Pakistani Girl Living in the UK Achieves a New Record with 34 GCSE Subjects


Mahnoor Cheema, a 16-year-old Pakistani-British student, has earned her place among the top 1% of the world’s population for intellectual ability

LONDON — Mahnoor Cheema, a 16-year-old Pakistani-British student, has set a new record by passing 34 General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) subjects.

Mahnoor has appeared in the highest number of subjects ever taken by a student in the history of UK and EU GCSEs. She had passed 17 subjects with A* grades as a private candidate in Year 10. However, on August 24 she added 17 more subjects to the bag — taking the total count to 34 and establishing a new milestone, reports Daily Times.

Barrister Usman Cheema, Mahnoor Cheema’s father, and Tayyaba Cheema, Mahnoor Cheema’s mother, are both from Pakistan’s Lahore. They relocated to the UK in 2006 to further their study at Lincoln’s Inn and SOAS, respectively, while Mahnoor enrolled at Langley Grammar School in West London after previously attending a luxury Lahore school.

The exceptional Pakistani-origin student has set other records too.

Apart from her academic achievements, Mahnoor’s IQ has been recognised on a global scale, with a score of 161 on the Mensa IQ Test, placing her ahead of Albert Einstein, who is thought to have had an IQ of 160.

With this, she has earned her place among the top 1% of the world’s population for intellectual ability.

She has also completed ABRSM Music Theory and Practical at Grade 8, with distinction.

She is one of the youngest individuals in the UK to be pursuing a music diploma.

She has also been shortlisted in the prestigious John Locke essay competition, with the awards ceremony in Oxford later this year.

Her desire to learn seems to extend far beyond GCSEs. Mahnoor harbours a deep passion for medicine and has said that she wishes to dedicate her life and work to helping humanity.

Owing to her ambitions to study medicine at the University of Oxford, she undertook the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) and the Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT) at the age of 15, falling in the 99th percentile of test-takers with a score of 3,290. Her passion for medicine, coupled with her outstanding track record, positions her as a promising future medical professional.

In an exclusive interview with Geo News at her home to share her success story, the genius student explained how she was able to achieve such stunning results: “I’m a highly driven individual. I’ve always understood that hard work would be required with aspirations like mine, and I’ve never backed down from a challenge.”

The student said: “I set a target and then I stay focused on it. I constantly considered the fact that I wasn’t studying just for myself, but for my family and for the people I wish to help one day. Besides this, time management has always been a skill of mine.

“For the past three years, I’ve had to manage my time very effectively between school and my extra subjects. I have to say that the workload has never felt particularly challenging for me, because I retain information well and always appreciate an opportunity to broaden my knowledge.”

But has she let her impressive ambitions stop her from leading a normal, relaxed life? “No”, she says, “I’m a firm believer in the ‘work hard, play hard’ ethic. I put in the work, but I have leisure pursuits like any other 16-year-old. I love playing the piano, horse riding, swimming, playing chess; I go to concerts, meet up with my friends, and spend time with my family.”

Mahnoor Cheema added that she aspires to maintain the same level of excellence in all the subjects she will study in future. Mahnoor said that while her father provided full support by arranging finances, etc., it was her double-masters-degree-holder mother who helped her at home and helped maintain her schedules and discipline effectively.

Her parents expressed their pride in their daughter’s achievements and utmost faith that she will continue to be successful in the coming years.

Barrister Usman thanked his daughter’s teachers in both Pakistan and Britain for helping her. He said that Mahnoor took her own initiative and put her mind to it.

Tayyaba said she has the option of taking jobs after coming to the UK but decided to dedicate her time and efforts to her children. She said she worked with Mahnoor every day to help her with her schoolwork as well as with her passion for doing extra GCSE subjects.

She said: “Our daughter’s achievements break a long-held European record as this is the first time a feat like this has ever been accomplished across the UK or EU. We are over the moon.”

Some of the 34 subjects passed by Mahnoor include: Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Maths, Economics, Sociology, Psychology, English Literature, Latin, German, French, Classic Civilization, History, Film Studies and Drama. Ten years ago, a Pakistani student Haroon Tariq broke the current world record by securing a total of 47 As in his International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) O Level and A Level exams.

In 2009, Pakistani national Ali Moeen Nawazish had passed a record 23 A-Levels in a single year.

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