Hong Kong students won one gold, two silver and one bronze medals at the International Biology Olympiad held in Szeged, Hungary, last week. It was the first time a team from the city participated in the world’s largest biology competition for secondary school students.
This year’s competition saw 285 contestants from 73 countries and regions. Students were asked to tackle challenging biology problems and conduct experiments to test their analytical skills and creativity.
Fifteen-year-old Li Yung-chi of Diocesan Boys’ School was among the top 31 students, clinching a gold medal with a total of 124.58 points. The two silver medallists were Chow King-ngai of La Salle College who ranked 52nd, and Genper Wong Chi-ngai of St Paul’s Co-educational College who placed 63rd. Hoi Ping Chamber of Commerce Secondary School’s Bruce Chum took a bronze.
Yung-chi, the youngest member of the Hong Kong team, told Young Post winning a gold medal was a surprise and easily one of his proudest moments. He said the award would also motivate him to continue to explore different areas of the subject.
He attributes the key to acing the tests to his long-time preparation, which includes joining numerous similar competitions beforehand and working on a research project that prompted him to read more scientific journals. He also advised future contestants not to exhaust their minds, but rather ensure they have sufficient rest the night before any competition.
“Cramming before the competition is not helpful. Constant exposure to the subject is more rewarding. Maintaining the brain’s condition is equally important. The brain does not work well when it overloaded,” Yung-chi said.
Meanwhile, Genper said he was most fascinated by the theory test, as the questions he attempted were a lot more challenging that those he encountered during the selection trial in Hong Kong, and very different than the ones in the HKDSE.
“The questions were super fun to work on, they are more diverse and unpredictable than those you’ll encounter in [public exams] like the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education or International Baccalaureate exam,” said the 17-year-old.
The Hong Kong Biology Olympiad team is made up of medallists of the International Biology Olympiad - Hong Kong Contest. They subsequently completed a biology enhancement programme offered by the Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education, in which outstanding students were selected as contestants to represent Hong Kong in the international tournament this year.