Maths not a problem for UNSW School Competition Winner Adrian Lo

September 18, 2017

Year 9 student Adrian Lo (9/LE), was awarded 1st Prize in the Junior Division of the UNSW School Mathematics Competition on Friday, 8 September. Adrian is in Year 9 at Newington, and at just 13 years of age, is currently completing his HSC in Extension 2 Maths.

The Competition is open to all students in NSW and the ACT, and is devised to measure mathematical insight and ingenuity beyond what is assessed in standard testing. A total of the 679 top maths students in the State participated and of these, only around 60 students receive an award. 

“Unlike syllabus maths where you follow a standard method, the problems in the UNSW Maths Comp require more thinking outside the box,” Adrian said.

“It can take an hour to find the correct approach to a problem. However, once the correct approach is found, the question can be solved in less than 15 minutes.”

Adrian was joined by Thomas Newham (10/MA) and Kenny Chen (11/FL) who placed in the top 60 in the State in the Junior and Senior Divisions respectively.

Head of Maths at Newington, Mr Graeme Phillips said, “This is a tremendous achievement for each of the boys.

“Typically, only the top Mathematics students sit this exam – it is difficult. To gain any award is indeed an achievement.”

The competition has been open each year since 1962, and recently has served as a springboard to joining the Australian team in the International Mathematics Olympiad. Some winners like Adrian have gone on to achieve medals at the contest.

Adrian aims to work towards a career in Maths or Physics, and enjoys the certainty and concision of maths.

“Maths is very concise – you are right or you are wrong. It is very rare to be neither right nor wrong,” he said. “I get an immense satisfaction after solving a really hard problem, as well as when I discover new concepts.”