To participate in mathematics competitions can be akin to participating in other competitions and preparations can help you gain a better competition and learning experience.Here’s various ways you can prepare for maths competitions which we have researched from forums and own experience in preparing mathletes for competitions. Hopefully these tips can help you gain more from a mathematics competition.
Practice from past year contest questions
One of the best ways to begin your preparations for the competition is to practice with past year contest questions. This will help you familiarize with the style of questions. However, this does not mean that you need to try all the questions from the past year contest papers.You can begin by trying questions which you find interesting first. Doing and re-doing questions from the past year contest questions can sometimes dampen your interest in solving these questions and may dull your mental acuity in solving challenging questions.
Practice from past year contest papers that are a step up from your competition
If the competition you are participating in involves more than one contest. Always try to practice some questions from a higher level contest. In this way, you can challenge yourself by learning more and benefit the most from this ‘beforehand’ learning. There are also instances where some competitions will glean some questions from a higher level competition to challenge contestants.
Form a study group
In solving challenging questions, it is important to discuss your solutions.Different people may have different approaches to the same questions. Studying the solutions of others can allow you to gain additional insights which you may have missed working on it alone. In forming a study group to prepare for the competition, you have a group of like-minded individuals to discuss and spar with.
You can gain by getting additional coaching before a competition. If your coach is someone who has participated in maths competitions,they can share their competition experience with you. What’s more with a more experience coach at your side, you can gain additional insights in problem solving and may solve the same question in a shorter way. However, coaching cannot be treated as a ‘magic pill’ that is sure to guarantee that you will emerge as a champion from a mathematics competition as you still need to practice and put in the hard work. What coaching will do is to help you gain more knowledge, save you time as it helps you avoid some ‘pitfalls’ and give you additional resources to solve challenging questions you will normally encounter in a mathematics competition.
The tips above are by no means exhaustive and you are welcome to add to your ‘toolbox’ of mathematics competition arsenal to help you gain an edge in the forthcoming mathematics competitions.