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The New Zealand Physics and Maths Competition (NZPMC)

Kyla Chen —

The New Zealand Physics and Maths Competition (NZPMC) North Island final was held at Auckland University on 11July.

 Two students from our school, Kyla Chen (Year 10) and Judy Shin (Year 12) were selected to attend the final as they were at the top of their year levels in the first round of the competition.

The first round was a 40-question multi-choice quiz. Participants had 60 minutes to complete it. For the Junior division (Year 9-11), the questions were composed of topics in the NCEA Level 1 Curriculum: Mechanics, Wave Behaviour, Electricity and Magnetism, and Maths. The Senior division (Year 12 and 13) had questions covering the NCEA Level 2 and 3 Curriculum with the topics being Mechanics, Quantum, Waves, Electricity, and Maths. Kyla Chen placed 15th equal in the Junior division and 6th equal in Year 10 for the first round. Judy Shin, being a Year 12, also did exceptionally well. She almost missed out on a placing, this was only because the senior division was more competitive and difficult. Luckily she was later invited to the finals.

Next was Round 2, or the finals. It was a 90 minutes test made up of both multi-choice and short answer questions with the same topics tested in Round 1 although the questions were more challenging. Something that was difficult was that some of the questions involved skills we haven’t learned in school and even though the questions explain those concepts, it still took a lot of work to comprehend new knowledge in a short amount of time. Unfortunately, Tauranga Girls' College didn’t come away with any placings but everyone tried their best.

After a tedious morning of testing, everyone went into the Science foyer where pizza and drinks were served. At the same time, there was networking with clubs and organizations from the university. These included Women in Engineering, Science Students’ Association, Auckland University Women in Science, UoA Scientific Review, and Robogals. It was a fantastic opportunity to see what studying STEM at university was like. To further inform the participants about pathways in Science, there was a seminar after lunch with a diverse group of speakers such as the head of the physics department and representatives of women in engineering.

Although none of our schools' competitors came away with any placings everyone is very proud of them to have made it to the finals. Also, a very well done to everyone who participated in the competition. They all did very well and we hope to compete again next year.