This article has been sponsored by Vedantu
Anushka Aggarwal(16) and Gunjan Aggarwal(14) from Faridabad are proud sisters who have been recently relishing the information that they are part of a four-member all-girls team set to represent India at the European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad (EGMO).
This sister-duo decided rather early on in their academic life that mathematics was for them. In this exclusive conversation with the girls and their mother, Bhawna Agarwal, they share their journey so far.
“My daughters are now used to being the only girls in most of the competitive platforms,” says a visibly proud Bhawna. Anushka was in grade 4 when she first spoke about her keen interest in mathematics and says that “numbers have always fascinated me”. It was a screening test in school that laid the foundation for Anushka and recalling the moment she says, “I topped that screening test and when my mother saw the question paper and the level it was set at, she was pleasantly surprised at my performance.”
It was after this that Bhawna started spending more time with Anushka and found that her capacity to grasp was excellent. Inspired by her older sister, Gunjan also started showing an aptitude for mathematics. When asked how they keep track of such competitions, Bhawna says, “We relied a lot on the internet to search for competitions and rules of participation. I knew of the Olympiad but nothing else.”
Adding to this Anushka says, “When I was in class 7, we took special permission to participate in the senior Olympiad because in general students in classes 9 and above were allowed to participate. It was a matter of great pride for me given that I was competing with my seniors.” Seeing the general atmosphere at home, Gunjan also started solving mathematical problems and enjoying them.
The girls also enrolled with Vedantu, a LIVE online interactive tutoring platform, during the lockdown. They say that their mentors helped them a great deal. “Having tutors who are so connected and involved with our development has been a great boon for us. The teachers have always ensured that all our doubts are clarified and that we get the needed work for the competition,” says Anushka.
Adding to this, Bhawna says, “The platform is so interactive that one does not feel like a child is learning virtually. There are various options and packages that one can choose from and each child is given what they need the most. Vedantu does not believe in a one-size-fits-all sort of solution.”
Anand Prakash, Co-founder and Head of Academics at Vedantu says “Having dreams is one thing but taking action to implement those dreams into reality is another. We are proud and honoured to see sisters Anushka and Gunjan Aggarwal as part of the prestigious European Girls Mathematical Olympiad for Children. It is an honor that two of the four girls representing the country at the Olympiad are Vedantu students. Congratulations on your incredible achievement, and I wish you good luck!”
About the competition
The EGMO is an international mathematics competition similar to the International Mathematical Olympiad, with two papers taken on consecutive days. Participating countries send teams consisting of four female mathematicians of school age, and for the first time, India has put together a team of four girls to represent the country.
Scheduled to take place between 9 April to 15 April 2021 Anushka will lead the team for India. While the four girls participate as a team, the challenges are specific to the individual participants. “I do hope that it is an on-ground event and not a virtual one,” adds Gunjan.
“There are many moments when everyone is walking on eggshells around the house trying to give the girls the space they need for their problem solving,” says Bhawna.
The Aggarwal sisters’ tips for competing
- It will be beneficial to actively look for competitions that take place around the country and try and participate in as many as possible.
- Be a part of the various active online communities dedicated to helping students compete on various levels.
- Art of Problem Solving (AoPS) is an online community run by students and allows for a peer-to-peer review and sharing platform. This is a great way to stay connected with others with similar interests.
- Platforms like Vedantu, which offer LIVE online coaching also help students who wish to better their skills and get more practice.
- Ensure that you keep the school and the teachers in the loop so that there is ample support from that side as well.
- Encourage students to get their doubts cleared; whether via an online platform or with their mentor/teachers.
Gunjan adds, “Often I am called a nerd but I love what I do and the happiness I feel after I have solved a tough mathematical problem is amazing. So, being called a nerd doesn’t get to me any longer.”
With the competition nearing, we wish the girls and team India all the very best.