Maths whiz on top of world

WHILE most 18- year-olds may get a headache just thinking about mathematics, one Nelson Mandela Bay student really enjoys the subject.

Amy-Rose Westcott not only received 100% for maths when she matriculated last year, she was also named the world's top achiever in the Cambridge International Advanced Subsidiary (AS) Levels mathematics exams recently.

Westcott, who is studying for a BSc Computer Science degree at NMMU, said she really enjoyed maths. "It was one of my favourite subjects in matric and I practised and worked out a lot of old exam papers in preparation for the exams last year."

The former Dux pupil at Bay College in Plettenberg Bay, where she matriculated, got distinctions in all six of her matric subjects and celebrated her achievement in the Cambridge AS Levels by going out to dinner in the Bay with her father Shaun, mother Julie and older sister Stacey, who is also an NMMU student, majoring in English and psychology.

Westcott said she was really enjoying varsity life, particularly the maths-based subjects.

"I am not certain yet, but I may want to become an actuary after my studies."

Taking a break from her studies by spending the weekend with her parents, who live in Coldstream near Tsitsikamma, Westcott said she liked reading and playing the piano in her free time.

She beat more than 69000 students in last year's maths exam. According to Cambridge, the AS Levels syllabus is intended for high-ability students.

Cambridge senior schools development manager for sub-Saharan Africa Mark Barber said the AS and A Levels were regarded as a passport to success in education and life. "Students develop a deep understanding of subjects, independent learning and constructive thinking skills which are so important to universities and beyond," he said.

There are more than 10000 Cambridge schools in more than 100 countries, including the US, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Malaysia, India, Egypt and China.

Westcott is the second Bay College student in two years to achieve this distinction.

Kurt Coetzer, 19, an electrical and electronic engineering student at Stellenbosch University, also achieved the honour of being the world's top Cambridge AS maths student in 2012. - Cindy Preller and Poppy Louw