Maths whiz Anthony beats the world to top marks in exam
[First published on 25 February, 2011] At just 16 years old, Anthony Leung Chi-hin has been named as the best in the world at something many of us struggle with: mathematics.
Leung, a Form Six student at Sha Tin College, sat the Cambridge IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) international mathematics test last June when he was 15 and, according to his school, scored the highest mark in the world.
Sha Tin College said it was 'extremely proud of Anthony and the commitment and hard work that he made', without giving any further details of the exam's results or Leung's scores.
Leung said he first learnt of his achievement in an announcement at his school's weekly assembly.
'It was quite a shock. I was very surprised and certainly happy,' the Hang Hau resident said.
'My parents were happy, a little surprised but, like me, they don't quite believe it.'
The test, designed for 14 to 16-year-olds and given at schools that teach an international curriculum, was divided into three papers, which included one exam that had to be completed without a calculator.
Students sat the three papers over a few weeks and the exam is considered an ideal precursor to studying maths for the International Baccalaureate (IB).
'It wasn't very difficult but certainly challenging,' Leung said. 'They give you the data and you manipulate it for a solution or some sort of pattern or formula.'
To prepare for the exam, Leung said he sat past papers in the month leading up to the test. 'But since that wasn't the only exam I was sitting, I didn't study much.'
The three papers covered a wide range of topics including statistics, trigonometry and geometry.
Around 150 students in Leung's grade at Sha Tin College sat the IGCSE exam. 'It's supposed to be harder than other maths exams and it's supposed to lead on to the IB,' said Leung, who is studying for the IB this year.
Maths is one of Leung's favourite subjects along with physics and economics.
'I've always liked maths, even as a kid,' he said. 'I like how it's very abstract but at the same time you can apply it to real life.'
Leung said he planned to go to university after high school and had already decided a career path.
'I want to be a teacher, either maths, physics or economics.'
Leung described his maths teacher, Nigel Wilson, as 'terrific' and also credited his parents for part of his success in maths.
'My mum works in an accounting company and my dad is retired but worked in computers, so I'm not surprised if it comes from them.'
Hong Kong has produced some stellar results in international exams recently, including 15-year-old Eric Lin Cheuk-yin.
The Diocesan Boys' School student skipped several forms in 2009 when he moved from Form Two to Form Six at the elite Kowloon school after receiving top marks in the IGCSE exams.
Last month, Lin was offered a place at Cambridge University in England. The university said Lin was too young to attend this year but made him a conditional offer to start a four-year degree next year.