Math Olympiad Training Singapore - The Secret Behind Going For Gold

  • 29 May 2022

So your child has been performing well in school and shows a lot of enthusiasm about Math. He brings home a letter from the school one day seeking your approval - he has been selected to enter the Math Olympiad competition!

This is quite possibly the most common way a parent finds out that their child is gifted and could reach greater heights in math. The bad news is, most parents are at a loss of what to do or have never even heard about Maths Olympaid.

Here's a guide to help you navigate your way in the 'hidden' world of Maths Olympiad and Math Olympiad Training in Singapore.

What Is Math Olympiad?

The Math Olympiad is a contest that aims to challenge and stretch your child's potential in math. They will experience questions that extend their critical thinking skills and arithmetic abilities. Very much like the Olympic Games, the Math Olympiad expects it's 'mathaletes' to spend sufficient time in training to hone their skills before competing.

Every year, the brightest minds from all over the world get together to vie for a spot at the top of the bell curve. Successful candidates will win medals and certificates which can be used to apply for Direct School Admission (DSA).
Senior Minister of State for Education Indranee Rajah

Students today need to have critical and inventive thinking skills to thrive in a complex world, where jobs now require non-routine analytical and interactive tasks.

Students as young as 6 years of age start fostering the important skills to tackle questions and to get acclimated with their logical reasoning, pattern spotting and visualisation skills. Now that your child is picked by the school, this is what's in store and how to best set them up for it.

The Most Recognised Competitions In The World

The International Math Olympiad is the most established and prestigious competition which started in 1959 and is available to primary and secondary school students. The Singapore Mathematical Olympiad (SMO), is organised by the NUS Mathematical Society and has a long running tradition in Singapore.

Despite there being a host of other competitions for students to participate in, only four are recognised for DSA. They are the RIPMWC, SMOPS, NMOS and Mathlympics competitions.

The Math Olympiad is somewhat unique in relation to PSLE math. While the format of the papers are comparable, Math Olympiad questions requires a higher degree of imagination and the capacity to solve complex problems with speed and accuracy. A blend of Number Theory, Geometry, Combinatorics and Algebra are required to effectively resolve the problems.

How Does My Child Benefit From Being A Math Olympian?

There are a number of reasons why students choose to take up Math Olympiad Training.

The Direct School Admission (DSA) program was introduced in 2004 for students who are in Primary 6 to be granted admission into a secondary school without having to rely on their PSLE results. So how does MO tie into this?
students sitting for maths competition in singapore

Any student who is good in maths may use the DSA program to their advantage:

  • Take part in one or more recognised MO competitions
  • Win a medal (or two) at these competitions
  • Submit an application for DSA
  • Get shortlisted for the DSA test and interview
  • Receive an offer letter from the school
  • Accept the offer and be guaranteed placement

If you have a child who is scoring at least 75-80 marks in Mathematics and you are serious about helping him or her gain entry into a top school, follow the 3 steps and we will show you how you can successfully apply for DSA by using MO to your advantage. But before we begin, keep in mind that starting young and taking the right approach makes all the difference in maximising your child's chances of a successful application.

For pragmatic reasons, participating in the Math Olympiad reinforces your child's portfolio to get accepted into the Gifted Education Program (GEP). It likewise sets your child up for Direct School Admission (DSA) into renowned secondary schools. Aside from those reasons, seeing how the Singapore math curriculum has changed over the course of the years, with MOE's 21st Century Core Competencies placing an emphasis on Critical Thinking Skills, going through Math Olympiad Training in Singapore would equip students with the concepts, strategies and tools they need to secure an AL1 in PSLE Maths.
Ministry of Education (Singapore)

Direct School Admission for secondary schools (DSA-Sec) allows students to apply to some schools before taking the PSLE.

The most common complaint among parents of mathematically inclined children is "My Child Finds The School Maths Syllabus Boring". Young mathematicians who are more advanced than their peers seek challenge and an outlet of further discovery. Students who appreciate mathematics would savor the chance to try creative approaches used in the Math Olympiad. It develops their insight and comprehension of the subject and allows them to dive deeper to discover their strengths and weaknesses. The Math Olympiad curriculum not only covers the entire school math syllabus but introduces interesting concepts and topics that are above and beyond what is taught in school and PSLE Math Tuition classes.

Seeing as the Math Olympiad is a world renown competition, aachieving a Gold medal isn't just a wellspring of pride, it likewise gives them the certainty that they can accomplish their objectives and this boosts your child's confidence. Strong Exam Mastery skills and peak performance training that students go through will allow them to be less nervous and more focussed during any major examination, including the PSLE and other national exams. It builds up their character and strength to help them through the preparation period and the contest itself. These logical and critical thinking abilities will work well for them not only in school but also in the workplace.

Is The Math Olympiad Excessively Difficult?

Not all students are suitable for Math Olympiad Training. This is why all students who join our programmes are required to first go through a trial session. During the trial, Coach will expose students to concepts and problem solving strategies. Their performance will be observed in order to gauge their math aptitude. Students who meet the learning objective and are able to grasp the concepts and strategies taught will be accepted into the training programme.

With a structured training approach and robust curriculum, more than adequate work on, solving competition problems gets simpler over time. With enough exposure students gain a knowledge to search for patterns between the various topics that are tested in the competition. Students are taught in school to solve problems by following a recommended series of steps or heuristics. The Math Olympiad simpifies the approach by making use of effective strategies and tools for problem-solving with speed and accuracy.

At a first look the Math Olympiad would appear to be challenging. However, with the right attidue and under the guidance of an experienced Math Olympiad Trainer, students can handle the contest with confidence.

What Does Math Olympiad Training Entail?

Students are first introduced to the concepts, where we dive deeper to close any gaps in their foundations. Then, their math olympiad trainer will equip them with strategies and tools used to simplify complex problems. This will allow them to solve problems faster and with less risk of making careless mistakes. Then, students will be allowed to attempt practice questions to apply their concepts and tools they have been taught. This reinforces their learning and allows them to seek help on the spot if they are unsure.

The learning materials are intended to familiarising students with the critical thinking methodology. The preparation serves to lay and fabricate solid groundwork across every one of the topics within the curriculum. Studnts are exposed to progressively harder questions in bite-sized increments so as to help them achieve a manageable rate of improvement. Steering away from memory work towards understanding concepts and application of skills, is essential as part of the rigorous training process.

Remember to progress steadily but not hastily. Do not get deterred when a question gets excessively difficult. Math Olympiad questions are intended to work on your perspective - there's no need to focus on finding the solution, it is the manner by which you get it that is important.

Secrets Behind Going For Gold

Math Olympiad is remarkable as it is like a sport. While the training helps, it is likewise critical to have a 'can-do' attitude while moving toward your goals. Here are the secret that some of our Gold Medal Winners have shared:
  • Keep reinforcing your concepts - this helps with fostering that knowledge in resolving complex questions.
  • Be focused. Keeping to a routine that includes consistent practice would assist with improving your abilities and skills in tackling the problems.
  • Enjoy the process! Regardless of how challenging it gets, remember that going for Gold in Math Olympiad is an extension of your love for math.

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