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<The Standard> Driven to excel


standardA top student who got seven 5** in the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education exams says she wants to become an oncologist after suffering from a rare virus that could cause cancer when she was nine.

Bethany Chow Sze-yuet from St Mary Canossian College got 5** in Chinese, English, maths, liberal studies, physics, chemistry and M2 and 5* in biology.

Infected by the EB virus, which could lead to nasopharyngeal cancer, Chow had to take 13 blood draws.

"It was very painful, but the doctor was very nice and praised me for being resilient. I wish I could become like him and help many people in the future," said Chow.

"I want to become a doctor to repay the good deeds of those doctors who healed me."

Chow would like to become an oncologist with Doctors Without Borders.

Chow was among 48,700 candidates who received their DSE report cards yesterday.

They included four top scorers from three prestigious schools who scored 5** in seven subjects. Three said they will study medicine while the fourth wants to be a scientist.

The four top scorers are Charlie Law Chak-ka from Queen's College in Causeway Bay, Icy Ku Ping-sum and Terry Lam Chung-wang from St Paul's Co-educational College in Mid-Levels, and Eden Cheng Yi-ching from Good Hope School in Choi Hung.

All four took physics, chemistry and biology as their electives.

Law, Ku and Lam are also the "super" top scorers this year with 5** in the mathematics extended part (M2).

Like many top scorers in the past, Law, Ku and Cheng said they want to be a doctor to help people, while Lam said he plans to study physical natural science at University of Cambridge as he wants to become a scientist.

Lam's elder brother, Michael Lam Ching-wang, was also a top scorer in 2018 and studied law in University of Hong Kong.

Law said: "I got interested in medicine from seeing doctors saving people in martial novels. Then after a family member passed away, I realized how meaningful saving lives is."

Ku said she found being a doctor the most direct way to help people. She added: "My goal has always been to become a doctor."

Law would like to get into the global physician-leadership stream at Chinese University, while Ku has yet to choose between CUHK and HKU.

Cheng has a conditional offer from Glasgow University, but is also interested in applying for HKU's medical school.

This year's exams saw the fewest top scorers since their launch in 2012, but Secretary for Education Christine Choi Yuk-lin said students have already exerted extra effort during the three-year pandemic.

"According to the report from the HKEAA, we know there have been more students with good results in general, so the performance is averaged out among students," Choi said.

Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said the exams were not the only key performance indicators for students, and they could become a "top scorer" no matter what industry they joined. He added: "As long as we work hard, we can always start a better page in life."

Some students said they would not retake the exams and are planning to enroll in an associate degree program in hopes of getting into university.

The University of Hong Kong's School of Professional and Continuing Education and HKU Space Community College received more than 16,000 applications yesterday.

The most popular majors were business administration, with almost 2,000 applicants, and nursing and social science with more than 1,000 each.

Of 18 incarcerated individuals who took the exams while confined, eight met the university minimum admission requirement, and one got 29 points in six subjects.

Date:  20 July 2023
Source: The Standard