The Olympiad Saga: A Journey Through The Math Olympiads

Reyaa Agarwal

Last Updated: October 25, 2023
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Maths Olympiads are like big maths contests where clever minds come together and compete. They’re not just about winning a prize; they’re about showing the world how good you are at solving tricky problems. In this blog, we’ll talk about why Math Olympiads are important, what motivates people to take part, and how they help us become better at solving problems and understanding maths. Come along with us as we explore this exciting world of maths challenges. We’ll talk about the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), Pre-RMO, RMO, INMO, and IOM exams, and why they are important steps in this thrilling journey.

Math Olympiads

The Fascinating Journey Of Math Olympiads

The path of Math Olympiads is like an adventurous journey, full of tough challenges that invite young maths enthusiasts to show what they’ve got. It’s a demanding journey where young individuals, often starting from a young age, dive into solving complex maths problems. Maths Olympiads are contests where you need to have a deep understanding of maths and be excellent at solving problems, even ones that go beyond what you learn in regular classes. These contests encourage us to think creatively and use our analytical skills to solve problems.

The Grand Stage: International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO)

Ah, the pinnacle of mathematical triumphs! The International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) is the Olympics of mathematics, where prodigious minds from across the globe gather to compete and showcase their problem-solving prowess. Imagine being part of a global symphony of maths wizards, harmonising with numbers and algorithms.

IMOs began in 1959, and since then, they’ve grown exponentially in terms of participation and prestige. In the most recent IMO, held in the mathematical wonderland of Saint Petersburg, Russia, there were over 100 countries participating. The vibe is electrifying, with thousands of young, brilliant minds aiming for that gold medal—a badge of honour in the mathematical realm.

Duration: 2 consecutive days, each day having a 4.5-hour exam session.


  • Each day, participants attempt three challenging mathematical problems.
  • Problems are presented in a question-paper booklet.
  • Problems are divided into groups, and each group has sub-parts with varying scores.
  • The solutions should be clear, concise, and rigorous, demonstrating a deep understanding of the mathematical concepts involved.

The Foundation Stones: RMO And RMO

Before you don the prestigious Olympiad cap, you must first earn your stripes through the Pre-Regional Mathematical Olympiad (PRMO) and the Regional Mathematical Olympiad (RMO). Think of these as initiation rites into the Olympiad realm, the training grounds for future maths champions.

PRMO is a national-level screening test in India, a gateway to the Olympiads. In 2021, it witnessed a staggering participation of around 300,000 students. It’s a test that filters out the brightest minds, selecting those who will proceed to the next level, the RMO.

RMO, the next lap in this mathematical marathon, drills deeper into your problem-solving abilities. The challenges here are crafted to push boundaries, to identify exceptional thinkers and groom them for the grand stage of the Indian National Mathematical Olympiad (INMO).

Pre-RMO (Pre-Regional Mathematical Olympiad):

Duration: 3 hours.


  • Multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and subjective questions.
  • Covers topics in algebra, geometry, number theory, and combinatorics.
  • MCQs often have one correct answer out of several choices.
  • Subjective questions require comprehensive answers showcasing problem-solving skills.

RMO (Regional Mathematical Olympiad):

Duration: 3 hours.


  • Typically, there are 6 problems of varying difficulty.
  • Each problem is to be solved and proved individually.
  • Problems are diverse, covering algebra, geometry, number theory, and combinatorics.
  • Participants need to provide complete and rigorous proofs for their solutions.

Math Olympiads

The Indian Mathematical Odyssey: INMO

Once you’ve aced the initial rounds, you set sail on the Indian Mathematical Odyssey (INMO). It’s where the best of the best gather, like a congregation of intellectual voyagers aiming for the same stellar destination—the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO).

INMO is a nationwide examination, a gruelling test designed to sift out exceptional talent. Around 35,000 students participated in the 2021 edition, a testament to the growing interest and prowess in the realm of mathematics in India.

The challenges in INMO are meticulously crafted, demanding not just knowledge but creativity and a flair for tackling the uncharted. It’s a battleground where numbers come alive, and only the bravest thinkers emerge victorious, earning the right to represent their nation on the global stage.

Duration: 4 hours.


  • Consists of 6 complex and challenging problems.
  • Problems cover a wide range of mathematical topics, including algebra, geometry, number theory, and combinatorics.
  • Participants are expected to provide detailed and formal proofs for their solutions.

Navigating The International Olympiad Of Mathematics: IOM

The International Olympiad of Mathematics (IOM) is a thrilling three-level examination that ignites the mathematical fervour within young minds. It comprises a journey from the school level to the global stage. 

  • The first level involves an intra-school competition, where students showcase their mathematical prowess within their school community. 
  • The second level, an inter-school competition, witnesses spirited participants competing against peers from other schools, adding a layer of healthy competition. 
  • Finally, the third level, the international stage, beckons the best and brightest from across the globe to compete at the highest level, representing their respective countries. 

The IOM isn’t just about tests and scores; it’s an odyssey that cultivates a love for mathematics, fosters critical thinking, and nurtures a sense of camaraderie among young mathematicians, transcending borders and cultures. It’s an invitation to unravel the beauty and universality of mathematics on a grand stage.

Duration: 4 hours.


  • Consists of 6 complex and challenging problems.
  • Problems cover a wide range of mathematical topics, including algebra, geometry, number theory, and combinatorics.
  • Participants are expected to provide detailed and formal proofs for their solutions.

The Spirit Of The Olympiad: Passion And Perseverance

Participating in these Olympiads isn’t just about winning medals or earning accolades. It’s about the relentless pursuit of knowledge and the joy of unravelling intricate mathematical puzzles. It’s about the friendships you form, the mentors you meet, and the moments of triumph and resilience.

Each Olympiad exam is an opportunity to grow, learn, and evolve. The challenges posed are not hurdles but stepping stones, guiding you towards a deeper understanding of the world of mathematics.

Math Olympiads

The Mathematical Symphony

In this grand symphony of numbers and logic, you are the conductor of your destiny. The Math Olympiads are not just exams; they’re a celebration of human intellect and the unquenchable thirst for knowledge.

So, let your mathematical spirit soar, and remember, every equation is a melody waiting to be heard, every problem a puzzle yearning to be solved. Happy calculating, fellow maths enthusiasts, for the world of Math Olympiads awaits your ingenious journey!

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