ABU DHABI // Saad Mahmud was thrilled when he found out he achieved five straight As for his AS levels this year.
The student at Cambridge High School in Abu Dhabi hopes to be admitted to the medical studies programme next year at the University of Oxford, one of the world's most prestigious universities.
"I was quite surprised and trembling at the thought of the results," he said. "I couldn't sleep all night but when I found out, my family and I just jumped for joy."
He will now have to apply by October for university entry next year.
"Medicine is such a competitive field so you need excellent scores," he said. "I applied to some of the best universities in the UK and the US, including Oxford, Cambridge, Princeton and Yale."
His first choice, Oxford, is motivating him to achieve top results on his A levels next year.
"The medical programme there fascinates me," said Saad, a 17-year-old Pakistani-Dutch. "There's so much learning and the programme suits my needs. To go there has been my aim since I was 11 years old."
He is confident he will achieve his ambitious goal.
"Universities consider your academic record a lot but you should have some extra-curricular too, and medical experience," he said. "I volunteered at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi so, so far, I don't think it'll be a problem."
Saad, who plans to become a cardiothoracic surgeon, is also hoping to secure a full scholarship should he decide to study in the US.
"My grades can get me a hefty scholarship," he said. "I believe that you should keep all your options open because you never know."