The IG Club Interviews

After The IG Club juniors team was launched earlier a month ago and with a huge amount of enthusiasm, we decided to meet everyone and anyone who would make a big difference in our lives as students.

We started with the teacher who students referred to as “Newton of this generation”, Mr. Loay Khalil, who is an IG graduate, high achiever, engineering graduate and previously a teaching associate in a faculty of engineering.

Earlier this week our Jr. Counsellor Akram Badr conducted an interview with mr. Loay Khalil to ask him

Q: At which Schools are you teaching at right now?

Currently I’m only teaching in two schools. One that’s called Al Bashaer and a new school in El Shorouk City called Gheriany International School.

Q:What do you recommend for fresh IG Students to do?

I recommend them taking 4 subjects (Maximum 5) excluding ICT and I prefer this fifth subject to be Arabic especially for those who were in Edadeya. Maths, English and Chemistry are the main 3 subjects to be taken. The fourth can be Biology or you can even drop this subject if you were in Pre IG. Otherwise, I prefer only 4 subjects and Arabic should be taken if you want a fifth one or even Physics if possible but not ICT as its exam date is too early as year 10 students would panic which would disturb their time management skills so they leave all the main subjects and focus on ICT. They only focus on the practical exam and forget about the other main subjects which is a plan for complete failure.

Q:Is an A* in Physics IGCSE achievable? And what are your tips and tricks for it?

A* in IGCSE and A level are achievable with a 60% for the A level and 80% for the IGCSE. Physics requires common sense. Unfortunately, a large number of students who are seeking to study anything, like memorising for Biology, Physics is the exact opposite of the Biology. Physics’ studying style is similar to that of Maths , you can’t the study the notes for 3 hours. You just study the equations and the answering technique and you understand the concept then solving and exercising will do the rest. Same for Physics but the difference is that Physics is more theoretical plus that you must understand what are you doing and its relation of what you’re studying with the real life. Sadly, the students fail to link what they get from class with what happens on daily basis. Once that link is created, it becomes like a piece of cake. The student gains a huge confidence while using his common sense. The exam contains 40% of observations. It becomes scary for some students that they panic about that common sense is not found in the notes! As long as this ice is broken, it becomes so easy. Physics has a low curve of an A* from (60-70)% so it’s very achievable. With exercising and common sense it becomes great. It’s not tragic. This is an advice for any physics student. Once you have common sense with any notes it’ll do. Make sure your study time doesn’t exceed 30% and you solving time is 70% or more as the examiner is seeking. The examiner in physics asks for 30% knowledge (including your studying, equations, the things you memorised) and 70% of other skills (including mathematical, graphs and interpersonal).

What does qualify a student to take Physics A Level?

When a student of mine (even from the past A level students) I don’t tell them what do you have to have to take this subject. The student needs to have pure commitment. Some students take the subject as a gap year subject and they’re supposed to take it or other ones who take it to fulfil their requirements for a major like Medicine abroad and they’ve underestimated the IGCSE so they’ll just underestimate the A Level. This kind of attitude leads to a massive failure as they seek for an A level similar to its IGCSE which can be taken by luck and pass easily. As I’ve mentioned the IGCSE contains 40% of common sense. However, A level physics contains actual knowledge. For example, the A2 contains a large cut of knowledge of 70% at least. It requires someone who studies the same number of hours as in class. Otherwise the panic, mathematical manipulations, which brings me back to the question of what do you want from the subject where I ask why do you want to study A level if you are going to study medicine? If you want to join the Engineering faculty then you have some mathematical skills. The ones who are weak in Maths IGCSE won’t pass the AS Physics. These mathematical basic skills with a hand of commitment with the right approach specially for engineering with the right teacher will bring you the desired grade plus the hard work you will hand as this subject is all about pure engineering. The knowledge you’ll get from this subject will be definitely used in your Bachelor of engineering in computer science for example or even till Masters. Leaving this subject studying for later like some do in the IGCSE may lead to a terrible grade that may reach even for something worse than C.

What do you think is the outcome of studying Physics?

First of all, it’s about knowledge you gain. Engineering is not only about maths but also about physics. In IGCSE and A Level, you have 5 main units. Mechanics comes first where it’s about Mechanical engineering. The second one the electricity where it’s about Electrical engineering. The third one is about Thermal physics and materials where some are about Mechanical engineering and some are about Construction engineering or Architecture engineering. Then you have some grey areas like Communication engineering where the waves unit is used. Chemical engineering includes the nuclear physics unit or Nuclear engineering. Engineering is all about outcomes of physics. Secondly, you learn skills like independent thinking. Like for engineers, your main task is seeking a problem no one has seen before and try to fix it immediately with restrictions like deadlines, time, money, marketing or anything else. To do so you have to practice for several years. A level keeps you up to a training similar to that of engineering. You use your whole knowledge of physics to solve problems you’ve never seen before after uploading new information from the IGCSE till the A2. In the class, we discuss several ways to solve the same problem. A problem can have a mechanical solution or even a chemical one based on each person desire of how to solve this question. I keep telling my students that what I teach may not give you a benefit if you are going to study business but I can give you skills that you can think independently.

An advice for fresh IG students?

We all have resistance to change. We all like comfort zone. We only like to do the same thing over and over again. IG is the first step to break that ice. In Edadeya, we were told that the more you memorise the better score you’ll get, which is completely wrong. As long as the time taken to break the resistance decreases, the more time you’ll have to train for the new system. The system in Egypt including the national and international to memorise more. In IG, if you memorise you fall,the exact opposite. It’s required from the IG teachers to try to make the students adapt to the new system in the first 6-9 months accompanied by uploading knowledge and give you right practice for the exams. It’s not as easy. It would increase the load if you insist on resisting to the change from the same old technique may lead to your fatigue and some terrible grades. If you let yourself adapt to the system, the easier it can go on you by the end of the first semester. The teacher is always trying to make you do your best so don’t be treating him like a devil. It’s not easy to be honest but as early as it comes, the easier it can go on.

Our Junior Counsellor Salma Ahmed Arafa is one of the most passionate about Biology in our team, and she decided to help all IGians to know more about the Biology and what to expect when sitting for it.

Dr Ahmed works in port said british school, Maadi Narmer school and Knowledge valley, teaching human biology,IGCSE,AL Cambridge and IGCSE Edexcel

Why biology ?

Biology is a fascinating subject as it helps us fathom the complicated systems circulating in our bodies, it’s the study of life and teaches us about ourselves and natural world around us. A good starting when studying biology is to admire the perfection of nature and principles of life ,but can often cause problems for students. If this the case for you, then read on and discover the best techniques to improve your exam results.

How to Study bio?

Although biology is a tough class ,it doesn’t have to be painful one to study for and get through . it’s a subject that builds upon itself, so it’s essential to understand the basic concepts before you can understand the more complex ones. Learning the vocabulary associated with biology and staying on top of the material are the best ways to improve your comprehension of biology and be ready for every exam. A Major mistake that we all do when it comes to studying biology is that we only memorize it without understanding the content which makes studying a bit tough, biology is a blend of both. Another point is that sketching a diagram of a biological process can be a simpler way to learn the concept than just reading about it. If you really understand it you should be able to draw the entire process and label all entire aspects

How to get a star?

Starting off , when you study a topic it’s crucial to scrabble down the terminologies and main points of the topic, so that you can have headlines Embedded in your head about the topic. Another thing about studying AL biology is that you have to study Using a schedule, to elaborate more, everything that was taken during class has to be studied on the spot, piling things up and procrastinating wouldn’t be useful cause simply you would forget. Solving post studying is a must as it helps you to sum up everything you studied and practicing help you cut out on silly and repetitive mistakes. Biology Is not a subject that can be absorbed in the short period of time you are in class. Reading the material before it’s covered in class will give you a head start on the concepts and you’ll know what is coming up. Not only that,but also understanding biology requires that you have a general understanding of the broad concepts before you can really get into the details.   STUDY SMATER,NOT HARDER.

How to fit the AL in your future plan?

One of the main requirements for medicine is AL Biology, the student can divide the AL On two sessions, As in November and A2 in June OR Take the AL as one shot. The whole AL plus  an easy IGCSE in one session is more than enough. The IGCSE may be Arabic or French, and its preferable if its human biology as this subject is related to AL biology, so it’s like studying one subject, but on a larger scale. Always  leave an empty session to be available for retaking any subject.



The minority of p3 is practical questions and the rest of the paper is written questions.p5 is similar to p6 IGCSE (alternative to practical),the student has to be extremely careful and precise when using the lab equipment and when doing your measurements. It’s all about following steps instructed by the examiner.

What’s the difference between AL Edexcel and Cambridge?

Cambridge exam is classified in to 5 papers (2 papers AS AND 3 Papers A2)

1.     P1 is MCQ

2.     P2 IS structured questions (AS)

3.     P3 is practical

4.     P4 structured questions (A2)

5.     P5 is alternative to practical

Edexcel exam is classified in to 6 units (3 units AS AND 3 units A2) each unit consist of a number of topics and the exam questions are similar, while unit 3 and 6 are practical.

Considering the syllabus they’re similar.


What’s the difference between As and A2?

As and A2 are different on so many levels, as A2 curriculum wise is Shorter in length, but filled with so many details, on the other hand As has longer syllabus, but less deep than A2. Consequently A2 is  tougher than AS because the effort exerted in A2 is much higher.

Aside from the fact that AL Biology is the curriculum of first year in medicine, which sounds horrible, By some persistence, perseverance, hardwork, and strong will you can easily achieve it, yes you heard me right, its not impossible to achieve in it, you just need *10 extra work.

Our Jr Counsellor Farida Khaled AbdelAziz did an amazing interview with the youngest however most remarkable Business studies IGCSE and ALevel teacher, Mr AbdelHalim Ahmed, who just graduated from the American University in Cairo majoring in business.

Mr AbdelHalim is an IG graduate who was a high achiever in AS-Level Business Studies in his senior year. Through this interview we tried to cover as much questions covered by IGCSE students as possible. 

Q:What schools are you currently teaching in?

Al Bashaer International School and Roots International School

Q:What do you think of the opinion that claims business studies is based on memorization?

I believe that this is a stereotype; in fact, the syllabus of business is mainly based on common sense as it discusses real life business concepts and problems. It just requires specific terminology that you get used to by time to make the structure more academic and professional.

Q:What qualifications must a student possess before they study business?

Regarding business IGCSE, a student isn’t expected to have any specific skills especially that by practice they’ll get used to the exam structure anyways; good English might make it easier for them but it is not necessary. I, myself, scored grade C in English as a second language and still managed to score A* in O Level business, so it is totally fine to study business O Level even if the student’s English language skills aren’t at their best. However, A level requires sufficient level of language skills regarding reading and writing skills because students will analyse case studies and answer essay questions. The student doesn’t need to master the language, they just need to meet the adequate level of language skills requirements.

Q:How does studying business at Alevel help students to choose their major in university?

First of all, the A level course covers all business functions in full details (Human resources, Finance, operations, marketing) which gives the students a detailed image of what they’ll study in university and thus helps them major in the function that they’re most interested in. It also covers a lot of business aspects covered in university which allows the student to know whether they’re interested in business or not because what the student is going to take in university is built upon all the basics they’ve studied at the Alevel course. So if a student finds the A Level course

interesting, then they might major in business, and if not, then they’ll eliminate schools of business from their choices.

Q:What benefits do students gain from studying business A Level?

Studying business at A Level helps the student develop several skills. First of all, essay questions will improve their writing skills in terms of structure as the students learn to address and express their ideas clearly, and fulfill the question requirements in depth without making themselves repetitive. Moreover, reading case studies and writing essays will improve students’ analytical skills because they will learn how to analyze business case studies in details and to show chain of analysis in their essays where they’ll explain the consequences and causes of each stated point. In addition, studying business at A Level develops problem solving and evaluative skills as students learn to come up with solutions and recommendations to business problems from their own perspective, support it with logical ideas and provide a reasoned argument. Besides, the topics students get to in business A Level feed their critical thinking as not only do they learn to think of issues from different perspectives and different angles, but they also learn how to apply all general business concepts they know onto specific business situations. Finally, the fact that business A Level covers all functions covered in university, as stated above, helps students to be leaner with their work progress at university, which is an advantage students who study business A level have over any other students. Also, studying topics that require higher capability than that they possess will mature their minds and make it RICH in terms of knowledge that they might be able to communicate with people from the actual labor market.

Q:Is an A* achievable in business OL and AL?

Percentage of As and A*s in June 2019


A*s (%)

As (%)

Total No. of Students

O Level




A Level




So, based on last year’s statistics, it is very achievable to score an A* in both O Level and A Level business, especially that there’s no ultimate model answers because the examiner might accept different answers for the same question as long as it makes sense and doesn’t stray away from the purpose of the question; the student only needs to exert efforts and be dedicated to the subject to score high. However, for the A Level, it is significantly important for the student to make sure they’re taking the course with a good teacher who explains the topics clearly, revises the syllabus frequently, and most importantly is aware of the examiner criteria and requirements, familiar with the marking scheme and solving techniques so that the students guarantee a high grade by learning to answer the questions effectively.

Q:Why would a student study business A Level even if it isn’t a university requirement?

People are getting aware of the importance and value of business benefits in terms of knowledge and skills as the skills and knowledge gained from studying business A level are required in any job; which makes the students benefit from business even if they’re not willing to choose it as their major. Also, students might not major in business yet use its knowledge to set up a business of their own career, just like most business magnates did e.g. Steve Jobs. Moreover, the universities demand on A Levels is increasing and business is the only subject that students can study its A Level without taking the O Level.

At which schools do you teach now?

I teach in NIS (Nasr City and El Shorouk), Continental, Roots, Summits and Capital schools.

Why should a student take Accounting IGCSE?

Why shouldn’t he take accounting?
Although Accounting is a secondary subject but it is a necessity for every student. Any university major with commercial applications will have a need for Accounting. For example, the American University in Cairo (AUC) has an Accounting course called “engineering economy” and the German University in Cairo (GUC) has an Accounting course requirement in its Pharmacy major. Accounting is an old IGSCE subject with a long history versus a subject like Computer Science which is relatively new and is not a requirement in most majors.

What are the similarities between Accounting and Business?

There is a chapter in business for Accounting but business gives you broad overview of business where you study marketing, economics, finance and many other management related topics. However Accounting provides a more in-depth look at companies, including the analysis of the financial statements, figures, etc… Moreover, Accounting is the backbone of business so every business student must take accounting: it is the most powerful tool in business because you can’t measure the performance of a company without Accounting and you can’t prepare your financial statements without it.

If I am not good enough in math would this affect me?

There is a myth that if I have math phobia I won’t be good in accounting; while we use addition and subtraction sometimes you may have to calculate ratios. The idea of Accounting is that you translate the numbers and figures into the story of the company, this is the power of the subject. On the other hand, unlike Accounting, Finance is a subject that requires some sort of analysis of the figures and gives you an overview about the company by integration and differentiation so in this case the student must have some source of power in math.

Is the A* achievable in Accounting?

Personally I think after the languages comes the core and secondary subjects; Accounting has, by far, the most A* worldwide. Last November’s curve was 180 from 240 for A* you’ve to lose 60 grades to get A* and to get an A you’ve to get 144 from 240 that’s 96 marks that’s almost half of the grade. Students have a misconception about the subject because they are not familiar with it like physics, math, chemistry, etc…. Also studying Accounting requires a different approach from the traditional memorization techniques most students are familiar with; to excel in Accounting requires lots and lots of practice and a firm understanding of the topic. Also starting next June there is going to be MCQ paper 1 which is around 30% and paper 2 is 70% from the total grade versus a 50% 50% split currently with no MCQ.


What do you want to advise a fresh IG student?

My advice is the student should really focus on how you choose your subjects. Every student must be convinced that s/he has to sit with his/her parents and decide on the university s/he wishes to attend. Most of the students don’t know what they are going to study in the university. This is a very important step. First of all, the student must choose the location of the university (in Egypt or abroad). Second of all, the student must find out what are the subjects and at what level (O level, AS or AL) are required to meet the demands of the university and finally if you are confused between two majors you should take subjects that can help you in both majors.

Do you recommend Accounting AL for students?

From my own perspective I recommend Accounting AS because it’s the easiest AS, especially if you have a good base in IGCSE Accounting unlike the A2 which is very detailed and sophisticated for an IG student.

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