I know that many of you are raising kids and are always looking for new opportunities for them. I am also aware that many parents don’t know about the science olympiads until very late when kids are in the 11th or even final grade. So often, I get emails from parents saying they wished they had known about the olympiads earlier. So I would like to share with you more about them.
What are olympiads?
Olympiads are highly prestigious competitions that help children boost their knowledge, skills, and abilities in a particular field. They also help to improve problem-solving and logical reasoning skills which are essential in our competitive society. Olympiads range from philosophy to chemistry to history. Below is a list of some olympiads that exist.
|1||International Mathematical Olympiad||IMO||since 1959|
|2||International Physics Olympiad||IPhO||since 1967|
|3||International Chemistry Olympiad||IChO||since 1968|
|4||International Olympiad in Informatics||IOI||since 1989|
|5||International Biology Olympiad||IBO||since 1990|
|6||International Philosophy Olympiad||IPO||since 1993|
|7||International Astronomy Olympiad||IAO||since 1996|
|8||International Geography Olympiad||iGeo||since 1996|
|9||International Linguistics Olympiad||IOL||since 2003|
|10||International Junior Science Olympiad||IJSO||since 2004|
|11||International Earth Science Olympiad||IESO||since 2007|
|12||International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics||IOAA||since 2007|
|13||International History Olympiad||IHO||since 2015|
|14||International Economics Olympiad||IEO||since 2018|
The olympiads are separate competitions, each with its own organizing body. Each olympiad aims to promote a career in science, challenge the brightest students from around the world, and compare the various teaching systems of each country. Although the competitions are aimed at secondary school pupils, the standards of the exams are extremely high. In fact, in several countries, achieving a high ranking in any olympiads guarantees access to a university of choice or a prestigious internship. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Cambridge, for example, accept many olympiad medalists to their incoming undergraduate classes every year.
In general, olympiads are an excellent platform for school students to learn discipline and manage their time effectively. As students prepare alone or with a team for the olympiad, they usually need to work hard because the exams are much more complicated than standardized school exams. Participants must be dedicated and put in lots of effort to get satisfactory results. Many past participants of these competitions know that with an adequate amount of time and hard work, the benefits of the olympiads always reflect on the student’s career in the future. Participating in such exams as early as possible will help children to become more independent, confident, and also resilient in life outside the olympiad preparation.
How do school students benefit from olympiads?
The most crucial advantage of sitting the olympiad exams is that it allows students to identify and recognize their own weaknesses and strengths and help them to improve them if needed. As a result, many past participants of olympiads are resilient enough to endure and flourish in our ever-growing competitive environment, especially at university and in the workplace. By taking challenging olympiad tests, students also foster a natural aspiration to learn more and gain knowledge.
Moreover, the olympiad test can have a significant impact on the student’s future by allowing the student to discover what fields he or she likes the most. This is essential for shaping one’s career. What is more, this experience may help young people to boost their self-confidence if they win any prizes. Consequently, they might become the best in their field later in life. Lastly, kids may become more skilled at solving hard questions and problems in real life, which may be otherwise not that familiar to them.
Most of all, olympiads are all about friendships and enjoyment. When students are preparing for the olympiad, they meet many similar-minded people and build life-long friendships. In addition, many schools have clubs for olympiad preparation where students can work together and help each other prepare for the competition. This builds essential teamwork, listening, and organisational skills.
Students also participate in olympiads to build a superior profile for college or university applications. The achievements in the olympiads can be added to their CV and motivation letters. If they manage to get higher ranks in the competition, usually such students are more likely to enroll in renowned educational institutions around the world.
And, of course, prizes! Olympiads provide a lot of contentment because once you win the national round, you can represent your country in an international competition where you can get various awards. Many students, after coming back from the international competition, get to meet the President or other well-renowned people of their countries. This can help expand one’s network and build meaningful connections for the future. Finally, each level of the olympiad give each student a lot of recognition and awards the best with certificates, medals, cash prizes, and other gifts.
How to achieve success?
As we discussed above, participating in olympiads can help kids nurture their minds from a relatively young age. However, winning medals or getting a high score in the competition is not easy. So what should you do to perform well?
1. Make a study plan!
To succeed, you need to allocate enough time to study, and the best thing you can do is to plan ahead. By making a study plan for a year or more, you will be able to consistently work hard and put enough effort to cover all topics required for the olympiad exam. Many students know that studying just a week or a few days before the exam is super tiring, stressful, and inefficient. So plan ahead and create a weekly to-do list of what you need to learn this week and mark out what you have already studied. Follow your annual schedule accordingly and make sure to dedicate enough time to all the topics, especially the ones that are hard for you.
2. Study from past papers
Before you even start learning theory, you must know what will come up in the olympiad. If you don’t do this, then you won’t know the format of the competition, what kind of questions come up in the olympiad, what depth of knowledge you need to have, and what exactly to study for from the textbooks. Reviewing past papers not only gives you an understanding of the style of the exam but also helps you further develop knowledge since almost every question has some theoretical concept behind it. By practicing past papers, you can anticipate what will come up in the exam next time. One more important point – whenever you review past papers, do it under timed conditions. The olympiad exams are hard because you have tons of questions and very little time. So you have to practice doing the tests under time conditions. This will help you develop excellent time management skills so you won’t be stressed out when you have 2 hours to do 120 questions.
3. Take breaks at regular Intervals and reward yourself
To learn not only fast but also effectively, breaks are very important. Not only do they give you some time to rest and recharge your batteries, but also the brain has enough time to consolidate the previous information and start taking up new concepts and facts. Make sure to have enough time for pleasurable activities like jogging or going our with friends. This time off from studying will keep you motivated to pursue your goals. In addition, after completing any task, reward yourself. Give yourself a small treat to appreciate your efforts and hard work. Every day.
4. Stay positive
Every past olympiad participant knows that you must stay motivated and positive throughout the entire olympiad preparation journey. Sometimes hard questions come up and you don’t know how to do them. Sometimes, you study very hard and still get low scores. To achieve success in the olympiad, you must realize that no matter what, all your efforts and all your knowledge will stay with you even when the olympiad is over. It’s all about gaining and nothing about losing. You cannot lose in the olympiad. It’s just an axiom. No matter what happens, you win or you win. So always stay positive even when you feel in despair. Find pleasure in the journey, not the destination. Stop worrying about the results. Don’t get anxious on the test date and stay upbeat and positive.
5. Create your own studying oasis
Studying in a noisy, crowded place is not effective and can hamper your study progress. Ideally, at home create your own little oasis where you can study away from any distractions. Everyone knows that distractions eat a lot of your valuable time, giving almost no benefits to you. Turn off or put away your phone and make sure your siblings and/or parents are not around. Dedicate 2-3 hrs of effective, active studying every day, and you will see how fast you improve.
6. Study in blocks
Instead of just cramming everything at the same time, plan your studying and study in blocks. By dedicating a certain amount of time to one subject, then to another subject etc, you can really master each topic well one by one. This will also help you stay on track as you know what you need to learn during each block. So, for instance, if you are preparing for the biology olympiad, dedicate around 5-6 weeks to Biochemistry only, then 8-9 weeks to Genetics only, and so on. During that period, learn everything about that topic and become really confident with that subject. This will give you lots of confidence as you will start feeling more and more confident in different fields.
If you are interested in enrolling your child in the olympiad, you can watch our webinar below (which will be uploaded on December 18) for more inspiration. The next step is to decide on which olympiad to prepare for. Once you reach this decision, then look for the resources on how to prepare for that competition and encourage your child to start the journey as early as possible!
If you are interested in the biology olympiad or simply want to learn more about motivation, studying strategies, test-taking skills and other important aspects of olympiad preparation, get our book on Amazon.