Faiz uses web wonder to share exam strategies

SHARING revision notes took on a whole new dimension for Elgin Academy Higher pupils Debbie Carsey and Nick Looseley, both aged 17, when they discovered the website of their friend and classmate Faiz Rasul.

Happily for the pair, and for many others in Scotland, the enterprising sixth-year pupil chose to launch his own Internet company, easy-grades.com, at just at the right time - before their exams. But they had to read about it in the local paper, as he was too modest to tell them.

"I was really surprised to see what he'd been up to," said Nick Looseley. "But it came just in time to help me with my business management exam, which was really handy."

Eighteen-year-old Faiz's innovative business idea targets students from schools and colleges tackling Higher Still subjects. His pupil-friendly website offers practical advice, revision notes and tips from others who found them useful in passing assessments and mock exams earlier in the year.

Not only fellow pupils are showing interest - so is Cisco Systems, the major American IT company. Faiz and his associates are to meet with Cisco representatives later this month to discuss how the company can support the website in its development. Since its launch in early May, the site has attracted around 200 hits a day, and there have already been dozens of commecial inquiries.

Faiz, who runs the site with support from his older brother and cousin, explains: "Our target market is a very lucrative one for many different kinds of companies, and they are keen to get involved from an advertising perspective. We've even had a serious offer to buy the whole project, but we're not committing ourselves to anything at this stage."

At present, the site covers business management, chemistry, history and modern studies, but there are plans to expand to cover every subject in the curriculum. Faiz hopes to attract more young contributors to help to make this possible.

One of easy-grades.com's strengths is that it offers peer support to its users. "It provides notes in bullet point form, it doesn't go into too much detail, and it sums things up in language you'd use yourself. I used it for my modern studies revision. It didn't replace my class notes - but it was a really useful addition," says Debbie Carsey.

The website has received praise from parents and teachers, who, according to Faiz, also see it as complementary rather than as any substitute for mainstream teaching. Nick Looseley thinks there is another benefit for teachers: "The site gives students useful information about Higher Still itself. I would think that most teachers would be pleased about that."

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