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Image of Photo of Mark Bal on left and Carlos Purves on right.

Friends from North Tyneside both heading to Jesus College, Cambridge

Queen Alexandra Sixth Form College in North Tyneside is celebrating after two of its students, friends Mark Bal and Carlos Purves, achieved A*A*A* and secured their places at Jesus College. 

Mark and Carlos both attended outreach residential events at Jesus College before making their applications. 

Mark Bal, who achieved a triple A* result in Chemistry, Maths and Biology, had impressed his teachers right from the start, demonstrating dedication, resilience and a productive attitude, which has seen him develop into an outstanding student. Mark will be reading Natural Sciences at Jesus College, Cambridge. The course is highly competitive, this year attracting applications from 2942 top students for around 650 places across the University.

Mark said: 

“I am absolutely thrilled to have been accepted into Cambridge, it was my first choice and I can’t wait to start at one of the UK’s most famous institutions! I was shocked when I opened the envelope to reveal my results, it was a fantastic feeling. From an early age I have had an affinity with plant sciences that goes beyond interest - it’s a passion of mine, I can’t wait to begin my degree at Cambridge. I would certainly recommend anyone thinking of applying to Cambridge to just go for it - if you put in the work and you have the determination to succeed, anything is possible. 

“The interview process at Cambridge was very detailed; for plant science it consisted of some problem solving and algebra, but the vast majority was absorbed by a passionate discussion about plants, insects and eco systems. I exited both interviews feeling as though I’d been gifted a rare opportunity to talk about a subject I love, I look forward to reading plant sciences at Cambridge. Queen Alexandra Sixth Form has fully prepared me for the next step, I feel confident and ready for the future.” 

Mark recently competed in the annual British Biology Olympiad 2016 and was in the top 6.6% of competitors, winning gold at the event. The competition saw over 7000 entries from A Level students across the country. 

Friend, Carlos Purves, also received a triple A* result in Physics, Maths and Further Maths and will be reading Computer Science, joining his friend at Jesus College. Cambridge’s Computer Science course is highly competitive, attracting applications from 716 top students for around 90 places. 

Carlos received an outstanding 600/600 marks in his maths exam, which Queen Alex Maths Teacher, Alan Heslington, had never seen before in his teaching career.  

Carlos said:

“I was shocked but completely delighted when I received my results. There really is no secret to getting the grades you need for university, hard work and perseverance will help you to succeed. My time at Queen Alex has fully prepared me for this moment, the teaching is excellent and the support you receive is incredible. Being accepted at Cambridge was a wonderful feeling; from an early age I have always been interested in computing, I began coding at the age of nine and my interest continued to expand. Queen Alex has allowed me to pursue my interests in a fantastic setting, the opportunities have been incredible.”

Lee Patterson, Head of Queen Alexandra Sixth Form College said: 

“It is such a delight for the College to see two exceptional students achieve such incredible results. We are absolutely thrilled for Mark and Carlos who have truly dedicated themselves to their study in order to achieve their dreams of reading at Cambridge. I am confident that both Mark and Carlos will enjoy their time at Cambridge and I hope they leave Queen Alex with fond memories, fully prepared for university life.”

Find out more about applying to Jesus College.

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