One thing I regret not having done last year is participating in MATHCOUNTS. Despite knowing about the competition, I didn’t know about the school team. Learning math gives you something productive to do in your free time. It gives you a chance to learn math years before you need it in school.
While I had heard of MATHCOUNTS and liked it, I never knew Guilderland had a team. I had never heard of it and just put it on my list of things to be jealous at Niskayuna about.
By the time I learned of the school team, it was 5 months too late to do anything. Being interested in the competition since elementary school, this was a big disappointment. I only have three chances to make the team, and each year brings huge benefits. That one chance I missed still bothers me to this day.
Studying math gives you a great way to fill your free time. The competition brings a time crunch and you come underprepared.
But later on, when you have free time, you start to reflect on your studies. As you stare at a wall, thoughts of quadratics and geometry wander into your head. You think of how a formula works, or how a problem could have been solved. Loaded with free time, you learn a lot.
Preparing for MATHCOUNTS comes with many benefits. It not only satisfies your parents (for two weeks) but helps learn advanced math ahead of time to help with school later. For example, you learn basic formulas ahead of time.
Not everyone knows algebraic formulas like (a+b)² and a²-b². The famous Pythagorean Theorem is a simple formula. It is not unusual to see fifth graders using it, despite being officially taught in eighth grade. A quadratic formula from eleventh grade is not something that most can do. In MATHCOUNTS, you are exposed to these.
Learning math early can improve your grade when the math is taught in school and makes school easier to cope with. I know this from personal experience. I went to kindergarten knowing triple-digit subtraction. This head start has helped me up to now and is one of the reasons I do well in school. In middle school, I am starting to find some of the more advanced concepts I know in class. School will definitely catch up to me at some point. Studying math has delayed that by a few years. It’s hard to fathom what I could do with an extra year of studying for MATHCOUNTS.
MATHCOUNTS comes with many different benefits. Every year adds on to these benefits. There are only three chances to participate, and I regret missing one.