Romanian schoolgirl ranks third in the world in neuroscience contest

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A Romanian 17-year-old schoolgirl from Braila ranked third in the world in a neuroscience international contest, “International Brain Bee” taking place in Cairns, Australia during August 20-26. The competition is extremely difficult and a pupil is allowed to race just once in a lifetime.

Andra Cristiana Stefan is studying maths and informatics at “Nicolea Balcescu” National College in Braila, but she is particularly passionate for biology. The competition attended by 23 pupils from all around the world consisted in theory and practical tests.

The Romanian teenager pitched in for the contest, reading many medicine books and attending four training lessons by phone with professor doctor Charles Watson, from Curtin University Western Australia. The phone lessons were necessary, as she could not train for the practical tests in a neurosurgery laboratory in Romania.

The contest comprised five theory and practical tests. Andra got 26 points out of 30 in the first neuro-anatomy test, when she had to identify structures of the human brain. The second neuro histology test brought her 25.5 points out of 30. The third test consisted of writing three essays on scientific topics and Andra got the highest tally, 27.5 out of 30, ranking as the best contender on theory.

The medical diagnosis test was the most difficult of all, but the Romanian teenager got 25.5 points out of 30. The last test of quick answers and questions got her 18 points out of 30.

Despite the lower score received at the last test, Andra ranked third in the contest, after Australia (I) and USA (II).

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