ITMO University organizes various Olympiads for high school students (7-11 grades). When the Ministry of Education and Science introduced a new law in 2015, Russian students received an opportunity to gain extra points for the results of the Unified State Exam by taking part in contests and extra curricula activities.

This year the university’s Olympiad reached a new level: in 2017 the participants solved their tasks through Vkontakte – they just had to join the online community of the Olympiad and fill in a form using an app.

ITMO VKontakte Olympiad

Participants were offered 16 disciplines including math, physics, chemistry, social science, English language and informatics. Moreover, participants could have as many tests as they wanted.

The online testing started on February 15. Those who showed the best results participated in the finals, which took place in St. Petersburg on April 8. Apart from solving tasks the participants visited ITMO labs located in its building on Lomonosova St. 9.

High school students visit ITMO laboratories 

According to Alexey Itin, executive secretary of the Admissions Department, this year the Olympiad covered not only Russia, but other countries.

“We invited school students from Northern regions, Russia’s Far East and Southern ones.  Furthermore, we welcomed participants from Ukraine and Kazakhstan. As for Russian participants, about 30% of them were from St. Petersburg, 70% came from other cities – it is typical for a university which is in a large city. It was the first experience but VKontakte is already known not only as a communication network, but also as a socially important platform valuable for parents and children,” said Mr. Itin.

Some 375 participants reached the finals, 81 of them became winners – 20 of them were awarded as winners of the 1st level, 22 became 2nd level winners and 37 – 3rd level ones. All of them gained an extra 10 points for the results of the Unified State Exam and prizes with ITMO’s logo.

Sergei Tynyanov

Sergei Tynyanov, high school student at school №213 won two Olympiads – he succeeded in English language and computer science.

“Solving tasks using a social network is an unusual but interesting experience. I like this idea. I had no any difficulty – the organizers helped us solve all the problems. I am going to devote my life to programming – I will enroll at ITMO’s Information Technologies and Programming Faculty. I believe that my English language skills will also be very useful there,” says Sergei Tynyanov.

Eleonora Grogorieva, a 10th grade student from Rybinsk, came to St. Petersburg to participate in the computer science Olympiad. According to her, she got interested in this field when she started studying informatics at school. Now she has already started to prepare for the Unified State Exams.

Eleonora Grogorieva

“I want to study computer technologies and design at ITMO University. I visited ITMO when it organized the Open Day. So when I learned that it initiated the Olympiad in collaboration with Vkontakte I also decided to take part,” says Eleonora Grogorieva.

Ekaterina Zarezina, a high school student at the Lyceum "Physical-Technical High School" (PTHS) and a winner of the Physics Olympiad, plans to study optics at ITMO.

“Some say that girls show less interest in STEM disciplines than guys. However, when I started studying physics at school I understood that it is my favorite field, I especially like optics. I would like to deal with applied tasks. My parents appreciate this and support me,” comments Ekaterina Zarezina.

Ekaterina Zarezina

The participants appreciated the opportunity to take part in the first tour remotely. Those who reached the finals and came to St. Petersburg enjoyed visiting ITMO’s labs.

“We were shown the university in an unusual way – we visited labs where scientists conduct their research. Usually universities don’t let strangers in except some rare tours for high school students,” says Vladimir Nesterov, a winner of the Physics Olympiad who studies at the Lyceum №101 in St. Petersburg.

According to Alexey Itin, in future the organizers of the ITMO VKontakte plan to increase the amount of disciplines by including biology and several  languages as well as engage other St. Petersburg universities as partners.