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from my fam­ily and teach­ers, I wouldn't have taken part in na­tional competitions and been se­lected for the na­tional team at the IBO.

In­ner Sanc­tum: What do you think are the strengths and weak­nesses of Viet­namese con­tes­tants at these competitions?

For the Viet­namese team, I can see that we are strong in the­ory and cal­cu­la­tion. How­ever, we don't have much ac­cess to up­dated sci­en­tific and tech­ni­cal knowl­edge, partly due to lim­ited for­eign lan­guage com­pe­tency. In ad­di­tion, ex­per­i­men­ta­tion is also a weak­ness for us some­times.

In­ner Sanc­tum: Bi­ol­ogy doesn't get the same at­ten­tion as maths, lit­er­a­ture or English, and many par­ents and stu­dents don't think it's worth pur­su­ing. What do you think?

I think it is partly due to the way the sub­ject is taught. It may be not in­ter­est­ing enough to at­tract and en­gage stu­dents.

In­ner Sanc­tum: Most schools in Vieät Nam fo­cus mostly on the­ory due to lim­ited re­sources for ex­per­i­men­tal ac­tiv­i­ties. How have you over­come this dif­fi­culty to im­prove your ex­per­i­men­tal skills?

Af­ter be­ing se­lected for the na­tional team, we got the chance to ex­per­i­ment more. Our teach­ers also put more em­pha­sis on ex­per­i­ments, in­vest­ing more time on it and try­ing to take us on vis­its to uni­ver­si­ties to

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