Academic competitions are a great way to build up your college application, prepare for AP classes, and show off your academic strengths for a future in STEM internships, majors, and careers. They are also a great way to gain recognition and academic opportunities in a given field of study.
If you are interested in participating in an academic competition, talk to your math teachers and biology teachers. You can find resources for competition prep and information about future events through your high school. If you are looking for support in your competition preparation, it is a great idea to join a biology club, math club, or STEM club on campus. If your high school doesn’t have a club, do not be afraid to take the initiative and start one yourself.
Preparing for a competition is a great way to meet other students who share your interests. As you begin researching and preparing for biology and math competitions, talk to other students who have competed and teachers who have experience with competition prep at your school.
Do not let the pressures of the competition hold you back from joining in on a great experience. Many students do not know what to expect from their first academic competition, but you should know that professionals in STEM work are very encouraging of students who engage in academic work outside of the classroom.
If you are looking for ways to get ahead academically, stand out on college applications and resumes, and meet other students building their skills, then math and biology competitions may be a great experience for you.
Competition Prep For Biology
There are several types of biology competitions. Students may choose to partake in national competitions (like the Biology Olympiad) or a regional Biology competition. Most biology competitions are available for any students in grades 9 through 12 who have not been enrolled in college credit Biology classes. If you have a passion for Biology, or if you are looking for ways to get ahead for Honors and AP Biology courses in the future, then Biology competitions and competition prep may be a great experience to incorporate into your academic career.
Partaking in a Biology competition is also a great way to learn about professional careers in the field. If you have dreams of working in medicine, green technologies, bioinformatics, environmental sciences, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, zoology, or any of the many other fields that involve biological research and study, then invest your time in learning as much as you can through Biology competitions. You should also consider how these competitions can help you network for future academic and career opportunities.
How to Prepare for Biology Competitions
- Research The Specific Competition
Preparing for the competition will require research. Take time to learn about the format of the competition. If you are competing in the format of exams, then you need to learn how many questions the exam has, how each topic is weighted throughout the exam, how long you have to answer each question, what kinds of tools you are allowed, etc. Be sure that you know exactly what to expect.
- Practice Problems
Experience is absolutely key to doing well in a biology competition. Your practice work should include problems that mirror the format of the competition. Make sure that you have a good understanding of your weaknesses and the topics or skills that you need to improve before the competition.
- Focus On The Basics Then Build From There
Biology competitions will test your ability to apply your skills to a variety of situations. It is a good idea to dedicate some preparation to perfecting your basics and moving on to improve the areas of the exam that you can improve the most. Focusing on your weak points is the best way to improve your performance, but you should begin by building a strong foundation in the basics of biology.
- Practice Competitive Environment
What does competition day look like? Part of your competition prep should include a detailed study of the schedule and environment of the competition day. It is important that you have experience with replicated pressures of competition day, in order to get an accurate understanding of how you will perform. Before the official competition, you can minimize the stress and anxiety of what to expect by researching the details of the event.
Competition Prep For Math
Just as biology competitions offer opportunities like internships, research programs, and experience to inform your future career choices, math competitions can do the same. If you are interested in entering fields like computer science, finance, accounting, engineering, data science, or mathematics, then the skills and experience garnered through math competitions can make a big difference in your future.
Consider math competitions as an opportunity to show off your skills, gain recognition, learn about your individual strengths, and learn about future internships, academic pursuits, and career opportunities. They are also a great way to hone your skills for college-level courses.
How to Prepare for Math Competitions
- Focus On Problem-Solving Skills
As you prepare for a Math competition, focus on your ability to use your intuition, critical thinking, reasoning, and creative skills through problem-solving. Problem-solving skills are necessary to do well in most math competitions.
- Find Out What Skills Your Specific Competition Focuses On The Most
Not all math competitions are the same. Some regional competitions may focus on algebra skills more than geometry or statistics more than calculus. Find out which skills are most heavily examined by the math competition you are attending and focus on those skills in your study plan.
- Practice Problems That Mirror The Competition
Your practice work should mirror the content of the exam (as noted above) and the format of the exam. Practice working with the types of graphs you will find, the time restrictions you will face, the number of questions you will answer, and multiple-choice or fill-in-the-blank responses.
As you make a preparation plan, be sure that you have time to accomplish the improvement that is necessary to be a strong competitor. Many high school students have busy schedules, but with effective competitive prep services in Los Altos and consistent study habits, you can prepare for a competition without interfering with the rest of your academic pursuits. The benefits of competition participation make the time and effort worthwhile.
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