An A-level student who achieved straight A*s in biology, chemistry, physics and maths has been left without a place at university.
Saima Azam, of Garden City, Edgware, has been forced to take a gap year after she was rejected from all four universities to which she applied to study medicine.
The 18-year-old was turned away from Cambridge, Imperial College London, Queen Mary’s and King’s despite achieving perfect exam scores.
The bubbly and eloquent teenager fell short on just one criteria in each of her applications, which involved interviews in front of panels of up to five people and entrance exams.
Despite achieving eight A*s and four As in her GCSEs, on top of an 89 per cent average at AS level, assessors at the top institutions turned her down, forcing Saima to reapply next year after 12 months away from her studies.
Saima, who lived in America between the ages of six and 12, and Pakistan between the ages of 12 and 16, said: “I have been to a lot of schools in my life after moving around and I’ve always been the top student so this was a big wake up call.
The academic ace plans to work during her gap year and has already been given a part-time job as a health care assistant at University College London Hospital.
There she hopes to gain some valuable experience to complement her unbeatable grades, for which she worked “incredibly hard”.
She said: “There was a lot of pressure – I was pulling all-nighters every night and I did wonder when it would ever be over.
“I had already heard before this morning that I had been rejected from the four universities I applied to but I’m really happy with my grades and hopefully they will be my ticket to study medicine next year.
“I’m excited about working at UCLH – it will be good experience to work in a hospital and it will be very involved so by the time I apply next year I should have some good grounding behind me.”