Maths students win gold in national challenge

THREE talented RGS mathematicians achieved gold awards in a national challenge, placing them in the top 10 per cent of entrants.

Students from more than 1,000 schools across the country enter the United Kingdom Mathematics Trust (UKMT) senior challenge every year.

Jake Hewison, Barnaby Sladden and Conor Saxby had to achieve a score of 91 or higher out of 125 to gain their gold awards, with those scoring 73 or above awarded silver and 59 or above bronze.

Jake, from outside Easingwold, who hopes to study maths at university, found the competition fun: “It is an opportunity to have a go at some interesting maths puzzles that really make you think.”

Conor, from Bulmer, near Malton, said what he learnt from the challenge has proved useful in his maths, further maths, physics and chemistry studies: "It's helped me improve my ability to approach questions in different ways, finding shortcuts and methods that make things easier."

Consisting of 25 multiple choice problems, students are not allowed calculators during the 90-minute GCSE and A-level based challenge, open to anyone in Year 13 and below.

Its aim is to encourage mathematical reasoning, precision of thought and fluency in using basic mathematical techniques to solve interesting problems.

Jake, 17, taking maths, further maths, physics and chemistry at A-level, added: “It’s a nice change from the pen-and-paper maths in the A-level syllabus. It wasn't too difficult really, I took the paper having just came from a university admission maths test, so it was a nice chance to relax with some therapeutic maths questions.”

For boarding student Conor, 18, who also plans to study maths at university, it's the second time he has won gold in the national challenge: "I was very happy, and a little surprised, to hear I got gold again."

*The UK Mathematics Trust was founded in 1996 and its charitable aim is to advance the education of young people in mathematics. The Junior, Intermediate and Senior mathematical challenges attract over 700,000 entries each year.