11-year-old breaks record as youngest person to pass high level math test

Kyodo, Staff Report

An 11-year-old elementary school student has become the youngest person to pass the college-level Sugaku Kentei mathematics exam, shattering the previous record held by a 13-year-old, the test administrator said Thursday.

Hiroto Takahashi, a fifth-grader from Setagaya Ward in Tokyo, passed the highest level of the assessment test run by Mathematics Certification Institute of Japan in October, officials with the privately run organization said,

The test, with 14 levels in total, measures practical math skills from the lowest, which is preschool level, to the highest for college undergraduate and graduate levels, according to the organization’s website.

Takahashi started studying for the test from the age of 5, according to the institution. He became interested in mathematics when he was a toddler through three-dimensional puzzles, the Mainichi Shimbun reported. Takahashi passed an 11th-grade level test at the age of 7 in 2014 and a 12th-grade level exam the following year — both as the youngest person.

“I would like to continue studying mathematics and establish new hypotheses and theorems,” said Takahashi, who hopes to be a mathematician when he grows up.

The highest level requires an understanding of basic mathematical algorithms and other multivariable functions.

Only 9.4 percent of test takers passed the highest-level category in the October’s exam.

The test was first administered in 1992, and was taken by more than 330,000 people in 2014, according to the institution. The test is also offered in English twice a year for individual and group testing.