Leading Lights: IGCSE World Literature top scorer on how Harry Potter helped her excel academically, offer tips for aceing the papers

IGCSE World Literature top scorer Elly Hung speaks to us about one of her biggest inspirations, and shared some useful tips on how to tackle the exam

Nicola Chan |

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Elly Hung advises students to study for the exam in a group to save valuable revision time.

The magical Harry Potter series by British author J. K. Rowling has inspired and motivated many to read. Elly Hung, a King George V student, is one of them.

The Year 12 Potterhead was Hong Kong’s top scorer in World Literature in the 2018 IGCSE. She was also awarded the Outstanding Cambridge Learner Award for her exceptional achievement.

“I’ve always enjoyed reading, because literature allows me to take a glimpse into worlds that I would otherwise never have been able to experience,” the 16-year-old shared with Young Post.

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Elly said it was Rowling’s Harry Potter books that “ignited her passion for reading”. Moreover, she admires the British writer’s hard work and determination in overcoming writer’s block, and rejection from publishers. “It’s quite a nice thing to bear in mind when studying for exams,” she said.

The World Literature IGCSE consists of both coursework and an exam, each accounting for 50 per cent of the final score. The exam is split into Paper Two and Three, which requires students to analyse an unseen text, and write two essays on a prescribed text, respectively.

Paper Three was particularly challenging, Elly said, because it required students to complete two essays in 90 minutes. She advises students taking similar time-pressure exams to practise writing under the same time constraints as their actual exam.

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“It helps them learn to leave enough time to write their conclusion, so they don’t have to rush it,” she said.

In addition, Elly recommended that students study together, rather than alone.

“For Paper Three, students need to familiarise themselves with the text and memorise quotes from various characters and themes,” she said. “Compiling a list of quotes with your friends would help everyone produce high-quality revision notes.”

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Listening to your subject teacher’s advice is extremely important as well, Elly said, because they know the syllabus best.

“My English teacher Ms Douglas, for instance, taught us to follow the ‘Peel’ structure (point, evidence, explanation, and link) for essay writing,” Elly said.

Elly added she was very grateful that her teacher made them practise for the oral assessment in class.

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“I was most nervous about the oral component of the coursework, as we had to answer several questions on the spot. The practise, I believe, was one of the things that really helped me score a high mark,” she said.

Moreover, thinking about potential questions that would appear in the exam and how to respond to them helped to calm her nerves.

Although Elly is not planning to study literature at university, the booklover said she would definitely continue to read outside school and just for pleasure.

Edited by Nicole Moraleda