Maths prodigy gets a first degree aged just 13

Pok Lo from Queensferry High School who is 13-year-old and has just got a First from the Open University.
Pok Lo from Queensferry High School who is 13-year-old and has just got a First from the Open University.
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He is the child prodigy who was doing sums at the age of two and passed his Advanced Higher maths aged 11.

Now Edinburgh teenager Wang Pok Lo has added to his achievements with a first class honours mathematics degree at the age of 13.

The Queensferry High School pupil received the degree from the Open University and will now enrol at Sheffield University to study part-time MSc in statistics with medical applications.

The S4 pupil said he was delighted with his result after working through the qualification modules at home as well as studying for his school exams. “On the results website you have to check each module for the individual result and as I scrolled through I was really happy, even getting 100 per cent on one of the modules.”

But he has not stopped testing his limits and has already moved on to a Masters module.

“I do enjoy doing maths but it is getting very challenging. It has started to get a lot more difficult as it has become more about concepts which are a lot more abstract and it’s mostly logic and reasoning.”

Cara Prot, curriculum leader for maths at Queensferry High, said he is an inspiration.

“It has been absolutely tremendous to have Pok with us over the last few years. His natural flair for maths is inspiring and we have thoroughly enjoyed supporting him throughout his studies.”

Staff became aware of his talent while he was a pupil at Towerbank Primary, as he zipped through the entire pre-Higher maths curriculum between the ages of seven and eight.

Pok, who moved to Edinburgh from Hong Kong with his family in 2006, has been capable of carrying out addition, multiplication and division tasks from the age of around two.

He also showed exceptional memory skills from a young age and as a one-year-old, enjoyed reciting Chinese poems to his family.

“Aware of my talent, my parents were keen to see it develop and invested in a range of learning materials to take me through the core maths curriculum at top speed,” he said.

He has also achieved advanced higher grades in statistics and mechanics.

But it is not just about maths. Like any teenager, Pok enjoys hanging out with his friends and music, particularly playing the piano and guitar and listening to classical and pop music.

Cllr Ian Perry, education convener, said: “Congratulations to Pok Lo on his Open University success. It’s great to see so many of our Edinburgh schools taking part in Scottish Maths Week.

“This will encourage pupils to discover really enjoyable and fun ways to use creative and problem solving skills in maths.”

fiona.pringle@jpress.co.uk