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High School and Pre-University Students Showcase Analytical Thinking Skills at Malaysia Schools’ Analysts Competition

02 Nov 2022

On 31 July 2022, the faculty and student organising committee of the Pharmaceutical Chemistry Department, School of Pharmacy, International Medical University (IMU) organised the 1st Malaysia Schools’ Analysts Competition, in conjunction with Pharmaceutical Chemistry Week 2022. The student competition organising team was chaired by Tay Chia Pao, a BSc (Hons) in Pharmaceutical Chemistry final year student. The competition was held in virtual format and was co-organised with the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Analytical Division and Royal Society of Chemistry Malaysia Local Section. The Schools’ Analyst Competition is an annual national chemistry competition in the United Kingdom run by the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Analytical Division.


The competition was aimed to enable students from high schools and pre-universities to demonstrate and expand on their existing chemistry knowledge, aptitude, and practical skills in analytical science through practical experiment demonstration.


Analytical science is the development and application of techniques for detection and measurement of analytes. It is essential for many other scientific areas including healthcare, environmental monitoring, forensics, chemical biology, and synthetic chemistry.


The competition participants will also develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The prizes for this competition was sponsored by the  Royal Society of Chemistry Outreach Fund.

The opening ceremony was graced by:
Prof Dr Mallikarjuna Rao Pichika Associate Dean (Research and Consultancy) of the School of Pharmacy, IMU, Malaysia
Dr Graeme Turnbull Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK and National Co-ordinator for the Schools’ Analyst Competition in the UK.

On 31 July 2022, 200 high school and pre-university students from various schools in Malaysia took part in the competition online. The competition began with a welcome speech by Prof Dr Mallikarjuna Rao Pichika, Associate Dean of Research, IMU School of Pharmacy. In his speech Prof Mallikarjuna mentioned that it is IMU’s tradition to organise IMU Pharmaceutical Chemistry Week every year since 2019.


He added, “One of the highlights of this year’s Pharmaceutical Chemistry Week event is to bring the School Analysts’ Competition into Malaysia. It is great news to have participants all over from Malaysia in this competition. ”


In addition, we were delighted to have Dr Graeme Turnbull, Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Northumbria University, who was the national coordinator for the Schools’ Analyst Competition in the UK to give an opening speech.


He said, “The Schools’ Analyst Competition has been conducted in the UK for nearly 30 years, and the purpose of the competition is to raise awareness of analytical science among the students at your age. ”


He emphasised that, “Analytical is extremely important particularly for pharmaceutical chemistry because if you made something, you have to prove what have you made. Hence, this competition is to arm you with the skills that you need to do your research in the future.”


The competition began after the opening and welcome speech. The participants were given 1 hour to answer questions regarding two analytical experiments which were thin layer chromatography, and qualitative test for ions. Pre-recorded videos of the experiments performed by IMU BSc (Hons) Pharmaceutical Chemistry students were shared with the participants so that the participants would have a better understanding of the practical aspect of the experiments. The competition participants submitted their answers online. Winners were determined by the highest scores and time taken to submit the answers.

High School Category
First Prize Mayuri Balasubramanian Sri Dasmesh International School, Kuala Lumpur
Second Prize Vong Jun Yi Methodist Boys’ Secondary School, Kuala Lumpur
Third Prize Ng Jun Xuan Chong Hwa Independent High School, Kuala Lumpur
Consolation Prizes Tang Ming Hong Foon Yew High School
Chan Zhi Xuan Foon Yew High School, Johor Bahru
Ngui Ghim Jen SMK Seafield, Selangor
Encouragement Prizes Nicholas Soo Jia Kai Sabah Tshung Tsin Secondary School, Sabah
Ch’ng Yi Qian Chung Ling Private High School, Penang
Andrew Soon Qian Sabah Tshung Tsin Secondary School, Sabah
Sai Ye Qing Sabah Tshung Tsin Secondary School, Sabah

Pre-University Category
First Prize Jedidiah Lo Zhao Qi Sabah Tshung Tsin Secondary School, Sabah
Second Prize Chloe Lai Ying Ying Help Academy, Kuala Lumpur
Third Prize Nicole Yap Wei Shiuan Sabah Tshung Tsin Secondary School, Sabah
Consolation Prizes Brian Bong Neng Ye Chung Ling Private High School, Penang
Vivegaa  Sivanes Crescendo International College, Johor Bahru
Lee Jun Mo HELP Academy, Kuala Lumpur
Encouragement Prizes Chua Hsuan Kai International Medical University, Kuala Lumpur
Chee Wen Xian HELP Academy, Kuala Lumpur
Jeong JiWoo HELP Academy, Kuala Lumpur
Lee Min Ci Sabah Tshung Tsin Secondary School, Sabah

Competition participants were also invited to the Virtual Pharmaceutical Chemistry Week events (20-21 August 2022). On the closing of the event on 21 August 2022, competition debrief session was held. During the debrief, each of the competition questions was explained clearly by Pharmaceutical Chemistry student, Lee Yen Mae, the Head of the Interactive Team. Winners of the competition were announced after the debriefing.

The Malaysia Schools’ Analyst Competition provided the student organising team with an opportunity and valuable experience to organise a prestigious competition guided by IMU Pharmaceutical Chemistry Department faculty. The Department hopes that the competition participants have gained knowledge in the two analytical experiments, and have enjoyed participating in the competition.

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