How I found the Online Assessment as part of my Application to the Maths Scholarship

Alexander SergiouFor those readers who are nervously anticipating their upcoming online assessment, let me start by relaying how positive and enjoyable I found the experience. For me, the lead-up to the assessment was partnered with mixed feelings and emotions. I remember being actively excited at the opportunity to talk to and be questioned by expert mathematics scholars, but then equally daunted at the same prospect. 

Something I found helpful in calming my nerves, and giving me confidence going into the assessment, was to prepare well. It sounds obvious, but is definitely worth doing. In the days leading up to the assessment, I had written out bullet-point answers to the potential questions provided, as well as in detail, prepared the two tasks. I am a fan of visual aids, so had written out an example on A4 paper, and this helped me talk through my answer, much like I would on a whiteboard in a classroom. I had scripted both this and the task about cross-curricular links, and rehearsed them a few times too. This meant I barely had to look at my notes whilst speaking on camera.

Following the advice given in the information email, I had joined the tester interview room the day before my assessment, so I knew the technology was all working. A helpful realisation I had was that, although we are budding maths scholars, we are likely inexperienced. When pushed for depth on my answer about the diversity of inspirational mathematicians, I chose to humbly admit I lacked depth in knowledge there, spinning it around, asking the assessors if they could point me to resources to learn more on the subject.

Also, let my experience reassure you that even if things do not go smoothly, you can still have a successful assessment. To elaborate, on the morning of my assessment, as I was connecting to the interview room minutes before I was meant to start, the Wi-Fi on my laptop stopped working! Typical! I was on the phone to the scholarship admin team in one hand, asking them to join the interview room to explain my predicament, while frantically booting up a second laptop with the other. Thankfully, this new laptop worked, and I joined the assessment room only a few minutes late. The assessors were friendly, and recommended I took a moment to catch my breath, which very much helped me compose myself, and I went on to have a very successful interview!

So, in summary, prepare well, be humble, stay calm, and enjoy talking about this brilliant subject, mathematics!

By Alexander Sergiou