The Importance of Olympiad Competitions
Science Olympiads are a group of worldwide annual competitions in various areas of science. The competitions are designed for the 4-6 best high school students from each participating country selected through Internal National Science Olympiads. It is a great extracurricular for students who enjoy Science, Mathematics, or Engineering. Participating in it can help students gain in-depth scientific knowledge as well as other skills that will be useful in college/university.
It is organized every year to motivate students to strive for better and deeper understanding of scientific facts and data and to enhance their reasoning, analytical and problem-solving skills. All school students are invited to participate in this unique contest that tests their understanding, level of knowledge, applications and power of reasoning.
Olympiad competitions in Nigeria include Nigeria Mathematics Olympiad (NIMO), Nigeria Physics Olympiad (NIPhO), Nigeria Chemistry Olympiad (NIChO), Nigeria Biology Olympiad (NIBO), Nigeria Olympiad in Informatics (NiOI), Nigeria Junior Mathematics Olympiad (JIMO) and Nigeria Junior Science Olympiad (JSO).
Olympiad competitions have many benefits. Many parents and students are not aware of these benefits. Among these benefits are:
1. Gain additional knowledge: Olympiad exam gives students a chance to sharpen their skills. They tackle a number of problems at a level they are not likely to encounter in their classrooms. Students gain additional knowledge and get an early exposure to competition and learning. They learn to confidently write answers. The competition tends sharpen the minds of participants and make them clever problem solvers. In NTIC, some junior Olympiad students can confidently sit for WAEC examination and come out with a high grade. Likewise to those in senior categories who are currently doing advance work.
2. Awards and recognitions: awards are always good for student’s moral after they achieve something. Prizes include cash awards, medals, gifts, certificates etc. The International toppers from each class are awarded a grand prize distribution ceremony. Above all, the pleasure and satisfaction of representing the state/country at national or international level is the best reward for the student. With a medal from an international Olympiad competition, a student can be nominated for a noble Laureate.
3. Open Doors to Scholarship: If you and your team are Science Olympiad standouts, there is a chance that you will be given college scholarships. Sometimes at national competitions but often at international, students who place top in Olympiad competition will be awarded a university scholarship in any of the topmost universities in the world. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) gives scholarship and admission mostly to Olympiad students.
4. Improves reasoning ability: These exams help students to cultivate analytical thinking which is useful for any examination. Olympiads not only improve the logical thinking and help in brainstorming but also enhance the analytical and reasoning ability, problem-solving skills, and confidence. Overall, it helps in the development of a child at a young stage.
5. Future talent pool: Olympiad exams help to identify young geniuses. It brings out the best in students. “Geniuses are made, not born” – Laszlo Polgar. It is not just an exam; its objective is to provide a competitive platform to students, thus creating a talent pool for future.
6. Improvement in class results: Olympiad exam helps in improving student routine class result. Olympiads improve their conceptual understanding and enable students to grasp tricky concept]. From my finding in the majority of the schools I have taught so far, Olympiad students usually score between 95% to 100% in their subject of research.
7. Advanced Scientific Knowledge: As a member of Science Olympiad, you can get very advanced scientific knowledge in certain subjects. Team members often use university-level textbooks and other learning materials in order to become experts on the subjects their events cover. Many Mathematics Olympiad students in junior classes are likely to have finished all the works in both General and further Mathematics before their SS1.
To excel in Science Olympiad, apart from the training given by the various Olympiad teachers, a student must be committed and dedicate at least 2 hours of his time to daily reading, practice and making research in his subject of research. In addition to the class training, Olympiad students in NTIC Co-Education, Abuja do have a 20 minutes daily brain workout by solving past Olympiad problems. Parents should also assist in motivating and supporting their wards to put more efforts in their work.
Among the setback we face with Olympiad students is that most of their parents and even some students take Olympiad competitions as a burden or an addition to their routine studies.
Mr Muhammed Tahir Muhammed,
V.P Academics, NTIC Co-Education, Abuja.
Nnesochi Offor SS3; Prosper Ukaoha SS3; and Tekomi Musa SS2