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DS leaves for the IMO tomorrow


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Kids will be kids! :)

 

 

Oh, it gets better. I got the full run down of the opening ceremony.  Apparently it all started with the parade of teams across the stage.  One team, I think ds said it was Argentina threw out candies to the audience.  Well, after the ceremony finished and the contestants were waiting for their turn to leave (leaders and officials went first) the Argentinians threw the rest of their candies out into the contestants. Well some of the contestants decided to pick them up and throw them back.  Then, someone had the bright idea to make a paper airplane from their program sheet.  And then a bunch of others did the same all over the auditorium.  DS said that their were planes everywhere, but everyone was sitting down and throwing them when the officials weren't looking. ;)  He said it was so funny to see the officials running up and down the aisles confiscating planes and telling kids off, as more and more planes kept being made and thrown. Sound a bit like :willy_nilly: at the IMO. He said they were confiscating very fast so it was hard to keep the flow up. :D  And yes, the Americans did join in. ;) Sounds like these kids needed some stress relieve, and found it!

 

Then there was the wave.  All the sections coordinated the standing up sitting down wave except for ds's section.  So NZ decided to try to organize it but they were in the back.  So they talked to the South Koreans behind them, and the Irish and Chinese in front of them, and organized 4 rows, but because they were doing back to front no one could see it was their turn without turning around, so their wave fizzled.  Then the other contestants boo-ed them. :001_smile:  He loved it! 

 

Also, the Australians stole the NZ mascot kiwi.  But then the NZers stole it back.  But then there is a *rumor* that Tuffley Jr (the Kiwi) was left on the bus. DS stressed that it was only a *rumor* and just started laughing. So they might be drawing a picture of a kiwi to put in all their team photos.

 

So a couple of interesting things of note from DS's point of view.  Both the Republic of Korea and the Democratic Republic of Korea were there.  Syria was there, and ds wondered who picked the team in the middle of a civil war.  Saudia Arabia wore traditional garb and had a female on the team.  She wore a full burka with only her eyes showing.  Will be interesting to see if she wears it to the competition today. There were 2 teams from very small countries with only 1 student.  They apparently got a massive applause. There was a kid that looked about 10 to ds with a team of normal aged kids. He also loved the huge sombreros that the El Salvador kids wore. 

 

Well, that is all I've got.  Exam starts in 1 hour. 

Edited by lewelma
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The first day is done.  Second day starts in 1.5 hours.  DS said that he was between Sweeden and Lithuania, and the Lithuanian girl asked for more paper 4 times, so filled 40 sheets of paper!  They were very tightly packed in, so it is a good thing that he can't read Sweedish or Lithuanian!  I would be so distracted, but he said he really wasn't.  

 

He met the American team, and said he was *so* glad not to feel like the stupid cousin -- DS got a problem that one of the American team members did not.  The NZ team apparently debriefed with the American team for the first 45 minutes after the exam, and he said that the kids were awesome.  I'm sure he knows them by their AoPS names, but he didn't speak up and tell them his. 

 

He is starting to feel like he has done enough math for a while.  I definitely heard a hint of exhaustion on the phone last night, but I think he will rise to the occasion today.  A bronze typically requires 2 full solutions plus an additional 2 points.  My guess is that ds has only about a 5% chance of pulling that off, but he told me that he has met his goal already.  His goal?  To not make a fool of himself at the IMO.  :huh:  So getting a full solution yesterday met that goal, and today is just icing on the cake.  :001_smile:

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OMG it's going to be close.  DS got another problem today and decent progress on a second!  Sounds like it was seriously touch and go because he made a calculation error early on that caused lots of conflicting information to appear to be correct. But he turned it around in the last hour and was able to write up a full solution in the 30 minutes he had left. He said he wrote as fast as he possibly could, and he was labeling page 1 of 2 and page 2 of 2 when they said "put your pencils down immediately."   gulp.

 

Now he said he is feeling that thing that happens after you have worked so hard and now have nothing to do.  Not exactly bored, but somehow lacking purpose leaving you a bit moody.  They have a cultural event tonight and then it is the excursions.  We find out in 3 days if he made the mark.  

Edited by lewelma
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What an experience he's having, Ruth! After all that adrenaline, I'd expect that he's feeling more than a bit wiped out by now; poor guy.

 

Please tell him that a strange woman on the internet has been praying for him and is proud to virtually know him!  (When he's sufficiently rested to laugh.)

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OMG it's going to be close. DS got another problem today and decent progress on a second! Sounds like it was seriously touch and go because he made a calculation error early on that caused lots of conflicting information to appear to be correct. But he turned it around in the last hour and was able to write up a full solution in the 30 minutes he had left. He said he wrote as fast as he possibly could, and he was labeling page 1 of 2 and page 2 of 2 when they said "put your pencils down immediately." gulp.

 

Now he said he is feeling that thing that happens after you have worked so hard and now have nothing to do. Not exactly bored, but somehow lacking purpose leaving you a bit moody. They have a cultural event tonight and then it is the excursions. We find out in 3 days if he made the mark.

Oh that feeling is tough. The melancholy of completion. I get it. Here's to hoping he hit the mark!

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DS texted me last night when I was asleep and told me that the "made good progress" on number 5 turned out to be a fizzle.  The NZ team leader said that it was worth 0. :crying:  Sigh.  So now he is at 14 points, and the cut last year was 14.  Not looking good.

 

 

 

 

ETA: Hold the press, DS just texted me.  He just remembered that he made progress on number 2 also!  And after talking to the Team Leader, the leader said that he would fight for 2 points for ds!  So now he might be at a 16!!  

 

I am going to have a heart attack!

Edited by lewelma
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Well, technically he has 4 more tries because you have to be under 20 and he is 15.  But in reality, he will only go 2 more times before he enters university and is ineligible. There has never been a team member in NZ who didn't make the team the following year, so he should go his 11th and 12th grade years unless the unexpected happens. 

Edited by lewelma
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More bad news. :crying:  I promise I will stop posting about these crazy twists and turns!  DS did NOT get a 7 on the first problem, only a 6. Apparently he made an assumption when he drew the diagram that was not always true, so now his honorable mention is on the table if he didn't get the second day's problem completely correct.  And given that he wrote that one up in 30 minutes and knows he had to take some shortcuts to get it done, this does not look good. Not good at all.  He might be one of the very few kids who gets close to a bronze without getting an honorable mention.  sigh.

 

Luckily, he went to Disney World today! And apparently it finally stopped raining so I'm going to assume it was awesome  :thumbup1:

Edited by lewelma
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:grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug: and :hurray: :hurray: :hurray: for both of you.

 

Whatever happens, he is doing the IMO.

 

:thumbup1: The I.M.O.!!!

 

EXACTLY!! SO EXCITING!!

 

Ok, I will calm down now.  :blushing:  

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Don't stop posting! I'm on the edge of my seat. :)

 

I thought I would be boring you guys with my self centered prattle.  :tongue_smilie:

 

I talked to ds last night and he was *so* UP.  Just buzzing. Buzzing with the process of marking and discussing all the questions and learning how each kid did.  The process of marking is really fascinating and takes quite a few days.  First, the committee makes a recommendation, and then the team leaders for each country argue for points for their kids. (I'm not clear on the language barrier part of the equation as all the kids take the exam in their own language)  It seems to me that the committee can't read every single proof with extra care -there are just too many-, so they give an initial grade and then the team leaders go dig through all the pages of student writing to make arguments to support the extra points.  Once these are brought to the attention of the committee then the points are adjusted if the committee agrees.  So today the NZ team leader is going to argue for 7 points for ds on the problem he wrote up in 30 minutes.  DS knew at the time that he should include the cases, but chose (wisely) to *finish* the proof rather than get caught up in the details.  The leader is going to argue that the cases are not listed in the marking schedule as required, *and* that there was no way ds could have gotten the answer without excluding the other 5 cases, *and* that the cases can be calculated in your head so ds thought them too trivial to include. Sounds good to me!  :thumbup1:  So we will see if the committee agrees.  

 

The other bit of news is that there is apparently a general agreement among the leaders that the bronze questions were too hard and the silver questions were too easy, so the bronze cut is going to be low and the silver high. This is good for ds as the bronze cut looks like it might be 14!  DS currently has a 6 and 1 from the first day, so if he gets a 6 on his last problem he gets nothing (honorable mention requires 1 problem solved completely so a 7), but if he gets a 7 on his last problem, then it is a bronze.  DS obviously is hoping for a bronze over nothing, but honestly, at least last night, he really didn't care that much.  He felt that 1 point shy of a bronze at age 15 is an ok showing.  And I would agree.  :001_smile:  Plus, he has beaten out 2 other NZ kids, so is placing 4th in NZ, and somehow that mattered a lot. It is definitely a friendly rivalry, but still a rivalry.  :001_smile:

 

As for the poor Kiwi, Tuffley Jr, the rumors were true. He was left on the bus!  DS said that he definitely should have brought the tuatara for a quick replacement, but we forgot to buy one!  Next year, we will sneak one in his bag, and he can do a surreptitious switch and see if anyone notices!

 

They are hiking today, and luckily I packed the deet as apparently each kid was given a pamphlet on how to avoid the zika virus!   :eek:

Edited by lewelma
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Wow, I haven't been on the forum lately and missed all of this!! CONGRATULATIONS to lewelma's ds. I am so glad that he's had such a good experience. It sounds crazy stressful and wonderful all at the same time. Fingers super crossed for a bronze.

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I love the updates, Ruth.  Thank you so much for sharing!

 

Please tell your son how impressed we are at his accomplishments-what an amazing achievement!  I can't wait to see his final results.

 

(And :grouphug: for you, mama.  I can't even imagine how hard this is for you to have to deal with so far away! :grouphug: )

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 The process of marking is really fascinating and takes quite a few days.  

 

 

 

That is interesting!  I suppose that there are just so many competitors that this cursory pass grading speeds things up and is an accurate assessment for most teams.  

 

The documentary I referred to earlier, I believe it was Hard Problems, vaguely alluded to this, but it wasn't made clear.  (I wonder now if the movie makers even understood what was going on.)  Thank you for sharing!

Edited by daijobu
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That is interesting!  I suppose that there are just so many competitors that this cursory pass grading speeds things up and is an accurate assessment for most teams.  

 

The documentary I referred to earlier, I believe it was Hard Problems, vaguely alluded to this, but it wasn't made clear.  (I wonder now if the movie makers even understood what was going on.)  Thank you for sharing!

 

Steve Olson's Countdown  is a fascinating read if you're interested in more details about the IMO and what goes on behind the scenes. It follows the USA's 2001 IMO team through the whole process. The IMO took place in the US that year, and our team had a couple of perfect scorers. Olson's narrative includes lots of personal stories of the team members and lots of good math, too! You can take a stab at the problems and play along if you want to. :001_smile:

 

And speaking of winning, 2016 IMO results are now up! Congrats to Team USA on their win!!

Edited by Kathy in Richmond
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It looks like his team received a silver, a bronze, and two honourable mentions. I hope your Ds is among those! His team did great and they must all be so proud!! Congratulations to your Ds and his team. :)

Edited by Eagle
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I see he missed Honorable Mention, but he still did GREAT!   :hurray:

 

He did miss it!  But can stand tall with an 11. He also came in 4th for NZ, actually beating one kid who got an honorable mention.

 

So in the end they changed the marking schedule!   :tongue_smilie:  So even though he solved problem 4 completely, he only earned 4 points. :thumbdown:  The team leader said specifically in his e-mail to all the parents that ds and one of the other kids were "hard done by" on problem 4, but he also said that he felt that there was real talent in the younger kids on the team.  

 

I talked to ds last night and he sounded more exhausted than upset.  He *was* disappointed, and was struggling to deal with it when he was surrounded as he said by "all these brilliant kids."  What he really wanted was a place to be by himself to read his book, and the only place where no one was, was the hall :tongue_smilie: . I know that the roller coaster ride of emotion throughout both the exam and the marking process has been exhausting.  When he gets home, we will give him lots of TLC and pizza and movies.  He has never been away from home for 2 weeks before, and he really wants his own bed.  He's definitely one of the youngest kids there.

 

So of course DS being DS he is already planning for next year. He told me that he felt that by solving 2 full problems (missing only a small configuration in the first, and lacking time in the second to complete his proof) that his goal for next year was a high bronze.  He thinks that after a good year's worth of work that he could even solve the 2nd problems on each day, because for both he knew exactly what to do once he was given a little hint. He also wants to take another look at his test taking strategy, because he has always spent the first hours on solving and the last hours on writing up, but this time even though he left 1.5 hours to write up his last problem it was not enough because he had made an error.  So he will be using WOOT's practice olympiads to trial a couple different techniques and see what is the best approach for him.

 

Crazy though it sounds, camp selection problems for January camp come out next month.  :willy_nilly:  We've got two more years of this merry-go-round.  :tongue_smilie:

 

Thanks everyone for sharing this journey with me. Your encouragement and understanding have meant a great deal.   :001_smile:

Edited by lewelma
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Congrats to him!

 

Can you explain how the medals/honorable mentions work? How is it that one kid can get an HM and someone else with a higher score not get one? Did they have to score perfectly on at least one problem for that?

 

Yup, that's right.  You need a 7 on a single problem to get an honorable mention -- so one, complete, perfectly-written up solution.  DS was so careful to write up the first proof to make sure he got that 7.  But apparently he forgot to check the configurations (which actually he did not know he had to do), so the best he could get was a 6.  And then on the second problem that he solved in full, he was so pressed for time (because of a poor testing taking strategy) that he had to skip laying out the obvious cases to finish it up.  Everyone thought he would get a 7 on that one, but then they changed the marking schedule.  We went into the distribution of scores and saw for problem 4 that there were a lot of 7s, so my guess is that they needed to spread out the scores so got really picky.  But ds is feeling like he solved 2 full problems at the IMO, which is way more than he was expecting.  In fact he reminded me that in February when he got a 0 on the BMO2 and looked like he was not going to make the team, that I said "But do you really want to be on the team?  You know that if you go to the IMO this year, you are going to score a ZERO."  And he laughed and agreed.  So WOW has he come a long way in 5 months!  And this makes him feel that he could get even further in the next year.  He is saying high bronze is his goal when he is 16.   :thumbup1: Which obviously means he is aiming for silver the following year although he is not saying it.  :001_smile:

Edited by lewelma
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Oh, as for the medals, they work to make the cuts 1:2:3:6 so with 600ish kids taking the exam, 50 get a gold, 100 get a silver, and 150 get a bronze, and 300 get nothing (honorable mention falls outside of this ratio). But then they need to make the cut marks given the score distribution to aim for these numbers.  So this year there were only 135 bronzes with a cut of 16, probably if they made the cut 15 then there would be like 165 bronzes (because like 30 kids got a score of 15) which would be too many.  They clearly also changed the marking schedule to try to keep to these general percentages of medals. 

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Thanks Ruth for sharing this journey.

I've been eagerly following day by day.

I have a weird proud mama feeling just reading about your son's experiences and achievements. I can't imagine how you must be feeling!

 

Please let him know that he's had people all over the world following his experience and cheering him on.  :001_smile:

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