Performance in Senior UK Maths Challenge shows QE’s strength in depth

Scores of senior QE boys have participated in a diverse range of mathematical events both at the School and further afield.

No fewer than 106 Sixth Form mathematicians – Year 12 Mathematics students, together with Year 13 Further Mathematics candidates – sat the Senior UK Maths Challenge.

The competition involved answering 25 multiple-choice questions in 90 minutes. In total, 92.5% of the QE boys gained certificates (32 gold, 38 silver and 28 bronze): nationally, only the top 40% in the country receive certificates, with gold, silver and bronze awarded in the ratio 1:2:3.

Year 13's Gabriel Gendler was awarded the best-in-school title, scoring 120 out of a possible 125 marks, while Bhavik Mehta, of Year 12, was the best in his year.

Twenty-seven boys qualified for the follow-on rounds, with nine scoring at least the required 100 points to reach the British Mathematical Olympiad, while 18 boys qualified for the Senior Kangaroo, having gained the necessary 64 points.

Year 12 was also well represented at a series of lectures at the Institute of Education.  Forty boys went to the special day on the application of Mathematics.The lectures were:

  • The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets by author and broadcaster Simon Singh
  • Seven Things That You Should Know About Prime Numbers by Dr Vicky Neale, University of Cambridge
  • How to Wreck a Nice Beach by Matt Stuttle, Google
  • Sex, Drugs and Sausage Rolls: Calculating the real risks of life by Prof David Spiegelhalter, University of Cambridge
  • From Fish to Phishing: A story of ciphers and criminals by Prof Kenny Paterson, Royal Holloway

The event included a session with a senior examiner on common pitfalls in examinations and developing good examination strategies.

"The boys were intrigued and amazed by the very different areas that Maths can be applied to and found the day exciting and enjoyable," said Mathematics teacher Wendy Fung.

Forty boys from Year 11 enjoyed hearing three interactive talks from some of the country's most engaging speakers on Mathematics at the Maths Inspiration Show, held at London's Palace Theatre.

Lecturer and author Rob Eastaway spoke on From Pepsi to Peace Deals; comedian and science communicator Steve Mould on Weird and Wonderful Maths, and mathematician and musician Ben Sparks on The Sacred Geometry of Chance.

The talks were followed by a lively question-and-answer session, chaired by writer Timandra Harkness.

"It was an enjoyable afternoon, during which the boys enjoyed finding out about how Maths can be used in a variety of contexts," added Miss Fung.