For secondary school students, the topic of GCSEs tends to be filled with dread - lots of revision, studying and independent working are just some of the things students give up their time for - the content gets harder and more hard work has to be put in.. But what about getting a grade 9. In maths? And that’s not it: at the age of 10? Yes. It’s possible.

Aaliyah Akora completed her Maths GCSE in June 2019 at the age of 10 years old - and received her fantastic score of a grade 9 as she was entering year 6 where students prepare for SATs and sit their 11+.  Here are snippets from an interview with her, where she explains how she managed to do so well in maths at such a young age, and what advice she has for other people.

Why and how did you do your Maths GCSE early?

 I really wanted to do it early as I was super enthusiastic about maths and everything related to it. My main support and help was my uncle, who taught me for the 1.5-2 years that I revised for it, though my dad had also been doing maths with me for as long as I can remember

The decision to do it early was a very experimental thing - in year 3/4 my uncle had suggested that I could try finish the syllabus earlier, and we ended up progressing so well that I asked if I could actually take them early

How did you feel when you found out that you got a grade 9?

 Opening the email at 6am in the morning was a huge thrill that I think I can never forget, and it felt so accomplishing, especially after working hard for so long to achieve it

What advice do you have for other people?

My advice for other people is to never underestimate yourself - I am not a natural genius or anything of that type, but it was by working hard that anything became possible. In terms of actual maths advice, definitely the most helpful thing is doing more and more questions on topics that are difficult, but also finding the right explanation for you. Not everyone can learn from the same teacher so finding something or someone who lets you understand concepts is a very important thing that is usually overlooked.

Has learning in school alongside other students who haven’t done their GCSEs changes anything?

School learning in general had never been changed that much, maybe a few adjustments to my Maths lessons but that's all. As an add on - a faq is if I need to take them again in year 11 - technically, I don't need to :)

Why do you love maths?

I do enjoy maths very much, and I think the fact that it can be so technical and precise in unpredictable ways is what makes it really great to learn more about