Math Blazers

FAQ

  1. Who are you?
    We are Samanthi and Chan Fonseka - a wife-and-husband team who were instrumental in introducing Math Olympiads to Dublin schools in 2013. Chan volunteered his time at Fallon Middle School for the past 4 years running a Math Olympiads program there, while Samanthi ran the Math Blazers coaching program in five of the elementary schools.
  2. Do you offer coaching?
    No, for the 2018/19 Math Olympiad season we are not offering coaching.
  3. Didn't you coach in previous years?
    Yes, we did: for the 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17 school years.
  4. Do you offer Olympiads administration?
    No, for the 2018/19 Math Olympiad season we are not offering Olympiads administration.
  5. Didn't you offer Olympiads administration in previous years?
    Yes, we did: for the 2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18 school years.
  6. So why aren't you active this year?
    We have some personal commitments this school year that do not allow us to dedicate the amount of time required to deliver a sufficiently high-quality program.
  7. Will you resume coaching and/or Olympiads administration next year?
    We will review our bandwidth next year and decide. We are keen to resume if our personal commitments change.
  8. What is the Olympiad contest format?
    This is described on the MOEMS website.
  9. How can I prepare my child for these contests?
    To prepare for the contests, we recommend one of the following books:
    1. Math Olympiad Contest Problems Volume 1
    2. Math Olympiad Contest Problems Volume 2
    3. Math Olympiad Contest Problems Volume 3


    All of them have dozens of actual papers from previous Division E and M Olympiads and are an excellent way to guided practice and/or self-study. Volume 3 is what we used in Fallon Math Olympiads as well as Math Blazers over the last three years. Your child could work on these past papers at their own pace, using the hints as well as detailed solutions in the back of the books to reinforce learning or assist if they get stuck. We recommend doing at least a few of these past papers under actual test conditions (ie, timed) so that they get a good idea of what the actual Olympiads will be like.

    You can alternatively have them work based on problem difficulty level. Each individual problem has the %correct indicated in both volumes 2 and 3 so you can pick and choose the level you want them to work on. %correct indicates what percent of kids taking the problem in an actual Olympiad got it correct. Problems in the book range from as difficult as 1% to as easy as 80% or more.

    Finally, problems are categorized by topic as well as solving strategy in the beginning of the book, so if you have a particular topic or strategy you want to focus on you can pick problems that way.

    In our experience, one of these books is all that is needed at this stage; if a child has attempted and investigated all the problems contained therein they will be in pretty good shape. Two or more of these books would be more than enough; there is also a fourth book: Creative Problem Solving in School Mathematics which goes more in-depth into techniques and strategies and is an excellent companion to the other three. You can get any 3 or all 4 of these books at a discount at the MOEMS store.
  10. Are there any free resources?
    Yes. You may find the following MOEMS materials useful:
    1. What every young mathlete should know
    2. Long list of coaching tips and ideas
    3. Two sample papers
    4. Problem of the month