The Student Room Group


When I was younger I used to be so good at maths. Now it seems like my skills are deteriorating and I am no longer as good. This feeling happens to me the most during competition maths. What do I do to improve in competition maths like the BMO, and is the feeling of my skill deteriorating just a mental thing or no?.
Even though I'm quite far from the BMO, I feel exactly the same with competition maths, it seems like each year I do worse and worse on the UKMT challenges (I didn't even qualify for an olympiad this year). This is most likely a mental thing, though. I saw a post saying the difficulty here is to get out of the "death spiral" (I'm miserable at this -> don't practice -> get even more miserable -> practice less). Doing well at math competitions is something that requires lots and lots of training and practice, the top scorers take private tutoring/lessons early on, study olympiad maths books etc., and the boundaries for the UKMT as you move towards the IMO are catered less towards 'encouraging people to enjoy maths and problem solving' and more towards people who have trained constantly since they were young who will be the future UK IMO team. I've realised that I don't train for these UKMT challenges (rather I did them for fun since I enjoyed them) so of course I could improve way more if I did.
Reply 2
Things like the olympiad need more prep as mentioned. It's slightly artificial imo as you're being tested on specific cases of more advanced math that you will study later on. Very often the questions the questions are testing to see if you can extrapolate from what you already know and also bits of information that you have solved from an earlier part of the question. The answer of course is to do higher level math but you might just be better off focusing on doing maths you need to do to get into a math degree course for uni. I wouldn't read too much into competition maths.

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