I have joined several competitions in the past few months for Science, Maths, and English. My eyes weren’t on the prize, but I was looking for the experience gained from joining such competitions. I’ll give a brief run-through on the achievements I got this semester. B XO U (Be Extraordinary You) is a programme from the Dinas Pendidikan Surabaya where they compile Grade 8 students from different regions in Surabaya to come together and have the chance to be trained by chosen teachers. 

I went through a long process to get into this programme. The first step was a selection of students from the school. Thousands of schools sent their best Grade 8 students to apply for this programme. I was selected from Sekolah Ciputra. After the selection process, I went through an online knowledge test by Dispendik in October. I got shortlisted for the next round, in which 20 students had to take an offline IQ test at the Surabaya Dispendik office. Based on the result, the students were divided into 5 regions, east, west, north, south, and central. For West Surabaya, only 9 students were selected as a part of the programme. I had the highest IQ among the students in West Surabaya. I got selected for the “B XO U Science and Technology” group, which means I will be taught Science, Math, and Technology in this group. Around November 2021, the teachers from each region divided the students into 2+ groups. The goal was to create a product about BMR which could help give information about BMR to people in Surabaya. My team of 4 people decided to make a website and infographic in the given 3 weeks. Every week, after school hours on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, students from the same region gather in one school to learn about the topic, discuss the projects with our team face-to-face, and do the website together. During the 3 weeks, we’ve been going around different schools, doing team-building activities. My group’s project is completely done, and the presentation which was supposed to be held last Friday, 10 December, is postponed and the date is to be announced. West Surabaya had 2 teams only, and 1 of the teams will be chosen to represent the region. The best product from each region will be allowed to present their product in Balai Pemuda and will be aired on TV. 

The Mental Math Asia Cup 2021 was held in June of 2021. It was quite some time since I last joined Mental Maths, so I trained my speed and accuracy again before the contest was held. I was given 3 chances for the semi-final round, receiving a satisfying result of rank #17 in Asia, and rank #1 in Indonesia. I advanced to the grand finals which were in September. Unfortunately, the questions were harder and I had less time to prepare, so I couldn’t maintain a high rank for that round. I ended up in rank #168 in Asia, and rank #2 in Indonesia for the grand final. 

In addition, a competition I won was the Olimpiade Biologi Nasional (OBN). It was challenging for me as it was in Bahasa Indonesia, and I haven’t learned some of the topics covered and was surprised to win a silver medal, with a score of B+. 

Moreover, there were two English competitions I participated in. Ruangguru English Academy Quiz was one of the two I joined to challenge my English skills, accuracy, and speed. There were three rounds I had to complete, the preliminary round, the semi-final round, and the grand final round in the Ruangguru application. Approximately a thousand students around Indonesia took part in the preliminary round with only 100 students advancing to the semifinal round. I managed to get past through maintaining my top 10 spot due to my speed and accuracy in answering. In the semifinal round only 30 were selected to compete in the grand final round, including me. The grand final had 30 finalists and only 3 could be placed. I did my best but didn’t win. I was already proud to be in the grand finals and was happy to gain new experience and knowledge. Along with that, I participated in another national-level English competition, named Insight Sinta Olimpiade. The 40 questions were mostly made up of reading comprehension questions, unlike Ruangguru where it tested my grammar knowledge. It was much easier for me and I could finish it quickly. I was delighted to know that 2 days later, the winners were announced and I received a gold medal. I am looking forward to the next National English Competition which will be held on the 28th of December.

Aishwarya Tania Zahara Pandey – Grade 8B



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