Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

September 20, 2010

Local Scholars

The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute has announced that one of the two U.S. teams that competed this this summer at the 9th annual China Girls Mathematical Olympiad placed second, behind a team from China, in the overall standings among teams of girls from 20 nations throughout the world. Of the eight high school girls on the two U.S. teams, seven students won top honors five gold medals and two silver medals at the international competition held in Shijiazhuang, the capital of Hebei Provence, China.

One of the gold medals was awarded Jae Eui Shin, a senior at Phillips Andover Academy in Andover. The team that won second place included Jae Eui Shin and also Americans Elizabeth Synge, Lynnelle Ye, and Shijie Joy Zheng.

"We are thrilled by the outstanding performance of the U.S. teams at the China Girls Math Olympiad," said Robert Bryant, Director of MSRI, which is based in Berkeley. "This girls-only international contest provides an invaluable opportunity to encourage young women to study mathematics and develop their talent, which is important to fostering the future competiveness of our country, and to enable them to meet and work with others who share their enthusiasm for math. The CGMO experience has a profound effect on the young women who participate, and it provides an inspiration to other students, helping them appreciate the fun and accomplishment of solving hard problems."

The highly competitive, math tournament for teams of girls was held Aug. 9-13 and the rigorous two-day exam was given on Aug. 10-11. This year the CGMO drew 180 girls from 20 countries including China, the United States, Russia, United Kingdom, Australia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Macau, and Singapore.

Register by Friday for ACT achievement test

Registration is now open for the Oct. 23, 2010 ACT achievement test. Students who wish to take the college admission and placement exam must register before this Friday, Sept. 17, 2010.

The ACT is a curriculum-based achievement exam. It tests what students have actually learned in school, not their aptitude for learning. The ACT also measures what students need to know to be ready for first year credit-bearing college courses based on ACT College Readiness Standards. Every student's results can be tied directly to these consistent standards.

The ACT has four sections—English, mathematics, reading and science and takes about three hours to complete. Students who take the ACT Plus Writing complete an optional writing test that requires an additional 30 minutes. Unlike other exams, students are not penalized for guessing or answering all the questions on each test section. In fact, it is beneficial for test takers to answer all questions within the time allowed.

During registration, students may select up to four universities to receive their score reports. ACT scores are accepted by all four-year colleges and universities across the United States. ACT reports scores only when requested to do so by the student. Additional score reports are available for a small fee.

The cost for the ACT test without writing is $33. When combined with the optional ACT Writing Test, the total cost is $48. Students who qualify may apply for a fee waiver through their high school counselor.

The ACT website,, has helpful information, free sample items, and options to order inexpensive test prep materials to assist test takers get ready for the exam. However, the best preparation is to take rigorous core courses in school, study hard, and learn the academic skills needed in college, according to the testing organization.

Most students register online at Students may also pick up registration forms from their high school counseling offices. Registration is available until October 1, 2010 for an extra $21 fee.

High-schooler earned honors at quiz competition

Andover resident Feyga Saksonov, a ninth-grade student at the Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School in Marlborough, took top honors with her school's team at the recent National Junior Classical League Convention.

In a Jeopardy-style quiz competition, Feyga took third place in Classical Art, fifth place in the essay portion and 18th overall in Creative Arts.

The NJCL competition took place between July 25 and Aug. 1 at North Dakota State University in Fargo.