# Math Olympiad

**What is Maths Olympiad?**

Maths Olympiad is a maths problems solving contest. The problems in a maths olympiad are designed to explore various topics and strategies in mathematics that is not normally offered in classroom settings. The goal is to foster young people’s interest in learning mathematics and encourage them to value intellectual pursuits. It is called “**olympiad**” because it aims to impress upon the olympic spirit of friendly competition and perseverance.

**What is the role of Math Olympiad in primary schools in Singapore?**

During our discussions with many parents regarding the problems of their children, we encountered many questions such as

*“What is the use of Math Olympiad?”,*

“How should Math Olympiad be learnt” and

“Is there a need for preparation and revision for Math Olympiad?”

In recent times, the number of parents asking us such questions has increased. Based on our vast experience in conducting Math Olympiad Lessons coupled with our interactions with many parents and students, allow us to summarize some of our knowledge. Hopefully, parents and students can gain from our sharing.

Firstly, we need to recognize the objectives of Math Olympiad. In reality, many parents decided to enrol their children in Math Olympiad Classes because other students are also doing so, without considering the real purpose of Math Olympiad.

Looking from the angle of academic advancement, Math Olympiad is an important criterion for prestigious schools to select their students (Raffles Institution, Hwa Chong, NUS High School, ACS Independent, Nanyang Girls’, Raffles Girls’ etc). Many schools in Singapore have opened up to Direct School Admission (DSA) and many prestigious schools still rely on the results obtained by students in Math Olympiad competitions as a gauge of their mathematical abilities and the General Ability Test (GAT). Practice in Math competitions also help students prepare well for the Math and General Ability portion of the GAT. During the DSA promotion exercise, which started in 2004, many outstanding students have been admitted from their good results in Math Olympiad contests.

Of course, Math Olympiad is not only used to accomplish the purpose of advancement, but also to stimulate interest in students, to hone the mathematical skills of students and to instil a sense of learning spirit.

**Does it help Primary 3 students taking the Gifted Education Programme (GEP) qualifying test? **

Top schools are glad to accept students with strong maths background. Winning in math olympiads helps students build good portfolio for scholarship opportunities and acceptance for school applications. There are students who have high grades and scored highly in national exams, but having math olympiad achievements definitely boosts student’s profile.

**Does it help primary 6 and Secondary 2 students with Direct School Admissions (DSA)? **

Top schools are glad to accept students with strong maths background. Winning in math olympiads helps students build good portfolio for scholarship opportunities and acceptance for school applications. There are students who have high grades and scored highly in national exams, but having math olympiad achievements definitely boosts student’s profile.

**How does math olympiad help in school subjects and exams (such as O-levels)?**

One acquires advanced problem solving skill, strong critical thinking and good abstraction skill through math olympiad. It broadens their knowledge of mathematics, keeps their brain fit and would give them advantage in learning new things.

**How does math olympiad help in real life?**

Questions in math olympiad are non-routine problems that typically require out-of-the-box thinking skills. Being able to think out of the box helps one to advance faster and learn better in life. Preparing for math olympiad helps students to develop their perseverance, which is an essential value to overcome difficulties in life. It teaches students how to handle winning and losing streaks.

Math olympiad also pave the way for meeting new people. Discussions with people who are passionate about math boost one’s mathematical knowledge and skills, and in time, students will discover good friends who share similar interests.