Sunday, July 12, 2015

Count Your Way to Success: My Experience as a Mathematical Olympiad

    School number 145 in Baku with education in the Russian language was counted as one of the strongest schools in the city. I was happy to study there during my primary and middle school time. This school was the best place for me to study in: competent teachers with strong personalities like my maths teachers—Natalya Filipovna, Elnara Rufatovna, Nazila Ziyadovna, Zemfira Zaharovna (teachers from 1st till 11th grade). These are 4 great women maths teachers who made me love maths and be good at it.

    One of the most interesting things was that apart from normal classes we also had many competitions, Olympiads, and other contests. In 3rd grade I took part in the school level Mathematical Olympiad, and after getting 1st place I was honoured to be sent to district level Olympiad, where I got 3rd place. I have been really interested in maths since I was little, and until school graduation it was and still is my favourite subject. Maths was one of the 5 subjects, along with physics, chemistry, English, and Russian that I was examined for in the University Entrance Exam. I find maths so interesting and am happy that I got knowledge from great teachers.

    The Former Soviet Union is known for having a strong maths education: so much that I was actually surprised, now that I’m living in Germany, that most of the kids hate maths. They simply don’t enjoy it like I did when I was young. Now when helping one friends’ child with his maths homework I’m happy to remember all that I learned and glad to share my knowledge about this interesting subject.

    I’m thankful that I could have a good mathematical education in school 145 in Baku. Learning mathematical skills early can benefit everyone, as maths contributes to critical thinking and logic skills that can be used in nearly every situation. You don’t have to want to become a rocket scientist to enjoy maths and use them in your life: even such basic things as cooking and music require some maths. And the brain development it provides helps with any subject as it sharpens and clarifies your thinking, forcing your mind to reason.
Children, especially, can benefit from early maths education. The earlier your brain learns simple addition and subtraction, the better it is at recalling it later on in life. That’s why I’m passionate about children learning maths and enjoying it. It’s hard to want to study something you don’t understand.

    So what should parents and teachers do? My favourite maths teacher always encouraged us to look at maths as a challenge to solve. For learning and understanding formulas: once you’ve memorized and understood them, you can use them long term in different calculations. For geometry, it’s important to visualize figures and to know how to implement formulas. It is always a challenge for the mind. Once you find out the answer for a complicated task, that's a great feeling which is hard to explain. Of course as in any field, practice makes perfect. The more you solve, the better you get.  

    My parents always encouraged my love of learning and supported me in the math Olympiad. I’m so grateful for them and the opportunities I was given!

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