If you are a teacher or a parent, it is possible that you may have wondered how to prepare your child for acing that primary school Math Olympiad. If you ever have, you have come to the right place! Classes 3, 4, 5 are the right age to teach children to bring out their best in the face of competition be it in the school football match or the math olympiad. They aren’t very different if we look at it objectively: they can ace it only by practical sense, passion, speed, and skills- and it all comes only through practice, Ummm no shortcuts to success!
So, here comes the real question: how to prepare for the Class 5 Math Olympiad?
Game Plan On!
Any game, and that includes a Math Olympiad, needs strategic planning. So, the first step is to create the game plan. Make a list of all the topics to be covered, pull out the relevant material, online sources, books, and other resources that can be useful during preparation and get them ready. Create a timetable for every week, and draw up a study plan distributing the topics across the week so that due focus can be given to each and every topic to be covered. During long-term preparation, there is ample time to cover all the topics, and none should be left out! If necessary, you can ask for mathematics help for kids to improve your skills.
Before acting on the plan that you just created, take a preliminary test to see where you stand in the preparation so that you can focus on the topics that you are weak in and can edit the game plan accordingly. A SWOT Analysis is what would help in perfecting your draft plan into a winner plan! Analyzing Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats on the various topics and types of questions goes a long way in helping the child focus more on the areas weak in, and fine-tuning the topics that the child is strong in for the winning shot on D-Day. This will be very effective if you want to ace the Class 5 Maths Olympiad. Actually, this will be really a great method for all the exams.
The “Fundas or we can say the fundamentals”
The first step to anything is being strong in fundamentals. For mathematics, the most fundamental checklist includes a memory of multiplication tables (from 1-20), basic formulas, working on speed mental addition, subtraction, division, percentages, and decimals. These are a huge advantage in any kind of competitive mathematics, and particularly in the Olympiad. The Olympiad tests a higher-level application of fundamentals, and therefore even though it is not enough to know just the fundamentals, knowing the funda is a sine qua non to acing the Math Olympiad.
HOTS is the Way!
A competitive test like the Math Olympiad is tested on a very specific way of analyzing the child- Higher Order Thinking Skills, or for short called the HOTS. HOTS can be developed in the child in a step-by-step manner. This manner is called the LoD method, which means climbing step by step through a level of difficulty. The child can begin training from the fundamental formulas in a chapter and keep progressing in the level of difficulty of questions till they reach the position where they develop HOTS that can help them crack Olympiad Level questions. Textbooks and preparation material can be utilized in the LoD method.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Math requires a tremendous amount of practice and honing of skills. The more you solve, the better you get every time. Math is also the kind of subject that one needs to stay in constant touch with. If math solving is not an everyday habit, then the skills get rusty. And, math olympiads need the children to be in their best form to crack it! Setting a regular time frame can help the kids get into the groove and habit of solving problems every day and soon they would be rising in the LoD ladder to the HOTS way!
It is always a good idea to refer to past year Olympiad papers- as many as you can, and solve all the problems in the previous year papers, just like IMO Class 5 Previous Year Paper 2014. This not only gives a sound idea as to the pattern of questions and topics expected in the Olympiad, but it also gives a sense of confidence and familiarity which can go a long way in helping the child not panic during the exam as the child feels comfortable trying to attempt and solve an Olympiad question.
Do not fear, just clear!
Last, but not least: take the fear of math and problem solving away from the child. The only way to generate motivation is to make it more fun, and ignite the passion and joy of problem-solving at a young age!
These methods when consistently followed can surely help the child and the parent in furthering their goals and prepare for the Class 5 Math Olympiad, and ace it in style!
Most importantly it is essential that a student learns to relax throughout this period because burn-outs are real. If you exhaust your energy without taking mindful breaks and relaxing, there is a high tendency that you might lose the motivation required to face the exam. Pick up a sport or an instrument, read a book or go out to play. Do not stay glued to your screen or books the entire day. Find a way to relax in a way that makes you feel energized after the activity is done. After all, it is only an exam and life is much more than exams.
You can also refer to IMO Class 5 Previous Year Paper 2014.