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What is a Mathematical Olympiad?

 A Mathematical Olympiad is a mathematics competition for secondary school students, featuring more challenging and exotic problems than those  traditionally found on school curricula. Most questions are in "long-question-format" whereby designing a good strategy and describing all steps in a logical fashion counts much more than just a numerical answer. In many countries, the olympiads are extensive events, with multiple rounds and catering for all ages. In Ireland however, the competition traditionally focused on students 16 or older, and only now are we taking first steps towards a Junior Mathematical Olympiad. In Ireland, a contestant's journey starts with a qualifying round of the Irish Mathematical Olympiad (which takes place in their own school), followed by the national round. This round is used to identify a team of up to six students that will represent Ireland in the International Maths Olympiad (IMO) in June/July. The IMO is the pinnacle of all maths competitions worldwide and being invited to participate is an enormous honour. The EGMO (European Girls' Maths Olympiad) is a competition similar in style to the IMO, specifically aimed at encouraging mathematically-talented girls to use their abilities. Maths Olympiads are competitive, but emphasize creativity and a friendly atmosphere above all else.

How do I take part?

Schools around the countries are invited to take part in Round 1 of the Irish Mathematical Olympiad which takes place every year in November.

If you are in 3rd -5th year in an Irish school, you can signal your wish to participate in IrMO Round 1 to your teacher by mid November. If your teacher hasn't heard of the IrMO competition, you can direct them to the closest Mathematics Enrichment centre or to our TEACHERS' page.

How do I prepare?

  No special studying is required for Round 1 of IrMO. All you need is  creative thinking and logical skills. You can train these by participating in other competitions like PRISM, which is run on October 19 by IMT members based at NUIG Galway. Talk to your teachers about this. Also consult our Resources page for more ideas.   

Preparation for IrMO Round 2 takes place in five Mathematics Enrichment centres across Ireland. Invitation for attendance is typically based on performance at Round 1.

Irish Mathematical Olympiad (IrMO)

The IrMO is the main national maths competition in Ireland. Run annually since 1987, it is now into its 31st year. The IrMO consists of two stages: The qualifying round is held in secondary schools across Ireland in November, and the national round takes place the following April/May in the five Maths Enrichment centres (UCC, UL, NUIG, NUIM & UCD). The six students with the best results in the national round form a team that represents Ireland in the IMO of the same year. The IrMO is a brilliant opportunity for interested students to encounter new, exciting maths and develop their abilities, as well as a chance to meet like-minded people in a fun and stimulating environment. All secondary school students with a passion for maths are welcome to take part so if you're interested, check with your maths teacher if your school has signed up, and if not, ask them to visit this site.

European Girls' Mathematical Olympiad (EGMO)

The EGMO is an international maths competition similar in format to the IMO, but for secondary school girls only. Inspired in part by the China Girls' Mathematical Olympiad, it has been run since 2012, when it took place in Cambridge, and has experienced huge success, with 44 teams competing in EGMO 2017 in Zürich. The EGMO seeks to inspire girls who have an interest in maths to develop their skills, and so tries to redress the gender imbalance sometimes seen in maths. Like the IMO, it consists of two three-hour papers held on consecutive days.

The selection of team Ireland at EGMO is done based on a competition run in Mathematics Enrichment centres around the country. 

International Mathematics Olympiad

The IMO is the most prominent maths competition for secondary school students in the entire world. It has its origins in 1959 in Romania, where seven Soviet Bloc countries competed, and now hosts over 100 countries. The competition aims to give mathematically talented students the chance to allow their abilities to blossom and explore stimulating mathematics. The IMO is competitive by nature, but has a unique friendly atmosphere that makes the trip an unforgettable experience. The results of the national final of the IrMO are used to select up to six students that form the Irish IMO team, and these students subsequently receive preparatory training (during five different training camps) before heading to the event in June/July.

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