Bengaluru: Fifteen-year-old Neel Mulay had been wondering over the last two years how students manage to score more than 97% in ICSE (Class 10) board exams, believed to be the toughest tenth grade exam in the country. On Monday, Neel himself was the beneficiary of such good fortune as he scored 99% aggregate to secure the All India Rank (AIR) 3m and also emerged as topper in the South region.

The results were announced post-afternoon in New Delhi. “I never expected 99 per cent, though I had worked hard. It took some time to sink in that I was one among the toppers at the national level,” said the multi-talented youngster from Greenwood High International School.
An avid quizzer and an acknowledged leader among his counterparts, Neel said that he was warned many times to focus on curriculum more than extra-curricular activities. Also the vice-captain of the school, the aspiring aerospace engineer won the leadership award at an Asia-level space competition held this year.

Asked about his preparations for the exams, he said that he put the maximum effort in the last 45 days (study holidays) to ensure that he was placed well in the exams. “I used to study from 8 am to 7 pm every day, but with multiple breaks in between. I also downloaded previous years’ question papers and worked on one daily, to ensure that I missed nothing,” he said.

Harshita Rajasekharan (98.8%)

Harshita Rajasekharan from St Paul’s English School, JP Nagar stood second in the state scoring 98.8% aggregate. She told Deccan Chronicle that sticking to the basics and avoiding last-minute preparations helped her achieve the results. An aspiring oncologist, she is now focused on NEET preparations to earn a seat either at the Bangalore Medical College or CMC, Vellore. “Playing the guitar and listening to classic rock music have always helped me during my studies. Being part of a couple of plays at school made learning always interesting as a curricular-co-curricular mix was something that I always looked up to,” she said.

For Susan Roy Thomas, her school principal, Harshita’s focus and hard working attitude had given them confidence of expecting a rank for their school. Parth Behani from Mallya Aditi International School and Spandan Prasad Sahu from Sarala Birla Academy too secured the same marks to share the second spot in the state.

Era Gupta and Sankyuta Giri from Bishop Cottons Girls’ High School in the city scored 99% to secure AIR 3 for ISC (Class 12), sharing it with 23 others from across the country. The southern region topped the list in ICSE results. While the national pass percentage was 98.51, southern region recorded 99.67. The pass percent of ICSE and ISC in the state is 99.78 and 99.20, respectively.

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