The Assessment Centre with Shatakshi Singh

Despite all the reassuring things I read about and saw on the IMA website about the day at the assessment centre, I was extremely nervous. I didn’t feel I had had the chance to prepare as I wanted to and almost didn’t show up. What could be worse than making a fool of myself in front of other prospective scholars? I am so glad that I didn’t listen to the nerves and instead buckled down and spent the week leading up to the assessment preparing myself as best I could. I met some wonderful people on the day and there was a genuine atmosphere of camaraderie and support. Knowing that I wasn’t alone in feeling the nerves helped too.  

The assessment day was split into 3 parts. The first was a short presentation to a few other scholarship applicants and a representative from the IMA. I did a presentation on probability and the others on my team did ones on trigonometry and prime factorisation. The next part was a group discussion and the final part was the interview.  

The IMA have done everything they can to ensure that there are no surprises on the day. The interview questions are sent to you well in advance and they don’t throw any curve balls. We are given every opportunity to prepare ourselves as thoroughly as we can. I did this by reading as much as I could around the way Maths is taught these days and what the latest thinking around teaching strategies is. How the internet is changing how we think about the curriculum and what the future of Maths teaching will look like. This was not part of the requirements but it’s the direction my research took me in and in hindsight I think it served me well. I believe the IMA are looking for candidates who are passionate about teaching Maths and are good communicators. People who want to get involved beyond what they do in the classroom and reach out to the teaching community at large.  

Each part of the assessment tests a certain aspect of the candidates. The presentation is a chance to demonstrate how we will make our knowledge accessible and enjoyable for the typical student, the discussion is a platform to exchange ideas and engage with fellow candidates and the interview allows us to share our views and show off our communication skills.  

I hope reading this has reassured others who are in the position I was in a couple of years ago. The day at the assessment centre is relaxed and they really want us to succeed.

Wish you all the very best!