Now You Can "Solve It!" at ITMO

In a little bit more than a month the All Russian Test on Physics, Math and Informatics "Solve It!" will take place in several large Russian Universities including ITMO University. Thanks to Yandex.Contest platform it will be possible to solve 15 tasks online. The main feature of the test is that any person can try to test his or her knowledge: a businessman, a politician, an actor, a humanitarian student…its organizers believe the more people will be involved, the more popular STEM disciplines will be. "SolveIt!" will take place on February 15, 2017.

The Test was designed by representatives of the External Physics and Math School at MIPT. Yandex also supported this idea. According to the organizers and partners of the test, it is more about making engineering and science more popular rather than testing knowledge. It is also a wonderful opportunity to compete with friends. One can have an online test or solve tasks at a university and then correct the mistakes. To take part one needs to submit an application. Those who are not sure of themselves can take a preparatory test right now.

To solve the tasks one needs to be at the same level as a quick-witted eight-grade student. There are no limitations for participants, but all of them are divided into three groups — high school graduates, school and university teachers and graduates of technical universities who don’t work in their degree fields. For instance, such people as David Yan, head of the ABBYY, showman Ivan Urgant, opera singer Anna Netrebko, restaurant keeper Arkady Novikov, actress Chulpan Khamanova, Noble Prize winner Konstantin Novoselov and other famous people are planning to take the test.

It is not a problem if, for instance, someone is versed in informatics and math, but is not good at physics. He or she can leave solving tasks from this field and spend 150 minutes solving tasks he knows. To make the atmosphere of a real exam the requirements will be the same as if it is a Unified State Exam — cell phones and other gadgets have to be left out of class. The only things one can use are a piece of paper and a pen. Those who choose the online version will also take a honesty test. The participants who will prefer an offline test will have a bonus.

"The advantage of offline platforms is that participants will get their mistakes explained to them. Online participants will not have this opportunity. That is why we recommend the bravest ones to register and do that at one of our partner universities," says Roman Polozkov, member of the methodical committee of the contest.

Apart from attracting the attention to technical disciplines the organizers plan to gather statistical information. The level of adults' knowledge of high school disciplines shows the quality of education in different cities and helps estimate the level of motivation. Apart from that, using the statistics, different regions can develop their own strategies for making technical disciplines popular.

"Activities that remind people of their school days are becoming more and more popular these days. People from all over Russia write "TotalnyDictant" [Thorough dictation -Ed.] for several years. Also last year Yandex launched the "Chto I trebovalosdocazat" test [which was to be proved -Ed.]. ITMO supports both these ideas and offer its rooms. The "Solve it!" will be the third such project," says Anna Veklich, Head of the Strategic Communication Department.

There is a very important reason why ITMO assists in preparing this project. In 2017 the University plans to open the Physical Technical Faculty. Supporting this initiative gives an opportunity to demonstrate new educational trends in the field of physics. The stakeholders of the faculty plan to use math, general physics and computer modelling as basic disciplines. Thanks to the latest one, the Bachelor’s system will be more flexible, as they offer applied and fundamental subjects at the same time. It means that students will not have to choose between theory and experiments.

"It will not be the typical physical faculty — we plan to take into account new tendencies. It will help follow the interdisciplinary concept, as physicists with skills in the field of computer modelling will be able to work in various fields," mentioned Mr. Polozkov.

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