How to Prepare for the Math Olympiad

How to Prepare for the Math Olympiad

Go for Gold - How to Prepare for Math Olympiad

Congratulations - your child got selected to compete in the Math Olympiad competition! This is one of the most prestigious competitions to challenge and further your child's interest in math. They will encounter questions that expand their problem-solving and analytical skills. Just like a sport, the Math Olympiad requires training to help your child develop the necessary skills to solve questions and to get accustomed to the conditions of the competition. Now that your child is chosen by the school, here is what to expect and how to best prepare them for it.


What is a Math Olympiad Competition - A brief history

The International Math Olympiad is the oldest and reputable competition which began in 1959 and is open to primary and secondary school students. The Singapore Mathematical Olympiad, is among one of the Math Olympiad competitions held in Singapore.

The Math Olympiad is a little different from primary and secondary school math. While the format is similar, it has multiple-choice, short answer, and word problem types of questions, it requires creativity and the ability to solve the questions quickly. A mix of geometry, number theory, algebra, and combinatorics are needed to find the solutions to the questions.

What would your child gain for being a Math Olympian?

Students take part in the competition for a variety of reasons. These can be classified into pragmatic consideration, passion for math, and a sense of achievement.

For pragmatic reasons, taking part in the Math Olympiad strengthens your child's portfolio to get admitted into the Gifted Education Programme (GEP). It also enhances your child's school record if they are looking into Direct School Admission (DSA) to prestigious schools. Apart from those reasons, seeing how the math syllabus has changed over the years to a focus on critical-thinking skills, undergoing the training for Math Olympiad would equip students with the skills for important examinations such as O'Levels.

Students who enjoy mathematics would relish the opportunity to solve questions creatively in the Math Olympiad. It deepens their knowledge and understanding of the subject. It helps them to identify their strengths and weaknesses, while helping them to discover their potential in the subject. They would relish the challenge to think outside the box and to use different mathematical concepts to solve a question. Plus solving it would give them a sense of accomplishment.

Seeing as the Math Olympiad is a world renown competition, achieving a Gold medal is not only a source of pride, it also gives them the confidence that they can achieve their goals. Your child would be challenged to focus, be disciplined, and to manage their time well between preparing for the competition and other school activities. It builds character and resilience to help them beyond the Math Olympiad competition. These analytical and problem-solving skills will serve them well in their life.

Is the Math Olympiad too challenging?

With the right training and ample practice, solving the questions gets easier over time. With enough exposure to the questions, students gain an insight to look for patterns between the different questions. Math taught in schools are all about applying a single formula. The Math Olympiad takes it a step further by applying two or more tactics to solve the problem.

At a first glance the Math Olympiad would seem challenging but with the right attitude and regular exposure and practice, students are able to tackle the questions confidently.


What does the Math Olympiad training look like?

Among the four main topics - the practice questions are designed to help you get comfortable with the critical thinking approach. The training helps to lay and build strong foundation across all four topics. It starts from easy and gradually the difficulty increases as you push your limits of what you can solve. Steering away from memory work towards understanding concepts and learning the application, is part of the rigorous training programme. Keep in mind to approach the training with a sense of wonder and perseverance. Do not get discouraged when a question gets too difficult. It is important to keep trying before reading the solution to the problems. Math Olympiad questions are designed to improve your thought process - it is not about getting the answer, it is how you get it that matters.


How to go for Gold?

Math Olympiad is unique as it is similar to a sport. While the practice helps, it is also crucial to have a 'can-do' mindset when approaching any question. Here are our quick tips that we share with all of our students to help them as they go through the training: Keep practicing. This helps to develop that insight in solving any question. Be disciplined. Keeping to a routine that carves out practice time would help to sharpen your skills and agility in solving the questions. Have fun with it! No matter how challenging it gets, remind your child that Math Olympiad is an extension of their love for math.

No matter the result, your child should be proud of giving a 100% for the competition.

What's next?

Terry Chew Academy (TCA) helps to uncover your child's mathematical thinking skills and to discover the satisfaction of solving tough questions on their own. Our coaches are open-minded and bring a sense of play and creativeness into the classroom. This unique approach deepens your child's passion for the subject. With critical-thinking in the forefront of the education system and as a must-have skill in the workplace, Math Olympiad equips them with the tools to be successful in any field they choose. We'd like our students to develop a lifelong learning attitude and to adopt a curiosity to learn. We'd want them to take an idea and to explore all the possibilities. With that in mind, your child will find our classroom full of like-minded peers who are eager to learn and teachers who are ready to guide them, and unlock their creativity with each question.

Why join TCA?

Here at TCA we make the Math Olympiad accessible to all. We've been fine-tuning the process over the years to help students learn competition tips and tricks. Our students are able to explore all angles of the question to solve it efficiently.

We offer the following programmes to help your child succeed:

  1. Math Olympiad programme for all levels - weekly lessons.
  2. Math Olympiad holiday programme - 5-day holiday bootcamp course.

These programmes cover math and general ability topics to help students prepare for Math Olympiad competitions and GEP screening test.

We believe that any child can LEARN, MASTER, and EXCEL in math - give your child the opportunity to explore their passion for math and to hone their skills beyond the classroom. Curious about which programme is the right one for your child? Reach out to us today to discover more and learn how our programmes can benefit your child!

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