But one teenager studying at Drummond Community High School decided that working flat-out was not enough – and opted to study an extra subject at home.
Sami Syed, 17, has been hailed as the most gifted pupil ever to have studied at Drummond Community High after achieving six A grade Highers in just one year.
The school is ranked 20 out of 23 state schools in the Capital.
Despite having signed up for the maximum amount of subjects – choosing English, maths, biology, chemistry and geography – the pupil, now in the sixth year, took on physics as a sixth Higher to study in his own time.
In addition, Sami also managed to achieve the joint top mark in Scotland in his Higher geography exam.
The teenager said he chose to do physics on top of his other five subjects simply because he “enjoys it”.
He said: “I wanted to study six Highers but there was only room in the timetable to study five.
“So, I self-certified myself for the sixth one, but I had a lot of help from my teacher.
“The other pupils know about my results. It’s not a big deal. They’re used to it.”
Sami’s success in his geography exam is set to be celebrated by the Scottish Association of Geography Teachers later this year, and will also be honoured by his school as part of its own awards.
Elspeth McLean, deputy head of Drummond Community High School, said: “We have a couple of major celebrations every year, and I’m sure Sami will certainly be honoured for his work.
“He’s been up on the platform every year since first year.
“We have never had results like this before.
“It takes a tremendous commitment to self-study and physics was not an easy one to choose.
“It’s good in one way in that it can prepare pupils better for going off to university, but at the same time it’s quite a challenge.
“He is an exceptionally bright child. He is gifted and talented but he is very modest about his achievements.
“He knows he is clever and he seems to have a natural talent that enables him to do so well. He said his family were delighted with his results.”
Sami, however, is much more modest than his proud teachers about his success.
He said: “I was surprised to find out that I had got the joint-top mark in Scotland for geography, but it doesn’t really matter.
“I didn’t actually finish the geography exam, so I don’t know how I got the joint top mark.”
Sami’s father, Shahjahan, added: “I’m very proud.
“He did a lot of work and we were expecting him to get As.”
Sami, who grew up in Leith and attended Leith Walk Primary, is currently studying chemistry, physics and biology at Advanced Higher level.
He is applying to study medicine at university.
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