Omar Kilani: the 12-year-old Dubai pupil on track to score full marks in A-Level maths

Omar Kilani previously achieved an A* in GSCE maths exams in 2022

12-year-old Dubai student achieves perfect score in A-Level maths module

12-year-old Dubai student achieves perfect score in A-Level maths module
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A pupil in Dubai is set to make his school's history books as the youngest person to complete his A-level maths exam, at the age of only 12.

Omar Kilani was already the youngest at his school to have sat a GCSE higher level mathematics exam in 2022 – scoring an A* – just two days before his 11th birthday.

Now, the Palestinian-Jordanian-American pupil at Dubai British School Jumeirah Park, has achieved a perfect 100 score in an A-Level maths module ahead of the final exam.

A-Levels are usually studied over two years by students aged 16 to 18 with final exams as a stepping stone to secure admission to top-tier universities.

Beyond his maths goals, Omar aims to also sit his triple-science GCSE exam by the end of the next academic year, followed by university-level courses in subjects including maths, physics and aerospace engineering in the UK.

I saw 100 out of 100 and in that moment, I felt a mix of emotions...sheer joy and excitement
Omar Kilani, 12, pupil at Dubai British School Jumeirah Park

"I enjoy challenging myself. The reason I took the GCSE maths exam was because I wasn't feeling challenged," Omar told The National.

"I wanted to take a deeper dive into maths. I kept going because I want to enter a prestigious university and to do so, I must study maths for my entire school life.

"I am also planning on taking GCSE physics exams next year."

The pupil is not enrolled in an accelerated learning programme at his school.

Passion for maths

Omar enjoyed maths puzzles when he was a toddler, and in year one, Rita Vasandani – his teacher – started giving him extra exercises.

She discovered his gift for maths and started setting him challenges, which in turn helped him discover a passion for the subject.

In November last year, Omar found out that the maths exam would be held in January, which he had previously planned to sit in June 2024.

With the help Yuvraj Sokhi, a university student in the UK, who tutored him online for a few hours every week, he managed to complete the syllabus within six weeks and sat the exam in January.

Mr Emran Kashim, a teacher at his school, also helped to coach him for the exam after school hours.

“I had finished 45 minutes of the exam and spotted a bunch of mistakes during the revision time and fixed them," Omar said.

"After the test, I wasn't really sure and felt I had done well but didn't want to jinx myself."

Omar said that when he received his results, he was "trembling and scared".

"I opened it hoping that it would be an A," he said.

"I saw 100 out of 100 and in that moment, I felt a mix of emotions...sheer joy and excitement."

The pupil has completed one module of pure mathematics and will be sitting for the second module of pure mathematics and mechanics in May 2024.

Later this year, he will sit exams for two other modules of pure mathematics and one in statistics.

He also plans to study further mathematics at school since it's a requirement to gain university admissions.

Omar said he plans to study something related to the field of statistics, but hasn't made up his mind yet.

"I'm also passionate about physics and chemistry, biology...science as a whole because it's similar to maths and extremely interesting," he said.

Outside of the classroom, Omar enjoys playing football and doing Muay Thai – Thai boxing – a form of martial arts.

Inspired by family

"I get this love and knack for mathematics from my maternal grandfather. My father is also a banker. I would like to do something in statistics in the future," said Omar.

The pupil plans to spend the summer taking university-level courses in maths, physics and aerospace engineering at the university in the UK.

Rula Atallah, Omar's mother and former banker in the UAE, initially helped her son prepare for his A-Level exams but said she found it difficult.

"I was able to help him with the first couple of chapters for a few months before I was able to find him a tutor," said Ms Atallah.

"Then it became difficult for me as I had forgotten these things having studied maths years ago."

Ms Atallah said she would occasionally stay up until Fajr (dawn prayers) studying the topics so she could explain them to Omar the next day.

"But, to be honest, it became very, very cumbersome," she said.

Ms Atallah is also a maths whizz, scoring the highest A-Level pure and mechanic maths grade in Jordan as a pupil in 1992.

She said that while Omar stays humble, he is wired because he constantly needs to challenge himself since he does not struggle with maths.

"I hope and pray for my son that he has a healthy and happy life. I want him to be happy and I want him to study and do something he likes," she said.

"If he is not challenged, he's not happy. I pray that he is always challenged in a way that will make him happy."

Rebecca Coulter, principal of Dubai British School Jumeirah Park, called Omar a "superstar" who has performed brilliantly.

"He received full marks in his A-Level module, which is an incredible achievement for a pupil of his age," she said.

"He is a very talented mathematician and we are very proud of him."

Updated: April 02, 2024, 7:33 AM