Evan Luc-Tran might seem like your usual teenager.
He enjoys seeing the world, playing tennis, and acting. And he also happens to be a maths whizz, coming in fourth in his year group (Year 9) for World Maths Day.
Based in New South Wales, Australia, the 13-year-old goes to McDonald College, a school with a specialty in the creative and performing arts. On top of the usual academic subjects, he also attends classes on acting; dabbling in film production, stage plays and improvisations.
But why acting?
“I just enjoy stepping into somebody else’s shoes and discovering a new world, I really find that rewarding,” replies Evan. He goes on to tell me he loves doing film projects the most, as “there’s the most room to make your own”.
Having appeared in several local ads and TV shows, his mum lets in that Evan even made it through several rounds of audition for a recent Marvel movie a few years back.
Although he narrowly missed the part, Evan continues to hone his craft. This also spurred him to pick up karate, which he started learning last year. Besides catching the acting bug, Evan is also an avid tennis player, having learned the sport since he was just five years old.
World Maths Day Winner and Spelling Bee Champion
For a boy who’s just turned 13, Evan has a resume that puts mine to shame.
At just 6 years old, he competed in ‘Word Mania’, an event where players build as many words as possible from 15 letters in 3 minutes. Even though he was up against over 100,000 primary students (most of who were twice his age), he still managed to clinch the title of Australia’s youngest word-building champion.
In 2021, he participated in the inaugural Prime Minister’s Spelling Bee and topped the Year 7/8 level.
But Evan’s talent doesn’t just stop at spelling. He’s also proved his skills and ability in mathematics.
Touted by Sunday Telegraph in 2019 as Australia’s 25 Young Guns, the Sydney boy took part in World Maths Day this year and came in first in Australia (ranked fourth globally for his year level), beating over 300,000 students from 130 countries. This marks his second win for World Maths Day!
Clearly, this boy is on a winning streak. So, what’s his secret formula?
Preparing for World Maths Day
Similar to 2008 World Maths Day Champion Tatiana, Evan worked hard and clocked in as much practice as he can prior to the event day.
Having used Mathletics in his previous school during kindergarten, Year 5 and 6, Evan liked how Mathletics “made maths fun and immerses maths into games like Live Mathletics.”
Despite having to prepare for two competitions concurrently last year (World Maths Day and Prime Minister’s Spelling Bee), Evan practised a month ahead for World Maths Day, doing many Live Mathletics games for 30 minutes each day.
For World Maths Day this year, he had even less time to prepare for it as he initially wasn’t planning to take part. And for good reasons.
The McDonald College student recently accelerated his maths learning in school and is now taking Year 11 instead of Year 9 maths. “When I took on Extension 1 maths obviously things became a lot harder, and I have to study more,” adds the Year 9 student. On average, he tells me he spends about 1 or 2 hours each day just doing maths homework.
To prepare for World Maths Day this year, Evan did 30 minutes of Live Mathletics practice each day about one and half weeks before the event.
How does he get so good at maths? Whenever Evan makes a mistake, he finds out what he “has done wrong and learns from it”. And not forgetting, “practise, a lot of practise”. To students who are striving to improve their maths, his advice is short and sweet.
“Practise makes perfect. Keep practising, keep learning from your mistakes” and “keep trying harder”.