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Undergraduates prepare for the IMC 2019

Yunzhu and Xianghe, two of our students hoping to compete at IMC 2019

8 April 2019

A team of six students are training for this year’s International Mathematics Competition (IMC), a contest which will challenge their grasp of pure mathematics.

The School of Mathematics first participated in the IMC in 2018, where all of our team members won medals. This inspired confidence in both our team members and other undergraduates; we now have many students who are motivated to excel in problem-solving and take part in this competition.

This year a group of six undergraduate students are hoping to take part in the finals in Bulgaria: Nikolaos Dimitrakopoulos, Yunzhu Mu, Xianghe Zhu, Jeremy Ho, Sean Harrigan and Nikita Poljakov.

Students take part in several training sessions, where they are supported to solve maths questions posed by former IMO/IMC medalists from both Bristol and beyond, including Joseph Najnudel, Harry Petyt and Amir Goharshady. The team is led by Pure Mathematics lecturer Dr Fatemeh Mohammadi.

Yunzhu, a third-year student, said: “Even though I might not be selected for the final stage, it’s good to attend and try challenging problems. It looks good on your CV as well.”

The mix of students participating means they can learn from different specialties and ways of approaching problems, as well as covering different content from their degree programme.

She added: “Everyone's very friendly and keen on solving problems together. You get to know everyone, which is very nice. It's interesting to see how people learn differently and they’re all so smart.

“It's really good motivation for me as it’s extremely challenging. It’s all about puzzles and you have to put all your knowledge together to try and solve it.”

Xianghe, a first-year student, said: “I love trying interesting and challenging problems. I don’t need to win a prize, it’s very enjoyable and I’m improving my mathematical skills – that's why I wanted to attend.

“The teacher gives us lots of very interesting methods for approaching the problems as well as useful resources and past papers. When they give out problems, they ask whoever solves it first to explain how they did it, which is brilliant.”

Dr Mohammadi said: “I’m really enjoying doing this activity with my students – it's a lot of fun. We had an excellent result last year and I am looking forward to seeing my students’ achievement this year.”

Students sit two selection exams, the second of which will determine the final team that goes on to the competition. This will take place from 28 July to 3 August in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria.

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