Amri Shakir (Year 11)

This month, four students from Year 11 to Year 13 travelled into London to take part in the finals of the Senior Team Maths Challenge. They had qualified earlier in the year by placing first in the regional round when they hadn’t dropped a mark, however, in the national finals they faced the best school teams from across the country and the questions were more complex and required everyone’s best efforts to answer.

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The competition started with the poster round, a new round that didn’t form part of the original regional rounds. Within it, each team had to create a poster around a topic that they had researched before as well as answering a series of questions - this year, the posters were all based around Steiner Triple Systems.

Following this, the competition reverted to a more familiar format as the rest of the rounds were all similar in style to the rounds from the regional competition. First was the group round, which challenged the teams to work together to complete ten problems of varying difficulties and from different areas of mathematics within the forty minute time limit. Following this, the teams split into pairs and required strong communication skills to complete a maths-based crossword within a similarly tight time limit. At this point, the competitors had a break for lunch and had a chance to meet some of the other students competing while the current standings were tallied. Challoner’s had been unable to retain their 100% track record due to a couple of silly mistakes as well as the time limits in combination with the tougher questions but were still doing well overall.

Finally, the day ended with the ‘shuttle’ round, again working in pairs the round rewarded the teams for completing the problems quickly as well as accurately with a much tighter eight minute deadline on each of the four sections. It was a ‘shuttle’ as the answers that each pair found would then be used within the question for the other pair, this meant that any mistakes early on would result in the team losing all of the points for that round. With the pressure on, the Challoner’s team finished strongly and were delighted to find out that while they hadn’t won, they were the most successful team ever from our region - finishing 13th. Well done to the boys involved, Ian Fan, Mathew Meynard, Amri Shakir and Arlen Liu; and to Mr. Hamill for organising the event. Best of luck to next year's competitors who will hope to rise to the challenge and do equally well, if not better!