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Taiwan students above average in leading American math contests

2012/04/30 16:56:52

Taipei, April 30 (CNA) Taiwanese students scored higher than the global average recently in a number of prestigious American Mathematics Competitions (AMC), with one student even getting a rare perfect score in an advanced test, a local education foundation said Monday.

Taiwanese accounted for roughly 40 percent of the students worldwide who finished in the top 2.5 percent of the AMC 10 (for 10th graders or younger) and top 5 percent of the AMC 12 (for 12th graders or younger), despite accounting for only 9 percent of all test takers.

Those students qualified for the more advanced American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME), which was taken three and a half weeks later, on March 15.

New Taipei ninth grader Chang Lai-ho was one of only five students globally to put up perfect marks and the first Taiwanese to accomplish the feat in 12 years, said the Nine Nine Cultural and Educational Foundation, which administers the competitions in Taiwan.

The student, who also won a bronze medal at the 2011 Asia Pacific Mathematics Olympiad, said it felt "unbelievable" to have the highest scores on the exam.

Chang said he did not spend too much of his time solving math questions, but noted that if he does run into a problem that stumps him, he turns to his teachers or university math professors for help.

One of his teachers at school joked that he has trouble answering Chang's questions so often that he feels he spends more time "exchanging ideas" with the student than actually teaching him.

Tainan eighth grader Chen Shao-ming was another star performer who got only one question wrong in the AMC 10 contest.

Chen, the son of math teachers, said he once spent a whole year working on a single algebra question.

(By Hsu Chih-wei and Kendra Lin)