Two bright sparks from the Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL), 17-year-old Shahzaib Ahmed and 18-year-old Manjari Dhar, have got their eyes set on the cloisters of Cambridge University after receiving conditional offers from the prestigious academic institution.
The pair are just two of ten students from GSAL hoping to attend one of the Oxbridge establishments when they begin university life later this year.
Shahzaib is hoping for the perfect birthday present, as his 18th birthday falls on the same day as the results.
“It will be an interesting birthday,” he said. “I will be receiving my results in the morning and will only know then whether I have achieved the grades I need.”
The talented teen is looking to forge a career as a brain surgeon or neurosurgeon and has been predicted two A*s and an A. He is quietly confident that he will achieve his goals so that he can study at St John’s.
Shazaib’s letter arrived in the post a day later than most applicants, which made for a ‘hand-trembling’ envelope opening.
He said: “My parents actually opened the letter for me because I wasn’t at home when it arrived in the post.
“They told me it was a heavy envelope so I told them to just open it because I wanted to know what was inside. I was really happy when they said I had been accepted and look forward to reading medicine at Cambridge.”
Meanwhile, Manjari is hoping to go to Cambridge University’s Newnham College to read mathematics. She found out that she had been accepted by email and needs to attain two A*s and two As for her place.
To make it even more challenging, Manjari is required to complete a series of extra exams, set by the renowned university.
She will have to undertake the STEP (Sixth Term Examination Paper) – a well-established mathematics examination designed to test candidates on questions that are similar in style to undergraduate mathematics.
“My family are very proud of me and it feels amazing to be accepted to such a recognised university,” she said.
“There are some very tough exams coming up but the support at the school has been great and I feel ready for them.”
It has been a long road for the students who have been studying hard since Lower Sixth.
Shazaib said: “It’s been a long process, having to apply early and taking the BMAT (BioMedical Admissions Test) in November, which fell directly before the interviews in December.
“The mock interviews at school were a confidence booster and helped me prepare to demonstrate how good I would be as a doctor and my scientific knowledge. Overall I was surprised and really happy to get the offer.”
Both pupils will become the first members of their families to attend university in the UK when they officially enrol later this year.