Usually, seeing a mathematics book from afar is enough to send the kids running in the opposite direction. It is partially because of the perpetually propagated stereotype that the subject is tough (without even trying to understand it first), and partially due to the demotivation that occurs at the first sign of failure in being unable to solve the questions.
And as if that is not enough, the school has announced conducting the International Mathematics Olympiad(IMO) in a few months. So how exactly does one get their child to prepare for a mathematics exam held worldwide when they are struggling to do well in the ones conducted by their educational institution?
Let us start by learning about this exam in a bit more detail.
International Mathematics Olympiad(IMO) is one of the various tests held by the Science Olympiad Foundation (SOF), found in 1999. It is located in Delhi, India. SOF organizes this evaluation on behalf of the International Science Olympiad(ISO), which is responsible for arranging this evaluation for students all over the world.
It has been conducted annually since its origin in 1959 and consists of two levels that need to be cleared by the student to ace this competition.
Some other subjects that are assessed through Olympiads are :
- Science (Physics, Chemistry, Biology)
- Computer Science
- General Knowledge (GK)
Duration: It is held for 3 days (not necessarily on consecutive ones) throughout the country. Schools can choose any of the slots to conduct exams on their premises.
Eligibility Criteria: This assessment can be taken by any of the classes from 1-12. Level 1 of this exam is conducted for classes 1-12, whereas Level 2 is only meant for classes 3-12. Whoever clears Level 1 goes on to compete on an international stage for Level 2.
The first top 26 students receive:
- Scholarships from IMO worth Rs. 50,000.
- Merit award certificate.
Every participant is awarded a participation certificate as well.
Question Paper Pattern:
The Mathematics Olympiad for classes 5-12 consists of 4 sections, namely –
- Logical Reasoning
- Mathematical Reasoning
- Everyday Mathematics
- Achievers section
Now that you have a better idea of what the paper pattern is like, you can move on to the main question: How to prepare for the Olympiad?
1. Visit the official website for more information: After registering yourself, it is essential to visit the official website of the conducting body for more details about the examination, such as :
- Dates on which exam will be held.
- Exam timings.
- Release of admit card.
- Paper pattern(i.e. the number of sections, the total number of questions, total marks, etc).
- Result announcement.
2. Study material: Firstly, a student must have the required study material which covers all the topics mentioned in the syllabus. School books, reference books for extra help, and additional access to the internet can help a student achieve wonders when used the correct way. Although, one must be precise about what and where to study from i.e. one should not only work hard but smart as well.
3. Guidance from a tutor: A good tutor is as necessary to help guide a student navigate through a question paper effectively and efficiently as the study material itself. Search for someone who has a natural aptitude for maths, and preferably, has taken the exam at least once themselves.
4. Make a study chart: It does not matter if you excel in mathematics; if you do not have a timetable planned out, the sheer amount of syllabus from various books will only confuse you further. Draw out a study chart which consists of all the sections and topics to be covered, how much time is to be given to a particular section, sorting out the strong and weak topics separately, etc. This will help the student see the overall picture of his/her preparation and work on improving themselves.
5. Clear your misconceptions: Do not believe in any unconfirmed rumors about the paper, such as the level of questions is from the higher class. It is not particularly difficult to solve these questions. All a student needs to do is to master his/her maths syllabus at school, which should be more than enough to set up the fundamentals in their mind.
6. Practice, as much as you can: One cannot emphasize enough the importance of practicing after studying a particular concept thoroughly. It ensures that no matter how a question is presented to you, you will be able to recognize the concept behind it and reach a solution somehow.
7. Mock tests: A sure-shot way of finding out whether or not the student has grasped the basics is to take mock tests from time to time, possibly up until 2-3 days before the exam. It not only solidifies the method of solving a question firmly in their heads but also helps in increasing the calculation speed. It is a must since the time duration of this exam is only one hour.
8. Looking into Previous Year Questions: If you want to have an idea about how the questions would be asked i.e. the tone of questions, it is highly suggested that you look through IMO Class 8 Previous Year Paper 2013 at least once. This gives an idea of how to better understand what the question is trying to say and whether the information provided in it, hidden or otherwise, is sufficient enough to solve it.
9. Stay motivated: One of the most important factors in a student’s preparation for any exam is motivation. Certain failures now and then can discourage students from pursuing their goals. Hence, it is necessary to remind them from time-to-time that why they chose this path. Also, maths can be dull at times. So make sure to have fun while learning to encourage students.
At this stage, IMO sets up a strong foundation that helps set up a base for an aptitude for upcoming competitive exams ahead. Hence, parents should definitely encourage children to participate in tests like these. It will enable them to climb any ladder that they set their eyes on.