When Farah Fadhluddin arrived in the UK from Yemen aged eight, she couldn't speak a word of English and did not even have a basic grasp of the alphabet.
As if the pressure of learning a new language from scratch was not enough, she sat her exams while her native country is in the grip of a civil war in which a number of relatives have been killed or seriously injured.
"It was very difficult learning English but everyone helped me and I would speak English rather than Arabic at home," said the 18-year-old, of Southall .
"I realised that if I didn't push myself I wouldn't do my family proud and repay them for bringing me over here to get a better education.
'In Yemen I would have had to give up my education to marry'
"If I was in Yemen, as a girl there would have come I time when I would be expected to give up my education and be married off, but my parents wanted more for me.
"Having arrived here not speaking the language, I'm now going to study English literature at university. Look at the irony!"
Farah is not the only student to have excelled in her A levels after overcoming adversity.
Farah grew up in Aden, South Yemen, before coming to the UK, where she initially attended Norwood Green Junior School.
Her birth country is in the throes of a civil war, which has seen her uncle paralysed and two cousins killed, and she had to contend with the devastating news while studying for and sitting her exams.
"There have been so many deaths and so many things which have saddened my family. I'm following the news 24/7 to see what's happening there," she said.
"It's hard to concentrate on revision when you're always worrying about your family, but I wanted to make them proud. Hopefully the news of my results will brighten up their mood."
You can keep up with all the A level results from schools across west London in our A level results blog.