Teenager Mahnoor Cheema, from Slough, in Berkshire, has attracted attention because she is taking 28 A-Levels.

This comes after achieving 34 GCSEs. Attending London’s Henrietta Barnett School’s sixth form, Mahnoor is studying four A-Levels, and then completes her extra studies at home.

Within two months of starting her A-Levels in September 2023, Mahnoor has already completed four – in English language, marine science, environmental management and thinking skills. She will receive her results in February 2024.

Mahnoor also plans to get top A-Level marks in chemistry, biology, physics, English literature, maths, further maths, psychology, French, German, Latin, film studies, religious studies, accounting, history, sociology, classical civilisation, ancient history, economics, business, computer science, politics, geography, statistics and law.

The rest of the qualifications will be spread out over two years. Mahnoor sparked discussion when she called for more support for gifted students.

She said: “I feel we are wasting so much talent in the UK.

“I think there are so many kids who had talent to do so much but it was wasted because no one recognised their potential or knew what to do with it.” The 17-year-old also revealed that teachers struggle to keep up with her.

Selvaseelan, who is a doctor, praised the student and said: “What an amazing young lady! And she wants to be a doctor.”

Some did not realise that there was such a vast selection of A-Levels to choose from, with student Akash saying: “I didn’t even know that there were 28 A-Levels to choose from.” Others were more critical of Mahnoor’s studies, with Rohan pointing out her 161 IQ score.

He said: “She has a higher IQ than Einstein but she does not understand that 28 A-Levels are a waste of time.

“I have worked with some gifted people who had no common sense. The lack of common sense is far more jarring than a lack of academia.”

One person who did not want to be named even claimed Mahnoor was being self-centred and not thinking about her classmates while also criticising her parents. “Teachers are there for the whole class. The most gifted certainly, but the least gifted are just as important.

“If she is sitting 28 A-Levels, hire a private tutor. And maybe get a social life, sounds like she is being abused.” For most A-Level students in the UK, four subjects are chosen and optionally, one is dropped at the end of the first year.

According to 2023 government statistics, 186,380 students aged 18 took three A-Levels, which is 66.6% of the entire demographic in England. Meanwhile, those who took five or more A-Levels stood at just 210 (0.1%).

On why she decided to do 28 A-Levels, Mahnoor Cheema said: “I guess I do find school easier than most people, I just want to explore my full capability.

“Plus, I am genuinely really interested in all of my subjects. I’ve always had a very different mindset. I was very education-orientated from a young age and always loved to challenge myself.

“I set myself the target of getting all A*s when I started secondary school and to get them was just amazing. But now I want to achieve even more at sixth form.”

Universities in the UK have their own minimum set of grade requirements but almost all of them set three A-Levels as an entry requirement. This has raised questions over whether Mahnoor’s decision to do over nine times the A-Levels required for university is merely a waste of time.

Student Mohammed said: “Taking 28 A-Levels is a stupid waste of time.” Meanwhile, Priya has said it is unnecessary for Mahnoor to still be at school.

She explained: “It’s perfectly possible that by doing 28 A-Levels, she will be completely fine. “However, I’d also argue that the fact we are fine with her doing 28 A-Levels makes the value of them basically nil.

“She absolutely doesn’t need to be at school anymore.” Echoing her statement, Krish said: “I think the bigger issue is that the British education system fails students from poorer families in far worse ways than it does a gifted child wasting their time doing 28 A-Levels no one will look at after University. Just send her to university early and stop wasting her time.”

One of the biggest talking points around Mahnoor Cheema’s 28 A-Levels is around whether she has time to do anything else. Many have wondered if the teenager has a social life or any hobbies away from her studies.

Pooja asked: “I wonder how much this was down to her mum. It’s an utter waste of time.” Priyanka said: “You would’ve hoped that someone with Einstein’s IQ would’ve figured out that taking 28 A-Levels is not a good use of their time and intellect.

“Or at least she would have got support as a gifted person to steer her away from such a pointless stamp-collecting exercise.” Despite the concerns, the student insisted that she still has plenty of spare time.

On what she does in her spare time, Mahnoor said: “My parents have always made sure I’m not so academically focused that I forget to have a social life and extracurriculars.

“So, I play the piano, I do chess, I do swimming, I go out with my friends.” She fits her studies and hobbies by using an unconventional sleep routine.

Mahnoor explained: “After school, I sleep for three hours. If I’m so tired, I wouldn’t be as productive.

“Then I wake up at 7 pm and go to bed again at 2 am. The last hour of my day is spent playing piano. But the most studying I will ever do in a day is two to three hours – it just comes naturally to me.”

It is evident that Mahnoor Cheema’s studies have stirred a debate, with some praising her academic prowess and others baffled by the sheer number of A-Levels she is taking. The teenager has aspirations to go to Oxford University and focus her studies on the brain in the hopes of training as a doctor.

It will be interesting to see how Mahnoor does in her A-Levels and what the future holds for her.