Sabeen’s Physics IGCSE…

Sabeen just found out that she got an A* in her Physics IGCSE (UK 16+ exam).

Aged 10, she’s the youngest girl in the 30-year history of the GCSE to have achieved this!

But, and if you’ve been reading this blog you’ll know this, Sabeen is no genius – in fact, she isn’t even particularly naturally talented at physics – she just used a technique that you too can use in your work and life.

Essentially, it’s the same technique Tiger Woods used to become great at golf, Albert Einstein leveraged for his physics, and Jeff Bezos used to become the richest person in the world.

So, Sabeen did the 2-year course in 5 months – studying around 3 hours a day, 7 days week – she put in enough hours per day which rapidly increased her rate of learning. 1.5 hours a day for 10 months wouldn’t have been nearly as effective.

For the most part, Sabeen just did past-papers – practising what she wanted to become good at – and looking up stuff on YouTube when she was stuck. And that’s another part of it – she had the drive to go figure things out. If you aren’t driven, nothing will work.

But at its basic level the technique is incredibly simple – to become great at something focus intensely on it – and actually do it rather than observe.

Author: Asim Qureshi

Passionate about tech startups, home schooling, barefoot running and squash.

13 thoughts on “Sabeen’s Physics IGCSE…”

  1. Hello. When your kids study for those 3 hours. Do they focus and study the entire 3 hours or is it more of studying for 25 minutes and taking short breaks. Thanks!


    1. They tend to study for around an hour at a time (not timed). But everyone is different. I used to study intensely for 10-15 minutes followed by 5 minutes of kicking a football around, and then repeat. You have to find what works best for you – it’s really important to keep trying things.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Asim,

    Congrats to your life decisions, which are similar to mine (Banking at CS, starting several IT companies, living in Asia(Japan)) and as a result I share your enthusiasm for homeschooling.

    My kids have been homeschooled for the last three years. We spend most time in Tokyo and until last year my son (born 2006) could take the IAL Edexcel exams in Tokyo. However, now he can only take the AM exams. In order to complete his IAL levels this summer (Math, Further Math, Physics, German) he needs to sit the following exams somewhere near to Tokyo.

    WFM02, WPH03, WPH04, WPH06 and maybe German WGN02 (not so important).

    We will be flying for each exam.

    Can you recommend an exam center that accepts external candidates? Korea, Shanghai, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur etc. would be OK I guess.

    I hope we can meet in the future.

    Thanks and best regards,



  3. Hey Uncle Asim

    First off, congratulations Sabeen! Passing a 16+ exam at 10 years old is one thing, but acing it is a totally different level of awesomeness. Uncle Asim, I have recently started reading your blog, and it is very interesting to read. I am very jealous of Maryam, Danyal, and Sabeen that they are strongly encouraged to start their own tech companies (and that they get a REALLY early retirement), while my dad is trying so hard to steer me away from entrepreneurship. I like how you are training them to be their own boss and financially independent, while the school system that I’m stuck in is teaching me to basically be a factory worker : (

    At this point you probably have figured out my true identity, so I just wanna say that I look forward to seeing you soon.



  4. MashAllah! Congratulations Sabeen! If I may ask, you once mentioned that if your kids didn’t get As on their A-Levels, they’d have to retake them, will Maryam be retaking her A-Levels or going straight to business? I’m asking tonfigure out if the grades are just a way for your kids to learn to push, to believe in themselves and to excel or if you only wanted them to get those grades when they were still considering going to uni?


    1. The plan was initially they needed 4 A*s. Now we don’t care as much and don’t want the kids to resit. Their grades are impressive enough, and now I’m hoping they do something more constructive like build businesses…


  5. Dear Uncle Asim,

    First off, I wanna say: Congratulations Sabeen!!!!!! Passing a 16 plus exam is one thing, but getting an A is like Einstein level. If you take at look at me, I just about passed my SSAT. Uncle Asim, I have been reading your blog for about a month now, and it is very fun to do so. I like how you encourage your kids to start their own businesses at a young age while I’m trying to convince my dad to let me try to start my business. I think that it’s important for kids to want to become entrepreneurs because in the world of automation, those kind of jobs are really going to be the only ones left.

    Anyway, by now you probably figured who I am, so I guess this is it. I look forward to seeing you in a few months.



  6. Hi Asim,

    I’ve been an avid follower of this blog for quite some time now, and I am thoroughly impressed by your children’s exceptional achievements. You must get this often, but I think you and Isabelle have done a fantastic job as parents!

    I’m commenting here because I’m a college student in the United States writing a comprehensive monograph on education reform. My research requires considering the best educational practices for children with a wide range of natural abilities and talents–I am especially focused on students who lie on the lower end of the spectrum of academic performance.

    That being said, I hope you’ll understand my skepticism regarding your claims that the success of your children is generally replicable. You are an ex-investment banker and currently a successful entrepreneur with a physics degree from the prestigious Oxford university. Isabelle also seems to have outstanding academic credentials.

    It does not seem unlikely to me that your children are simply naturally gifted. You’ve mentioned that their teachers never remarked of them being exceptionally talented, but I suspect that is an unreliable and anecdotal data point.

    My question is: have your children ever been tested for natural intelligence? I know you don’t believe IQ tests are necessarily valid, but I am nevertheless curious if there’s a more objective way of evaluating their innate abilities. If they haven’t been tested, do you think there is any likelihood at all that your children are in the top 1% of intelligence?

    If you’ve gotten this far, thank you for your time and I earnestly await your response!

    Best wishes,
    Saifi Ayar


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s