John Hao, Maths-Magician!
This month several Yew Chung International School of Beijing students enjoyed success in the UKMT Intermediate Mathematical Challenge. Caroline H. (Year 9), Amy J. (Year 9), Kelly C. (Year 10), Emily X. (Year 11) and David Z. (Year 11) were placed in the top 8,000 in the world. John Hao, in Year 9, ranked among the top 1,500, earning him a place in the tough next round – the Olympiad. Secondary Maths Teacher, Mr Damion Walker, discusses the competition.
Please tell us about John’s success
This is a tough competition, taken by around 200,000 students around the world. To make it into the top 1,500 is a huge achievement – one which Hyunju Ju achieved two years ago when she was in Year 10. The final round, the worldwide Mathematics Olympiad, will take place on March 21st. There are some very prestigious prizes for the top mathematicians such as a summer school at Cambridge University.
Why do we encourage our students to take part in the challenge?
We want our students to recognise just how good they are. John is an outstanding mathematician, and success in a worldwide competition such as this allows him to see just how good he is.
Secondly, the Maths Challenge is a very interesting paper. The problems and puzzles it presents are different to standard IGCSE-style questions, and it’s great fun for the students to wrap their head around them and enjoy being stretched!
How do we prepare students for the competition?
John is in the accelerated maths class along with our other top mathematicians. We prepare for these types of questions in class and frequently hold class competitions. I also run Maths Club where we take part in an online international maths league. That way we can get our students used to the competition element and timed conditions.
What advice can you give students who feel they are no good at maths?
Some people feel that you’re either good at maths or you aren’t. But the longer I teach, the more I believe that being good at maths is more about work ethic than anything else. Great mathematicians like John and Hyunju apply themselves fully. They put in the hours and are totally committed to improving. My main message to students who aren’t confident at maths is to keep focus and work hard. It is always possible to improve.
Congratulations once again to our outstanding mathematicians – and we wish John the best of luck in the upcoming Olympiad!