Wednesday, 30 May 2012

SMO 2012 (Open Section) Answers

SMO 2012 Open Special Round Participants List
COP for Special Round - 8, about 8.9% (~138/1549 participants) selected

SMO 2012 (Open) Questions
Solutions to some questions can be found in AoPS 2012 SMO (Open) Discussion topic by goran
1. 121
2. 7986
3. 4
4. 3333
5. 62
6. 3015
7. 38
8. 76
9. 4
10. 2015
11. 22
12. 2
13. 86
14. 337
15. 2011
16. 10 (*19)
17. 584
18. 25
19. 1
20. 21
21. 2500
22. 20121
23. 0
24. 2013
25. 1
*Answers updated on 1 Sep 2012, after checking the Solution Book

SMO (Open) Previous Years' Cut-off Points (Inclusive of Round 2 scores)
Update: 2012 Gold (21), Silver (8), Bronze (6), HM (5), Round 2(8)
2011 Gold (18), Silver (9), Bronze (6), HM (5), Round 2 (9)
2010 Gold (38), Silver (9), Bronze (6), HM (5)
2009 Gold (27-29), Silver (9), Bronze (6), HM (5)
2008 Gold (27), Silver (11), Bronze (10), HM (6)
2007 Gold (19-20), Silver (9), Bronze (6), HM (5)

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

SMO 2012 (Senior Section) Answers

SMO 2012 Senior Special Round Participants List
COP for Special Round - 11, about 6.9% (~195/2820 participants) selected

SMO 2012 (Senior) Questions
1. D
2. E
3. C
4. C
5. D
6. B
7. C
8. D
9. C
10. D
11. 2011
12. 6
13. 512
14. 4 (revised)
15. 2
16. 2220
17. 9
18. 17
19. 54
20. 2
21. 2028
22. 665
23. 45
24. 4
25. 384
26. 10
27. 14 / 3432 (*3432)
28. 1
29. 8
30. 40460
31. 30
32. 3
33. 105
34. 59
35. 5
Most answers are contributed by Lim Jeck and Lim Min, with some inputs from cbox messages. Thanks to all who contributed :)
*Answers updated on 1 Sep 2012, after checking the Solution Book

SMO (Senior) Previous Years' Cut-off Points (Inclusive of Round 2 scores)
Update: 2012 Gold (24), Silver (11), Bronze (8), HM (7), Round 2(11)
2011 Gold (21), Silver (15), Bronze (10), HM (9), Round 2 (~15), Top 30 (27)
2010 Gold (26), Silver (10), Bronze (7), HM (6)
2009 Gold (19-23), Silver (10), Bronze (7), HM (6)
2008 Gold (27-28), Silver (15), Bronze (10), HM (9)
2007 Gold (29-30), Silver (16), Bronze (12), HM (10)

SMO 2012 (Junior Section) Answers

SMO 2012 Junior Special Round Participants List
COP for Special Round - 8, about 4.7% (~185/3959 participants) selected
1. D
2. E
3. B
4. B
5. A
6. D
7. D
8. B
9. D (*C)
10. C
11. 4
12. 25
13. 9
14. 2996
15. 110
16. 93
17. 50
18. 35
19. 58
20. 1818
21. 4
22. 375
23. 3
24. 23
25. 108
26. 468
27. 240
28. 200
29. 3150
30. 6720 (half cut not allowed) / 40320 (half cut allowed) (*840 - does not consider horizontal cut)
31. 27
32. 1
33. 12
34. 1977 (*1976 - answer should be odd number)
35. 12
Answers contributed by: Lim Jeck and Lim Min
*Answers updated on 1 Sep 2012, after checking the Solution Book

SMO (Junior) Previous Years' Cut-off Points (Inclusive of Round 2 scores)
Update: 2012 Gold (17), Silver (8), Bronze (6), HM (5), Round 2(8)
2011 Gold (12), Silver (9), Bronze (7), HM (6), Round 2 (11), Top 30 (~34)
2010 Gold (24), Silver (9), Bronze (8), HM (5)
2009 Gold (11), Silver (7), Bronze (6), HM (5)
2008 Gold (23), Silver (14), Bronze (11), HM (10)
2007 Gold (20), Silver (14), Bronze (11), HM (10)

Monday, 28 May 2012

NUS 2011/2012 Semester 2 Exam Results


Lim Jeck's NUS 2011/2012 Semester 2 (Jan to May 2012) exam results are released today. He has obtained A+ for all the five NUS modules that he has taken so far. Well done, Lim Jeck!

MA2108S is an S-version of MA2108 Mathematical Analysis I, and is one of the seven modules offered in the Special Programme in Mathematics (SPM) by the NUS Mathematics Department. This SPM is specially designed for a selected group of students who have a strong passion and aptitude for the mathematical sciences.  S-modules are taught in much greater depth (with lots of proof) and sophistication than their regular versions. The intake for any S-module is up to 15 students per year, hence SPM students enjoy small class (as well as top lecturers). Read more about SPM here.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

IMO 2012 Singapore Team


This year's Singapore IMO team comprises 4 JC2/Year 6, 1 JC1/Year 5 and 1 Year 4. Two of last year's IMO Gold medalists, who are now in JC2/Year 6, have moved to IPhO. It is difficult to predict how this year's team would fare. My prediction? 2 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze, and Country Rank - 10th to 15th (last year's rank: 3rd). However, I do hope the team can prove me wrong and is able to achieve at least equal to last year's performance i.e. 4 Gold, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze.

What is your prediction of Singapore's results for IMO 2012? Feel free to post your prediction in the 'comments', stating the number of Gold/Silver/Bronze medals and country ranking. If you feel like predicting other countries' results, please do so. I predict China and USA will get 6 Gold each, and rank 1st and 2nd respectively.


The IMO 2012 will be held in Mar del Plata, Argentina, from 4 to 16 July.

Most people know Argentina is famous for soccer. Some other interesting but less known facts about Argentina are:

  • Argentina declared independence from Spain on the 9th of July, 1816.
  • Argentina is the 30th largest country in the world by population, with just over 40 million people.
  • Argentina covers more than 2.7 millons sq. kilometers, in the southern part of South America east of the Andes mountains.
  • Argentina is divided into 23 provinces.
  • The official currency of Argentina is the peso.
  • The official language of Argentina is Spanish, although many people speak Italian and German. Some indigenous populations still speak their native languages.
  • More than 90% of the population is Roman Catholic.
  • Pato is the official national sport of Argentina. It is a combination of polo and basketball.
  • Football (soccer) is the most popular sport in Argentina.
  • The Teatro Colón, located in Buenos Aires (the capital and largest city of Argentina), is one of the great opera houses in the world.
  • Argentina has about 100 Art museums, many with schools. There are symphony orchestras in many of the country's cities.
  • Argentina produces a lot of honey, soybeans, sunflower seeds, maize and wheat.
  • The hottest and coldest temperatures ever recorded in South America have occurred in Argentina

Founded in 1874, Mar del Plata is a city famous for its magnificent beaches and it has a population of 450,000 inhabitants

July is Winter in the Southern Hemisphere. The average temperature expected at the time of the Competition is between 6ºC to 8ºC, or even lower, and the area is windy.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Year 5 Semester 1 Progress Report

Lim Jeck's Year 5 Semester 1 progress report results:

CL5101 Chinese 5A B
CM5107 Organic Chemistry A
CS5101 Database Design A
EL5101 Language in Society II *In progress
PC5101 Atomic & Nuclear Physics A
PC5106 Practical Circuitry A+
PC5200 Physics Olympiad Training IV A+

Semestral Grade Point Average (GPA): 4.7 (out of 5)
Cumulative Average Point (CAP): 4.6 (out of 5)

Mentor's Remarks: Lim Jeck is an exceptionally bright student with highly commendable talent and ability in Mathematics and Computing. He has exhibited strong competencies in his academic studies. He may wish to enhance his communication and inter-personal skills as well, which will definitely play an important role in his future development.
Conduct: Very Good

Good job, Lim Jeck :)

Year 1 Semester 1 Progress Report

Lim Li has just received her Year 1 Semester 1 progress report this morning. Her results are as follows:

BL1107 Foundations in Ecology and Microbiology A
CL1101 Chinese 1A A-
CM1106 Foundation Chemistry I *In progress
CM1302 Chemical Potpourri -Distinction-
DV1101 DV Foundation -Excellent-
EL1105 Developing Language and Literary Skills I B+
IH1103 Identities, Histories and Societies *In progress
MA1110 Foundation Mathematics I A+
MA1203 Basic Mathematical Olympiad Training I A+
MA2203V Advanced Mathematical Olympiad Training II B+
MU1331 Group Violin for Beginners -Merit-
PC1110 Foundation Physics I *In progress

*In progress: no grade as it is a year-long module

Semestral Grade Point Average (GPA): 4.5 (out of 5)
Cumulative Average Point (CAP): 4.6 (out of 5)

Mentor's Remarks: Lim Li is a cheerful and outspoken girl who will not hesitate to share her views. She is receptive to advice and is willing to improve. She brings much joy and life to her class and I hope she keeps up with this positive attitude.
Conduct: Very Good

I think Lim Li has gotten decent results for her Year 1 Semester 1 at NUS High. Well done, Lim Li!

Monday, 14 May 2012

International Math and Science Olympiads Singapore Scene

April to June are typically the months when national team selection tests for the annual International Math and Science Olympiads (IMO, IPhO, IChO, IBO and IOI) are held, and then teams which represent Singapore will be formed. And in July, the international Math and Science Olympiads are held. Currently, IMO national team members have been selected. The results of the remaining teams will be unveiled pretty soon. I shall write about the various International Math and Science Olympiads selection process, Singapore’s performance in recent years, which are the top medal producing schools, and the possible dilemma faced by students who are capable in more than 1 olympiads. Note that for most these International olympiads, only Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents (PR) are eligible to represent Singapore. I think the exception is IChO, where only Singapore Citizens can take part.

International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO)

This is the oldest olympiad and it has the biggest participation with about 550+ participants and about 100 countries participating in recent years. Singapre’s selection usually starts with the Singapore Mathematical Olympiad (SMO) which has three sections: Junior, Senior and Open. The local competitions are held in May/June, with two rounds for each section: Round 1, and Special Round for top scorers from Round 1. SMO winners are inducted into the following Singapore IMO (SIMO) training teams: Junior team (50+ students), Senior (50+), National Team B (20+) and National Team A (10+). Trainings are held on Saturday mornings and are conducted by the NUS Math professors (for Junior team), volunteers and ex-IMO participants (for National teams). The national team is chosen from National Team A, after two rounds of selection tests which are held in April and May. This is one of the two olympiads that students can represent Singapore at any level/age (the youngest selected in Singapore’s history is a Sec 2), with the other being IOI.

The IMO competition consists of 2 days of 4.5 hours of papers, each having 3 problems. The type of questions set are in 4 broad categories: Geometry, Number Theory, Algebra and Combinatorics. About 50% of the participants will win a medal, with Gold:Silver:Bronze in the ratio of 1:2:3.  Among all the olympiads, it is arguably the hardest to get an IMO Gold, which is usually given to 1/12 (i.e. 8-9%) of the total number of participants.


Singapore’s performance at past IMO:
IMO 2014 (55th): 3 Gold, 2 Silver, 1 Bronze. Ranked 8th of 101 countries. 560 participants.
IMO 2013 (54th): 1 Gold (individual 3rd among 528 participants), 5 Silver. Ranked 6th among 97 countries.
IMO 2012 (53rd): 1 Gold (individual 1st among 548 participants), 3 Silver, 2 Bronze. Ranked 7th among 100 countries.
IMO 2011 (52nd): 4 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze. Ranked 3rd among 101 countries, obtained individual 2nd, 4th, 6th positions among 564 participants.
IMO 2010: 4 Silver, 1 Bronze, 1 HM. Ranked 22nd by country
IMO 2009: 2 Silver, 3 Bronze, 1 HM. Ranked 30th by country

International Physics Olympiad (IPhO)

Singapore’s IPhO national team selection starts with the Singapore Junior Physics Olympiad (SJPhO) – to select talented Sec 3 and 4 students for early training in the Singapore Physics Olympiad (SPhO). The SPhO is held in November for JC1/Year 5 students. Unlike SMO where there is no cap to the number of participants from each school, the SPhO limits the participation to about 15-20 students per school. Students will first take a 4-hr theory test, and the top 40+ will then make it to the practical round, which consists of a 2-hr experiment. About 20+ winners from SPhO will be selected to form the national training team. Trainings are held on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings, and are conducted by JC/NUS/NIE trainers. There will be a selection test in March and 8 will be chosen to take part in the Asian Physics Olympiad (APhO), held in April/May. The APhO consists of a 5-hr theory test, and a 5-hr practical test. It serves as a training ground to sieve out the top 5 who will represent Singapore in the IPhO.

Topics tested in the IPhO include: Mechanics, Electricity & Magnetism, Waves and Oscillation, Thermodynamics, Optics, Special Relativity and some other random topics. The IPhO theoretical paper lasts 5 hours and consists of three questions, with a few parts for each question, whereas the practical examination may consist of one or two laboratory tests totalling 5 hours. About 12-15% will win Gold medals.

Singapore’s performance at past IPhO:
IPhO 2014 (45th): 3 Gold, 2 Silver. Ranked 5th of 85 countries. 374 participants.
IPhO 2013 (44th): 4 Gold, 1 Silver. Ranked 3rd among 83 countries. Individual 4th. Total 381 participants.
IPhO 2012 (43rd): 4 Gold, 1 Silver. Ranked 3rd among 81 countries. Total 376 participants.
IPhO 2011 (42nd): 5 Gold. Ranked 3rd among 84 countries. Total 393 participants.
IPhO 2010: 1 Gold, 4 Silver. Ranked country 7th.
IPhO 2009: 2 Gold, 3 Silver. Ranked country 8th.

International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO)

Similar to Physics, Singapore’s selection starts with the Singapore Junior Chemistry Olympiad (SJChO), where students who demonstrate potential will be invited to join the Singapore Chemistry Olympiad (SChO) training team. The SChO is held in November for JC1/Year 5 students. It consists of 2 rounds, one 4-hr theory paper and one practical round. In the theory round, each school can send 15-20 students to participate and the top 60+  students are selected to take the practical round.  Medals are awarded based on the combined scores of both theory and practical rounds.

From SChO, about 20+ students will be selected to join the national training team. The training is conducted every Wednesday afternoon (same as SPhO training!), by JC teachers and NIE/NUS lecturers. The selection test is held in April/May, and it comprises a theory test and practical test. 4 will be selected to represent Singapore in IChO.

The syllabus of the IChO contains subjects from several areas of Chemistry, including Organic Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Spectroscopy. IChO is 5-hour long with 9 theory questions, and 2-3 experiment tasks. About 8-10% of all participants are awarded Gold Medals.

Singapore’s performance at past IChO:
IChO 2014 (46th): 2 Gold, 2 Silver. Ranked joint 2nd of 75 countries. Individual 1st, 4th of 291 participants.
IChO 2013 (45th): 3 Gold, 1 Bronze. Ranked 4th of 73 countries. 291 participants.
IChO 2012 (44th): 2 Gold, 2 Silver. Ranked 5th among 72 countries. 283 participants.
IChO 2011 (43rd): 4 Silver. Ranked 17th among 70 countries. 273 participants.
IChO 2010: 2 Gold, 2 Silver. Ranked country 4th.
IChO 2009: 2 Gold, 2 Silver. Ranked country 5th.

International Biology Olympiad (IBO)

This is the youngest olympiad of the lot, and there is currently no SJBO (Junior verion of SBO) to prepare aspiring students early in their foray into IBO. The SBO consists of 2 rounds – 2-hr theory paper of 200 MCQ (four sets of 50 MCQs per half hour), and practical round (4 labs, each lab is about 1.5 hours long with 2-5 activities per lab). Similar to SPhO and SChO, only JC1/Year 5 students can participate.  Top winners of SBO (usually only about 6 students) will be shortlisted for national team training, once per week. The final national team comprising 4 members will be selected in May.

The IBO is composed of a theoretical and practical element, each weighing about 50% of the final score. The theory exams cover a wide range of Biology: Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Plant Anatomy and Physiology, Animal Anatomy and Physiology, Ethology, Genetics and Evolution, Ecology, and Biosystematics. Gold medals are awarded to the top 10% of students.
SBO/IBO questions are not released to students, but they’re all application-based questions of biology.

Singapore’s performance at past IBO:
IBO 2014 (25th): 3 Gold, 1 Silver. 2nd among 61 countries. Individual 2nd of 238 students.
IBO 2013 (24th): 4 Gold. Ranked 2nd among 62 countries. Individual 4th, 5th, 10th of 241 students.
IBO 2012 (23rd): 4 Gold. Ranked 1st among 59 countries. Individual 1st out of 236 students.
IBO 2011 (22nd): 3 Gold, 1 Silver. Ranked 3rd among 58 countries. 229 participants.
IBO 2010: 1 Gold 3 Silver. Ranked country 9th.
IBO 2009: 3 Gold 1 Silver. Ranked country 3rd.  Obtained Individual 1st and 3rd.

International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI)

The IOI does not have much publicity Among the olympiads, this is probably the most low profile and MOE does not even include it in her annual press release on performance of International Math and Science Olympiads. Selection of IOI participants is through the IOI Training Workshop conducted by NUS School of Computing. Typically, trainees are selected from the Silver and above medalists from the National Olympiad in Informatics (NOI), which is held in March. There are about 10 mini-contests (which are done as part of the IOI workshop) and 3 selection tests (one of which, is the Asia Pacific Informatics Olympiad or APIO).  In 2013, NOI and APIO were considered selection tests. The top 4 participants will be selected to represent Singapore in the IOI.

Singapore’s performance at past IOI:
IOI 2014 (26th): 2 Gold, 2 Silver. Ranked joint 7th of 82 countries. Total 315 participants.
IOI 2013 (25th): 3 Silver, 1 Bronze. Ranked 17th out of 77 countries. Total 299 participants.
IOI 2012 (24th): 2 Silver, 1 Bronze
IOI 2011 (23rd): 1 Gold, 1 Silver, 2 Bronze
IOI 2010:  1 Gold, 1 Silver, 2 Bronze
IOI 2009: 2 Silver, 2 Bronze.

International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics (IOAA)

Among the Science olympiads, this is the newest (in its 6th year in 2012) and has the lowest profile. Selection of IOAA participants is through The Astrochallenge held in June of each year. The top 5 participants will be selected to represent Singapore in the IOAA.

Singapore’s performance at past IOAA:
IOAA 2013 (7th): 1 Gold (Individual 2nd), 1 Silver, 1 Bronze, 1 HM. 
IOAA 2012 (6th): 1 Gold, 3 Silver
IOAA 2011 (5th): 1 Silver, 2 HM

Singapore Schools’ Medal Tally at International Math and Science Olympiads

It is interesting to note that only 4 schools are feeding the participants to the International Olympiads, in the last 5 years. They are namely, Raffles Institution (RI), NUS High (NUSH), Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) and ACS (Independent).  We could say that in terms of Math and Science competitions, these 4 schools  are considered the best performing high schools in Singapore.

The total number of medals (excluding HM) won by these 4 schools in IMO, IPhO, IChO and IBO (excluding IOI and IOAA) in the last 8 (updated 2014) years are as follows:

School ((Updated) 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007)
RI (11, 9, 12, 11, 7, 7, 6, 9)
NUSH (6, 7, 6, 5, 7, 5, 7, 1)
HCI (1, 3, 1, 1, 2, 5, 2, 4)
ACSI (1, 0, 0, 2, 2, 1, 2, 4)

In 2013, NUSH, RI and HCI won 6 Gold, 3 Gold and 3 Gold respectively in the International Math and Science Olympiads.

Olympiad Dilemma

In any one year, with the exception of IOI and IOAA which may be held in August or September, theoretically a student can only participate in one of the IMO, IPhO, IChO and IBO. This is because these 4 competitions are held in the same month of July, and also intensive training for each competition starts in May/June, all the way till the competition. It is not uncommon for students to be talented in two of the Math and Science olympiads, e.g. Math and Physics. Hence, students capable in olympiads often face the dilemma of selecting only one of these few. The decision has to be made early (before the national team is formed), since the national team training (as in Chemistry and Physics training), competitions and selection tests may clash. Even if there is no clash, it is important to focus on just one olympiad otherwise even if you are good, you may end up not be in either national teams.

Since students for IPhO, IChO and IBO are typically selected from the JC2/Year 6 students, students who eventually participate in 2 or more international olympiads are likely to take IMO or IOAA prior to JC2/Year 6, and one of the IPhO/IChO (IBO less likely, since it is non-Math related) in JC2/Year 6.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

NTST 2012 Results


The Singapore IMO 2012 national team selection test (NTST) results are out. The following are the top 6:

1. Lim Jeck (NUS High Year 5) - 4th time participating (2011: Gold and World 2nd, 2010: Silver, 2009: Bronze)
2. Ang Yan Sheng (NUS High Year 6) - 3rd time participating (2011: Silver, 2010: Silver)
3. Ling Yan Hao (NUS High Year 4) - 1st time participating
4. Lawrence Li (RI Year 6) - 1st time participating
5. Ryan Kor (RI Year 6) - 2nd time participating (2011: Bronze)
6. Lee You Jun (RI Year 6) - 1st time participating

The 6 students will be representing Singapore in the 53rd International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), which will be hosted by Argentina, to be held in the city of Mar del Plata from 4 to 16 July 2012.

All the best to the Singapore IMO Team 2012!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Year 6 Term 2 Common Test Results

Lim Min's JC2 Term 2 Common Test Results
 Lim Min did exceptionally well for GP in the recent common test, where she scored in the 88th percentile. Hopefully she can keep it up. She will need to work harder for Economics, as her grade was just below the 50th percentile. For Math, she performed as usual. She did fairly well for Chemistry and Physics, but I think she could have done better, based on her capability and past performances.