International Mathematical Olympiad selection process

International Mathematical Olympiad selection process

This article describes the selection process, by country, for entrance into the International Mathematical Olympiad.

The International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) is an annual mathematical olympiad for high school students.

Each year, each participating countries sends at most 6 students under the age of 20 to compete. The exact selection process varies between countries, but typically involves several rounds of contests, each progressively more difficult and reduces the number of candidates until the final 6 are chosen.

Additionally, many countries run training camps for IMO potentials. The goal is to improve the overall country's performance and use to help select the team members.

IMO Selection process by country


In Argentina, the [ Olimpíada Matemática Argentina] is organized each year by Fundación Olimpíada Matemática Argentina. All students that took and passed the National Finals (fifth and last round of the competition) exams, usually held in November; and were born before July 1 21 years ago, are allowed to take two new written tests to be selected for IMO, usually in April. From the results of that tests, six titular students and five substitutes are selected to represent Argentina at the International Mathematical Olympiad.The Argentinian team for IMO 2007 was: Pablo Blanc, Nicolás Agustín Rodriguez Castro, Pablo Nicolás Zimmerman, Mauro Schilman, Roberto Aníbal Morales and Fernando Martín Vidal. Leader: Patricia Fauring. Deputy Leader: Flora Gutiérrez.The Argentinian team got one Silver Medal, one Bronze Medal and three Honorable Mentions at the last competition, held in Vietnam.


In Australia, selection into the IMO team is determined by the [ Australian Mathematics Trust] and is based on the results from four exams:
* The Australian Mathematics Olympiad
* The Asian Pacific Mathematics Olympiad
* two IMO selection exams

The Australian Mathematics Olympiad (AMO) is held annually in the second week of February. It is composed of two four-hour papers held over two consecutive days. There are four questions in each exam for a total of eight questions. Entry is by invitation only with approximately 100 candidates per year.

A month after the AMO, the Asian Pacific Mathematics Olympiad is held (APMO) and the top 25 from the AMO are invited to sit the exam. It is a four and a half hour exam with five questions.

The top 12 students from the AMO and APMO (along with another 12 or so junior students) are then invited to a ten day camp held in Sydney in the April school holidays. During this camp, two four-and-a-half hour selection exams are held, each with four questions. The top six candidates along with a reserve are then announced as part of the team based on their results in the four exams.

The 2008 team consists of Max Menzies, Giles Gardam, Irene Lo, Andrew Elvey-Price, Paul Cheung and Sampson Wong.


The Brazilian participants are selected in a two phase process:1st. The contestants that are awarded medals or honorable mentions in the Brazilian Mathematical Olympiad (OBM) (Olimpíada Brasileira de Matemática)of the year before the IMO are selected to participate in a training process to the IMO.2nd. The contestants take a series of tests, which have IMO-like level, and the top students are invited to join the Brazilian team that goes to IMO.

Some schools in Brazil are known to send their students to IMO, namely "Colégio Etapa" in São Paulo, and some other schools in Northeastern Brazil. "Colégio Etapa" is also known to have several IMO gold medalist, the last one being "Gabriel Bujokas", in the year of 2005.


The Belgian team is bilingual. The Dutch-speaking community selects three participants during the Vlaamse Wiskunde Olympiade. The French-speaking community selects their three participants through the Olympiade Mathématique Belge and additional tests at training weekends.


High school students must first write the Canadian Open Mathematics Challenge, which takes place around November. Should they score high enough in the COMC(normally 70+ although the 2007 COMC will probably require 75+), they will be invited to write the Canadian Mathematics Olympiad (CMO), Asian Pacific Mathematics Olympiad (APMO), and unofficially write the USAMO.

The students with the top scores (conditions permitting) will make the Canadian team and travel to the location of the IMO in that year. Although the team is made up of students from all over Canada, Toronto and its suburbs have produced the most people for the team due to its high population density. The Canadian Mathematical Society is the organization which selects team leaders and members for the IMO team.


In mainland China, high school students have the annual National Highschool Mathematics Competitions, held on the second Sunday of October. A few competitors of each province with best scores, usually the top 3 to 5, will be invited to participate in the China Mathematics Olympiads. Approximately the top 20 competitors of CMO will have a training campus; and then, the 6 students with top scores will form the Chinese team.


In Colombia the selection and preparation of students for math competitions is organized by [ Olimpiadas Colombianas de Matemáticas] . The process begins with the regional competitions which are held in October and November. The best students of these competitions are invited to the January Training Session. In early March the National Competition or Olimpiada Colombiana de Matemáticas begins. It consists of a sequence of four examinations: the clasificatoria, the selectiva, the semifinal and the ronda final. The latter contains a (prior) training session and then two days of IMO-style papers.

Every Colombian high school student can take part in the first "classifying" examination but afterwards students are invited to compete according to their results on the previous examination. The three best students of the three different high school levels of the final round examination are the winners of the Colombian Math Olympiad. Although in principle students of the lower levels may be selected to go to the IMO, it generally takes many years before they can compete with students of the highest level or nivel superior. After the National Competition the twenty best students of each level are invited to the June Training Session where students undergo the IMO selection process.


In Cyprus Four provincial competitions and a National (Pancyprian) competition are held every year. During this procedure 30 students are selected and Four Team Selection Tests are held to determine who will be the the six member of national team for IMO

*In every competition or test there are four problem usually covering geometry, number theory, algebra, and combinatorics (elementary level) and last four hours each.

Czech Republic

After successfully completing the school and regional rounds, roughly 50 best participants are invited to the national round, where 10 best students are selected to participate in a week-long selection campus. Each day they solve a set of 3-4 problems, taken mainly from the past national olympiads of various countries. On the last day they have to find the answers (this time in form of a number) to rather large set of shorter problems under significant time-pressure. After that the team is selected and before the actual IMO, it competes in traditional Czech-Slovak-Polish Mathematical Contest where the participants can practise their skill under almost identical conditions to IMO.


In Denmark a national contest open to all high school students is held every year called "Georg Mohr-Konkurrencen" (the Georg Mohr contest) named after a Danish mathematician. The top 20 of this contest are then invited to another contest where the final team is selected.


The Association Animath prepares and selects the French IMO team. Students who succeed at a preselection test can get from Animath a year-long training, after which the team is selected by an IMO-like test.


IMO team selection in Germany is based on the main national mathematical competitions: The Bundeswettbewerb Mathematik (BWM, the former west German olympiad), the Deutsche Mathematik-Olympiade (DeMO, the former east German olympiad), and Jugend forscht (a research competition). Students successful in any of these competitions (e. g. a prize in the second round of the BWM) write two 3-hour exams at their schools, and the 16 best scorers of these exams are invited to a training program consisting of five seminars, where lectures are given and seven team selection tests are written - 4-hour exams determining the actual IMO contestants (additional tests are possible if the team is not uniquely determined after the seven exams).


* Θαλής (Thalis) - first round
* Ευκλείδης (Euklidis) - second round
* Αρχιμήδης (Archimidis) - third round

Hong Kong

Hong Kong first joined IMO in 1988.

In Hong Kong, the International Mathematical Olympiad Preliminary Selection Contest is held every year. Around 60 students are selected to receive further training, after three phases of which six students will be selected as the Hong Kong team members, and six will be selected as reserve members. The further training is also known as phase four training.


The Indian National Mathematics Olympiad (or INMO) is held every year. Students qualifying this examination get to attend the IMO Training Camp where further selection tests are used to identify the top six students who will represent the country. see|IMOTC.


In Indonesia, National Mathematical Olympiad is held as a part of National Science Olympiad (Olimpiade Sains Nasional), and have been held annually since 2002. Students who pass the province level test will be eligible to participate in the National Mathematical Olympiad and about 30 students are chosen to get into 1st training camp. About half of them will go to 2nd traning camp and participate in APMO. At the end, 6 students are selected to represent the country. The selection depends on the results of regular test, IMO mock test and APMO.


In Ireland, the top scorers in the Junior Certificate (a state exam taken around the age of 15-16) are invited by the various universities to take part in the Irish Mathematical Olympiad. The IrMO is held simultaneously in May in each of these universities. The test consists of two three hour papers, each containing five questions, run on the same day. The top six students are selected for the national team.


In Italy, the Mathematical Olympiad is held every year; the full selection process is made up of four stages:
* the so-called "Archimedean games", held as a multiple choice test in all participating high schools in November
* the regional stage, held as a mixed test (multiple choice, numerical answers and proof-writing) in ca. 100 sites in February
* the national stage, held in Cesenatico at the beginning of May, composed of six problems requiring a full proof.
* the team selection test, held in Pisa at the end of May after a five-days stage, composed of two sessions each containing three problems requiring a full proof.


In Japan, Japan Mathematical Olympiad(JMO) is held every year. JMO has two rounds: the first one in January and the second one in February. The best 20 scorers in JMO are invited to the spring training camp in March. The top six students in several tests at this camp are selected for the national team.


In Latvia a national contest open to all high school students takes place each year. The best participants of regional contests are allowed to participate in the national olympiad held in Riga. The top students are further tested to select the national team.


The selection is based on the Olimpiad Matematik Kebangsaan, OMK (National Mathematical Olympiad) and the subsequent training camps. Top OMK performers are chosen to training camps, and the final IMO representatives are selected from the students' performance in the camps.


The selecting process in Mexico has 3 stages and is organized by the Mexican Matematical Olimpiad. At first stage, each of the 31 states and the Distrito Federal select a team of up to students (10 in the case of the Distrito Federal) which will representate the state in the national contest. The contest is hold once at year, in the month of November.According to the results of this contest, at least 16 students are selected, who will continue to the second stage of te selecting process, the national trainings, which are hold from November to April in which the group of 16 students gets reduced to approximately 10.In May the third stage of the contest is hold, in which the six students that will represent Mexico in the next IMO. In similar process the teams for the Centroamerican and Caribbean Mathematical Olimpiad (OMCC) and Iberoamerican Mathematical Olimpiad (OIM) are selected. In March the test for the APMO is solved.


In the Netherlands the selecting process consists of three rounds.
*The first round takes place on high schools. It contains 8 multiple-choice questions, and 4 open questions.
*The second round takes place at the Eindhoven University of Technology. It contains 5 open questions.
*Then there is a training to select the students who will go to the IMO.

External links

* [ Official site in English] .

New Zealand

The first selection is based on the September Problems, where the top 24 students are selected and invited to a residential one week training camp. At the end of the camp, approximately 12 students are selected as a squad. The squad receives regular assignments to complete every few weeks leading up to the APMO. The final six candidates plus one reserve are later selected based on results of these assignments and the APMO (Asian Pacific Mathematics Olympiad).


In Norway, the [ Niels Henrik Abels Matematikkonkurranse] is held each year. The first selection, usually in September, consist of a multiple-choice exam with 20 problems. One is given 5 points for each correct answer, 1 point for each unanswered problem and 0 point for a wrong answer. Approxlimately 10% of the competing students are selected for the second selection, which is held in February. The examination consist of 10 problems, giving 10 points for each correct answer, who are integers between zero and one thousand. 20 students are then selected for a training camp lasting one week, and are then examined. While usually the 3 best students are automatically chosen for the final team, the rest 3 are decided by their results in the Nordic mathematical competition, which they will compete in afterwards.


In Pakistan, selection for the IMO participants is quite similar to that in other countries. The process starts one and a half year before a particular IMO; and a test (also known as NMTC - National Mathematics Talent Contest) is taken by the high school students. The test is held in January and the results are announced by the end of February. About fifty students out of a 4000 are selected which are called by Government College University, Pakistan - usually in October. The fifty selectees are taught at the university for a week and are then tested. This process, involving the top 50, is known as First Camp. Based on the performance in the test, about 18 students are further selected for the Second Camp, and the rest are dropped. These 15 students are joined by 35 students (from NMO - National Mathematics Olympiad) in the Second Camp. Ten students from the 50 are then selected, again based on their performance in a test. Third Camp is the final camp, and 5 are screened out of these 10. These would be the finalised participants for IMO.

Alternatively, high school students from all over Pakistan take NMO (National Mathematics Olympiad). This test is similar to IMO in both the terms - the difficulty level and the paper pattern. About 35 are selected which join the NMTC top 15 students in Second Camp. These students are further tested in the camps and a total of 5 are finalised for IMO.

Usually the students prefer to go through NMTC rather than NMO. The fact is that NMTC is much easier than NMO and the selectees of NMTC are well guided and trained for IMO.

External links

* [ Official site of Science Olympiads in Pakistan, in English] .

The Philippines

The selection process starts with the Philippine Mathematical Olympiad (PMO), which includes a regional level, an area level, and a national level. The top five students in the national level of PMO, together with the top ten students in a qualifying exam, will be invited to a one-week training camp. The top six students in the selection tests given during this training camp will make up the IMO team.


In Portugal, there are four selection steps. The three first are the exams of the [ Portuguese Mathematics Olympiad] and the last is composed of several exams made by [ Projecto Delfos] , who also prepares the students for international competitions.


In Romania those that enter the Romanian National Team on Mathematical Olympiad are selected from four rounds: School, City, County and National. In the case of Bucharest, being some 5 times larger than the largest county, as well as having larger schools, the rounds are: school, sector (a borough, roughly), city and national. From the first two rounds the advancing pupils are chosen using a minium grade threshold (usually 8.00/10.00). From the city/county round advance the top five (fewer in certain cases), with a playoff round organised if necessary. The national round offers fifteen medals (five of each colour). A team (plus reserve) is selected from the medal winners, usually following a playoff round.


Russia has very extensive system of selecting and training participants for IMO. Different aspects of solving mathematical problems are studied and revealed: combinatorics, logics, structural arrangement and proofs. All problems are evaluated from 7 points. Top participants obtain certificates of 3 degrees ("1st", "2nd" and "3rd diploma") and often additional "commendable certificates". Totally up to half of participants (in the last 3 rounds) gain diplomas.

The official rounds (each picking about 1/3 top of the previous) are: School, Borough, Region, Okrug (a district, roughly) and national. More details:
* School round ( _ru. Школьный этап, I stage) is a public stage - every interested pupil of 4-11 grade can participate. Completely organized by every school this competition aimed more at popularisation than at selection.
* Borough round ( _ru. Школьный этап, II stage) for some schools (specifically ones that has winners of region round) is equal to the School round.
* Region round ( _ru. Областной этап, III stage) is the first which brings together participants in one place to live for some days. It has two rounds on its own. In Moscow they are separated with process of selection, but in less populated regions pupils take part in both. In present days problems for all rounds starting with region round are created by special central committee. There are juries in each region of roughly constant membership. Winners of the region rounds usually have privileges for high-school entering.
* Okrug round ( _ru. Окружной, зональный этап, IV stage) is an intermediate before the final round. Problems usually corresponds to non-trivial mathematical facts, often to recent discoveries or their particular cases. Singular schools (e.g. Saint Petersburg Lyceum 239) have the right to present their pupils directly to okrug round.
* National round ( _ru. Всероссийский этап, V stage) aimed at selection the most prominent pupils for participation in IMO. For this sake about 14 top of national round from 10th and 11th grades (usually "1th diplomas") are combined in following summer and winter "gatherings" for special training and further selection.

outh Africa

In South Africa those who would be members of the team must pass through a nation-wide talent search by correspondence, after which the top fifty or so will be selected for a camp at Stellenbosch University. After that they must come in the top fifteen/sixteen in some monthly problems sent out by the University of Cape Town in order to go to a final selection camp at Rhodes University, Grahamstown. A final training camp takes place at the University of Cape Town just before the IMO. The Asian Pacific Mathematics Olympiad is used informally as a test, along with an IMO selection test written at the schools of the top fifteen in the event of indecision.


In Spain there are three rounds. The first one is held in each university district. There are two written tests, in which eight problems are to be solved. The first three participants in each district go to the national round. This one also consists of two written tests, four and half hours long each, with a total of six problems. The top six scorers go onto the International Olympiad.


In Sweden, a mathematics contest called "Skolornas Matematiktävling" is held every autumn. Those who qualify to the finale are invited to participate in a correspondence course in problem solving as well as the Nordic Mathematics Contest. From the combined results of the qualification round, the correspondence course and the finale and NMC, the six highest achievers of the Swedish finalists are invited to join the Swedish IMO team.


In Taiwan, the selection process consists of three sessions, starting from April to the mid of May. Students who rank among the top 25 in the APMO can participate the first session. During each session students will be tested by six IMO-style problems, and top six students will be selected as the members of the Taiwanese IMO team. The training sessions will be held during May and June.

United Kingdom

In the UK, selection starts with the multiple-choice Senior Mathematical Challenge, used to determine invitations to the British Mathematical Olympiad; after two BMO rounds, the number of candidates is reduced to around 20. These then have a ‘training session’ that is held in Trinity College, Cambridge. A reduced squad of around eight or nine is selected from examinations during these sessions and a final team is selected after a further training session held at Oundle School; the remaining two or three form the reserves. Potential future team members identified through these and other competitions organised by the United Kingdom Mathematics Trust also form part of a larger squad participating in further training sessions and correspondence training. [cite web |url= |title=The British Mathematical Olympiads |accessdate=2007-10-21 |author=BMOS/BMOC ] [cite web |url= |title=IMO Squad Training Camps |accessdate=2007-10-21 |author=BMOS/BMOC ]

United States

In the United States, the team is selected through the American Mathematics Competitions, which are open to all high school students. Final determinations for team members are based largely on the United States of America Mathematical Olympiad and an IMO-style Team Selection Test.


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