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School: Royal Institute International School, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Studied: Cambridge O Levels in English Literature, English Language, Sinhala Language, Physics, Mathematics and Additional Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology, Environmental Management; Cambridge International A Levels in Marine Science, Psychology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics
Went on to: University of Manchester, UK
Career plans: Academia and research, specialising in catalysis and inorganic chemistry
For Dukula De Alwis Jayasinghe, the decision to enrol in a Cambridge International School was a turning point in his studies. Dukula had lost interest in study after failing mock exams at a different school, but after moving to the Royal Institute International School in Colombo, Sri Lanka, he recovered his enthusiasm for learning;
‘I joined the mathematics stream at the Royal Institute International School, where I studied for Cambridge International A Levels in Maths, Physics and Chemistry,’ he said. ‘The Cambridge syllabuses really appealed to me. They are very detailed so you know exactly what to study for the exams. My teachers were also very helpful, and I knew what I had to do to improve my performance.’
Dukula was so inspired that he decided to add extra subjects to his schedule. ‘In addition to my school subjects I self-studied for Cambridge International A Levels in Marine Science and in Psychology, using Cambridge resources,’ he said. ‘The syllabuses are so well structured that I could self-study successfully.’
‘My Cambridge International A Level courses gave me a fundamental introduction to complex topics which proved very helpful when I started to study these topics at degree level.’
Dukula gained five A* grades in his Cambridge International A Level examinations and is now in his third year at the University of Manchester, studying for a degree in chemistry. He is also undertaking more specialised research, under the supervision of a university academic, into porous metal organic frameworks: ‘At my first school I scored only seven per cent in my mock chemistry exam. When I changed to the Cambridge International A Level Chemistry syllabus I found it so interesting that I decided to continue studying the subject at university. I chose Manchester because it is a top-ranked university, globally, with many international students, excellent facilities and leading research.
‘My Cambridge studies have been an enormous help at Manchester. My International A Level courses gave me a fundamental understanding of complex topics, such as nuclear magnetic resonance, which proved very helpful when I started studying these topics at degree level. For this reason, I think Cambridge International qualifications are very good preparation for university.’
Luckily, the Covid-19 pandemic hasn’t adversely affected Dukula’s studies: ‘The university adopted a blended approach to learning, with lectures online and some laboratories remaining open. I was also able to stay in the UK for my third year.
‘I have enjoyed my degree course very much. When I graduate I hope to pursue a career in research focusing on catalysis and inorganic chemistry.’