Story behind a Perfect Score-Edna L's Story

Last week we shared the good news of our excellent IB results across the board allowing our 2023 graduates access to the world’s top universities.

This week, we share the incredible achievement of Edna L, who attained a perfect score of 45 out of 45 points at IB.

Edna L | Karolineska Institute (Sweden)

Edna has already received the full offer from her dream university from Karolinska Institute in Sweden. Founded in 1810, the Karolinska Institute is consistently ranked amongst the world's best medical schools. It was placed as the best in Sweden, 3rd in Europe and 5th worldwide in 2020 by the QS Ranking. In 2021, it was ranked 10th worldwide and 5th in Europe in clinical, pre-clinical and other health subjects by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. To date, it has produced six Nobel Prize laureates. 

Our Class of 2023 has a great number of long-standing students, with 12 of them stayed with us for 10 or more years, and Edna is one of them. She is one of our longest - standing students who studied at DCSZ for 14 years. She has not just demonstrated a high level of academic achievements but has benefited from our holistic approach to education. She has participated in arts, student leadership and sport activities and also got extensive experience in leading charity projects during her time in the Senior School. During the past 14 years, like many of our families, her family have made a significant contribution to our community. In November last year, we published her family story which can be viewed at the end of this article. 

What is the secret behind her perfect score and her development as a person? Let us learn from Edna’s experience.


Perseverance is the Key

From an overall perspective, Edna sees her IB journey as a huge rollercoaster, “I experienced many ups and downs throughout my two years and personally the most challenging part would be all the essay writing such as IAs, the EE and TOK,” she said. 

By taking Chemistry IA as one example, Edna pointed out wisely that perseverance is definitely the key to success. “The Chemistry IA was all really new to me,” she said, “We had to design a creative experiment, understand the science behind it and also be able to coherently write it on a 12-page document. I spent a lot of my time in the Chemistry lab repeating and trying to tweak my experiments, and I would say that perseverance was probably the most important thing I learnt. Additionally, planning ahead was also essential as it meant that I was able to meet my deadlines and not have an unsustainable workload.”

Turn a negative situation into a positive mindset

At DCSZ, we emphasise on developing a positive relationship between students, the school and families. We train our students to take a positive approach to problem solving. We nurture our families to build a positive environment at home so that our students understand that no matter what happens, we are all here to support them. 

Everyone knows that the IB experience for this cohort of graduates has been especially challenging during the past two years. However, by talking about the challenges, Edna said she stayed positive and turned a negative situation into motivation.  

“I would say my year group was both unlucky and lucky at the same time. Having been through three years of COVID and on and off online learning, it was quite difficult to properly keep up with the IB content, and having all of our components put back for our IB exams made it especially tough. However, I would say that I stayed motivated by reminding myself of my end goal: to get into my dream university. This helped me maintain a good level of self-discipline and strive to complete my work well, despite the difficult circumstances. I also made sure to stay organized by having all of my deadlines and tasks written out in my planner which was greatly beneficial to my time management, as it allowed me to allocate appropriate amounts of time to complete work for each of my subjects. And although procrastination may have gotten in the way sometimes, good habits and a regular routine helped me minimize the time I spent procrastinating over my work and not have to pull any all-nighters over my two years of the IB journey.”

With a positive mindset, students at DCSZ work together with the teachers step by step during the IB journey. Quite often it sounds easy but sometimes it is not easy to put it into practice, and that is to actively follow the advice from the teachers. 

“Liaising with teachers was definitely something I found very important especially during Year 13, when things really started to get busy. At the beginning of Year 13 when all the deadlines were packed together, I found it really important to liaise with my teachers and never wait to ask for help when I got stuck on any of my work especially my IAs. At times it may be difficult to ask for your teacher's advice, particularly when you're struggling to approach a deadline, but never be afraid to ask your teacher's advice as they often also understand that you're undergoing a lot of stress. I also found it really important to speak up when I had problems with the organization of deadlines and tests.”

“Mr Paterson, our IB Coordinator had countless conversations with many of us. But it was always reassuring to know that we were being heard. Something I also vividly remember was Ms Bond often telling us ‘It will all be over soon, don't worry’, even though it might not be what you want to hear in the moment, it is important to look at the bigger picture and remember that whatever struggles you are going through in the moment, will be over soon, and the last two years of IB pass by really fast.”

A passion for the world

Among her IB subjects, Edna has chosen geography, and her vivid description of the subject demonstrates her combination of passion and logical thinking.  

Geography was definitely one of my favourite subjects during IB, which was probably also a factor that helped me do well in it. Personally, Geography is a really logical subject, and the content we learn in class always manifests itself in the world around us, making it an especially interesting subject. Keeping up with recent world events also helped me gain a better understanding of different geographical concepts and be able to apply place specific examples in my essay writing.”

That is exactly what the education at DCSZ is driving our students towards. Like Edna, our students grow a positive mindset, a passion for the world, and pursue their dreams step by step with perseverance no matter how challenging the environment is. 

We wish Edna great success in her next stage of life, and all our students a bright future!