On the summits of learning. How Muscovites prepare for international schoolchildren’s Olympiads

June 12
Education

In early May, Grigory Bobkov, a student of school No.1589, became the absolute winner of the 20th Asian Physics Olympiad. This is by far not the sole outstanding achievement of Moscow's schoolchildren at intellectual competitions of the highest level. In recent years, at the international Olympiads, Moscow’s schoolchildren win more than half of the Russian national team’s awards.

From 2014 through 2018, over 70 Moscow’s schoolchildren have won international Olympiad medals. Most of them got gold and silver. Those are students from nearly 30 schools located in different districts of Moscow. Among them is “The Second School” Lyceum, the Specialized Research and Training Centre in the form of Kolmogorov Boarding School sponsored by Lomonosov State University, “Letovo” and “Intellectual” schools, and schools No.499, 1303, and 1589.

Last year, the Muscovites set a record in the number of gold prizes won at the International Olympiads. They have to their credit 13 gold and 9 silver medals (the Russian team has won a total of 38 medals). The schoolchildren proved brilliant at competitions in mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, geography, information technology, astronomy and astrophysics as well as at the International Junior Science Olympiad. Moscow has given impressive money rewards to the winners and laureates. The gold medallists got a million roubles and silver medallists got 500,000 roubles each.

Members of the Russian national team are selected based on results of the National schoolchildren’s Olympiad. Also, their performance at different rallies and results of other major competitions are taken into account. This year, Moscow’s schoolchildren have demonstrated fine results at the national competition. Moscow’s team broke the previous year’s record, winning 943 certificates at the Olympiad’s finals.

“The brilliant result at the finals of the National Olympiad gives every reason to believe that this year there will be many Muscovites in the team and that they will perform successfully, notably contributing to the victory of the Russian team at the international level,” said Ivan Yashchenko, Director of the Pedagogical Skills Centre.

In his opinion, the Muscovites’ last years’ successes stem from the switch to the system of revealing each child’s talents as early as the stage of schools’ competitions.

Training the champions

“I attended training rallies, solved problems, took tests, participated in Russian competitions,” Damir Gasymov, a gold medallist of the International Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad 2018, says about his preparation. “I wouldn’t say the international Olympiad as such is a means of learning something new. Like any other competition, it’s rather a test of skills we acquired during training. At issue is not theory alone. Equally important are the speed of thinking and neatness in handling the assignments.”

According to him, before the final training rally at which the country’s team is formed, he and other contenders for a position in the team had been training at the facilities of Moscow’s Pedagogical Skills Centre.

“The international level of the Olympiads testifies to very high qualifications of their participants. Getting gold here is a remarkable achievement,” says Arthur Gerasimenko, a gold medallist of the International Mathematics Olympiad 2018. “How do we prepare for such Olympiads? Overall, we use similar methods, i.e. solve problems. But further on, everyone employs his or her own strategy. In Moscow, the Pedagogical Skills Centre offers training sessions. Also, one can attend training rallies and lower level competitions. In short, one needs a lot of practice.”

Participation in international Olympiads can be compared to big-time sports. Schoolchildren attend training rallies, working many hours each day. Everyone of them has achieved a very high level of knowledge in a certain subject. Some schools even work out individual learning plans for their Olympiad participants, like for instance school No.1589.

“The schedule of preparation for international Olympiads is extremely tight. So, starting January, the students are particularly busy due to trips to training Olympiads in Kazakhstan and Romania, rallies for physics, and participation in regional and final stages of the National schoolchildren’s Olympiad and the Asian Physics Olympiad. The studies at school are organized so that the students wouldn’t worry about their current rating, mid-term assessment and preparation for the federal certification in mandatory subjects. On senior graders’ return from the Olympiads and rallies, the subject teachers analyse the assignments with them on an individual basis,” says Vitaly Shevchenko, a teacher of school No.1589 and coach of the national team.

“To be able to adequately compete at the Olympiads, one must work steadily. Incidentally, this will make it possible to subsequently study at a higher school and achieve good results in research. Many winners of the international Olympiads have become outstanding researchers,” Ivan Yashchenko noted.

Season 2019 ahead

This year, the Moscow schoolchildren may attend eight international Olympiads if they make it to the Russian national team. Those are competitions in physics, mathematics, biology, chemistry, geography, astronomy, astrophysics, information technology, and the International Junior Science Olympiad.  The season of international intellectual competitions starts in July with the International Physics Olympiad in Israel and will continue till the year’s end. The geography of upcoming competitions is, as usual, very diverse: Israel, Hungary, the United Kingdom, Qatar, Azerbaijan, Hong Kong, and France.

As for awards, the members of the Russian team decorated with a gold medal may hope for federal grants (one million roubles each). A reward for the silver medal is 500,000 roubles and 250,000 rouble for the bronze.  

 

Source: mos.ru

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