Some of Hong Kong’s top scorers in IB programme reveal secrets of their success

Some of Hong Kong’s top scorers in the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme have said that good time management and maintaining their interests and social lives were key to their success.

They were among 17 English Schools Foundation (ESF) students – out of at least 32 in Hong Kong – who attained a full score of 45.

The students from the ESF, the largest group of international schools in Hong Kong, also attributed their success to support from family, teachers, and friends, highlighting the importance of social lives during a stressful examination period.

This year’s IB exams grabbed headlines in May after some students were found to have leaked details about the papers on social media before candidates in other time zones sat their tests.

Rob Shorthouse, the ESF’s director of strategy and communications, said on Sunday that the incident was “unwelcome” but there was “no evidence” it was a problem with students according to school principals in the group.

“The way you can measure these things is by looking at what was predicted and what actually happened,” he said.

“What we can see is that the students who were predicted to get certain grades, that’s where they’ve ended up.

“I don’t think there’s been any evidence of any impact of it. We’ve got confidence that IB handled it.”

Tsang Chi-him and Tracy Fu are among the top students. Photo: Edmond So

Marc Dingcong, one of the top IB scorers from Sha Tin College, said the incident had caused him some stress.

“If you think your exams aren’t necessarily fair, that’s going to affect you as a student taking the exams,” he said. “But, of course, you can’t let it affect you too much because at the end of the day, it’s out of your control.”

Dingcong, who will study aerospace engineering at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, said boxing and seeing friends were vital to his academic success.

“I started to learn boxing, it was a good way for me to completely dissociate from my studies,” he said.

“Because what I realised was even though you could be doing things other than studying, if you’re still thinking about it and stressing about it, it’s going to be exactly the same as if you kept studying.”

Dingcong also said it was important for him to maintain and build his social connections during a period of learning.

His mother, Janice Kwan, who works in project management, gave her son tips for using his time most effectively by having a master plan and buffers as productivity would not be consistently high.

Another top IB scorer, Tracy Kangqi Fu, who is looking to study law in a dual degree programme with University College London and the University of Hong Kong, said she exercised to take a break from revision.

“If I was ever tired, I usually would go for a one-hour run in the afternoon by the seaside. Luckily, it wasn’t that hot during the exam period,” she said.

ESF schools produced more than half of the IB’s top scorers this year. Photo: May Tse

The support of friends, family and teachers was “crucial in achieving any kind of academic success”, she added.

Tsang Chi-him, who will study medicine in Hong Kong, echoed Fu’s comments and said working out and social connections helped him to get top grades.

“For things I do in my free time to relax, I normally spend time with friends and this includes either going out or going to the gym because we live quite close together,” Tsang said.

Although more students attained perfect IB scores this time compared with last year’s 23, the figure remained significantly lower than the 93 recorded in 2022.

Top scorers this year also came from Diocesan Boys’ School, Singapore International School (Hong Kong) and Po Leung Kuk Choi Kai Yau School, among others.

In Hong Kong, 2,406 students took part in the IB programme this year.



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