Top students take top 25% in global math competition
- High School
In April 2021, Kanghoon Lee (then Grade 9) and Gustavo Nakashita (then Grade 11), participated remotely in a series of written exams, hosted by the University of Waterloo’s Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing. While every student in last year's "Math Competition" extracurricular activity (organized by High School Math teacher Ruth Deibler) took part in these exams, Kanghoon and Gustavo were recently recognized for their particularly noteworthy scores. They ranked in the top 25% of all contestants in their respective tests. For their achievements, they received Certificates of Distinction at the end of August, last month.
The Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing was established in 1963 under the University of Waterloo's Faculty of Mathematics department. The CEMC writes fifteen “Contests” for students in Grades 7 through 12, which are named after famous mathematicians throughout history, like Gauss, Fermat, and Euclid. Every year, more than 265,000 students in over 80 countries register to participate. Kanghoon and Gustavo sat for the Grade 9 “Fryer” and Grade 11 “Hypatia” Contests, respectively, which attracted a combined total of 11,744 contestants.1
To prepare, the Math Competition students dedicated 45 minutes of their weekly ECA sessions to practicing math problems, alone and in teams. Additional preparation material made available on the CEMC website included copies of past contests and solutions, e-workshops unique to the different exams, and a random problem set generator, which pulled from past problems and topics. Due to the contests’ difficulty, the students often tackled these additional materials at home, outside of school hours.
On the experience, Gustavo Nakashita said, “I enjoyed it. These contests are harder than the courses available in the school, and they’re designed to really challenge you, especially in terms of speed. There are a bunch of free response questions and it’s up to you to work through them at your own pace. However, the later questions get much more difficult, so, really, you’ve got to rush the easier parts first in order to make the more difficult sections doable.”
Despite ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, the students are still eager to jump back into the mathematical fray this year, with Gustavo adding confidently, “I’m hoping to participate again this year–this time with the “Euclid” contest, for Grade 12.”
- gustavo nakashita
- high school
- kanghoon lee
- math competition
- ruth deibler
- university of waterloo