What is IMO? Complete details.

By Juliet D'cruz

IMO stands for International Mathematical Olympiad. It is a world championship maths competition for pre-university students. Back in 1959, the first Maths Olympiad ever was held in Romania and only 7 countries competed in it. Now, over 100 countries take part in the IMO. Since the year 1959, the Maths Olympiad has been held every year, except in the year 1980 as it was canceled, because of internal discord in Mongolia. Each country sends about 6 students to participate in the IMO.

If you’re thinking this sounds just like the Olympics, you’re right! Just like in the Olympics, in the IMO, people from different countries participate in competitions. The only difference is here people compete in math games rather than different sports.

The selection process of the IMO differs from country to country. However, it usually consists of a series of tests with only the top performers advancing to the next test in the sequence. The Mathematical Olympiad 2021was held online for countries that were hit hard by the COVID pandemic.

Eligibility criteria for the IMO

To be eligible to take part in the IMO, candidates must complete the following criteria:

  1. Applicants must be below the age of 20
  2. Candidates in classes 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 are eligible for the first round, the PRMO exam.
  3. Aspirants must be Indian citizens.

IMO Syllabus 

The IMO syllabus for the regional, national and international rounds consists of mathematics at the pre-degree college level. The topics include geometry, quadratic equations, and expressions, trigonometry, the arithmetic of integers, coordinate geometry, linear equations, permutations and combination, factorization of polynomial, inequalities, probability theory, and number theory, finite series, complex numbers, and elementary graph theory. These concepts are mostly covered in classes 11 and 12, but the problems that may appear for these exams are much more difficult. Calculus and Statistics are not a part of the syllabus. The difficulty level increases as you advance through each stage.

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What is the selection process for the IMO in India?

On behalf of the National Board for Higher Mathematics (NBHM), the Mathematical Olympiad program in India is coordinated by the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE). If you want to be one of the few people to represent India in this renowned competition, don’t worry we’ve got you covered. Let’s look into the steps you have to take to be a part of the IMO.

Stage 1

This is the Pre-Regional Mathematical Olympiad (PRMO) round. You can appear for this exam at a school near you. For the test, you will have to answer 30 questions within two and a half hours. The answer to every question will either be a single or double-digit number. This question paper will be available in Hindi and English.

Stage 2

The students who are shortlisted in stage 1 qualify for the 2nd round. As the next stage, students have to appear for the Regional Mathematical Olympiad (RMO). The duration of the exam is three hours and students need to solve 6 questions. Students will have to appear for this test at a regional center. The RMO question is available in English, Hindi, and other regional languages.

Stage 3

Approximately 900 top performers from the RMO are selected to participate in the Indian National Mathematical Olympiad (INMO). The test is held at over 25 centers across India and is usually conducted on the third Sunday of January. 

Stage 4

About 35 of the best performers from the previous round are eligible to participate in the fourth stage. Students attend the International Mathematical Olympiad Training Camp (IMOTC) organized at HBCSE. It is a one-month training program that involves an orientation about the IMO, lectures as well as problem-solving sessions for the students.

There are several selection tests during this period and based on the students’ performance, a team of six students is selected to represent India at the International Mathematical Olympiad.

Stage 5

All that’s left between the IMO and, you are in an intensive training period of about 8 to 10 days conducted at HBCSE. After this, you’re on your way to compete for the crowning glory!

Stage 6

If you reach this stage, you’re a part of the IMO. After taking part in the IMO, the mathematical program in India comes to an end.

Preparation tips for the IMO

Preparing for the IMO requires dedication and perseverance. If you hope to participate in the IMO, you will need to work hard and have an effective study schedule. Here are a few tips to help you to study smart.

  • The best way to effectively manage your time is to develop a study plan. Give enough time to each topic in your study plan. Making a schedule will help you to direct your efforts and keep you motivated. You can also make changes to it whenever required. You can also manage time for revision and also have breaks where you do something you enjoy doing. This will help you refuel for your next study session.
  • You can also solve the IMO Maths Olympiad Previous Year Question Paper. This will give you a good idea of the syllabus, question paper pattern as well as the kinds of questions asked in the test. Give yourself a time limit when you attempt the papers. This will increase your speed and improve your time management skills. Solving papers will test your IMO preparation and help you realize your strong and weak areas.
  • Practice solving questions from different sources. Make a habit of understanding a concept and then solving questions related to it. This will develop your problem-solving skills and will tremendously help you on test day. Remember, practice is key and there is no substitution for it.
  • Use the internet to your advantage. You can search for solutions to complex questions, take practice tests and also find some extra practice questions
  • Most importantly, while preparing for competitive exams like the IMO, you need to be calm and have a positive attitude. Doing something you enjoy every day will calm you down and will ensure that you don’t burn out, and remain focused. Remember to eat healthily and sleep adequately. Believe in yourself and your preparation.

Studying for the IMO requires a lot of time, commitment, and hard work. It is not an easy task, but it is certainly possible. So, pull up your socks and give it your very best!

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