Lisgar STEM Contests: A Wealth of Opportunity

By Charles Zhang

At Lisgar, there are plenty of great ways to show off your academic prowess to your peers, as well as impress future universities. Of course, I’m talking about contests! Lisgar hosts a plethora of contests for all the maths and sciences, in any style and at any grade level, from full solution math contests to accounting competitions and online computer science contests.

Not only are contests a great way to show off and further develop your skills in a particular subject, they are also a great experience and help develop many vital skills for everyday life, including critical thinking, time management, and a  problem-solving mindset. In particular, math contests train your brain to think in a unique and logical way applicable to any subject. Even if you aren’t very good in a subject or are even struggling with it, practicing and competing in contests is a great way to improve. For example, if you find that you often run out of time while doing math tests, practicing and timing yourself in math contests may help you become more efficient and logical, as well as make fewer mistakes.

Doing competitions can also significantly boost your chances of getting into universities. In particular, the University of Waterloo hosts many math contests for every grade level, including the Pascal, Gallois, and Euclid tests, as well as the Canadian Computing Competition, the Sir Isaac Newton physics competition, and the Chem 13 News and Avagadro chemistry competitions. If you’re thinking of going to Waterloo, they will consider your results in these contests, and may give you the edge in the applications process. Other universities also host similar competitions, such the University of Toronto’s Biology Exam.

If you feel intimidated by competitions or feel like you aren’t up to it, you should still give them a shot! There is no disadvantage to not performing well in a competition, but plenty of benefits to participating. For more information, you can talk to any teacher in their respective department, and you can join clubs such as the Math Contest Club on Fridays at lunch, or the Lisgar Computing Club at lunch on Thursdays. If you’re interested, your agenda can also provide a wealth of information, and the MC2 Facebook page has a full list of contests and dates.♦