12 Do’s and Don’ts of Good Essay Writing

12 Do’s and Don’ts of Good Essay Writing

For every student of all academic levels, essay writing holds big importance.  Essay writing is an essential tool for teachers to judge student’s knowledge and measure their critical thinking skills.  Also, as writing is the most widespread form of homework and examination, students need good writing skills.  However, essay writing is one of the most daunting aspects of their studies.  In college preparation, students with good essay writing skills always have bigger chances of getting accepted to top universities.

Learning how to write a good essay is not only about knowing what to do, but also about what to avoid doing.  This article suggests a few do’s and don’ts for writing an essay, whether for college admission, a high school class, or a college paper!

6 Do’s of Essay Writing

1. DO use transitions between paragraphs.

Sometimes paragraphs sound like separate pieces of the text put together.  This is the wrong approach to writing.  Your essay should be smooth and coherent, leading the reader from one point to another.  This is why you should use transitions – the phrases that help to connect each idea with the previous one, serving like bridges between paragraphs.  Examples of phrases you can use for transitions include:

  • Despite the previous arguments…

  • Speaking about this…

  • Regarding this…

  • With regards to this…

  • As has been noted…

  • To put it briefly…

2. DO cite examples.

Any example you use – from literature, scientific work, etc. – should be cited.  Only examples from your own experience do not have to be cited.  If you want to include a mention of something that you have read, even if you are not using a direct quotation,  it is best to reference the source of information.  This way, your examples will be more convincing and form more reliable evidence of the points you wish to prove.


3. DO discuss literature in the Present Tense.

When writing literary reviews or essays based on literary works, it is advisable to use present tense – historical present or narrative present, as it is called.  It makes the storytelling more engaging and real, increasing the feeling of presence.  Things that happen within the space of a text should be treated similarly to facts and generalizations.  This applies to fictional narratives in books, films, plays, etc.  

For example:

‘Romeo and Juliet experience true love the moment they see each other. Love makes them forget everything else. From the very beginning, they are somehow aware that they are doomed to die – they have given up their lives to love. Not only love, but every emotion in the play is heightened and leads to terrible consequences.’

(Book Reviewed by Amrita Dutta, Source: www.book-review-circle.com/Romeo-And-Juliet-William-Shakespeare.html)

>>> Learn more about common tenses used in academic writing here: https://blog.e2.com.vn/common-tenses-used-in-academic-writing/


4. DO use advanced vocabulary.

The aim of an essay is not only to reveal your knowledge of the topic but to show your ability to choose appropriate vocabulary and show your language expertise.  Word usage is also one of the critical criteria in the Writing and Speaking parts of many standardized tests such as the Cambridge Advanced exams or IELTS.  Therefore, try to use a variety of words and phrases, synonyms and expressions, and do not repeat the same words.  For example, instead of “good”, let’s use “excellent”, “spectacular”, “exceptional”, or other more appropriate synonyms that reflect the same shades of meaning.

5. DO respond to the prompt of the essay.

The prompt of the essay is intentional.  No matter how much you want to ‘go with the flow’ and write whatever your inspiration dictates, you should remember you are writing an academic assignment and, as long as it has a prompt, you should stick to it.  If the prompt is complicated and consists of several parts, analyze your final draft and check if you covered every point of the essay prompt.

6. DO choose the correct language.

The language you use in the paper indicates your ability to research and analyze the topic, prove your opinion, and explain your points clearly and vividly.  It also shows the level of your language proficiency, knowledge of grammar and syntax, and ability to develop a rich vocabulary. It is important to remember the academic style of writing and use the appropriate language.  The following phrases work well to introduce and support your points:

  • There seems to be no compelling reason to argue that …

  • The argument can be made …

  • Current research on [your topic] shows …

  • The most common argument in favor of (or against) is …

  • There is a growing body of evidence to support …

6 Don’ts of Essay Writing

1. DON’T forget to look for formatting requirements.

A good essay is not about style and formatting, of course, but style influences the first impression your paper makes.  Some essays and assignments will have font, spacing, and layout requirements.  It is important to make sure you follow those requirements, as they are easy points.  In many cases, the essay’s style is laid out in the directions or established beforehand.  You may quickly figure out the style based on the type of essay.  If the syllabus doesn’t have clear formatting requirements, you can always ask your instructor.

2. DON’T write too long sentences.

Complicated sentences may be confusing, not only for the person reading and grading your essay but for the writers themselves.  Writing complicated sentences doesn’t indicate an elaborate writing style. Instead, it may show your inability to convey information in a readable and straightforward format or break the sentences logically.  What’s more, complicated sentences increase the risk of grammar errors and stylistic mistakes.  Like Hemingway or Fitzgerald, famous writers wrote simply, which didn’t make their writing any worse.

3. DON’T provide too much information or too many facts.

Even though you were taught to create detailed and meaningful essays, this does not mean that you shouldn’t filter the information you provide.  Your aim is to present the topic to the reader while giving them sufficiently but narrowed information.  To avoid that, choose the most important and significant topic to write about and stick to it.  If it is complicated, you can analyze the final draft before you submit the writing.  Make sure to include the key information your essay needs and then exclude all unnecessary information and facts.

4. DON’T stray from the focus of the question (especially in the conclusion).

Students often think that a conclusion is where they discuss the broader ramifications of their position on the topic, branch out, and touch upon other aspects slightly related to the topic.  But it’s not true at all!  The job of a conclusion is to highlight the key ideas you have been arguing in response to the question (i.e., readdress the essay question in light of the discussion you have just provided).  You can then summarize each main point from the body of the essay in the logical order you presented them. 

How do you know if something is off-topic?  Ask yourself whether your paragraph or sentence directly helps you to answer the essay question.  If not, it should be cut from the essay.  In conclusion, don’t just say that you have discussed what the problem has asked you to discuss. You must be specific and say what the key aspects were (and why).  The trick is to say what you have argued in a concise way that does not repeat what you have already said (don’t repeat your examples). 

5. Don’t forget to proofread.

Typos, spelling and grammatical errors can make an otherwise flawless essay look unprofessional and messy, and can be interpreted as carelessness or simply bad writing.  Teachers may mark your essay in red if you do not get rid of typos from your coursework.  You should carefully go through your thesis and eliminate typos.  Don’t rely on your computer’s spell check also.  Spell checker software may seem an excellent way to you to check spelling mistakes.  However, spell checker software cannot notice errors that human eyes can notice, so you should not depend on spell checker software.  A teacher, a parent and even a friend should read your work before sending it off.

6. Don’t be shy about asking for help.

There are so many resources available when it comes to writing essays.  Your teachers, your friends, and the online community are always out there to help.  They can give advice, check for errors, and possibly help you find a direction.  Some teachers are willing to look over a rough draft provided you give them enough time.  There are also online resources where you can look up formatting guidelines for citations and bibliographies.  And of course, you can always find a friend to read your essay over and answer the question, “Does this make sense?”

Parting words

Excellent writing doesn’t happen by accident.  While an essay is a big project, a student can take several steps that will help break down the task into manageable pieces.  Keep the above points in mind to write a good essay.  If you’re given the subject, you ought to think about the sort of paper that you wish to produce.  It is a good idea to look for the one which has a fantastic reputation and offers high-quality papers.  Also, update yourself with the latest issues and knowledge about diverse topics.  It is best to practice writing essays on essential issues before the actual exam.

Writing an essay can be equated to studying your soul as through it, you inevitably learn self-expression; you develop writing skills, vocabulary, and a style of writing.  At College Compass, we strongly believe that just a good essay can turn your dream into a reality.

>>> Explore the essay review series where Don and Tony – Everest Education founders – share their own essay that got them into Harvard and Stanford:

Want to learn more about Academic Writing?

Writing is at the very heart of academic life, and academic English determines a student’s potential for success.  That’s why at Everest, we teach English Language Arts, a bridge to take students from basic conversational English to academic English. Our class strongly focuses on comprehensive reading and writing skills – where students learn how to describe and comprehend complex ideas, process higher-order thinking, and understand abstract concepts. Through the use of academic language, students read, write, listen, and speak about the topics they learn at school.

We also integrate social studies into language arts to develop a solid general knowledge and vocabulary students need to become successful readers and writers in the future.  

>>> Learn more about our English Language Art program at https://e2.com.vn/programs/english-language-arts/

Should you have any concerns or any topics you want us to cover, please leave your comments below.  You can subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates delivered straight to your inbox, and find more parenting coverage at






Common Tenses Used in Academic Writing

Common Tenses Used in Academic Writing

Although the university-level study’s nature has changed in recent years, not least because of technology, one element has remained constant, guaranteeing students’ success with a mastery of it: academic writing. Academic writing becomes an essential skill that sets students up for success when it comes to higher education. Having many years of experience working with international students and college admission officers in our College Compass program, we realize the value of academic, assignment and essay writing skills to prepare students for top colleges.

>> Check on this article to have a great grasp on academic writing and why it is so critical:


Now, the question is, how can I make my writing sound more academic and professional?

Let’s take a look at these two below sentences:

1. He explains the author’s intention and purpose in the article.

2. He is explaining the author’s intention and purpose in the article.

Both of the sentences above are grammatically correct. However, the first sentence’s tense (present simple) is more common for academic writing than the tense in the second sentence (present progressive).

This article starts with the most essential element of writing – tenses – and will show you three common verb tenses and how to use them effectively in your own academic writing.


What are “tenses”?

“Tense” refers to the time, completeness and continuance of a state or action (verb) in reference to when the sentence is said or written. In English, the verb form changes to indicate the tense.

For example:

  • The population of Vietnam is around 97 million people in 2021.

  • The population of Vietnam was around 87 million people in 2010.

There are three main tenses: past, present, and future.  In English, each of these tenses can take four main aspects: simple, perfect, continuous (also known as progressive), and perfect continuous.  The perfect aspect is formed using the verb to have, while the continuous aspect is formed using the verb to be.

According to corpus research, in academic writing, the most commonly used tenses are the simple present, the simple past, and the present perfect (Biber et al., 1999; Caplan, 2012).  These three tenses make up 98% of the tensed verbs used in academic writing.  The most common tense is present simple, followed by past simple and present perfect.  These tenses can be used both in passive and active voice.  

So what are they in specific, and when to use each of them in certain scenarios? Look at their main functions in academic writing below.

1. The Present Simple Tense

Present simple is the most common tense in academic writing. It is usually considered the “default” unless there is a certain reason to choose another tense (e.g., a sentence contains a past time marker). 

Present simple tense indicates that the statement is generally true in the past, present, and future.

According to the Cambridge Online Dictionary, there are two main situations where you always need to use the present tense.

i) Describing facts, generalizations, and explanations

  • Facts that are always true do not need to be located in a specific time, so they are stated in the present simple. You might state these types of facts when giving background information in the introduction of your writing.

    • Example: The Eiffel Tower is in Paris.

  • Similarly, theories and generalizations based on facts are expressed in the present simple.

    • Example: Average income differs by race and gender.

  • Explanations of terms, theories, and ideas should also be written in the present simple.

    • Example: According to QS World University Rankings® 2021, Harvard is the best university in the world.


ii) Describing the content of a text

  • Things that happen within the space of a text should be treated similarly to facts and generalizations.  This applies to fictional narratives in books, films, plays, etc.  Use the present simple to describe your main focus’s events or actions; other tenses can be used to mark different times within the text itself.

    • Example: In the first novel, Harry learns he is a wizard and travels to Hogwarts for the first time, finally escaping the constraints of the family that raised him.

  • When discussing and analyzing nonfiction, similarly, use the present simple to describe what the author does within the pages of the text (argues, explains, demonstrates, etc.).

    • Example: In Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari foresees a future in which humans live in such an optimized world, they become useless, and their lives lose all meaning.

  • This rule also applies when you are describing what you do in your text. When summarizing the research in your abstract, describing your objectives, or giving an overview of the dissertation structure in your introduction, the present simple is the best choice of tense.

    • Example: This research aims to synthesize the two theories.

2. The Past Simple Tense

Generally, the past simple should be used to describe completed actions and events, including steps in the research process and historical background information.  Generally, past simple is used to refer to actions completed in the past. Some specific functions this tense has in academic writing include:

i)  Describing the methods and data of your completed experiment or research steps

  • Whether you are referring to your research or someone else’s, use the past simple to report specific steps in the research process that have been completed.

    • Example: We transcribed and coded the interviews before analyzing the results.

  • The past simple is also the most appropriate choice for reporting the results of your research.

    • Example: We found a positive correlation between the variables, but it was not as strong as we hypothesized.

ii) Describing historical events

  • Background information about events that took place in the past should also be described in the past simple tense.

    • Example: Donald Trump’s election in 2016 contradicted the predictions of commentators.

3. The Present Perfect Tense

Present perfect is usually used when referring to past research that took place over an unspecified time period or previous whose findings are relevant today.  You can also use it to create a connection between past research findings and your work.  More specifically, this tense might have the following functions:

i) Summarizing previous work

  • When summarizing a whole body of research or describing the history of an ongoing debate, use the present perfect.

    • Example: Many researchers have investigated the effects of poverty on health.

ii) Emphasizing the present relevance of previous work

  • When describing past research outcomes with verbs like find, discover or demonstrate, you can use either the past simple or the present perfect.  The present perfect is a good choice to emphasize the continuing relevance of a piece of research and its consequences for your work. It implies that the current study will build on, follow from, or respond to what previous researchers have done.

    • Example: Smith (2015) has found that younger drivers are involved in more traffic accidents than older drivers, but more research is required to make effective policy recommendations.

Please note that the common mistake is to use the present continuous instead of the simple present.  In short, if there is not a clear reason to use present continuous, use present simple. 

There are some times where it is appropriate to switch tense within a paragraph or sentence. However, make sure you have to have a good reason for it. (e.g., a shift in time marked by an adverb or prepositional phrase (e.g., since, in 2013, until) or when you move from general statements to specific examples from research.


When to use other tenses

While the above are the most commonly used tenses in academic writing,  although not as common, there are many cases where you’ll use other tenses to make distinctions between times.  For example, when expressing strong predictions about the future, the future simple tense is used, or when describing events that change at the time of writing, present progressive is used.  It’s often a better choice to use other verbs like expect, predict, and assume to make more cautious statements.


  • There will be a strong positive correlation.

  • We expect to find a strong positive correlation.

  • H1 predicts a strong positive correlation.

Want to learn more about Academic Writing?

Writing is at the very heart of academic life, and academic English determines a student’s potential for success.  That’s why at Everest, we teach English Language Arts, a bridge to take students from basic conversational English to academic English. Our class strongly focuses on comprehensive reading and writing skills – where students learn how to describe and comprehend complex ideas, process higher-order thinking, and understand abstract concepts. Through the use of academic language, students read, write, listen, and speak about the topics they learn at school.

We also integrate social studies into language arts to develop a solid general knowledge and vocabulary students need to become successful readers and writers in the future. 

9 Websites and Apps to Teach Your Kids Typing with Fun

9 Websites and Apps to Teach Your Kids Typing with Fun

Key highlights:

The world is moving forward with rapid improvements in the latest technology.  As you are aware, computers now are everywhere, and typing – or keyboarding, isn’t just a fun skill to learn but is becoming one of the most critical skills a 21st-century learner must have.  More than that, as online learning becomes the new normal due to the impact of coronavirus, our kids need to be digitally literate.  

While being able to type is essential, it doesn’t have to be boring!  There are many great typing apps for students that are engaging, interactive, and educational.  This article suggests some of our favorite websites and applications get your kids to practice excellent typing skills.

Why Is Typing Skill Important?

Learning how to type properly is critical for several reasons.  While most kids and adults can learn to hunt and peck on their own, real typing speed depends on proper technique.  What makes a real difference in knowing how to touch type is how good your typing speed and accuracy are.  And speed is important because youngsters should learn how to think and compose at the keyboard.  Read on to find out some things you might not have known about the benefits of typing efficiently:

1. Typing helps kids work more efficiently.

Children who learn to touch type can work far quicker as they won’t have to look down at their fingers as they look for the correct characters to press.  Whether they are working on a school assignment or with a home project, they will be able to focus purely on getting their ideas out onto the screen, rather than wasting energy and time trying to find that elusive letter on the keyboard.

2. Typing gives kids an advantage in education.

In secondary education and beyond, the majority of assignments and essays are expected to be typed.  By learning to touch type, children could shave hundreds of hours off the time they spend producing their work.  On the contrary, students who can’t type correctly end up wasting valuable test time, especially in computer-based testing scenarios, because bad typing slows them down. 

3. Typing gives kids an advantage in their future careers.

Children who learn to touch type will undoubtedly have an advantage in their adult life when it comes to career progression and possibilities.  In 2014, a study by Microsoft found that 43% of bosses think that typing efficiently is a crucial work skill.  Professor John Sutherland of University College London said in response to the study: “Typing is a crucial skill both in a personal and professional context. If it is a skill you lack, you are very much limiting your chances in the jobs marketplace.”

4. Typing helps kids with specific learning difficulties.

Learning to type can also help children with specific learning difficulties such as ADHD, dysgraphia, and dyslexia, where they will often struggle to write by hand.  For example, typing can help children with ADHD who might otherwise produce messy written work due to a lack of focused attention when writing by hand.

5. Typing can be taught from primary school ages.

With touch typing, it is important to start young.  Studies have shown that it is two times easier for people ages 18 and younger to learn to touch type properly.  By the age of seven, children’s hands are just the right size to command a computer keyboard layout.  They also benefit from having better concentration spans than they had previously, and if, like many children of that age, they love to use a computer and should be at the ideal stage in life to get started.  And best of all, typing is a fun skill to learn!

Thanks to the ever-growing technology, children nowadays can learn to type fast and accurately with typing apps for kids.  Our team at Everest Education has tested, selected and compiled a list of best typing websites and applications that you can try with your kids at home:

Best Typing Apps for Students in Elementary School

1. Type-a-Balloon

This game is so simple but enjoyable.  Students need to type the letters that appear on the balloons to pop them! 

If a balloon escapes into the atmosphere, your child loses one of her five lives.  As their skills improve, kids can move up to a more challenging level.  The web-based app is ideal for kids of all ages looking to improve their keyboarding skills, but parents can join in the fun too.

  • Price: Free

  • Available for: Any desktop or laptop with a web browser and internet connection

2. ABCya

For a site with another variety of free typing game options, ABCya is a terrific choice.  When you arrive on the website, just enter the word “Type” into the search box, and you will see your game results below.  Each game has an indicator with the school grade range it is intended for, making it easier to pick one.  Kids can stack and unstack with letters in Cup Stack Typing, watch out for ghosts in Ghost Typing, or visit the animals in Keyboard Zoo.  Each game has an upbeat theme with colorful graphics and silly sounds, making them a ton of fun.   Kids can play the game on a computer (via a browser) or a smartphone.

  • Price: Free

  • Available for: Any device with a web browser and internet connection

3. Nitro Type

Nitro Type is a cool typing game from Teaching.com.  This is a self-contained, competitive typing challenge website that the boys will surely love.  Kids can play as a guest to give it a try, and parents can help them sign up for a free account to level up.  Players race against others by typing the paragraphs displayed.  Speed and accuracy both count in Nitro Type.  The faster you type, the quicker you race but make a mistake, and your car lags a bit.  The game has achievements, leaderboards, teams, and stats.

It is ideal for practice and honing typing skills, so it is suited for children already experienced with the keyboard.

  • Price: Free

  • Available for: Any device with a web browser and internet connection

 4. Epistory – Typing Chronicles

For kids who like video games, Epistory – Typing Chronicles may be a great way to learn typing.  Epistory – Typing Chronicles is a downloadable adventure game where typing words on-screen is central to progressing and playing in general.  In it, kids play the role of a girl riding on a fox with many tails, exploring a number of lands trying to rid the world of a nasty insect infestation.  

To make progress in the game, they. have to type words.  Beautifully designed, Epistory is all much more whimsical than it sounds.  The game’s exciting story and stunning visuals may push kids to stick around and learn to type.

  • Price:$14.99

  • Available for: desktop computers (Mac, Windows) with a web browser and internet connection

5. Typing Pal

Kids of all ages can learn typing skills with Typing Pal Online.  Typing Pal is a thorough program for students who need to know and perfect their keyboarding technique.  The course focuses on accuracy before speed and includes three learning environments with different visuals and practice texts. They’re aimed at elementary (Super Paws), middle (TGIF), and high school students (The Office).  Kids work through exercises to practice correct finger placement on the keyboard.  There’s also a Classic environment, which is suitable for all ages.  The activities have large, readable texts and introduce new keys gradually with a lot of repetition.  Each exercise includes an engaging animation, like a lion parachuting from the sky.  After completing all of the exercises, kids can take typing tests and earn certificates of achievement.

  • Price: $23.22 per year (individual subscription)

  • Available for: Any device with a web browser and internet connection

Best Typing Apps for Students In Middle and High School

1. TypingClub

TypingClub is a simple website that helps kids learn how to type.  TypingClub is also a Google for Education Partner.  TypingClub’s lesson plan contains over 600 lessons, guiding students from individual keys through numbers and punctuation and to a goal of 75 words per minute. The carefully designed lessons include instructional videos, educational games, cross-curricular content, and other interactive experiences.  TypingClub’s games are unique, engaging, and challenging, covering everything from basic to more advanced skills.  Each of the customizable games focuses on building specific typing skills.



Students can learn touch typing with hundreds of Spanish, French, and German lessons, including games, videos, and the entire student experience in the same languages.  The site has a minimalist look, though, so it may not be engaging for younger kids.  But kids with attention issues may prefer the site’s simple design.

  • Price: Free

  • Available for: Any device with a web browser and internet connection


2. TypeRacer.com

TypeRacer is an award-winning typing competition that allows people to race each other by typing quotes from movies, books, and songs.  This innovative multiplayer typing game is designed to teach adults and young adults to type.   What’s more, TypeRacer is completely free of charge, perfect for those looking for a more dynamic and entertaining way of learning touch typing without spending a penny.  Remember, though, TypeRacer does not teach typing per second, but it can help kids view their progress and practice accuracy and speed.  The game is quite similar to Nitro Type, but what we love about TypeRacer is the game’s availability in 50 languages – including Vietnamese.  Your child can practice not only English words but also Vietnamese as well with symbols and diacritics.

The design boasts a user-friendly interface featuring racing cars on a track, which helps the player monitor their improvements and competitors.  Students can also invite their friends by sending their game links, which allow them to challenge, practice and learn with each other.

  • Price: Free

  • Available for: Any device with a web browser and internet connection


3. Typing.com

Typing.com is a comprehensive web-based platform that offers a rich library of fun and addictive typing games that improve typing speed and accuracy. Each game can be tailored according to the player’s skills.  Students begin by taking any number of tests to evaluate their typing skills.  Then, they use engaging curricula, gamified learning, and even multilingual content and instruction to take their abilities to the next level.  The website provides several tests kids can take to evaluate their typing skills.  Some lessons span basic to advanced typing drills. 



Where Typing.com shines, though, is with several arcade-like typing games for kids.  These games are fun and educational.  One big drawback to Typing.com is that there are a lot of ads throughout the site.  The ads may be distracting to some kids but can be removed by paying a one-time fee.

  • Price: Free ($34.95 to remove all ads)

  • Available for: Any device with a web browser and internet connection


4. Typesy

This highly interactive application teaches standards-based, common core content that encourages students to improve typing speed and accuracy through fun activities, games, and courses.  Typesy has well over 500 unique exercises that can improve anything from your child’s typing speed to her hand’s memory placement and more.  In the games, the kids can create their avatars and collect points, making it even more fun. The various games include Clumsy Bird Typing, Submarine Dash, Falling Words, Letter Train, Quick Trainer, and Test Yourself.  Typesy offers tailored programs for each child as they progress through the program, adapts to their individual needs, provides tips and additional practice as needed.  Each unit includes step-by-step video teaching, useful exercises, and fun games. 


Typesy is free of charge, but a Typesy VIP package will allow parents to track your child’s progress and give you a full range of informative data, such as what assignments and assessments, how much time one of your kids has spent doing certain Typesy activities.

  • Price: $9/ month

  • Available for: Computers, iPad, tablets and Google Chromebooks 

Parting words

Children today are no longer strangers to digital technology.  As distance learning becomes more popular and computers more predominant, kids must learn touch-typing and other computer skills. 

Simply put, typing is an important technical skill that is quickly becoming central in education, the marketplace, and people’s lifestyles as a whole.  Good typing skills can help your child excel in her present academic responsibilities and ensure her future career prospects.  We hope that you can start a new typing adventure with your kids with these handy apps and help them learn a new and useful skill.  Help your child learn touch typing using the best typing apps for kids.  Go ahead and let your child try out these typing apps for kids and let us know which one works best for them. 

For more educational fun, try these math apps for kids.  And if your youngster loves to practice English, check out these cool English apps for kids.

Should you have any concerns or any topics you want us to cover, feel free to leave your comments below.  You can subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates delivered straight to your inbox, and find more parenting coverage at






Cool Math Websites for Kids

Cool Math Websites for Kids

🎮 We all want kids to learn with practice. However, for challenging subjects such as math, it is quite difficult for them to actively practice math after school.
👾 Luckily, technology is the “lifesaver” in this case to encourage your kid to non-stop learning. Everest Education (“E2”) suggests some cool math websites so that your kid can both have fun after tiring study hours and practice math without boring.
🛸 These online games have great graphics, sorted by age and math concepts, and a free version that makes it easy for kids to find their favorite game to “play” math.
Try it now!
  • Level: Kindergarten – Grade 8
  • Highlight: FUNBRAIN has been a leader in developing educational games. There are “tons” of math games with great graphics and clear instruction. Also, videos and comics that you can access will help kids learn about many skills simultaneously.
  • Level: Kindergarten – Grade 7
  • Highlight: MATH BLASTER offers outer-spaced theme games which students will love. They also have an application that you can download for your iPhone and iPad.
  • Level: Kindergarten – Grade 7
  • Highlight: BUZZMATH is one of the best math websites for middle school. They have 7,000 activities that follow the Common Core State Standards and they have free demo plans.

>>> At E2’s classes, interesting interactive games are indispensable that make our climbers love math more. Learn more about Singapore Math courses here.

#keeponlearning #keeponlearningwithE2 #EverestEducation

5 International Mathematics Competitions For Students Of All Ages

5 International Mathematics Competitions For Students Of All Ages

If your kids are good at Math, have you ever considered sending them to a math competition? A little competition can work wonders for kids.  The challenge of competitions could use an extra motivator to realize their full potential, spark their resume to earn scholarships, and open the door to many opportunities in the international education environment. 

In this article, we’ve compiled all the details on 5 popular math competitions for all age levels, including the eligibility requirements.  We’ll also briefly explain how to decide which math competition is right for your child and how math competitions can help her shine as a future college applicant. So let’s get started!

1. International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO)

The International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) is the World Championship Mathematics Competition for High School students and is held annually in a different country.  IMO is also one of the most prestigious math contests and is recognized worldwide.  It has played a significant role in generating wide interest in mathematics among high school students and identifying talent.  The first IMO was held in 1959 in Romania, with 7 countries participating. It has gradually expanded to over 100 countries from 5 continents.

  • Grade levels: high school students.  Contestants must be under the age of 20 and must not be registered at any tertiary institution.  Subject to these conditions, an individual may participate any number of times in the IMO.

  • Scoring and format: The format of the competition quickly became stable and unchanging.  Each country may send up to six contestants, and each contestant competes individually (without any help or collaboration).  The IMO competition lasts two days.  Students are given four and a half hours to solve three problems for six problems each day.  The first problem is usually the easiest on each day and the last problem the hardest.  Each question is worth 7 points, making 42 points the maximum possible score. 

  • Content: The content ranges from challenging algebra and pre-calculus problems to problems on branches of mathematics not conventionally covered at school and often not at university level either, such as projective and complex geometry, functional equations, combinatorics, and well-grounded number theory, of which extensive knowledge of theorems is required.  In addition to comprehensive mathematical knowledge, success on the IMO requires truly exceptional mathematical creativity and inventiveness. For example, here is one of the problems from the 2020 IMO:

>>> Find other IMO past papers here.

2. International Kangaroo Math Contest (IKMC)

International Kangaroo Math Contest (IKMC) is the largest competition for school students globally, with over 6 million participants from 77 countries in 2019. There are six levels of participation, ranging from grade 1 to grade 12.   Awards are given to the top-scoring students per grade at the national level.

IKMC was held in Vietnam for the first time in 2016 by the IEG Education Development Fund – IEG Foundation in cooperation with the University of Education and the National University of Hanoi at 5 test locations in Hanoi, and 1 in Ho Chi Minh City.

  • Grade levels: grades 1 through 12 (or homeschooled equivalent) is eligible to participate. IKMC in Vietnam is available for students from grade 1 to grade 8, divided into 4 levels: 

Level 1 (Pre-Ecolier)

Grade 1-2

Level 2 (Ecolier)

Grade 3-4

Level 3 (Benjamin)

Grade 5-6

Level 4 (Cadet)

Grade 7-8

  • Scoring and format: The test is 75 minutes long and consists of multiple-choice questions. 75 minutes is given to solve all problems, each with precisely 5 answer choices. No problems require the use of a calculator, and calculators of all types are prohibited. 

  • Content:  The majority of the problems are algebra or geometry. Math Kangaroo emphasizes three-dimensional geometry, which is usually not seen in many other competitions.  Problems in discrete mathematics (number theory and counting and probability) are occasionally used but fewer than other mathematical competitions.  A few logic and physics questions may also appear.  None of the problems require the use of precalculus concepts (logs, summations, complex numbers) or trigonometry.  An example of 2020 IKMC problems for grade 5-6 level:

>>> Find more IKMC past papers over the years here.

  • Timeline: annually on the third Thursday of March.

  • Fees and costs: 350,000 VND/ participant

  • Website:  https://kangaroo-math.vn/

3. Singapore and Asian Schools Math Olympiad (SASMO)

SASMO, which stands for Singapore and Asian Schools Math Olympiad, is one of Asia’s largest math contests annually held in Singapore.  Most nations participating in the competition are in Asia, but some in Europe and the Middle East.  SASMO is run as one round competition in April annually and has expanded into 18 countries.  Currently, SASMO has 9 divisions from primary 2 to secondary 4 (Grade 2 to 10).

  • Grade levels: grades 2 through 10

  • Scoring and format: The test is 90 minutes long and consists of two sections

  • Section A:  15 Multiple Choice Questions (2 points for each correct answer; 0 point for each unanswered question; deduct 1 point for each wrong answer)

  • Section B:  10 Non-routine Questions (4 points for each correct answer; no penalty for wrong answers)
    Each student is given 15 points at the beginning to avoid negative scores.

  • Content: SASMO caters to the top 40% of the student population, and it aims to arouse students’ interest in mathematical problem solving to develop mathematical intuition, reasoning, logical, creative, and critical thinking.  SASMO contest fits nicely into the school curriculum with a high focus on non-routine problem sums. A sample question of SASMO for Grade 5 level:

>>> Find more SASMO past papers and online practices here.

4. International Math and Science Olympiad (IMSO)

International Math and Science Olympiad (IMSO) is an annual international contest in Maths and Science in English for elementary and secondary school students under 13 worldwide.  Participants should be chosen through a selection process.  Each country is entitled to send 12 students, 6 students for each subject.  The objective is to help students develop their maths and science levels and promote creativity, research, and academic development.  IMSO involves many of the world’s top 10 ranking math Olympiad countries such as China, Singapore, Vietnam, and Korea. Vietnam has been participating in IMSO since 2015 and firstly organized this contest in 2019 in Hanoi.

  • Grade levels: grade 5 and 6 students who are not older than 13 years

  • Scoring and format: The questions consist of 2 parts: Math (essay and short answer) and Science (essay, short answer, and multiple choices).  Contestants will have 120 minutes to finish their Math section and 135 minutes in total for Science.  All instructions, questions, and answers must be in English. All other languages will not be considered for marking.  Participants cannot bring any English dictionaries, books, scientific dictionaries, calculators, and other electronic devices.

  • Content:  The questions are constructed based on Mathematics and Science elementary school curricula, reference books, and other relevant sources, which cover intellectual reasoning and creativity.  A sample question of IMSO for Grade 5 level:

  • Timeline: October or November

  • Fees and costs: 200,000 VND/ participant

  • Website:  http://imso.ieg.vn/

5. American Mathematics Competitions (AMC)

The American Mathematics Competitions (AMC) are the first of a series of competitions in secondary school mathematics that determine the United States team for the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO).  The American Mathematics Competitions (AMC) consists of a series of increasingly tricky tests for middle school and high school students.  The AMC sets the standard in the United States for talented high school students of mathematics.  The AMC curriculum is both comprehensive and modern.  AMC exams are so well designed that some top universities such as MIT now ask students for their AMC scores.

  • Grade levels: student under grade 12

  • Scoring and format: AMC is divided into 3 levels:

+ AMC 8: for students under the age of 14.5 and in grades 8 and below

+ AMC 10: for students under the age of 17.5 and in grades 10 and below

+ AMC 12: for students under the age of 19.5 and in grades 12 and below

The AMC 8 is a 25 multiple-choice question, 40-minute competition for middle schoolers designed to promote the development and enhancement of problem-solving skills.  The score is based on the number of questions answered correctly only.  There is no penalty for getting a question wrong, and each question has equal value.

The AMC 10 and AMC 12 are 25 questions, 75-minute multiple-choice competitions in secondary school mathematics containing problems that can be understood and solved with pre-calculus concepts.  As of 2020, the use of calculators is permitted on both the AMC 10 and AMC 12.  The competitions are scored based on the number of questions answered correctly, and the number of questions left blank.  A student receives 6 points for each question answered correctly, 1.5 points for each question left blank, and 0 points for incorrect answers. 

      • Content: AMC tests mathematical problem solving with arithmetic, algebra, counting, geometry, number theory, and probability, with far more cross-over between the subject areas than in nearly all classrooms.  For example, most classrooms only have divisibility rules and little tidbits of number theory and consider number theory as not a whole branch of mathematics but just a bunch of short cuts.  The AMCs use number theory in much deeper (although elementary, without analysis) ways.  Tests vary widely in difficulty.  All three of the tests are designed such that no background in calculus, analysis, or any other higher mathematics is needed to take the exams.

>>> Find more AMC past papers and online practice here.

Preparing for and sitting a contest itself is a great way to get your child to engage with math outside of the classroom.  And success in a contest will be a massive boost to their academic self-confidence and will go on their record.  Math contests are a tremendous social and intellectual opportunity for students, but exposing students to competitions must be done wisely, else they become counterproductive to the goal of encouraging a lifelong interest in mathematics and other intellectual pursuits.

If you decide to enroll your child in an international math contest, it’s important that they properly prepare for it. At Everest Education, we are proud to be one of the first and distinctive learning centers that teach Math in English.  Students can learn, play, think, express the Math concepts in English very naturally and confidently.  

>> Find more information about our courses at: https://e2.com.vn/programs/singapore-math/ 

Please note that Everest Education has no affiliation with any of these events, and this article does not serve as an official endorsement.  These are simply snapshots of the different events at this time; there may be changes due to COVID-19 and other factors.  For the most up to date information, please check each event’s website.

Should you have any concerns or topics you want us to cover, please leave your comments below.  You can subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates delivered straight to your inbox and find more parenting coverage at


The Taste Of The Traditional Vietnamese Tet

The Taste Of The Traditional Vietnamese Tet

What can immediately remind you of the taste of Tết?

Let’s join Everest Education (“E2”) to find that taste through these traditional dishes on the Tết banquet table! This will give you some ideas using these vocabularies to introduce Tết to your international friends.


Bánh chưng or Square sticky rice cake – Chung cake – Savory sticky rice cake is a traditional Vietnamese rice cake made from glutinous rice, mung beans, pork and other ingredients. Its origin is told by the legend of Lang Liêu, a prince of the last king of the Sixth Hùng Dynasty, who became the successor thanks to his creation of Bánh Chưng and Bánh Giầy, which symbolized, respectively, the earth and the sky.

Bánh tét or Cylindrical glutinous rice cake is a Vietnamese savory but a sometimes sweetened cake made primarily from glutinous rice, rolled in a banana leaf into a thick, log-like cylindrical shape, with mung bean and pork filling, then boiled. The “tét” in the food’s name literally means “sliced” or “split,” possibly referring to the fact that it is served in slices.


Chả giò or (Fried) spring roll is a popular dish in Vietnamese cuisine. The main structure of a roll is commonly seasoned ground meat (pork or crab, shrimp, chicken, and sometimes snails (in northern Vietnam), and tofu (for vegetarian roll)), mushrooms, noodles, and diced vegetables such as carrots, kohlrabi and jicama, rolled up in a sheet of moist rice paper. The roll is then deep fried until the rice paper coat turns crispy and golden brown.

Chả lụa or Lean pork pie or Vietnamese Salami, Vietnamese Ham, Vietnamese Pork Sausage, Lean pork pie, Pork paste, Pork Pate in Banana Leaf is the most common type of sausage in Vietnamese cuisine, made of pork and traditionally wrapped in banana leaves into a cylindrical shape and boiled.


Nem chua or Fermented pork is a sweet, sour, salty and spicy fermented pork or beef sausage, usually served with a thin slice of garlic, bird’s eye chili and gooseberry tree leaf, usually rolled or cut in bite sizes.

Thịt đông or Jellied meat or Pork jelly is a typical dish of Northern Vietnam. It is an aspic made from pork, but mainly pig’s trotters, wood ear mushroom and pepper, in addition to pork skin, and may have jelly.

Thịt kho hột vịt (nước dừa) or Braised pork belly and eggs (in coconut juice) or Caramelized pork and eggs is a Vietnamese dish traditionally consisting of small pieces of marinated pork (usually bacon, or meat with both lean and fat) and boiled eggs braised in coconut juice. Spices used include pepper, fish sauce, chili, sugar, etc.


Canh khổ qua nhồi thịt or Stuffed bitter melon soup is a typical dish in Tết of the Southern people, with the meaning that the bad luck in the old year will pass and good things will come in the new year. Its main ingredient is bitter melon. Most of the stuffed ingredients are pork or fish and some condiments, such as soy sauce, pepper, or salt.

Lạp xưởng or Chinese sausage and Củ kiệu ngâm or Pickled small leeks is a popular duo every Tet. The origin of Lạp xưởng is from China and came to Vietnam for a long time. Lạp xưởng is a typical Tet dish of Vietnamese people. Pure Vietnamese Lạp xưởng taste is hard to replace. Combining meat, garlic, pepper, spices and simply made not sophisticatedly, Lạp xưởng becomes a unique dish in Vietnamese culinary culture.


When talking about Pickled small leeks, Vietnamese people think about Tết. Pickled small leeks dish is indispensable in the Southern’s Tet banquet. People use small leeks to wash and soak it with sugar and vinegar to make a crunchy, sweet and sour dish. It is usually used with many other Tet dishes such as bánh chưng, bánh tét, lạp xưởng …

Finally, when it comes to Tet food, we can’t help but mention the 3 Khô bò or Beef Jerky, Hạt dưa or Red roasted watermelon seeds and many kinds of Mứt or Dried fruit candy. Vietnamese people use these dishes to pass the time when playing Tết games. This set of 3 is the most “wanted” Tet dishes for children (and even adults).

What is your favorite Tết dish? Don’t forget to share with us by commenting below!

reference: wiki
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