© Abramson Math, 2022

“Math has taught me to never give up”

Lyuba Zakhtarenko tells about her studies with Yakov Abramson
— I started studying with Abramson Math accidentally. One year before school, I went to the nearest math club next door. It turned out they were teaching according to the Yakov Abramson system.

I was lucky that my parents quickly realized that I like math. When I was in preschool, they were trying to figure out what I was keen on. So they gave me different books from the “Preparing for school series. They contained assignments for different subjects, but I preferred the mathematical ones. They were easier for me…

After leaving the math club, I got enrolled in the “Intellectual” school to the math track where Yakov Abramson was teaching.

I liked that all the lessons had some kind of gamefication everything was very clear. For example, the numeral systems were explained with mice, cats, and dragons. Yakov Abramson conducted his classes very interestingly and dramatically, so solving a math problem turned into a performance, and everyone took part in it.

He also always asked us to say out loud the ideas that we had. He listened attentively and always asked: “Yes. And then?” So you had to develop your idea further and realize if it was going to work or not.
Of course, ordinary school math was not as interesting. Particularly as in the “Intellectual” in one year, we have covered subjects for many years ahead. But Abramson Math didn’t seem to be something hard for us. On the contrary — it was interesting to learn something new!

Of course, sometimes somebody would fail to solve something on the first try. Then Yakov Abramson would give a little hint. If that didn’t help, he would ask a student who has found a solution to explain it. Sometimes it is easier for children to understand one another than listen to the explanations of adults. When I faced some difficult problem, I knew that I just had to sit and think. It is actually a good skill — not to give up immediately, but to sit down and think.

I have always been a straight-A student in all subjects. I think it is because math helped me enhance my memory and cultivate the ability to think, explain, and reason logically. Mathematics is a clarity and order first of all in one’s thoughts. I always participated in olympiads to see how much I know. In the fourth grade I won in the fall installation of “Olympus competition. In the fifth and the sixth grades I became a prize-winner at the Math festival of the Lomonosov Moscow State University.

It so happened that I got accepted twice in a row to the lyceum “Second school”. It is the strongest math school in Moscow. Its graduates have the highest score on the school-leaving exam and the best results at the All-Russian Olympiad of School Students. And this is the most prestigious olympiad in the country. Why did I get accepted twice? First time I got accepted, but I decided not to change the school at the time because I was also in the last grade at the music school… so I decided not to change schools. Next year I got accepted again to the “Second school” but also to the school no. 179 both to the math and engineering tracks. I chose the math one. I also got into the Moscow olympic team in math, although only as a candidate.

Math helps me not only in school but also in everyday life. For example, sometimes there are long and complex proofs in math, and you have to organize them in order not to get lost. And in life, there is sometimes some mess in the head or a room. And you realize that if you do not clean this mess, something bad will happen. So I sit down, organize everything and sort out the mess. My math skills often help me to think ahead: if I do this — that will happen. Would I like this result? No! Therefore I should do something different.

Actually, I haven’t been Yakov Abramson’s student for two years already. But the knowledge that I received in his classes is the basis for all my successes in math.

I am not sure who I am going to be. I like everything connected with the exact sciences. Although I have started to think about going into IT. I also like to invent and construct unusual things. Recently we had an assignment in school to build a bridge with Lego that can withstand a certain load, or build a high tower that you can carry around the classroom and it will not fall. It is very interesting to test your constructions. I like everything related to technology, they say I am good at it.
I do not rule out that you will get to know me as a singer — I have recently graduated from music school as a vocalist. I am a lyric soprano, I perform a lot. Mathematics was also helpful here as well, after all, solfeggio is “musical mathematics”.