From A level meltdown to Oxford scholar

His A levels results were disappointing, but after gaining a First Class University of London degree Tommy Khoo found himself heading for Oxford
BSc Mathematics and Economics graduate, Tommy Khoo
A firm believer in second chances: BSc Mathematics and Economics graduate Tommy Khoo
Among other university degrees available locally, the University of London appeared to have the largest student population, most institutional support and seemed to be the most widely recognised

Tommy Khoo is a firm believer that people should not be judged on their past failures. He should know – he overcame disappointing A level results to become an Oxford scholar and mathematical researcher.

After being rejected by universities in Singapore because of his results, Tommy enrolled with the University of London International Programmes - and has not looked back since.

Tommy said: “Among other university degrees available locally, the University of London appeared to have the largest student population, most institutional support and seemed to be the most widely recognised.”

Studying in Singapore with support from Singapore Institute of Management (SIM), Tommy realised he had an aptitude for mathematics. He worked hard and ended up graduating with a First Class degree in Mathematics and Economics.

He said: “For many years I was under the impression that I wasn’t ‘good’ at studying, because of my very bad A level performance. I have since ceased to view failure as evidence of an inadequacy in ability.”

Tommy’s success won him a place at the University of Oxford to study for his Masters in Mathematics and the Foundations of Computer Science.

He has now completed his Masters and is working as an intern at CABDyn Complexity Centre, a prestigious research group at Oxford, which uses network analysis to gain insights into how ideas, human behaviours and viruses spread.

He is currently working on a project to analyse how biological data can be represented as a network, as he explains: "In the context of destroying a harmful biological organism by targeting its proteins, it has been shown that the most efficient way is to target the ‘hubs’, which are proteins that affects or control many other proteins.”

Following his internship at Oxford, Tommy is planning to undertake a PhD using mathematics to solve practical problems in biology. Asked what his old high school teachers would think of his success, Tommy said: “I think my teachers would be very surprised. I am pretty sure I have been ‘written off’ as bad or not interested in science due to my poor test scores, even though some of my teachers know me as a very inquisitive student. The University of London gave me a second chance.”

For further details about studying for a University of London degree in Singapore, visit: www.londoninternational.ac.uk/sg