UCMAS Competitions - Speed, Accuracy and Victory! - UCMAS Canada

# UCMAS Competitions – Speed, Accuracy and Victory!

Give it a shot! Think of ten different numbers with two digits each and quickly add them up in under 3 seconds without using a calculator. Some might say it is not possible, however after pursuing a mental math program, it will become possible! I like to call it “becoming a human calculator”.

I am Neetya Pujara, UCMAS Student from Newmarket Centre.

Let’s explore my tale of preparing and participating in North America’s Largest Abacus and Mental Math Competition. This story showcases my path to getting ready for the UCMAS abacus competition, where students tackle 150-200 calculations in under 8 minutes, all without using a calculator.

The story begins on a Saturday evening. My abacus teacher, Ms. Manpreet, informs me about the annual UCMAS Canada competition and encourages me to participate in it. Inspired, my parents registered me for the competition and thus, the stage was set.

My initial practice test scores were very discouraging, taking 10-12 seconds per question, far from the 2-3 seconds target. Disappointed, I went to my father and crankily explained to him my poor scores.

Surprisingly, he responded he was happy this was the situation, and I was taken aback by his reaction to my forlorn condition. He justified his feelings “If this was not the case, if you were already perfect and no preparation was required, then what is the point in participating in the competition? To improve your current state, we are preparing, right? Regardless of the result, if you prepare hard, this journey will strengthen your abacus skills and teach you vital life lessons”.

The journey was undeniably challenging and engaging in such discussions with my parents & course instructors and listening to uplifting songs such as “Unstoppable” served as potent motivators.

I dedicatedly practiced daily for at least 3 hours with the help of UCMAS worksheets provided by my course instructor. My confidence boosted when I received an award for doing the most practice pages in my category.

Finally came the deciding day. In retrospect, my father was very right – I had improved a lot in both speed and accuracy. I was able to answer the question in 3 seconds! The UCMAS competition was supposed to be given online due to COVID-19.

Soon enough after I finished the competition, we received some good news about my score – I had obtained a Merit position. A victorious and proud day for my parents and me:

Since July 2022, I’ve been dedicating my time to volunteering at the UCMAS Newmarket training location, eager to pass on the valuable knowledge I acquired throughout my UCMAS journey after graduating.

Key Lessons:

1. I understood the true meaning of dedication in this journey and how

important it is to achieve any goal. I had to give up on picnics, family gatherings and parties due to my ongoing preparation for the competition.

2. Concentration and unwavering focus became prerequisites as the

goal was to tackle 200 questions in just 8 minutes, translating to a mere 2.4 seconds per question, all without a break and flawless accuracy. This experience nurtured my ability to concentrate.

3. Self-motivation and overcoming failure was another key lesson I learned throughout this journey. First of all, the practice sessions were mentally exhausting and on top of it, when an attempt went very poorly, it was very tough to revive and persuade myself to practice again.

## Glimpses from the National Competition 2023

Dear UCMAS students and parents, feel free to share your UCMAS competition experiences and the important lessons you’ve taken away from them; your insights and thoughts on this article are also highly encouraged.