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Leadup to Eton Final 2006

I seem to be flying around New Zealand a lot this year. In January, I flew to Christchurch for the NZIMO training camp; at Easter I flew to Wellington for the NZCA Sports Tournament. This time, I’m back in Christchurch for tomorrow’s two-hour exam to determine the winner of the 2006 Eton Press Senior Mathematics Competition.

I’ll get my first point out of the way: I’m not expecting much out of the competition. If I can avoid last place, I will be happy. Unfortunately (or fortunately) they’re only going to announce the top three finalists, so I won’t know if that’s the case.

You see, I’m alongside New Zealand’s top high school mathematicians. I recognise most names from January’s NZIMO training camp; some from the camp are absent; some who are here went on to represent New Zealand at the International Olympiad. My experience at the camp, in terms of maths, was, to say the least, not perfect: it was somewhat made up for by my (relative to them) achievement in tenpin bowling. Put another way, I know these people, and I know that they’re pretty darn good.

What is to be more exciting is a visit to Canterbury University after the exam. This includes a visit to their mathematics department, their computer science department, and above all, the High Voltage Laboratory. What exactly they do there is yet for me to discover, but I’m anticipating more from that than tomorrow’s exam.

In fact, I’m not really looking forward to the exam at all. Any attempt to prepare, I figure, will be completely useless: this is a competition, anything could be in it, and my best preparation is that *cough* which I’ve supposedly done throughout my high school life. Last-minute stuff won’t work. So I’m just gonna go in, give it my best shot, and hope I don’t come last.

Onto other things. This is a remarkably warmer Christchurch than I anticipated. The temperature upon my arrival was sixteen degrees Celsius. I did pack considerably more than I’m likely to need, anticipating a cold Christchurch and moreover, a very cold night.

The flight was smooth and slightly delayed; my host family (a maths teacher at the host school) is kind. And… there’s little else to say, really. In summary, this maths exam isn’t exactly the most exciting thing on my current mind.

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