Back to All News

IB Success for Archie Pham and Luke Gillin

With International Baccalaureate (IB) scores of 42 out of 45, recent AIS Saigon graduates Ha Huu Quan Pham (Archie) and Luke Minh Gillin are off to a flying start as they transition to top global universities.
IB Success for Archie Pham and Luke Gillin

With Archie heading to Australia to study software engineering and Luke studying bioengineering at the University of Washington in Seattle, both young men have a great deal to look forward to.

Reaping the rewards
After two long years of hard toil – and many more prior to that laying the foundations – waiting for IB results can be a nerve wracking experience. But for Archie and his family, it was the best news ever.

“I was ecstatic, to say the least,” he says.  “I felt so grateful that I’d worked as hard as I had, and relieved to know that all my efforts had actually paid off. My family was extremely happy too and couldn’t wait to spread the good news.”

Secrets to IB success
Ask anyone who has completed the IB Diploma Programme and they’ll tell you that consistent hard work and unwavering dedication are cornerstones to success. The two-year programme is rich, but challenging, and forward planning and effective time management are critical.

“No matter how smart you are, with the amount of information required for IB, short crash courses and constant relearning of content are both ineffective and exhausting,” explains Archie. “By doing consistent work for all subjects, even a little a day, the content becomes second nature and can be recalled easily. Then in the lead up to exams you can focus on learning to apply the content and improving your exam techniques – while others are still frantically looking back at their notes trying to memorize them!”

By learning to manage the programme early, students can put their best foot forward when the pressure goes on.

“With the course being two years it’s easy to think time is not an issue, yet it proves to be the greatest obstacle for many. Learning and maintaining good time management habits is crucial and greatly correlates to the success of an IB student.”



AIS: Laying the framework
Archie and Luke both credit AIS as playing an invaluable role in their academic success – from the exceptionally dedicated teachers who go above and beyond for their students, through to a student body that encourages and supports classmates to work hard and reach for the stars.

Says Luke, “The student body in my grade maintained the perfect balance between respect and competition. We motivated each other to aim higher and that friendly competition inspired me to reach new limits. The connection I had with my teachers was also key to my success. I felt comfortable making mistakes and was encouraged to have conversations. My teachers were my most valuable resource.”

Finding balance
Although the IB workload is significant, it’s important that students don’t lose sight of their other interests. Taking time out to pursue sporting and extracurricular activities refreshes and re-energizes the body and mind, ultimately enhancing academic performance. 

“Students with a consistent schedule that prioritises both study and health will succeed,” says Luke.  “For me, physical and mental wellness work in parallel with academic performance and I highly recommend that to all students.” 

Alongside his academic studies, Luke continued to pursue his passion for swimming and music at AIS, competing in the pool at the highest level, and also playing guitar for the city. He considers these experiences to be among his most treasured AIS memories.



An eye on the future
The breadth and depth of the IB programme sets students up for the future, equipping them with a unique set of capabilities that can be applied in the classroom, at university and beyond.

Says Luke, “The IB gave me a comprehensive understanding of professionalism in my fields of interest by encouraging me to do real-world research. I would be researching everything from the most up-to-date scientific breakthroughs, right through to unconventional book reviews. This variety really helped me solidify what I wanted to pursue in the future.”

Tips for IB excellence
Achieving outstanding IB results is an aspiration for many AIS students, and while everyone has their own unique ways of studying, some techniques pay dividends for everyone. 

Archie recommends meeting deadlines ahead of time, and spreading out the workload, adding, “This gives you way more time to get your revision done and you won’t feel so stressed.”

Meanwhile Lukes top tip is to prioritise your health. 

“Get enough sleep, eat well, stay physically active and most importantly find time to rest,” he says. “I also highly recommend engaging with your teachers more because they are your BEST resource.”