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Chemistry Olympiad challenge

Chemistry Olympiad challenge
Callum and Victor with their Gold certificates.
Friday 12th June 2015 by C. Freeman

Congratulations to Sixth Formers Callum Ward and Victor Ho, who have both been awarded gold certificates in the 47th International Chemistry Olympiad, which is a notoriously difficult feat to achieve. Only the most able students are entered into the Olympiad and a mark of around 50% will secure the gold certificate.

The duo were among a group of Year 12s and 13s that sat the two hour exam earlier this year. The pair’s hard work was rewarded with certificates.

Victor, who has applied to do a medical degree, said: ‘I prepared for it by doing a couple of past papers on their website but year on year it changes quite a lot so it is mainly just brushing up on your general chemistry. It really introduces you to university level chemistry.

Callum, who wants to study physics, said: ‘It is a competition designed for Year 13 students primarily studying chemistry in the UK. It tests your university level skills so it is less about what you do in chemistry lessons it is more about whether you have the skills to do chemistry as a further education course. It is testing whether you have the mindset to solve certain problems and it pitches you with students across the entire UK and is usually quite competitive.

‘The questions are always really hard so it is more about how many marks did you get than how many marks did you lose so getting over 50% is quite an achievement. You can never get a sense of whether you did well or not. It covers topics that come up in the news so the questions this year were to do with advances in touch screen technology and other current topics.

‘I would recommend it to other Sixth Formers coming up because it makes you realise how much there is left to learn. If you get the answer that is an achievement in itself because it means that you have had to understand the process.’

Mr Knight said: 'This is a very prestigious competition and the students who we put forward have done exceptionally well. Callum and Victor came close to being shortlisted for the weekend residential from which four students are selected to represent the UK. In addition to the two gold awards there were four silver and three bronze. Some year 12 students also participated and Henry Griffiths achieved a silver award which should put him in a very strong position for next year.'

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