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‘My Psychology teacher lit a fire in me to explore and question myself.’ High Achievers from GIIS’ IB Diploma Share What Motivated Them

Global Indian International school IB students
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GIIS celebrates IBDP results that are well above World Average and Singapore Average scores. Two graduates share how their teachers plus a well-rounded pre-university programme encouraged them to excel

The IB Diploma Programme, considered by some to be the gold standard in international education, has the reputation of being a well-rounded pre-university programme that has academic depth, while developing students holistically. GIIS is celebrating great IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) results with a school average of 38.8 points, well above both the World Average and Singapore Average scores. In spite of all the challenges of learning during a pandemic, more than 53% of the IBDP cohort at GIIS obtained scores of above 40 points (out of a maximum 45) in this year’s exams. In fact, 16 students scored a perfect 45/45 and 9 students obtained a near-perfect score of 44, in record-breaking results for the school.

With students from GIIS accepting university offers at top universities around the world, including the University of Cambridge, Imperial College, Yale University, Singapore’s NUS and NTU among others, they’ve proved that they are ready to face not just academic challenges, but life challenges, with all that they have navigated through these last two years.

We spoke to two students from GIIS, Swati Maddi and Tanmay Raghu, who recently graduated from GIIS’ IB Diploma Programme. As highly-motivated achievers, Swati and Tanmay have both had very different journeys but never shied away from chasing their dreams.

Swati Maddi, 17

Swati, originally from India, has studied in China and the Philippines before moving to Singapore. Swati shares her 5-year learning journey at GIIS and how she worked through the rigorous IBDP curriculum to achieve success with a score of 42 and a place at Boston Conservatory at Berklee to study Dance and Psychology.

What were your interests and favourite times in school?
The one subject I never failed to look forward to each day was Psychology. It was the first time I was exposed to the science of human behavior; my teacher was the gentlest, most knowledgeable teacher I have ever had. She lit a fire in me to explore and question myself and for that reason, Psychology will always hold a special place in my heart.

I’ve always had a passion for dance, and learnt ballet since I was 10. Just before joining GIIS in 2016, I almost gave up ballet classes as I was not feeling very motivated. At GIIS, there were many opportunities to perform and experience different genres of dance. Teachers encouraged me to perform when I was hesitant and I got a lead role in a few Annual day productions. I eventually became the President of GIIS’ first Dance club. All of this led to me falling in love with dance again. I now want to establish myself as a professional dancer before pursuing a career in child development psychology, which is why I’ll be doing a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) in Dance at Boston Conservatory with a minor in Psychology.

Any special learning experiences from your IB course?
I especially loved creating my Extended Essay (a 4000-word essay that is a core component of the IBDP) in Psychology. It was on the sociocultural factors affecting eating disorders in professional dancers. As a long-standing issue in the ballet culture, and my own life, I was determined to discover answers to burning questions on this. I greatly appreciate the support my EE supervisor gave me through her specific and valuable feedback, and validation of my perspectives.

What did you appreciate about studying at GIIS?
My experience was nothing short of wholesome. As someone who has very little touch with her Indian heritage, GIIS provided a great balance of a modern globalized atmosphere while integrating elements that respected the Indian culture. The faculty and the student body at GIIS are some of the most hardworking people I’ve met. There is constant encouragement from teachers and students to reach for a more formidable version of yourself.

Global Indian International school IB students high achievers

Tanmay Raghu, 17

Tanmay was the recipient of the keenly contested Global Citizen Scholarship, awarded to meritorious students, by GIIS in 2019 and was invited to study in Singapore on a scholarship from New Delhi, India. Tanmay had to go through the experience of not just moving countries and adjusting to an independent life away from family, but also to a completely different curriculum. With an impressive 44 points in his IBDP exams, Tanmay has been selected out of only 250 students to his first choice university, the prestigious Yale-NUS liberal arts college in Singapore for his undergrad degree. As he excitedly moved into his new dorm at Yale-NUS recently, we asked Tanmay how he made the transition to IBDP and a new country, and the support he received from his teachers and classmates.

You joined the IBDP at GIIS only in the 11th grade, how did you find the transition?
The teachers were very understanding of the fact that I had relocated from India and that my curriculum was vastly different from IB’s pedagogy. They really helped me every step of the way as I slowly transitioned into my new life. My friends at school also helped me in gauging the way IB works. Whether it was helping me in analysing essays or giving me notes for subjects, they were always there for me. IBDP is probably the best curriculum there is, in terms of preparing for university life after school. It focuses on research and creative autonomy to help us find out who we want to be in life, and how we want to contribute to the community at large.

Tell us about an unforgettable memory of your time in the IBDP.
For my Environmental Systems Internal Assessment, my research was based on how the conversion of rainforests to plantations was affecting the soil’s physical and chemical characteristics and its nutrient stocks. To collect primary data, I had to acquire special permits from Singapore Botanical Gardens to collect soil samples from their rainforest region. The process made me feel like I was undertaking some actual high-level research, and motivated me to do my best.

How did GIIS support your journey?
Our IBDP coordinator, Ms. Deepa Chandrasekaran, was no less than a superwoman. She juggled numerous administrative tasks and student welfare while also paying attention to the needs of the students she taught as an economics teacher. All my other teachers were always helpful and went the extra mile to guide and support us. College applications worldwide are a daunting and cumbersome process, and the resources offered by the school helped us navigate this sea of bureaucracy to find the college(s) of our dreams!

Want to learn more about the IB Diploma Programme at GIIS and how your child can benefit? Get in touch with their friendly admissions staff.

location-icon-1024x1024-1-e1620963611654GIIS27 Punggol Field Walk, Singapore 828649, [email protected], Tel: (+65) 6914 7100,

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