11 A* GCSEs for Turkish brainbox

16-year-old Hanım with her results
16-year-old Hanım with her results

A young Turkish student has become one of the most successful students in her school’s history after achieving top GCSE grades.

Hanım Karakoç, 16, who came to the UK with her family at the age of five, took exams in twelve subjects – some of which her school did not even teach.

She told Londra Gazete she did not receive any help from a private tutor and simply studied as hard as she could after school. She was rewarded with 11 A* grades and a further A.

“I was always interested in reading books from a young age. This habit helped gain a strong command of English. Speaking good English was a great help in the exams,” she said.

She added that she had been preparing for her GCSEs since Year 10 and that, when she reached Year 11, she wanted to also study astronomy and statistics – two subjects that her school did not offer classes in.

Hanım said this did not put her off and she simply learned the subjects from textbooks, achieving an A* in astronomy and her only A grade in statistics.

Her other subjects were English language and literature, French, Latin, Turkish, Mathematics, Science and History.

Proud family: father Halil and mother Nesli
Proud family: father Halil and mother Nesli

The Bethnal Green Academy student has won a place at Harris Westminster Sixth Form, where she will move onto study her A levels later this month. She aims to become a doctor and study heart or brain surgery at either Cambridge or Oxford.

She said the best advice she could give other students entering the exam period is to give up on social and entertainment activities for at least five months. She added that families can support their children by occasionally allowing them to eat in the bedroom and to ensure the house is as quiet as possible to permit studying.

Hanım also said she abstained from social media websites like Facebook during her revision period.

Her father, Halil Karakoç, came to the UK from the south-eastern Turkish town of Elbistan in 2004. He now runs his own marketing business and works six days a day to support his two daughters and two suns. Hanım’s mother, Nesli Karakoç, is a housewife. She doesn’t have a strong command of English and isn’t able to help her children with their homework, but does support them through other means, Hanım said.

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