A teenager in Dubai who topped the world charts with an unprecedented near-perfect score in a landmark Indian exam said he doesn't study a lot, preferring to spend time doing "fun stuff."
Rohan Sampath, who scored a record 99.5 per cent in the Indian School Certificate's Class 12 exam, said being "slightly carefree" towards studies actually helped him focus throughout schooling.
"That sounds kind of ironic, but many things in life are ironic," said Sampath, 17, who scored 100 per cent in Math and Physics, and 98 per cent in Chemistry and English.
His mother, Sandhya, added that in the lead-up to the exams in February and March, Sampath would wake up at around 11am and spend most of his day watching TV, on Facebook, playing with his nine-year-old brother, Karan
She said: "It made me nervous - ‘he's not studying at all,' I thought. I was also a bit worried as he didn't take any outside coaching classes that a lot of students did. But I know him, he doesn't like studying repetitively. Once he gets it, he moves on."
Rohan explained that exercising — swimming and playing tennis in his case — cleared his mind and made him look forward to revision time, 9.30pm to midnight.
"You have to have a rounded personality; it can't be just hitting the books all the time. You have to give time to what you're fond of and study smart, not long necessarily. Enjoying school and doing extracurricular activities, and having that slightly carefree attitude - that helps.
"I you get the gist of it [lessons] in class, you won't forget it even in five years. I made sure I got it in class," he said.
His mum said Rohan has always been the "go-to guy," helping classmates at Dubai Modern High School and his brother with studies.
Rohan has got admission to research-based Stanford University in the US, where he wants to explore engineering and economics.
"My parents and teachers have been very supportive, and I want to give something back by making a difference in the world one day," he said.