Similar to ancient Greece, Singapore takes education as a source of national pride. As its scholastic system continues to be competitive, Singaporean students remain at the top of their game—proving that they don’t only excel locally in major academic subjects such as science and mathematics but internationally as well. That’s why it comes as no surprise that academic contests and competitions abound in Singapore, especially ones that centre on math—a subject that the country is particularly known for.
What is a Math Olympiad?
The word “Olympiad” comes from the Greek word “Olympia,” the site of the Olympic Games during the ancient Greek civilization. In our modern times, the Olympic Games still mean the same as its origin: a competition or series of competitions on different athletic events. In the educational context, it is the same, except that participants compete on different academic subjects instead of sports events.
There are over a hundred academic Olympiads in different countries across the globe, with subjects ranging from Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and even Astronomy. Some of the world-renowned academic Olympiad events are the International Biology Olympiad (IBO), International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO), International Physics Olympiad (IPhO), and the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO).
In the global math arena, winning the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) is regarded with pride and prestige. Founded in Romania in 1959, the IMO is the oldest annual World Championship Mathematics Competition for students from more than 100 participating countries. In 2011, Google donated €1 million worth of funds to the International Mathematical Olympiad Organization in support of its advocacy of discovering gifted young mathematicians across the world.
Locally, numerous math Olympiad events attract the interest of daring young mathematicians. The largest and oldest, organised by the Singapore Mathematical Society, is the Singapore Mathematical Olympiad (SMO). The Singapore International Math Contests Centre (SIMCC), one of the largest math contests organizers in Singapore and Asia, holds over 16 Olympiad events annually. Their most popular events are the Singapore and Asian Schools Math Olympiad (SASMO), one of the largest math contests in Asia with over 19 participating countries; and the Singapore International Math Olympiad Challenge (SIMOC) for Primary 2 to Secondary 4 students.
Why should my child join?
For students who have a love for learning that goes beyond the classroom, academic Olympiads provide opportunities for in-depth education. First, it allows students to recognize their own knowledge. In a traditional classroom where activities and lectures usually go by in a whirl, students sometimes fail to realize that they have already learned a lot compared to the day they first entered class. Realizing that they have knowledge can make them confident that they are capable of learning; and that by acquiring more knowledge, they can improve what they already know.
Second, Olympiads provide students a platform for testing their knowledge and sharpening their skills. In a subject as challenging as math, putting your knowledge to the test is never a wrong thing. Logging in the hours to solve sample problems, even when one does not get it right the first time, does not only test a student’s skill—it also tests his persistence. Doing this can also prove valuable to acing national exams or succeeding in pre-university assessments. Practice is the only way to be good at something, and with math, this is entirely true.
Third, Olympiad exams help students recognize their potential. By making students sit through a number of highly-challenging questions for hours, without the use of computers or calculators, students learn to rely on their own critical thinking skills, problem-solving skills, analysis, reasoning, and application. This helps them identify their strengths and gaps and gives room to maximise the full potential of the skills and abilities they have acquired thus far.
Lastly, academic Olympiads can be a means by which students gauge their abilities in comparison to same-aged peers from other parts of the country or the world. Recognizing that their knowledge, skills, and abilities are at par with local or international standards will not only give them a boost of self-confidence—it will also give parents the assurance that their children are ready to face the competitive world and the real-life challenges of being an adult.
What are the benefits of participating in a Math Olympiad?
• Your child learns to think like a mathematician. From the name itself, Math Olympiads are academic competitions that solely focus on Math. Preparing for and joining such an event can help develop and cultivate your child’s mathematical thinking skills, thus prompting him to look at things from a mathematics perspective.
• Your child learns to think “outside the box.” Having only the classroom as “practice grounds” for sharpening basic and critical math thinking skills can limit your child’s way of understanding and solving problems. This is because when your child is at school, he is usually taught only way to arrive at a solution, usually by using memorized formulae or following a set of steps. In reality though, this is not the case, as problems, academic or real-life in nature, can be solved in different ways, if one only knows how to look at it from a different angle or outside the box.
• Your child learns how to be a good sport. As it is with every competition, there can only be one winner, and the same is true with Math Olympiads. However, losing doesn’t necessarily mean defeat, as preparing and practicing for a Math Olympiad is already a challenge in itself. That is why win or lose, a child who dares to face the challenge of a Math Olympiad only shows that he is ready to sacrifice in order to succeed.
• Your child becomes equipped in facing competition. Adult life is tough—competition abound in every corner and one way or another, your child would need to go head-to-head with other individuals in order to survive. Because Math Olympiads expose children to the idea of competition on a larger scale, children learn to cope even before they have to partake in the real world.
• You help your child secure his future. The gift of education—this is perhaps the best gift any parent can give to his child. But what if you can secure his future towards earning a Math Olympiad title for himself, or bringing his school pride and prestige, or having an impressive résumé? Winning a Math Olympiad, or even bagging an honourable mention, is no easy feat. That is why students who crack Olympiads gain an edge over their peers when it comes to admission to their desired schools or colleges, securing a university scholarship, or getting a job. Local winners even get to travel abroad and represent their country in international Math Olympiads. Some even go on to receive opportunities to study overseas, or to do research with fellow gifted mathematicians.
What are some Math Olympiad review options for my child?
1. Global Education
• Website: https://globaledu.com.sg/
• Number: +65 6259 0030
• Address: 1 Goldhill Plaza #03-49 Podium Block Singapore 308899 (Novena MRT station, Exit B)
Global Education offers training for both primary and secondary school students in classroom setups at their centre. They believe that by practicing for a Math Olympiad, children’s math skills are sharpened and raised at a standard higher than that of their school. They also encourage children to take Math Olympiad exams as it can grant automatic placement in the DSA or Direct School Admission for those who are looking into university placement. Students who enrol in their Math Olympiad courses will be prepared for different math competitions such as the National Maths Olympiad of Singapore (NMOS), Singapore Maths Olympiad for Primary School (SMOPS), Asia Pacific Mathematical Olympiad Primary School (APMOPS), and Singapore and Asian Schools Math Olympiad (SASMO).
2. The Math Classroom
• Website: https://www.themathclassroom.com.sg/
• Number: 9678931
• Address: Coronation Plaza, 587 Bukit Timah Road, #02-13, Singapore 269707
The Math Classroom offers an advanced mathematics program that builds on MOE’s current school math curriculum. Their Math Olympiad training is usually conducted in level-based classes in groups of 6-8 students per class, but they also offer small group classes for students who are more comfortable with individualized teaching. Advanced skills learned are not only relevant in school but are highly-beneficial for math competitions and olympiads such as SASMO, NMOS, SMOPS and RIPMWC, Mathlympics, AMC and AMC8.
3. Mathlete Training Centre
• Website: http://mathletetrainingcentre.com/
• Number: (+65) 64563618
• Address: Block 224, #B1-131, Bishan St. 23 Singapore 570224
Mathlete Training Centre is a tuition centre for students who wish to hone their maths skills beyond school syllabus requirements. The centre believes that by opening conducting Math Olympiad training, talents in maths are spotted at a young age, and through years of training, a handful gets selected to represent the nation in international competitions. They offer small tuition classes (maximum of 10 students per class) for Primary 3 to Secondary 4 students who wish to do well in maths competitions.
4. Olympiad Math
• Website: http://www.olympianmath.com/site
• Number: + 65-9637 5034 9625 1504
• Address: Anson Road #10-11 International Plaza, Anson Road #10-11 International Plaza, Singapore 079903
Olympiad Math is an online platform that aims to help young learners prepare for their Olympiad exams. It offers live online group instruction, Olympiad Math practice questions and test papers, and a question bank for International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). It has over 10,000 practice questions, 100 test papers, an exhaustive question bank, full-length model test papers, and an Olympiad math online school with courses that meet weekly for live sessions for students who are studying online.
5. Prep Zone Academy
• Website: https://primary-achievers.edu.sg/
• Number: +65 6812 9999
• Address: Springleaf Tower (HQ), 3 Anson Road, Singapore 079909 Tanjong Pagar MRT
Prep Zone Academy is an enrichment centre that offers Math Olympiad Enrichment Programs for students in the Primary 2 to Primary 6 level who aspire to compete in primary-level math competitions and Olympiads. The centre believes that Math Olympiads provide a platform for students with exceptional math skills to demonstrate their abilities in a non-academic yet competitive setup. Their enrichment programs are conducted at their centres in classes of 5-10 students, with each class lasting for 3 hours, on weekend or holiday schedules.
6. Terry Chew Academy
• Number: 6775 8470
The Terry Chew Academy offers its Maths Olympiad Course to students who wish for opportunity to compete successfully in prestigious local and international Maths Olympiad Competitions for enrichment purposes or DSA. By attending weekly two-hour coaching sessions in small groups of 8-10 students, essential math strategies and competition techniques are acquired by students. Student progress is tracked by coaches trained by Terry Chew, referred by many as the 'Godfather' of Maths Olympiad.
• Website: https://www.imath.sg/
Out of the options listed here, iMath is the only platform that offers Math Olympiad training through an online community of math experts and enthusiasts. iMath’s curated tutors are life-long learners of math and have guaranteed experience and expertise in teaching and training students in math—scholastically and competitively—so parents can rest assured that their child is getting the most competitive Math Olympiad training. And as iMath takes care of quality Olympiad training for your child with the help of its top curated tutors, it also takes care of making sure that your child receives that training in a manner that saves time, money, and energy. iMath’s live online Olympiad training is one-of-a-kind and ahead of its time for providing a cost-effective, convenient, and flexible option for you and your child: no more need to spend money on gas or waste time in traffic in order to get to the training centre, or to decide over confusing schedules that just wouldn’t fit in your child’s already-busy daily itinerary. With iMath, your child can receive quality Math Olympiad training from Olympiad-trained Singapore tutors, right at the comfort of your own home, at your child’s preferred schedules. Download the iMath app today!