How do young astronomy students prepare for Olympiad?
VietNamNet Bridge - Vietnamese students had little time to prepare for the International Olympiad in Astronomy and Astrophysics (IOAA), but they returned from the competition triumphant. 


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“The practice exam question embarrassed us because we for the first time could enter a planetarium. Some theoretical questions challenged us since we never dealt with these kinds of questions before,” said Le Hong Long, a member of the Vietnamese competition team at IOAA.

Long said Vietnamese students began approaching astronomy and astrophysics later than students in other countries, and are weaker at practice.

“Theoretical questions also beat us because of the big volume of paper provided, while the tables were too small and the page numbering was quite troublesome,” Long said. “We had to give answers to some questions which we never met before.”

Tran Duc Huy, who won the silver prize at the 2016 IOAA, said many international students have been learning astronomy and astrophysics for three years. The student who won first prize at this year’s competition, also attended IOAA in 2014 and 2015 and won gold medals.

Vietnamese students had little time to prepare for the International Olympiad in Astronomy and Astrophysics (IOAA), but they returned from the competition triumphant. 
Huy admitted that Vietnamese students were inferior to students from other countries because they don’t have many opportunities for practice lessons. 

About theory questions, Huy said they were intricate with many figures to be dealt with and required many skills to solve the questions. 

Tran Quang Thanh, who won the consolation prize at IOAA, commented that astrophysics is still not a popular school subject in Vietnam, which was a big disadvantage for the Vietnamese competition team. Thanh found the question on data processing challenging.

Nguyen Anh Vinh, lecturer at the Hanoi University of Education, who trained the competition team, said the team did not have much time to prepare for the competition. However, all the five team members are clever and make fast progress day by day.

Competitors had four types of questions, including theory, practice, data processing and teamwork.

“We knew that there would be questions which need practice in planetarium. But we could not built a planetarium for students,” Vinh said, adding that only some universities in Vietnam have equipment for astronomy practice lessons.

In fact, Vinh and the other trainers planned to lead the competition team to Vinh City, where they heard a planetarium had been built. However, they had to cancel the plan because the planetarium was shut down and they did not know whom to contact.

Five competitors, Tran Duc Huy, Do Le Duy, Tran Quang Thanh, Nguyen Tien Nhan and Le Hong Long, are from the Hanoi-Amsterdam High School for the Gifted.


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Le Van

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