Monday, February 13, 2012

Eduranet Intellectual Olympiad '11

(Beware, this post is 2000+ words long! and I'm not yet finished!)

What follows is an account of my experiences with this Olympiad this year.

But, before that....
            Walking through the streets of Delhi at night with my family on a vacation, I felt a sudden urge to call a friend of mine. “Mom, your mobile.” I asked. She handed it to me and I dialed the number. After about 3 rings, he picked up the phone. The only thing I remember from that talk is “Hey Adarsh. You got selected for that third level kathe in that Olympiad. It’s tomorrow.” And I was like “Oh.”

            I had taken part in the Eduranet Intellectual Olympiad(hereby abbreviated as EIO) ’10. I went through the 2nd level in Presentation and communication skills and then the third. But, I couldn’t attend the third as I was on a vacation.

Anyway, I participated in it this year('11) as well. There were 7 categories –

-          Advanced Mathematics Skills
-          Science and Research Skills
-          Leadership and Social Skills
-          Presentation and Communication Skills
-          Analytical and problem Solving Skills
-          Critical and Creative thinking Skills
-          General Knowledge and Awareness skills.

I took part in 6 of those 7. I deliberately chose out of the last one even though people tried to persuade me to take in it as well. I kind of did regret it later but the harm was already done.

I went through to the 2nd level in all six of them. 

I did pretty well in all of them. Came first (along with someone else) in Presentation and communication skills. Just scraped through in leadership and social skills by getting exactly the cut-off marks.

I went through to the 3rd level in 5 of those 6. ‘Science and research skills’ was that unfortunate category. Ironic eh? 

Out of those 5, I scored two Silvers in each of the below –

Analytical and Problem Solving Skills
Critical and Creative Thinking skills.

7, 6, 5, 2.
X2 – 8, x2,-7, x2 -8
That’s a nice pattern :P

      Anyway, I’ll write about my thoughts on each of those exams that I took part in.

Advanced Mathematic Skills

First level: It was a written test. The paper wasn’t too hard nor was it too easy. I’m not awesome at math but, I did okayish. I’d come across most of those problems before (in my 3 years at the IIT foundation institute).

Second level: It was written test as well. I wrote this one at the centre that they’d allotted me. Urdu hall, Hyderabad. I honestly expected the paper to be a bit more difficult that what it was. But, it wasn’t. It went okayish as well. Some problems sure did make me think but, it was easy as a whole. If I know right, I came 2nd in this level. Not bad but, it’s more because my opposition wasn’t good enough. 

Third level: They told me that the third level was going to be a quiz. I was pretty excited to be taking part in it. Actually, during my second level, I came across a question which I could find out the answer. I just had to spend some time on it. I was kinda tired after writing 4 exams and wanted to just tick some option and let probability do the rest but, my mind told me “Adarsh, come on man. Teesre level may part lena hai ya nahi?” It coerced me to solve it just because I wanted to see how the quiz would be held. As far as I know, I was so sure that I’d vanquish everyone else. I mean, after all, it’s me. 

Long story short, I was left disappointed. Why? 

I don’t know where to start.

-          The standard of questions was just way too low. Eg : Convert 24/50 into Percentage ; Convert 533g into milligrams.

That was so disappointing. I mean, my intelligence felt insulted by these questions. We’re in 10th not in 5th!

But, know what? I got those two questions wrong. For the first one, I answered “0.48” and the second one, I answered “5330”. Why? I still don’t know. The probability of me answering those 2 questions correctly is 99.999%. That day was the other 0.001%          
Lol. *Disbelief*

-           Sigh. I just erased this paragraph thrice. I just don’t seem to be able to put what’s on my mind into words in the way I want to without looking like I’m blowing my own trumpet or, for that matter, sulking.
Well, let’s just say it.

Aah. Forget it.

Just because I got those 2 questions wrong, I was knocked out of the quiz. That felt like crap. I mean, I was tested on 2 kiddo questions and when I got them wrong, I was kicked out of the quiz. That’s no measure of my “Advance Mathematic skills”! Had I been posed some tough questions and got them wrong, I’d have accepted defeat with a smile on my face. But, this one, Nah.

Honestly speaking, I think they should bring in some major changes in this round of the Math quiz. The level of questions(of all classes) insults my intelligence. The buzzer round doesn’t work properly(there are no buzzers!). They should introduce some new rules. I just didn’t like the buzzer round. Also, increase the questions that you as each kid! I waited for like 2 and a half hours(it would’ve been more had I not taken part in Critical and Analytical exams) and all I got to answer were 2 questions.

I hope they’ll work on this and make it better.

Science and Research Skills
First Level : It was a written test. I don’t really remember much of it but yeah, some(around 5-6) came from the practice paper that they gave us to practice. It was of moderate difficulty or maybe kinda easy.
2nd level : It was written test as well. I don’t remember much about it.
            I fell around 2 marks short of the cut-off mark for the 3rd level. Honestly speaking, I’m kinda glad that I didn’t get selected. I wouldn’t have had enough time to prepare for it.
I did peek into the rooms in which this competition was being held and I saw some science models. Nothing that made me drop my jaw though.

Leadership and Social Skills

First level :
I was curious when applying for this exam. I wondered how they planned on knowing our leadership skills by a written test. But yeah, all my doubts got cleared when writing the paper. I was satisfied by the questions. There were different questions. Had to write an insight(insite ;) :D) to a story at the end. Anyway, did okayish on this. Got exactly the cut-off marks.

2nd Level :
We had to speak on our leadership experiences, tell the judges about our qualities and examples of the past and then, they’d ask questions to us.
            Many people mistook this topic and instead, spoke on “Who is a leader?”

I did pretty well and as far as I know, I placed 4th. Not bad if you ask me. I was kinda pleased actually.

3rd level : 15 of us were selected for this level. 12 of us were only present though. There were 3 parts of this level – Extempore speaking, Group discussion and Debate. 

            The topics were different for everybody (around 40-50 of us from 3 classes) in extempore speaking and they were nice. Mine was “Speak on the idiom ‘haste makes waste’” It was kinda ironic that I got that topic to speak on. I mentioned the example of how I messed up my math quiz the previous day and proceeded to talk about “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell (I used technical words from the book and from what I noticed, nobody understood a thing but…) One topic was “Do you believe in God?” I felt that I could’ve given a different perspective on it but, I didn’t get that topic.

            Honestly speaking, I kinda knew I didn’t stand a chance for a medal. But still, I tagged on. 

            The debate and group discussion were eye-openers. Sigh. New-age women can be so dominating against meek men. I’ll let your imagination do the rest :P

            Anyway, it was nice. 

(I think that the aot swecws rgw nwslk more than the irgwe dywj)

That’s written in a code. I didn’t want to write it out in the open yet wanted to type it here.

Presentation and Communication skills

First Level: It was a written test. Basically, it tested our proficiency in English. I was tied on the first position with some other girl from Howard. I found the level of the test to be very easy. They should probably increase the level of the paper by a bit.

2nd level: It was an elocution. We were given some topics and we had to speak on them. I chose “memories of my childhood” and spoke pretty well. They made me wait for so-so long but yeah, I didn’t mind it at the end. You can find another version of what I spoke on my blog. Click here.

3rd level: We had to give a visual presentation on our career objectives, further studies and such. 

            If there’s one thing I’ve always wanted to do, it’s give a web 2.0 style presentation. Steve Job’s iPhone launch inspired me! 

            I started making this presentation at about 8:00pm in the night and went on till 2:39 am.

            I gave it all I had. I used Photoshop, google, TED talks, everything and I was pretty pleased.

            I realized that it was hard to create a web 2.0 presentation without planning so, I even drew out a complete plan for my presentation on a big paper. I detailed each slides, the animations that I was going to give.
            At the end, I was pretty pleased with it and went off to sleep. 

I had made the presentation but, I postponed one thing and by the time I got to doing it, it was too late.

            I hadn’t prepared for what I was going to speak. I went late the next day and within 10 minutes, my turn came and I wasn’t really prepared. I ended up giving a crappy talk.

             “So, Adarsh, did you make this presentation all by yourself?” he asked.

I thought he was complimenting me. I mean like, I thought he was surprised at how a kid like me could do such a wonderful presentation. With a slight grin on my face, I replied “Yes.”

He then asked “Have you given such presentations before?”
I thought that I probably was a seasoned presentation-maker and hence could make such an awesome presentation. I replied “Yes.” I also wanted to add “But, I haven’t made such web 2.0 presentations before. It’s my first time.” But I didn’t.

“Where?” he asked, “School” I said.

“It’s too simple.” As he spoke those words, all the pride that had been building up in me went out as fast as air out of a full-blown balloon. Phusssss….

“There aren’t many pictures. It was too simple.”

I replied with disbelief (it’s not often that something like this happens where I go phus) “But sir, I wanted it to be simple.” Shaking his head and marking on the paper, he replied “Somehow. It’s too simple. I fail to see the effort in it. Anyway, thank you.”

I said “Well, thanks.” And took out the pen-drive directly from the USB port grinning to myself saying “Life’s too short to remove USB safely.”

            I must admit, I was pretty PO at him. I’d spent so much time at it and he didn’t realize it. 

            Well, other kids also came and showed their presentation and for almost all of them, he told them “Why did you keep so much text on it? Who’s going to read it?” and “The words should not overlap the pictures” and “The background color should be in contrast with the text.”

            As I heard him telling them all this, I was like “Those are exactly the reasons why I made my presentation the way it is!” 

            After 5-6 such presentations, an irresistible urge to tell him “Suddenly my presentation’s looking all nice. Eh?” grew inside me but, I suppressed it :D

            However, after a presentation by a certain Meghana from Kennedy High, I came to my senses. 

            Her presentation conveyed exactly the same stuff as mine. She spoke pretty awesomely and the pictures were exactly in tune with what she was speaking. The judge turned around to the audience and said “This is what a presentation should be like.” And I was like “Oh. He wanted stuff like this?” But yeah, after watching that presentation, I realized what really lacked in mine. Though it was nice, it lacked a proper speech. There wasn’t any co-ordination between me and the slides. I probably should’ve practiced more but, never mind, it’s a lesson learnt.

It’s 2100+ words already and it’s 12:02 am and my mom just called on my mobile from her bedroom telling me to sleep already.
            It’s time I went to bed.

I’ll continue this some other day though.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Unplanned hiatus

                        I just wanted to tell all the ‘loyal’ readers of my blog that I’m on an unplanned hiatus.

            The frequency of blog posts on my blog has decreased as of late and I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but, it will continue to remain so until further notice.
            It’s 6th February already and I just got finished with the unit tests. Next up are pre-finals after which we’ll have time off to prepare for the board exams starting from the 2nd of March.
            Trivia –
2nd March – Math
16th March – English
20th March – Science
22nd March – Hindi
26th March – Social

You never know.
15 years from now, who knows if Amitabh Bacchan (provided he’s still alive then) will ask the following question as the question for 20 crore rupees in KBC (Season 26)

“Which exam did Adarsh Rao have on the 22nd of March, 2012?”
   A.    Hindi
   B.      Science
   C.    Social
   D.     None of the Above.

So, remember.