Trần Bá Tân (centre) and his team take a group photo with teachers and officials after returning from the IChO contest in Paris. VNA/VNS Thanh Tùng
Passion, hard work and talent proved to be the perfect mix for Trần Bá Tân, who has studied chemistry since the eighth grade, to secure top marks at the 51st International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) in Paris.
Tân, a 12th grader at the Hà Nội-Amsterdam High School for the Gifted, recently won a gold medal at the international event by securing 95.47 out of 100 points – the fourth highest total score at the competition – including the maximum score of 40 points in the practical exam.
He is the first Vietnamese student to ace the practical exam at the IChO 2019.
Tân and the three other 12th graders in the Vietnamese chemistry team pocketed four medals in total, two golds and two silvers, to help the country rank fifth in the event.
“I like Chemistry and have pursued the subject since I was in the eighth grade,” Tân said.
Trần Bá Tân, a 12th grader from the Hà Nội-Amsterdam High School for the Gifted, won a gold medal at the IChO after securing 95.47 out of 100 available points, the fourth highest score at the competition. VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Tùng
Speaking on VTC News, Tân revealed he often spent about three to four hours each day to study theory on his own but found it more difficult to practise the experiments.
“Practice is difficult to carry out so I often go online to watch videos about it," he said. "When I had a problem doing the practice exercises, I mapped out different directions and tried many ways to solve it. I never gave up but kept trying again and again for a solution."
Tân was humble about his success, saying this year's exam was easier than in previous years.
"At first, I thought I could only get around 30 points but in the end my score was a nice surprise," the student said.
He revealed that this month he would start studying pharmaceutical science at the University of Debrecen in Hungary, one of the world's leading programmes in the field.
When he is not studying, Tân entertains himself by swimming or playing football. He especially enjoys playing strategy games.
"I think enjoying yourself is just as important as studying," he said on VTC. "When playing strategic games, I find my brain can make the right decisions and it helps me think faster."
"While playing games, I don't have time to hesitate," Tân said. "It is the same when I am studying or taking part in an exam; I must be very quick and accurate from the beginning to the end. For me, that is why I find being good at playing games often goes together with being good in academics."
Tân's father Trần Minh Quỳnh was also surprised by his son's results, saying they surpassed his family's expectations.
Quỳnh is proud of the family’s tradition of scientific study. Tân’s grandfather used to be a lecturer in the Biology Faculty of Vinh University of Education, while Quỳnh is a specialist in chemistry at the Việt Nam Atomic Energy Institute.
Đào Nguyễn Thu Hà, one of Tân's chemistry teachers, said she was not surprised at all that he won a gold medal because he is a talented and motivated student.
The 51st International Chemistry Olympiad, held in France in late July, attracted more than 300 students from 80 countries and territories. Việt Nam finished fifth behind China, South Korea, Russia and the US.
Teacher Nguyễn Ngọc Hà, head of the Vietnamese team, said the group's success was due in part to the support of the students' families and teachers.
“In addition to the efforts of the students, it is worth highlighting the active support of the families and coaching of teachers," Hà said. "This year, the students are all excellent.”
Hà also highlighted the role of the Education Quality Management Department, saying it had worked well to select the right students to attend the contest.
“During the days in France, Vietnamese students had good experiences," Hà said. "They were able to interact with and learn from foreign friends from many countries, who were impressed with the ability of the Vietnamese students."
The successful Vietnamese team at the award ceremony in France in July. VNA/VNS Photo
Sái Công Hồng, deputy director of the department who represented the Ministry of Education and Training to welcome home Tân and the winning team last month, congratulated the students for their impressive achievements.
“The results continue to show that a movement to foster outstanding students in our country has continued to develop," Hồng said. "The selection of excellent individuals is getting better and better, showing the progress of Vietnamese students who are not only good at theory but also in practical applications."
Hồng said that while outstanding students could choose their own path, even if that involves studying or working abroad, they should keep their homeland in mind and do their best to contribute to the country's development.
The official said Việt Nam had been welcoming more and more professors home to work after they established strong reputations in foreign countries such as Professors Ngô Bảo Châu and Đàm Thanh Sơn. VNS