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UKMT Senior Maths Challenge


The Senior Maths Challenge Team took part in the National Final in London’s Lindley Hall on Tuesday. The team of Connie B, Dan M, Andrew H and Ayan S had qualified through from the regional competition in November to be one of only 86 teams out of 1300 to make the National Final. They finished 18th in the Final – a brilliant achievement.

Ayan S and Andrew H’s put together the following report:

We came first. Indeed, leaving three hours before the start time for a one hour journey made certain that we arrived first out of all the eighty-six teams competing in the National Final!

The interdisciplinary nature of maths proved useful as we included Tennyson’s In Memoriam on our poster “The Mathematics of Bell Ringing” in the first round of the competition. We were deeply saddened not to be commended for the inclusion of a literary masterpiece in a mathematics competition.

Round two: forty minutes, ten questions, and what one would hope to be, ten elegant solutions. Unfortunately, due to a certain team member’s fatal subtraction error, only nine solutions were correct and six precious points were lost. After the perceived loss of round two, the team needed a recuperation period. To our dismay, the lunch was comprised of disappointingly dry sandwiches and the occasional sweet salt tear.

From then on we embraced the motto “it’s all about the recovery!”, and the following three rounds went relatively smoothly. Upon revealing the results, we were of course naturally disappointed not to be placed first, but eighteenth. This may sound impressive considering over one thousand three hundred schools competed overall, but would have been even more impressive had the fatal subtraction error not occurred. However, we quickly forgave that certain team member (and he duly forgave himself) once we realised that eighteenth was the best the school had ever done and that we had indeed slaughtered our mathematical rivals, Hampton, who placed thirty first.

Perhaps on a more serious note, the competition was genuinely one of the most enjoyable mathematical experiences we have ever taken part in.

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