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Thursday, 24 August, 2000, 10:40 GMT 11:40 UK
GCSEs at age six
leah and elissa patel
Leah (left) and Elissa Patel: Computer literate
Two six-year-olds have passed GCSEs, in information technology.

Rajaei Sharma achieved a grade C in his foundation level exam - the most he could have got - studying part-time at the private Ryde College, Hertfordshire.

Rajaei Sharma
Rajaei: "Normal boy"
Fellow pupil Elissa Patel, just slightly older, also got a grade C.

According to the Guinness Book of Records, the previous record holder was Krashan Radia, who got a grade C in IT aged six in 1998.

His birthday was 26 October. Elissa's birthday is five days later and Rajaei was born on 11 November.

Rajaei's mother, Punem, said: "He's also just won his 10-metre swimming certificate and his football trophy so he's a really normal little boy.

"He loves sport as well as maths. He might start his maths GCSE next year."

Elissa said that, as a reward, she wanted to go to Legoland and have an ice cream.

Click here to try some of the questions.

Elissa's big sister, Leah, 10, sat the higher level information technology exam and got a grade A.

"Some bits were easy and some were a bit harder - the ones where you had to write a lot," she said.

Foundation

Their father, Amrish, 39, an architect, said he and his wife were very pleased for the girls.

He did not feel they were being pressurised by being entered for exams normally sat by 16 year olds at such a young age.

"It's a very good foundation for them, it opens up their whole world," he said.

"And it's better than being teenagers under pressure to do 10 exams.

"If they don't pass they can always do it next year. At 16 it's like the end of everything, which is too traumatic."

Information technology came naturally to them, he said.

"In today's world, like your website, it's something that they're used to using now.

"This is their language, and the discipline of doing the course gives some structure to that, so they understand how the whole thing works, which is more important than just playing computer games."

Their achievements might be eclipsed next year: Rajaei's sister Sarkhara is about to start studying for her information technology GCSE. She's four.

These are some of the questions the children had to answer:

  • A computer model of a bridge has been designed. Describe the stages of implementing and evaluating the computer model. (Five marks).
  • One application controls the production line for making cars. Another application is a person learning to drive in a driving simulator. Compare the features of the user interface of these two applications. (Six marks).
  • A library is considering changing its computerised system. The initial investigation has taken place and data about the old system has been collected. Describe the steps taken in the analysis and design of the new system. (Five marks).
  • Doctors write prescriptions for patients who then take them to the chemist to collect the medicine. It is decided to install a dedicated line from the computers in a doctor's surgery to the local chemist's computers. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of doing this. (Five marks).
  • (i) Describe the disadvantages of using electronic mail with regard to security of data. (Four marks) (ii) Describe what measures can be taken to overcome these security problems. (Four marks).
  • Describe the advantages and disadvantages of using electronic conferencing. (Three marks).
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27 May 00 | UK Education
26 Aug 99 | exams99
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