Outstanding Maths Result!

Breaking all known College records our students achieved 20 Gold, 20 Silver and 20 Bronze awards at the Senior Maths Challenge this month. Five students will now go through to the British Maths Olympiad (only 1000 in UK qualify), eight will go on to Senior Maths Kangaroo (including international exchange student Mike Xin) and in a separate competition a further two students received Certificate of Distinction at the Mathematical Olympiad for Girls.

Dr David Lynch, Curriculum Manager for Mathematics was thrilled with all the results and said: ‘This set of results is even better than usual. Last year at the Senior Maths Challenge we had 75 students participating and they took 12 Gold, 20 Silver and 30 Bronze. This year we had 66 students and they took 20 Gold, 20 Silver and 20 Bronze! I believe this is the highest proportion of students who have won gold since I’ve worked at Alton College’.

 

He continued: ‘In the Senior Maths Challenge the top 60% of students nationally are awarded a certificate in the ratio of 1:2:3 for Gold, Silver and Bronze. So we achieved well above the national average. In fact for Gold we are three times above the national expectation!’

 

The five students who will go on to the British Maths Olympiad 1 (BMO1) are: Ali Bayliss, previously at Perins School (he received 121 out of 125 in the Senior Maths Challenge), Edd Evans previously at Weydon School (115/125), Chris Hughes previously at Amery Hill (108/125), Jonty Bayliss previously at Amery Hill (103/125) and Anna David previously at Frensham Heights (101/125).  This is more than our previous best of 4 last year. Only 1000 students in the UK qualify for entry into the BMO1.

 

A further eight students take part in the Senior Kangaroo (SK) round. They are: Anthony Dunn previously at Rookwood School, Kris Stokkereit previously at Frensham Heights, Joe Topp previously at The Petersfield School, James White previously at Eggars School, Alfred Dabson previously at Bohunt School, Mari Thomas previously at St Swithuns, Alex Pirie previously at Bohunt School and Mike Xin, international exchange student. Only 2000 students in the country are invited to take part in the Senior Kangaroo round.

 

Anna David previously at Frensham Heights and Elizabeth Eyers previously at Woking High School both received Certificate of Distinction at the Mathematical Olympiad for Girls recently, a competition only open to female’s who have previously won a gold medal in the Senior Maths Challenge. Anna received an incredible 23 out 50 marks and was placed joint 62nd in the UK (top 4% of the top female mathematicians nationally).

 

The Senior Maths Challenge consists of 25 challenging, non-calculator, multiple-choice maths questions to answer in 90 minutes.  You start with 25 marks, get 4 marks for each correct answer and lose 1 mark for each incorrect answer, to discourage guessing. Dr Lynch provided an example of one question here:

 

Q12:  Karen has three times the number of cherries that Lionel has, and twice the number of cherries that Michael has.  Michael has seven more cherries than Lionel.  How many cherries do Karen, Lionel and Michael have altogether?

 

A: 12               B: 42               C: 60               D: 77               E: 84

The answer is D.

 

An example question from the Mathematical Olympiad for Girls is as follows:

 

A large whiteboard has 2014 + signs and 2015 signs written on it. You are allowed to delete two of the symbols and replace them according to the following two rules.

 

(i) If the two deleted symbols were the same, then replace them by +.

(ii) If the two deleted symbols were different, then replace them by .

You repeat this until there is only one symbol left. Which symbol is it?

 

The examiners in this competition are looking for full solutions to problems. This involves identifying a suitable strategy, explaining why your strategy solves the problem, and then carrying it out to produce an answer or prove the required result.

 

Here’s one method that solves the above question:

At each step, one of the following three things happens:

(i) two + signs are replaced by one + sign;

(ii) two signs are replaced by one + sign;

(iii) one + sign and one sign are replaced by one sign.

 

In the first and the third case the number of signs remains the same, while in the second case it decreases by two. Since at the beginning the number of signs was odd, it will remain odd after each step. Hence we can never eliminate all the signs, so this is the last remaining symbol.



Many potential students are looking around our campus this week, this is what some of our Maths students said on why they #choseus:

  • Anthony Dunn, previously at Rookwood School in Andover said: ‘One of the reasons we chose to move to Alton is because of Alton College's good reputation’.
  • Alfred Dabson, previously at Bohunt said: ‘From looking round on the open evening, I really like the teachers, facilities and general atmosphere of the place. This is why I wanted to study at the college’.
  • Anna David previously at Frensham Heights came to Alton because of our ‘great facilities and lively atmosphere’.
  • Elizabeth Eyers previously at Woking High School chose Alton College ‘because of the friendly atmosphere at open evening: every student had a smile and was enthusiastic about their subject’.