22 votes

Learn university maths or train for high school competitions: which is better?

I'm not sure whether your question aims at educators or at the students themselves, but my answer actually would be very similar. Having as well as being a good, perhaps gifted student is a treasure. ...
Peter - Reinstate Monica's user avatar
17 votes

Why are the contents of contest maths so different from contents of degree-level maths?

Mathematics constests are a kind of game or puzzle, like chess, poker, sudoku, etc. Not all mathematics adapts well to the context of a competition in a limited amount of time. While it's true that ...
Dan Fox's user avatar
  • 5,839
16 votes
Accepted

How can graduates learn and apply university-level math, but fail to solve competition problems?

There's a huge difference between math degree programs and math competitions. Degrees are about content knowledge. The way a student graduates from a degree program is by learning and evidencing a ...
Justin Skycak's user avatar
15 votes
Accepted

How does a math Olympian fare in undergraduate maths courses?

Mathematics is many things. Solving tricky problems is part of it, but there is also learning theory and new concepts and ways of thinking, and even developing routine. I would expect a person with ...
Tommi's user avatar
  • 7,144
15 votes

What will happen if someone doesn’t make it to the IMO team?

You have posted two questions on this website so far. Both of them show what is (to me) an unhealthy focus on Olympiad problems. Firstly I want to remind you that you have value as a living being. ...
Steven Gubkin's user avatar
14 votes

Learn university maths or train for high school competitions: which is better?

Short answer: The skewed content is not a good reason for avoiding IMO-style contest training, because if the training is done right then the students will be led to explore mathematics and would ...
user21820's user avatar
  • 2,578
14 votes

How can graduates learn and apply university-level math, but fail to solve competition problems?

Terrell Owens is one of the all-time greatest wide receivers in American football. In 2009 he competed in the ABC Superstars sporting game show. Here's the clip where he fails miserably to get through ...
Daniel R. Collins's user avatar
12 votes

Why are the contents of contest maths so different from contents of degree-level maths?

I don’t think it is remotely reasonable to include the areas you mentioned, since (in the U.S., at least) all those that you mentioned are at least 3rd and 4th year undergraduate subjects. Indeed, ...
Dave L Renfro's user avatar
12 votes

Learn university maths or train for high school competitions: which is better?

One rather major argument in favour of contest-style mathematics is its ability to cultivate problem-solving abilities in students while not requiring much difficult machinery. It is of course ...
YiFan's user avatar
  • 390
11 votes

How can graduates learn and apply university-level math, but fail to solve competition problems?

Focusing just on one aspect of the bewilderment.... But I am wildered if B.Sc. math graduates can't solve high school competition problems, eg International Mathematical Olympiad. Based on this ...
Steve's user avatar
  • 1,514
8 votes

Combinatorial problems which can be solved with polynomials

An interesting example is Sicherman dice: A pair of 6-sided dice, with positive number of eyes on each face that are not the classic 1..6 ones; if you throw them, the distribution of total eyes is the ...
vonbrand's user avatar
  • 12.3k
8 votes

Are the standard of questions provided in reputed institutions like MIT, Stanford, Oxford, etc., as good as the problems of IMO?

Will the institution give problems related to the theory but the difficulty standard of the problems equivalent to that of an imo or Putnam problem? Probably not. The whole point of a class (or ...
Justin Skycak's user avatar
7 votes

Learn university maths or train for high school competitions: which is better?

I personally think taking advanced math would be way more fun than preparing for some contest largely based on tricks. I'm not convinced these contests are very revealing of much for most students. ...
James S. Cook's user avatar
7 votes

Learn university maths or train for high school competitions: which is better?

One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet is the social aspect. There are always some people who like to stay alone, but for the large majority, meeting like-minded people and engaging in some sort of ...
mlk's user avatar
  • 338
7 votes

Why are the contents of contest maths so different from contents of degree-level maths?

I teach a lot of contest math and I have very mixed feelings. Contests reward repertoire, perspicacity and speed. These are all certainly useful at undergrad, but the emphasis given to them feels ...
Shai's user avatar
  • 541
7 votes

What can I teach a talented student who is enthusiastic about math?

The Art of Problem Solving have designed exactly such a curriculum, which is also meant to prepare students for the AIME and AMC. I also very warmly recommend the Gelfand series of books, starting ...
GLG's user avatar
  • 211
7 votes

Reason behind the dominance of particular countries in the IMO (International Mathematical Olympiad)

The book by Masha Gessen on Grigory Perelman has a fascinating description of the Russian math camps, specialized schools (e.g., Specialized Mathematics School Number 239 in Leningrad), and the ...
Joseph O'Rourke's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

Which math subjects should I know well to tutor competitive mathematics?

I know they contain algebra, geometry, combinatorics, and number theory, but is there any other well-defined subject that is tested in these competitions? Consulting Gelca and Andreescu's (2007) ...
Benjamin Dickman's user avatar
6 votes

How can graduates learn and apply university-level math, but fail to solve competition problems?

Mathematics competitions involve nonroutine problems and most mathematics courses more heavily emphasize the routine (not to be confused with easy!) components of various subjects. Rather than ...
Benjamin Dickman's user avatar
5 votes

Learn university maths or train for high school competitions: which is better?

Talented students with interest are much better served by learning more math than by being trained at contest math. Where contest math may play a positive role is in getting talented students ...
Dan Fox's user avatar
  • 5,839
5 votes

Is the AMC 10/12 Test the Difference Maker for Top Schools? What do Colleges Look for?

Those tests are not key to admissions to undergrad, even at top schools. That will depend more on overall grades and standardized test scores. What schools used to call the whole man. I would also be ...
guest's user avatar
  • 95
5 votes

Why are the contents of contest maths so different from contents of degree-level maths?

To be succinct: contest problems are meant to be accessible to a wide audience, so cannot overtly involve somewhat-more-sophisticated mathematical ideas ... that many people would not yet have heard ...
paul garrett's user avatar
  • 14.6k
5 votes
Accepted

What will happen if someone doesn’t make it to the IMO team?

Based on this question and your previous question, my impression (correct me if I'm wrong) is that you are driven to become a hardcore problem-solver, and you've had fun participating in Math Olympiad,...
Justin Skycak's user avatar
4 votes

Which math subjects should I know well to tutor competitive mathematics?

First of all, it might be worth pointing out that algebra can be split in inequalities, polynomials and functional equations. Not all problems fall in one of these three categories, but I think that ...
wythagoras's user avatar
4 votes

Why are the contents of contest maths so different from contents of degree-level maths?

I figured that I can expand my comment into an answer, even though it is still more a comment than an answer. You say that math contest questions "involve a lot of small tricks that one hardly ever ...
Rusty Core's user avatar
  • 1,317
4 votes

Learn university maths or train for high school competitions: which is better?

I don't know the answer, but clearly understand the question...which means it is a great question. I think it will depend both on the student (interests, abilities) and the situation. For the ...
guest's user avatar
  • 49
4 votes

Finland's performance on international competitions

"Why it is said that Finland has a particularly good education system, but Finland's performance on international mathematics competitions is quite often at relatively intermediate level?" Because ...
guest's user avatar
  • 134
4 votes

Hourly math contests online

Art of Problem Solving has a game called "For the Win." I don't have any experience with it myself, but from what I've heard of it, it is essentially what you described. A player can host a ...
ruferd's user avatar
  • 2,081
4 votes

Recommendations for secondary student interested in maths

For UKMT competitions, the books and past papers are the best sources of material you can use to prepare. BMO papers dating back to the early 1970s are available on the British Mathematical Olympiad ...
A. Goodier's user avatar
  • 1,725
3 votes

Recommendations for secondary student interested in maths

I will address point 2. I would say there three main accessible areas according to my mathematical knowledge. Discrete Maths (Susanna Epp, Discrete Mathematics with Applications) Operation Research (...
Tegh's user avatar
  • 107

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