How to prepare for IMO – Tips and Tricks

The International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO) is a Math competition for students of classes 1 to 12. It is conducted by Science Olympiad Foundation (SOF) with the aim of identifying and nurturing future scientists, technologists and IT talent at school level. Participants are ranked based on their performances. IMO is a two level exam.

Students can effectively use their time and energy by following these strategies for IMO preparation. The following IMO preparation tips can be used by students to improve their learning outcomes and performance and have great success.

Know The Right Syllabus

Knowing the right syllabus and course outline is one of the first and most important IMO exam preparation tips. The International Mathematics Olympiad paper is designed with the educational guidelines used by CBSE, ICSE/ISC and other State Boards. In addition, it is important to know that Level-I IMO will have 60% questions from the current class syllabus and 40% questions from the previous class syllabusIMO syllabus is very useful for understanding key areas of study. Students can begin IMO exam preparation by consulting the accurate curriculum syllabus for their class.

Choose Right Study Materials

The students preparing for the IMO exam must select the appropriate study materials, i.e.., IMO content such as IMO workbooks, previous year’s papers and mock tests, to become familiar with the IMO pattern. Finding and selecting the appropriate resources is essential to the success of the Olympiad exams. 


Do Strategic Planning

Students must prepare a timetable before taking the IMO exam as it helps to increase focus, better concentration level as well as saves time and effort. It is strongly advised that students schedule their study preparation in a structured way so that it paves way to score higher marks in the IMO exam.  

Practice Previous Year Papers and Take Mock Tests

There are no shortcuts when it comes to getting ready for the IMO exam. Students need to practice a lot. Students should practice from the previous year’s papers as well as by attempting Mock tests so as to achieve better results. Their ability to think and solve problems will improve as a result. Students that frequently practice will develop the necessary methodology needed for attempting and solving the IMO questions correctly.

Conceptual Understanding is Important

Concept-oriented, objective-type questions are included in the IMO exam. Students can improve their conceptual knowledge by practicing on Workbook or learning from Math videos. 

Time Management is a Must

The secret to success in IMO is time management before and during the exam. Before the exams, the students should attempt previous year papers in stipulated time, as it helps in understanding the time distribution needed for various sections. During the exam, the students are required to answer 35 (Classes 1-4)  or 50 (Classes 5-10) questions in 60 minutes. They should be able to do the calculations fast. Learning tables, practicing speed math always helps. The students should write down the calculations rather than doing orally, to avoid calculation mistakes. 

Maintain a Positive Attitude

Maintaining a positive attitude is crucial when studying for competitive exams. A cheerful attitude and thorough preparation are both essential for a successful exam performance. Students should have the appropriate level of confidence and readiness. Their performance and response skills may suffer as a result of their anxiety during the exam. Hence, students should approach the exam with optimism and confidence in their preparation.

Maintaining Healthy Lifestyle

A balanced and healthy lifestyle is vital in determining success in any competitive exams such as the IMO exam. Students should get enough rest and sleep each night. They shouldn’t overwork themselves by staying up late to study. Eating correctly will provide you the energy you need to function both physically and mentally. 



Preparing for the IMO exam and showing up for the exam are both learning experiences rather than final results. Students who take this exam improve academically and have the opportunity to learn about the format and strategies for competitive exams. Students might also learn about their strengths and weaknesses at this time. Each student receives analysis from the International Mathematical Olympiad based on their results. Students can win the top spot in the IMO competition with the right preparation and a strong mentality. 

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