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.