GATE Students Update 3: VUWMA Maths Challenge

This week, Year 11 student Callum Hancock shares his recent experiences at the Victoria University of Wellington Maths Association’s annual Maths Challenge, attended by Year 11-13 students from across the region. Team A (‘Wellington College 5’) was comprised of Jason Su, Andrew Tang, Manraj Rahi, Lachie Parlane, Jarrod Zhu, Masaaki Ono and Arthur Chia. Team B (‘Team Giles’) was represented by Callum Hancock, Dhairya Thakkar, Logan Ngan, Finlay Player and Tony Pan.

On the last Friday of the school holidays, Scots fronted up to Victoria University’s annual maths challenge with two strong teams. The competition was split into four sections – separate mathematics and statistics tests made by PhD students from the university, an online quiz, and a mathematical art piece. I found the maths test the most enjoyable part of the day; since it was very different from the types of questions we are asked in school, it encouraged more creative thinking and less use of formulae and standard techniques. For the year 11 boys like myself, we found the statistics section rather challenging at first as we’d never met some of the concepts before, however it was a good feeling when we managed to grind our way through.

At school, I used to not enjoy being dragged along to the Otago Maths Challenge, or other problem solving competitions that required more creativity and enjoyed the standardizing testing more where I knew roughly what I was going to be asked (yes, the opposite of above!). However, after being shown different ways of tackling problem solving questions by some much better mathematicians than myself, I am excited for the upcoming opportunities I have at Scots to further this new-found passion for problem solving. Maybe we’ll be able to follow in Team A’s footst

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