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Archive for February 20th, 2009

Last week, CHUP reported that Ali Nawazish broke a world record when he passed 23 A-levels in subjects including pure mathematics, travel and tourism, and sociology. The 18 year old from Rawalpindi, Pakistan received 21 A grades and a B and a C, and will be a part of the Guinness Book of World Records. He is currently studying at Cambridge University, and took some time to speak to CHUP about his achievements:

Q: Congratulations on completing 23 A-Levels! Given that Cambridge said they only needed three A-levels for admission, why did you decide to pursue 20 more?

My decision to pursue so many subjects did not have as much to do with Cambridge, I guess it was more of a test. If you were to ask exactly why I did them I wouldn’t know. I loved doing it though and am absolutely thankful for the opportunity and humbled by the amazing support of everyone.

Q: It seems like it takes an immense amount of dedication and passion to achieve what you did. What kept you motivated? How did you go about studying for the exams – did you use tutors or did you prep by yourself? More importantly, did you have time outside of studying to be a normal teenager?

Normal teenager? Well depends on your definition of normal, but I enjoyed what I was doing (strangely enough) – it was new, an uncharted territory, so it was exciting and terrifying at the same time. That was motivation enough. As far as the preparation goes it was mixed, did some from school, some by myself, some from teachers who were wonderful enough to teach me at odd hours (like 2 am at night I mean) and my personal favourite YouTube. I would like to think I was a normal teenager who hung out with his friends and had a blast.

Q: You’ve received a lot of media attention for breaking a world record – how does it feel, as a Pakistani, to make the Guinness Book of World Records?

Well, I am still in the process of being inducted. How does it feel to be a Pakistani and be about to go into it? It is amazing. I love being who I am and my identity is Pakistan. I am glad for the minute difference in people’s perceptions that might come about because of all this – that is amazing. I still hold to the fact that everything that has happened is too much. I am not worthy!

Q: You’re now at Cambridge University, studying computer science. What would you ideally like to do with your degree?

I don’t know, I planned to pursue medicine after this. But, now its a bit unclear. I am waiting for some clarity, but I am not panicking right now.

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