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Russian math education

  1. Nov 29, 2009 #1
    Hey! Any1 knows anything about Russia's education system or some russians here could explain to me what the hell are they teaching you in school that you guys are simply dominating math/computer science competition, I'm just amazed at the results. My exact question would be: What is the learning schedule from high school---> uni
    much lovez,
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 29, 2009 #2


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    The same thing US/UK schools used to teach 30-40years ago before all the schemes to 'improve' education came in
  4. Nov 29, 2009 #3
    It seems to me to win competitions you need to teach to the top 1%. It does not matter what the bottom 99% are taught or learn as far as competition results are concerned. I would guess Russia has a way to serve the top 1% and the US does not.
  5. Nov 29, 2009 #4
  6. Nov 29, 2009 #5
    Very strict, very rigorous system, lots of proofs, children are actively involved in the process (anyone can be asked to step forward and solve a problem / prove a theorem on the blackboard at any time, to demonstrate his understanding of the subject). NO multiple-choice tests at all. Everyone's expected to master each year's curriculum before they can move on to the next level (for example, all students are expected to memorize the multiplication table up to 10x10 by the end of the second grade).

    As to the specific learning schedule, I believe it's similar to the United States:

    - 5th and 6th grade: elementary math
    - 7th and 8th grade: geometry, polynomials, linear functions, graphs, quadratic functions, rational fractions
    - 9th grade: solid geometry, integral powers, systems of equations, systems of inequalities, basics of trigonometry
    - 10th grade: exponentials, logarithms, trigonometry
    - 11th grade: derivatives, integrals

    there's a total of 11 grades, most children start schooling at 7 and graduate at 18.

    About half of all kids at intl'-level math competitions come from a couple of dedicated magnet schools with tough admission criteria and those schools have different learning schedules.

    In my opinion, to win competitions, you need to make sure that all mentally capable students study enough math and make it to the competition. Math curriculum is not all that important. A couple of years ago some American student made it to the IMO from Hollywood High School (poor gang-infested hispanic high school where most of us would be afraid to send our own kids).
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2009
  7. Nov 29, 2009 #6
    quote from above "About half of all kids at intl'-level math competitions come from a couple of dedicated magnet schools"

  8. Dec 1, 2009 #7
    I would love to go Russia to learn math, but as a non-white I am concerned about my safety in Moscow.
  9. Dec 1, 2009 #8
    There's always St. Petersburg and Novosibirsk ... How are you with cold?

    Here's an interesting fact. There were a total of eight Russian Fields medalists since that prize was established. Out of these eight, five live in the United States (Princeton, Yale, IAS, ...), one lives in France, and one divides his time between Russia and the United States. And the only guy who's still in Mother Russia full time does not accept students. So, if you want to work with a good Russian mathematician, the way to go is to get admitted into a good American university.
  10. Dec 1, 2009 #9
    Hah, winters don't scare me. In fact the allure of the beautiful Russian winter is one of the main factors behind my decision to study there. I am sticking to Moscow since my hunch tells me that's where the brightest of Russians go. Also, in this school the tuition cost is free, the admission is non-competitive and the teaching is done by the "Real Deals" in mathematics.


    Obviously I would love to go to the USA given the chance, but my status as a foreigner, severe lack of funds and unspectacular academic record mean that my chances of getting to the top schools where those Fields Medalists can be found is next to nil.
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