On Thursday 8 November 2018, a team of students from Farnborough competed in the regional heats of the Senior Team Maths Challenge. Having come second by just a few points last year, the students had a score to settle and were determined to do well. The team was made up of some of the College’s top mathematicians: first year students Luke Manning and Isaac Harrison and second year students Harry Linehan-Hill and Callum Hobbis.
The Farnborough team got off to a spectacular start and scored full marks in round one; this was the Group Round where they had ten challenging problems to solve in 40 minutes. At the end of the round, it was announced that Farnborough were in the top five, but we didn’t yet know exactly how well the other teams were doing.
The next round was the Crossword Round where the teams divided into two pairs to solve a mathematical crossword puzzle. This sounds simple until you find out that one pair is given the across clues, the other pair the down clues and they are not allowed to discuss the questions with the opposite pair. To add to the challenge, many of the clues were reliant on answers to other clues which required the team to use logic and deduction to complete their grids, as well as needing to have a lot of faith in their teammates.
The final round was the Shuttle Round where the teams divide into two pairs to solve four mathematical problems in eight minutes. The solution to the first problem is required to solve the second problem and so on, so it not only tested their mathematical knowledge but also their ability to work well as a team and stay calm under pressure.
The team finished with an outstanding score of 172 out of 182.
The top three teams were announced in reverse order, and we were ecstatic to find that the Farnborough team won by nine points, which the organisers revealed was an unusually large margin to win by.
The team will now be off to the National Finals held in London in February 2019 and we wish them the best of luck.
If you want to see how you would get on in the Senior Team Maths Challenge, you can find the questions from previous years here.