It all began with a humble cd-installed program called ‘Scaffolding Maths’ that I used for school in 2005 when I was eleven. It’s very similar to what you do in the Mathletics ‘full curriculum’ section, except this program was made from excel spreadsheets. EXCEL SPREADSHEETS! They were very sophisticated spreadsheets, though! You can get a taste of what it all looked like here.

From the very first time I played a “speed and accuracies” game, I was hooked. Never before had I felt like this in my life. No video game I had ever played had drawn me in like this. No words could ever explain the feelings I experienced and the pure enthusiasm I had for it, but I know I don’t need to; some of you will know exactly what I’m talking about. I played a lot; before school in the morning, during school if I had time and after school, from the afternoon to bedtime (stopping for dinner). Very quickly I ended up doing too many; the program didn’t have enough space to record all the games I had played. The 3P Learning team ended up re-writing the program and re-distributing it!

Months later that year, Mathletics, or, as it was known in those days, The Australian Mathletics Championships, went live in late June 2005. My life changed. I could now play the games I loved so much against other people in Australia AT THE SAME TIME. The school I was attending at the time was the third school to ever use Mathletics. It was ground-breaking; there was, and still is, nothing quite like Live Mathletics. It was pretty basic at first, though!

Within a few months, I had topped the Hall of Fame (in those days it was ranked by your all-time personal best score for a single game) and the founder of Mathletics came to my school in Melbourne from Sydney, to give me a certificate. It was a complete shock; I was so embarrassed by the attention!

Over the years I experienced so much joy from taking part in competitions run by 3P Learning. I’m sure you can imagine how exciting it was when I was able to do well in some of them! Some of those achievements include coming second in the 10/20/30 million challenge in 2005, 4th in the Trans-Tasman challenge (Australia vs New Zealand) in 2006, 1st place in the Australian Maths Challenge five years in a row (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011), doing the same for the Australian Spelling Challenge (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011) and of course, 1st place for World Maths Day in 2008 and 2nd place in 2010!

While it was fun doing well in these competitions, I don’t consider them to be the highlights of my journey with Mathletics. For me, it’s those uncommon nights over the years where you’re listening to great music, you feel relaxed, you’re totally focused on playing game after game and you know you’re properly in the zone. These are the best times!

If I have any advice to give about competing in competitions, it’s to focus on enjoying playing rather than on getting great scores. The times where I have achieved my best results have been when I focus on each game rather than stressing about my position on the Hall of Fame. Getting great scores will come naturally when you’re having fun!

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