International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO)

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International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) is a mathematics-based competition conducted each year by the Science Olympiad Foundation (SFO). The IMO Foundation is a charity that supports the IMO and also the IMO Foundation website is the public face to the IMO.

Process of IMO

The International Mathematical Olympiad IMO is conducted at two levels. They are Level 1 and Level 2.Level 1 is conducted for students of classes 1st to 12th. Moreover, level 2 is conducted for classes 3rd to 12th. However, It aims to identify and support students who show the potential of becoming future scientists or technologists. More than 100 countries, representing over 90% of the world’s population, send teams of up to six students, plus one team leader and one deputy leader. Each year participating countries send at most 6 students. The selection process varies between countries, but typically involves several rounds of competition, each progressively more difficult, after which the number of candidates is repeatedly reduced until the final 6 are chosen.

The aims of IMO are ;

  • To discover, encourage, and challenge mathematically gifted young people in all countries.
  • To foster friendly international relationships among mathematicians in all of the countries.
  • Create an opportunity for the exchange of information on school syllabus and practices throughout the world.
  • to promote mathematics generally.

History of International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO)

In the beginning, the IMO was a much smaller competition than it’s today. In 1959 the following 7 countries gathered to complete the first IMO; Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, German Democratic Republic, Hungary, Poland, and the Soviet Union. It has since been held annually, except in 1980.

Gradually, other eastern-block countries, countries from around the world, and every continent joined in. In recent years, more than 100 countries participate in the IMO. At 15, Bengaluru’s Pranjal Srivastava has bought home a gold medal in the International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO) after seven years. He is also the youngest Indian ever to bag gold in one of the toughest competitions across the globe. The United States first competed in the IMO in East Germany in 1974. Sri Lanka first participated in this tournament in 1950.

IMO entry requirements

  • Must be a human.
  • Must be under the age of 20.
  • Candidates must register themselves from their respective schools.
  • Must not be registered at any tertiary institution.

The Science Olympiad Foundation sends prospectus containing the Registration forms to all schools registered with them. Schools not registered may also request for prospectus by sending an

e-mail at or

Phone call at 0124-4951200


Students should register through their respective schools only. Individual registrations from students are not accepted.

International Mathematical Olympiad – Awards

The participants are ranked based on their individual scores. Medals are awarded to the highest-ranked participants; slightly fewer than half of them receive a medal. The cut off’s (minimum scores required to receive a gold, silver, or bronze medal respectively) are then chosen so that the numbers of gold, silver, and bronze medals awarded are approximately in the ratios 1:2:3. Participants who do not win a medal but who scored seven points on at least one problem receive an honorable mention.

Benefits of taking IMO

After taking the exam participants can judge themselves academically in four different levels – Schoolwise, city wise, state wise and international level. A Student Performance Report(SPR) is prepared for each student which analyses the weak and strong areas of the student and help him compare himself with other students school wise, city wise, state wise and at international level.

The International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) is the most important and prestigious mathematical competition for high-school students. It has played a significant role in generating wide interest in mathematics among high school students, as well as identifying talent.

Roshara Pathirage –

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