Student gets three As after taking exams standing up

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A student with a debilitating back condition achieved three A grades after taking her A-level exams standing up.

Zahra Farooque, 18, has suffered from a herniated disk, which makes it painful to sit down, for the past three years.

She had to lie on the floor in her lessons at Putney High School, south west London, and during revision sessions at home.

“The exams themselves, I did them standing up. I had a standing desk and I would stand and do the exams,” said Ms Farooque.

“In the examination hall I was so in the moment that I wasn’t really conscious of standing up.”

Ms Farooque, who lives with her family in Hammersmith, west London, took eight exams in three subjects with each lasting up to three hours.

“It was very tiring,” she said.

“I had a routine where I would go home and fall asleep for a couple of hours and then start revising again because I was so exhausted from the exam.”

Ms Farooque achieved A grades in history, geography and French and will read history at University College London.

“I’m thrilled to be going to my first-choice university,” she said.

Ms Farooque said she will celebrate her success with her proud parents, three younger sisters and her little brother.

She praised her school and teachers as “very accommodating”, adding: “I was very lucky because of the small class sizes at Putney meant I was able to lie down.”

Ms Farooque told how her condition effects her daily life and explained the difficulties of studying and preparing for her exams.

“I can’t do sports,” she said.

“While I was in school I had to lie down in lessons which could be quite awkward at times and I was just that voice on the floor.

“I think one of the hardest things was the revision because I had to revise lying down, while holding a book up or on my side.”

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