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Maths hysteria

Cover story Clever Clogs

Maths, maths and more maths (but there are prizes too).

Antony Oliver explains NCE's latest plans to test how good you really are.

When NCE questioned readers last year about the need for the modern civil engineer to have A level maths, an emphatic 88% declared that it remained vital.

And the enthusiastic response to a few simple A level questions published in the magazine highlighted your passion for such maths problems - and your need for practice.

So in response to popular demand we are going to start giving you more maths questions in NCE! Working with drainage specialist ACO Technologies, we have put together Clever Clogs, our regular maths questionfest for the profession.

Clever Clogs is intended to be a light-hearted bit of fun but will hopefully also provide maths problems to help get the engineering grey matter fired up each week.

You have three choices of how to take part:

1.Just for fun.

Test your maths ability over coffee each week. See if any of your A level skills are still intact by checking the answers online later.

2.Compete for individual prizes.

Register yourself at www. cleverclogsonline. com and each week see your score build up and your league position improve by answering the questions online.

3. Compete as a team.

Register a team at www. cleverclogsonline. com and use the collective brain-power around your office to answer the questions online and defend your team's league position each week.

Clever Clogs questions will be published every other week in a new special section of NCE.

There will five questions in total.

However, other single 'killer questions' will also crop up throughout NCE each week alongside the Clever Clogs logo and correct answers will all boost your score - and may even win you a separate prize.

One week is allowed for participants to enter answers online, after which the correct answers are published at www.

The competitive part of Clever Clogs will run over a mock academic year divided into three terms: spring, summer and autumn.

It will be possible to register at any point during any term, but of course you will be able to answer more questions the earlier you register.

Great prizes will be on offer throughout, ranging from Ipod machines to Amazon gift vouchers, and there will be an extra special holiday prize for the overall winner at the end of the year, and a £3,000 student bursary for the winning company team.

There will also be a special build up question run alongside throughout the year. It will only be possible to find the correct solution at the end of the final autumn term.

The winners of each term will take part in the grand final at the Careers in Construction event in London on 5 November.

Here, in a University Challenge style head-to-head, the overall winners will be found.

Questions will be set by NCE editor Antony Oliver, with advice drawn where necessary from academia to ensure that they are pitched at the right level for civil engineers.

All questions will be mathematicsbased, pitched at or below A level standard and taken from a variety of sources including past and practice exam papers, university civil engineering refresher course tests, text books and other quantitative examples.

Oliver has vowed to ensure that all questions are challenging while always remaining relevant to civil engineering professionals.

'The importance of maths and numeracy for civil engineers has never been in doubt for me, ' explains Oliver.

'The point of Clever Clogs is to challenge readers with interesting questions to underpin and exercise their skills.'

He adds: 'Finding the solutions should be fun. The aim is to stimulate mental agility and re-ignite any lost passion for problem solving in the profession. I've no doubt that you'll enjoy yourselves.'

First and foremost, enjoy solving the maths problems printed in the special Clever Clogs section of NCE.

Then, if you want to compete:

lGo to www. cleverclogsonline.

com and register yourself.

lGo to www. cleverclogsonline.

com and register your team.

lAnswer the questions online.

lVisit www. one week after NCE is published to find the answers to the previous week's questions.

lWatch out in NCE for additional 'killer questions' and post your answers online to boost your tally.

ACOTechnologies has worked hard to bring Clever Clogs to life on line for the competition.

In creating the very clever, specially-built website at www. cleverclogsonline. com, ACO will enable you to keep a constant check on your own or your team's performance, and to see whether you are in line for some great prizes.

'We hope Clever Clogs will be great fun for all NCE readers, but will also help them to boost their brain-power along the way, ' says ACO market development manager Peter Ridgway.

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