This is posted by LJ's mum
At primary level, the more prestigious local Maths and Science competitions/olympiads include:
- NMOS (National Mathematical Olympiad of Singapore) and SPSO (Singapore Primary Science Olympiad) for P5, organised by NUS High
- SMOPS/APMOPS (Singapore - Asia Pacific Mathematical Olympiad for Primary School) for P6, organised by HCI
- RIPMWC (RI Primary Mathematics World Contest) for P6, organised by RI
At secondary/JC level, there are many more Maths and Science competitions/olympiads available. These include: Singapore Mathematical Olympiad (SMO Junior/Senior/Open), American Maths Contest (AMC 10/12), Australian Maths Competition (AMC Westpac), Singapore Junior Physics Olympiad (SJPhO), Singapore Physics Olympiad (SPhO), Singapore Junior Chemistry Olympiad (SJChO), Singapore Chemistry Olympiad (SChO), Singapore Biology Olympiad (SBO), National Olympiad in Informatics (NOI) etc. The ultimate of the olympiads would be to represent Singapore in the following prestigious international Maths and Science olympiads for high school students (Singapore's medal tally in 2010 are given):
- International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) (4 Silver, 1 Bronze)
- International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) (1 Gold, 4 Silver)
- International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) (2 Gold, 2 Silver)
- International Biology Olympiad (IBO) (1 Gold, 3 Silver)
- International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) (1 Gold, 1 Silver, 2 Bronze)
The selection of Singapore representatives (only citizens and PRs are eligible) for the above competitions is through rigorous selection processes. Typically, high-potential students are selected from the local competitions (SMO, SChO, SPhO, SBO, NOI, etc.) and they will go through weekly training by NUS lecturers/professors/trainers and then sit for a series of selection tests, before the final national teams to represent Singapore are selected. The national teams then go through more intensive training sessions (could be daily, starting from June holidays up till international olympiads in early/mid July).
The International olympiads are usually held in July of each year (with the exception of IOI, which may be held in August). It is not impossible for a student to represent Singapore in more than 1 Olympiad. However, it is evident that with all the intensive trainings and the international olympiads being held closely together (in June/July), a student may have to make the difficult choice of giving up one olympiad for another. Or the student could try again, to gain a coveted place in the "dropped" olympiad's national team, in the following year.
I think if one is going to pursue the ultimate in Olympiads (i.e. represent Singapore in IMO/IPhO/IChO/IBO/IOI), one will need to put his/her heart and soul into it. One should probably be involved in not more than 2, or at most 3 types of national-level olympiads. If you get involved in too many, you could become "Jack of all trades, master of none". It is also not practical to be involved in too many, as the competitions, training sessions and selection tests are bound to clash with one another, not forgetting that in the midst you will have heavy school workload to juggle, so the balancing act is going to be extremely challenging.
For Lim Jeck, he is focussing more on IMO, but he is also involved in Physics Olympiad Training (school elective module) and NOI/IOI training. He is taking part in the Maths/Physics/Informatics olympiads. So far he has represented Singapore in IMO twice, in 2009 and 2010. Hopefully he has the chance to represent Singapore in IMO again in 2011 - 2013 (and clinches a Gold eventually), and also in IOI, in 2012 or 2013.