By Zhong Song Rong (22A01C)
‘Why are numbers beautiful? It’s like asking why is Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony beautiful. If you don’t see why, someone can’t tell you. I know numbers are beautiful. If they aren’t beautiful, nothing is.’ – Paul Erdős
If you ever understood the beauty of mathematics, and want to feel it at a greater level, the Math Olympiad enrichment programme is definitely for you. Taught by an external trainer, Dr Chua Seng Kiat, we have weekly sessions every Wednesday afternoon, where we are given plenty of time and freedom to solve past year Singapore Math Olympiad problems. The trainer would start off each session with a brief introduction to mathematical concepts, and then go through a number of examples from it. We would then spend the rest of the session solving the questions provided in the handouts, and the trainer would eventually provide us with the solutions.
Afraid that you won’t be able to solve all the questions in one lesson? Fret not! The pace for every session is not fast at all, and students will have more than enough time to work at their own pace. Full solutions for all questions from one topic will usually be provided only in the next session, so we have the flexibility of spending more time delving into the questions outside the boundaries of training sessions.
Our programme in 2021 did not require students to sit for a selection test, and we were chosen based on previous results from mathematical competitions (SMO, AMC, or others) or our academic performances in Maths. However, there might still be a selection test depending on the number of applicants every year.
Furthermore, our programme lasts shorter than other enrichments. Since the main aim of the lessons is to prepare us for the Singapore Math Olympiad (SMO) Open Section in June, the programme will end in Term 2. This might be helpful if you would want to have more time to focus on other commitments, or to prepare for the year-end promotional exams.
To benefit from the program, you would be required to spend some time working on all of the problems provided. Going to a lesson without attempting the questions will only waste the opportunity to train your problem-solving skills. Some of the concepts taught also require time to digest and to fully comprehend before you can comfortably apply them to solve the problems.
Nevertheless, there is nothing to be afraid of. With sufficient time and practice, you will ultimately see improvements in your skills. Please join us, if you would also like to experience the charm of competitive Mathematics and Math itself, absorbing some of the great wisdom that human civilisation has produced.