my reading habit really helped me."

Talking about what she studies and how, Zoya said that apart from being a regular, hard-working students, she is an avid reader and also does a lot of research online.

"I can a spend hours reading and I love fiction books. But when it comes to studying, I get distracted very easily."

Apart from reading, Zoya is also into art, paintings, DIYs. Zoya said her favourite way of learning is doing activities hands-on, like making projects. "In English, I do lot of projects such as Word Study where to define a word I make pictures and creative things to define the word.

Cheryl Klaver, head of secondary at Al Mizhar American Academy,  said: "Zoya plans her studies well and works diligently. She goes over everything carefully and slowly without getting excited or anxious. She works very hard, very-well and steady. We are very proud of her. Although we provide the education but they are the diligence time and effort in order to achieve the high honours."

Sharing her success mantra with all students who want to excel, Zoya said: "Don't stress yourself over anything but just give little bit of extra effort on the subject you care about. Work on that and try to find a way to have fun with it. I learn a lot while doing fun."

Take the test

The International Benchmark Tests (IBT) is administered in the Middle East - United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. More than 125 private schools and over 50,000 students in these countries have been participating in the IBT every year.

saman@khaleejtimes.com

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