The COVID-19 pandemic has affected a myriad of events, including sports, music, and arts events, and the South East Asian Math Competition (SEAMC) is no exception. Along with many events last school year, SEAMC was cancelled due to health regulations, leaving students of all age groups disappointed. However, a recent virtual competition in October showed outstanding results, with all students scoring higher than the median.
SEAMC is an annual math qualifier for the World Math Championships (WMC) that strives to boost a positive and collaborative community. Fortunately for the participants, Eunoia Ventures, the company behind the math competition, made an announcement in late August that the competition would proceed as planned for the Juniors (ages 13-16) section in October, with the Senior section being planned later in the year.
However, the reopening also meant the contest would be converting to an online format. Despite these changes, many participants experienced great success with the competition, and their experiences have been very positive overall with great results. One of the students even ranked second in the independent rounds.
The WMC is an interactive math competition that encourages students to collaboratively solve math problems with people from all over the world, which many students enjoy. The competition is separated into four different categories based on age groups: Primary, Secondary, Junior, and Senior.
This year, the WMC will be starting off with the Junior group, which will consist of 9 different rounds. Each round has different tasks, some are individual, while others are collaborative. The rounds include: innovation, inspiration, pursuit, codebreaker, shuttle, lightning, confidence, duel, and crypto. Examples of tasks that participants will do include dueling off with other students from all over the world in a mathematics game, finding the code for cryptic messages, and even a speed-round where students will have to answer questions as fast as possible in a given period of time.
Most importantly, WMC is an opportunity for students from all over the world to get together to solve math problems together. It ultimately aspires to unite people from different backgrounds in math.
The disappointment of the cancellation was quite significant. “I was very disappointed when SEAMC was canceled last year,” said Dong Yun Kim, one of the 10 students participating in the WMC Junior section.
Along with Kim, other participants have also expressed their disappointment with the cancellation at the end of last year. “I have prepared [for] this contest for a very long time, and I was depressed when I found that it was canceled,” Kim said. Many students such as Kim reportedly spent extended periods of time preparing for the initial competition, and the cancellation of SEAMC met with major disappointments from the participants.
Even with the competition proceeding online this year, it is clear that the experience will not be the same as the live one. “They tried to take a competition that was designed originally to get you to interact with each other and turned it into something online. So it affected how it’s happening, and it affected even the format of how the competition runs,” said Kimberly Yash, the mentor of the Junior SEAMC team. “SEAMC is mostly about the experience of actually going there and actually traveling.”
Fortunately, things went smoothly with the competition, and all 10 students had a great experience with the way things were organized and the format of the competition. The contest ended with resounding success for the participants, all 10 participants reaching a score higher than the median. Among the more notable successes, 2 of the students scored in the top quartile of the total participants, and three of the students scored a 100% on the essay round. There was also one student who earned a silver medal for the Challenge rounds, and other positive instances of student success.
“The WMC was a very fun experience and I learned a lot about math while doing this competition,” said participant Sehun Choi. “I recommend this experience to anyone who is interested, and I would totally do it again next year.” Given the difficulty of both the competition and the situation at hand, this was quite an accomplishment.