How One Normal Student Broke the World Record for A Grades:

And How You Can Too

You know what I just love?

People our age who are doing AH-MAZING things.

Their stories really get me pumped up and inspired, and Ali's world record-breaking story was NO different.

When I found out that Ali Moeen Nawazish, an ordinary teen from Pakistan had:

  • Studied 24 subjects (many of them were 2 year courses) in 1 year - and mostly on his own
  • Received 22 A's
  • And got accepted into Cambridge University (after being offered places at Harvard and Yale


So I wanted to share his story with you, too.

I get SO many emails about how much people want to get stellar grades, but are struggling, and so I roped in Ali to share his tips and tricks, and personal experience in undertaking such a big, but rewarding, challenge.

And if you think he's some kind of whiz kid who was getting billions of A*'s since he was 'yay high, think again.

Ali himself said in an interview with the BBC that he was never that top-of-the-class kid growing up. 

And when asked 'can anybody do this?', he said yes!
(hallelujah people, there's hope for us)

So how DID he do it? 

He used his passion and developed his talents (by creating good habits and practising a lot) in order to pull off such a massive academic feat. 

It wasn't due to some magical 'genetic genius trait' which many of us associate with those who we label as 'just naturally good'.

Ps. In case you didn't know, here's what Ali achieved in 1 year:

22 A grades

1 B grade
1 C grade

(All of the subjects he took were either full A-levels - which are normally 2 year courses, or AS-levels - which are 1 year courses)

Ps. Anything in Ali's answer that has been bracketed by these fiends [....] has been edited/added to by me!

So onwards and upwards. 

Here's his brilliant advice on how we can all get world record-breaking, STUNNING success at school:

1. Firstly Ali, congratulations on getting such brilliant results! 

But how did you pull it off? 

What did you do to achieve 22 A's in your A-level courses - can you break down the main stages of the process?

I never had a plan to achieve a world record or get 22 A’s. That was luck. 

What I did [was] study hard to achieve my target [of] getting good grades to get me into Cambridge. 

The process I followed was the same any student would [use]:

  1. Get the course details [which you can get from your exam boards website, which will have a list of 'specifications' for each subject] 
  2. Set a time table
  3. Learn the text
  4. Apply [what you learn practically] 
  5. And of course, do lots of past papers to understand the examiners demands

2. Approximately how long were you studying for, each day?

On average I would say a person needs to study 4-5 hours each day, but I enjoyed studying, did not take it as a hassle or [a] forced activity, and this led to over 12 hours at times where I would be engulfed in the books. 

3. What strategies did you use to learn and memorize such large amounts of information?

I did not use strategies to memorize, rather I worked towards understanding the concept and applying them to past papers. 

Rote learning never helps you [where you read the information again - and again], [you] need to break down the course and get the concept into your head. 

4. Did you face any major challenges when doing the courses (especially with most being self taught)? 

And how did you overcome them?

I had great mentors; my teachers, and that helped me a lot. I am really thankful to have been guided so well by them. 

Yes, I did not take additional help that students normally do [by getting tutored], so it was my self studies that I was relying on mostly. 

Frankly, if you take studies as a challenge [then] they over power you, if you enjoy it like your other studies, you don’t face hurdles that you’d need to resolve. 

I had [a] thirst to gain knowledge - that was my weapon, I was studying for knowledge, not [just cramming] information to get me through the exams.

5. For other students studying multiple courses, what would you recommend in terms of how they structure their studying sessions?

Did you complete 1 subject at a time and move on, or study them simultaneously? 

And why?

I did study them simultaneously, as that is how you [will] need them in real life. 

[Ps. if you want more details on that, in his Daily Mail interview he said "the way I work is by spending ten minutes on one subject, then switching to another, then another"]

Breaking the subjects and studying only one can make it difficult to apply [your knowledge in] multiple [situations].

It would restrain you to a singular subject and then make the comprehension of others a problem. 

6. Among the 22 A-levels and 2 AS-levels you did, 2 of them were awarded B and C grades. 

What do you think was the main reason for this - were they the subjects you spent less time on, didn't quite understand, or didn't enjoy as much as the rest? 

If you had the opportunity to re-do those exams, what would you do differently?

I did not enjoy them less. I may have taken them a little less seriously than the others, as I kept adding subjects to my list in order to get through to my dream [university] Cambridge. 

If given the chance [to] re-take, I’m sure I'd get A’s in them too.

7. How were you able to stay so dedicated and focused for all those months - did you ever feel 'burnt out', if so, how did you overcome it?

No I never felt burnt out, I was focused and determined to prove to myself and others that I could do it. 

This determination [was the] driving force [that] kept me going. 

8. If some students are currently struggling to get their desired grades, what 3 simple actions would you suggest they take?

It’s simple - they need to enjoy their studies to be honest, but in three steps I would suggest:

• Understand the course and highlight the needs of the subject [by looking at the course specifications]; through theory and practical [exercises in] course books

• Do not memorize your contents, make your studies enjoyable

• Apply your study to past papers to self evaluate how far you've understood the course; past papers are the key to [getting] you to understand examiners, and evaluating techniques.

So to summarize, Ali's advice on getting world record-breaking grades is:
  1. Crucially, find ways to really enjoy the subject. If there's a certain course that you're not so fond of, turn that information from it into something that could be relevant to your life. Today I read ahead on some Physics work about 'turning forces' and 'centre of mass' in order to get some understanding on why my key is SO freakin hard to use to open the door. You see, it really doesn't need to be some grand reason.
  2. If you're balancing multiple subjects, study them simultaneously.
  3. Study consistently each day.
  4. Don't rote learn (which is where you read the information repeatedly). Apply the knowledge you're trying to learn to real life instead.
  5. Do past papers - and LOT'S of them.

Oh hey, Ali!

ali moeen

Here's where Ali hangs out on the internet:

Now I'd love to hear what you think:

  1. What courses are you studying?
  2. And what one thing could you take away from Ali's advice, to implement into your own studies?

Let me know, in the comments below (oh hey, double points for rhyming) ;)

Ps. Images are courtesy of The Daily Mail and Darya Kamalova

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  1. When next semester begins I will be taking classes in zoology: vertebrates, organic chemistry and basic chemistry.. Until third year, my semesters are planned before hand by the university (I live in Denmark and that's the way we've chosen to do it ;) )

    I think I'll try to think more about the joy of learning things that not at first glance seem to be interesting :)

    1. Hey Lisa,

      That's a great goal (probably one of the most important recommendations Ali stressed actually) - good luck :D

  2. awesome post, love what you're doing :)!

    1. Vett!

      Thank you so much :D I'm glad you're finding it helpful :) x

  3. Really it is an nice information to achieve the good grades in the subjects. But my suggestion is particle knowledge is more important to express our idea. Learning new things and apply to discover things is the best option to improve the education level and knowledge.


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