After finishing in the top 10 last year, Upper Canada College Year 12 student Surya Pandiaraju won the Toronto Brain Bee competition at the University of Toronto on April 12.
The Brain Bee is a written knowledge-based competition for high school students in the Greater Toronto Area that tests their knowledge of neuroscience. Five UCC students were among the 130 participants.
There are two books from which questions in the Toronto Brain Bee are asked. Pandiaraju prepared by taking notes from the books, watching YouTube videos and doing rote memorization and associative learning.
“Given that it was my third time competing, having the experience and knowing what to study given the types of questions that would be asked played a significant role in my improvement,” Pandiaraju says of his performance.
“Last year, I focused on one of the study guides over the other and ended up blanking on some simple questions from the guide I didn’t prepare from. Moreover, I had a lot more time over the March break compared to last year and started preparing much earlier.”
Pandiaraju received $600, a certificate and a summer position in a U of T neuroscience lab for winning the 20th annual Toronto Brain Bee. However, since he’s already committed to a summer lab position at Toronto’s The Hospital for Sick Children, he won’t take part in the U of T lab.
The Toronto Brain Bee is one of 17 such competitions held across Canada. The winner of each one qualifies for the National Brain Bee that will be hosted by McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont. on May 26.
“For any students who are passionate about science and are willing to learn about something new, I highly recommend learning about the brain regardless of whether or not you would like to compete in the Brain Bee,” says Pandiaraju.
UCC students William Blair, Shafiq Qaadri, Gen Nishiwaki and Daniel Botros also took part in the Toronto Brain Bee. Nishiwaki was recognized as a top-ranking participant.
UCC’s Laurie Fraser received a Teacher Recognition Award.