How to Prepare for an Academic Math Competition
Maybe you're just joining a local math competition, or perhaps you're joining a regional event or even a national competition. Whatever competition you're joining, it is important to remember that it is not the level of competition nor the type of contest you're joining that is important, but rather the level of preparedness you bring to the competition. Preparation is half the battle won in any competition, the other half is execution. The following tips will teach you how to prepare for an academic math competition so that you come out ahead of the competition.
Mathematics is the practice of repeated solutions
Ever heard your teacher or professor tell you that math is simply the practice of practicing computation? Well, that's true. Each problem or exercise given to you by your professor can be solved in any number of ways, but the answer is always the same. The beauty of math is that all solutions employ certain formulas, and these formulas are repeatable and verifiable. As long as you know how to solve a certain problem, you'll eventually arrive at the correct answer provided you follow the correct steps. Most math problems are just a variation of each other. Once you encounter one kind of problem, you'll be able to know how to solve them when you encounter the same problem. The variables and situation are not important. As long as it's the same type of problem, the solution will always be the same. So practice really does make perfect in math. The more you practice, the more problems you know how to solve. And the more problems you encounter, the more solutions to a certain type of problem you find.
A tired brain is a brain that will shut down
While it's always good to work as hard as you can, it is equally important that you get enough rest a few days before the event or competition starts. Wisdom dictates that three days of rest before any competition is enough to refresh the mind from the intense workload it suffered during the preparations for the competition. Take time off to do other things beside think of the competition. Visit your friends, watch a movie, enjoy your hobby. Whatever you do, stop dwelling on the upcoming competition. This will only make you more uptight and worried. As long as you've made sure you were reasonably prepared, there's no reason to worry. Your brain is a wonderful machine. Whatever you've planted in it will naturally arise as long as you've planted it deeply and you've planted it in good soil.
Panic is the enemy, but overconfidence will also bring you down
Ever heard some people say they lost a competition because their mind went blank and just simply stopped working? Most of the time, the main cause of this is simply panic. Fear is a strong emotion and affects the brain adversely. If you allow fear to rule over you, you will lose control of your mental faculties and you will be left holding an empty bag. Control your fear. Believe in yourself. Nobody ever won anything by doubting themselves.
As much as fear incapacitates people, so does overconfidence make people careless and prone to mistakes. Overconfidence will lead you to jump without looking, to do things without checking if what you did was right. Never lose sight of your goal and always maintain objectivity. You have not won anything yet until you've won it. So don't be cocky and just keep your eyes on the ball.
Sleep early, eat right and consume lots of sugar just prior to taking the stage.
Putting your body and your mind in the optimum state it needs to perform flawlessly is important if you want to win. Your body needs rest and food. Sugar is the easiest and fastest form of food that goes directly to your brain.